If there is one thing that continues to expand in our contemporary environment as a consequence of digital access, migrating cultures and their constantly shifting identities, the rise of urbanization, the challenges to our natural resources, among many other forces that shape our world, it is complexity. Managing complexity and searching new for ways to tap into the productive energies that make up our rich, global society is both a challenge and an opportunity for every organization, indeed, every person today. One of the key elements to this process is design, which in many ways, is much more than mere problem solving. If an organization is to truly make changes in a fast changing world, then thinking about answers is only one part of the equation. In fact, inventing problems, creating questions, making educated guesses, and speculating on ideas that circulate around the boundaries of the known is what constitutes research. At UCLA, our robust design culture operates both in the timeframe of the now on issues such as how to make cities more resilient and sustainable and in the realm of the future, where we take on questions ranging from, “How can we make architecture move and be deeply interactive?” to “How will new materials change building forms and programs for tomorrow?” Indeed, how architecture, design, and theory work in these new global realities is our persistent area of inquiry, and it is with a certain degree of fearlessness that we pursue common goals and hopeful futures. We ask how architecture can be opened up to new influences that will inevitably reshape the discipline.
With our world renown faculty and Los Angeles as an active resource, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design is at the forefront of a new kind of city with an intense diversity of culture, the continuing influence of the Pacific Rim, and a creative milieu influenced by both high technology and entertainment media. Across our Undergraduate, Graduate, and Post Graduate programs, our core mission is to integrate historical research, theoretical debate, and emerging developments in industry, work through new pedagogical formats, think about design in the context of a global metropolis, and position design in a top tier research university as one of its primary agendas.