Chair's Statement

Heather Roberge

Architecture & Urban Design



An architecture school is first and foremost a champion of ideas and their expression. At UCLA Architecture and Urban Design (A.UD), ideas motivate our work both as individuals and as a creative community. These ideas are reflections of our critical engagement with the history of our discipline and our contemporary world. These ideas reflect our observations about the rapidly changing world with its accelerating technological invention, mass urbanization, new modes of transportation, and social and environmental flux. These ideas reflect the potentials afforded by the media we use to describe and engage these realities.

Importantly, these ideas are at once a reflection of external and internal cultures. Like all forms of creative expression, architectural ideas reflect the external worlds we learn to recognize as well as the internal disciplinary knowledge that is ever accumulating and transforming. At its best, architecture imagines new futures. These possible futures are expressed in a variety of forms: from the design of spaces, objects, buildings, urban environments, urban strategy, and images to the writing of a compelling story or scholarly text.

In a time of social, political, technological and environmental uncertainty, the field of architecture is contested territory. With such uncertainty, educators are staking out diverse territories and adopting parallel ideologies: technological positivism, environmental stewardship, social activism, escapist fantasy, speculative realism, the security of disciplinary consensus and more.

The faculty and students of UCLA A.UD reflect this contested territory. We stake claims to different ambitions. We promote different values. In short, we inhabit multiple worlds-worlds that coexist. We see this as crucial to fostering a robust intellectual and ideological debate. By framing carefully articulated perspectives, and developing design and scholarly methods, we explore ideas through creative inquiry. These inquiries illuminate different worlds, engage their logics, and propose creative responses.

An education at UCLA A.UD teaches students to think critically, to engage media to communicate ideas, and to project possible futures with equal measures of expertise, optimism, pragmatism, and vision.  

- Heather Roberge