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Interest builds in Dordt’s new pre-architecture program

One of Dordt College’s newest programs, pre-professional architecture, is attracting interest from prospective students since its introduction last fall.

Dordt’s innovative “four plus three” pre-architecture program is designed to lead to a Master of Architecture degree and a career as a licensed architect. A unique aspect of this program, says advisor David Versluis, is the choice of two paths leading to graduate school: via art or via engineering science.

The art major emphasis fits artistically-inclined students who prefer to focus on imaginative work and developing concepts. The engineering science major emphasis is for students more interested in the technical and mechanical aspects of architecture. Both programs provide the prerequisites needed for acceptance into graduate- level architecture programs.

Professor Tom Leslie from Iowa State University, who recently spoke on campus, says today's architecture programs are less purely technical.

“We still spend a great deal of time on structure, environment, materials, code compliance, etc. But we (like many other schools) try to do this more from a designer’s perspective, with less math than in previous generations and with more on basic concepts and integration. This reflects a field that has become, for better or worse, more willing to rely on consultants for the more serious technical issues.”

Leslie says architecture students still need basic trigonometry and plenty of algebra and graphing, but not at the advanced levels expected in the past, adding, “The discipline of a good math course, obviously, is helpful no matter what!”

“Dordt has equipped me in both the structural and the creative aspects of architecture,” says Brett Van Andel, a senior from Lynden, Washington, who noted that the art courses he took have enhanced his creative sense of design. Well established programs in art, engineering, history, and philosophy also contribute to the emphasis and make Dordt College an excellent place to prepare for a career in architecture.