USD's first architecture major Milou Teeling '11 has been accepted to a fully funded, prestigious and highly selective master's in architecture program at Princeton University. Her classmate, Jordan Anderson '11, whose major was in art history, public art and architectural culture has been accepted to a prominent program at Columbia University.
"Both Jordan and Milou came to USD in Fall 2007 and were placed in my freshman preceptorial 'Introduction to Modern Architecture.' I cannot tell you how proud I was when they chose to pursue graduate professional careers in architecture," said Can Bilsel, PhD, Director of the Architecture Program and Chair of the Department of Art, Architecture + Art History.
The architecture major was introduced at USD in the spring of 2010, after nearly eight years in development. According to the program's website, "Its primary goal is to introduce students to architecture as a cultural practice that structures both the physical and social environment. In addition to core courses in architectural history, analysis and design, architecture majors will be introduced to a wide range of disciplines and creative studio practices that contribute to an architect's breadth of knowledge and problem-solving skills." Teeling was the first student to declare the new major, and she will be the first USD student to graduate with a BA in architecture.
"Now, the program is growing exponentially. I'm the first, then we have eight graduating next year and 17 the year after that. I think we have 38 declared majors."
Both women praised USD for its dedication to liberal arts. Architecture, they said, is a highly multidisciplinary field, and a broad core curriculum was a great help to the two of them as they explored the many possibilities of a career in architecture.
"I honestly have to say that religion and philosophy classes forced me to think outside my field," Teeling said. "I learned the most in those classes, in terms of critical thinking skills, and that way of thinking was then applied in other classes."
One experience that stood out for Teeling and Anderson, was their Study Abroad trip to Istanbul, Turkey led by Bilsel and Juliana Maxim, PhD. The experience abroad gave them the chance to encounter architecture in a new environment, and to experience a different culture in a unique way, while completing coursework.
"We helped complete background research on other undergraduate architecture programs in order for the chair, Can Bilsel, to design the curriculum for the new major."
"Through a survey of drawings, sketches and photographs we engaged with the city in a way that a regular tourist never would," Teeling said. "The program contributed to my education not only from an architectural perspective, but even more so via the experience of all the aspects of the Turkish culture"
"Immersing myself in the architecture and history of the city along with its culture expanded my ambitions for future study abroad opportunities," Anderson said.
Student art created during the trip to Istanbul was displayed in an exhibit on campus. Here you can view the video: Istanbul Travel Stories.
When Teeling arrived at USD, she didn't intend to major in architecture—especially since the option wasn't available. Her preceptor, Bilsel encouraged her to take a few visual arts classes and consider a career in design. Sure enough, she became passionate about architecture. Soon, the Amsterdam native was working with Anderson, Bilsel and other professors to develop the new major in time for her graduation.
"I was taking all of these classes, anticipating that the major might come out in time for me to graduate with it," Teeling said.
Thanks to the hard work of students and professors, the major was developed in time for Teeling to declare in the second semester of her junior year. Of course, the late change presented some huge challenges. This fall, she had to take 22 units, while preparing a thesis and portfolio for grad school applications. She was also working for athletics, and for the visual arts department. Teeling said she had time for about 3 or 4 hours of sleep per night.
"It's incredible what your body is capable of doing if you put your mind to something," Teeling said. "I think that's where my athletic background comes in. It takes the same kind of discipline."
Teeling came to USD on a tennis scholarship, but switched to coaching and working for the team when she received a career-ending injury. However, she maintains the intensity and drive of a champion athlete. She will also earn a degree in business administration with a real estate emphasis, and according to Bilsel, she is a devoted artist.
"Immersing myself in the architecture and history of the city along with its culture expanded my ambitions for future study abroad opportunities,"
"In addition to having an excellent portfolio in architectural design Milou is also an accomplished photographer," Bilsel said.
Anderson decided to major in art history with a concentration in public art and architectural culture. She will graduate with a double minor in visual arts and architecture. She looks forward to a creative career.
"Nothing is more satisfying than producing an object or designing a space," she said. "Physicality gives my ideas meaning, and I am looking forward to working on a larger scale in the future."
"In addition to architectural history, Jordan is an accomplished artist and designer," Bilsel said. "She has an excellent portfolio of black and white and digital photography, architectural design, and sculpture."
Architecture majors will be introduced to a wide range of disciplines and creative studio practices that contribute to an architect's breadth of knowledge and problem-solving skills.
Both women, along with architecture faculty, worked tirelessly to make the architecture major available to undergraduates. To learn more, please read about architecture faculty member Daniel Lopez-Perez
"We helped complete background research on other undergraduate architecture programs in order for the chair, Can Bilsel, to design the curriculum for the new major," Anderson said.
"Now, the program is growing exponentially," Teeling said. "I'm the first, then we have eight graduating next year and 17 the year after that. I think we have 38 declared majors."
USD began offering architecture courses in 2002, and the major was developed in 2005. Since then, alumni have gone on to attend prestigious graduate programs and enjoy successful careers.
- Anne Malinoski ‘11