Boston Architectural College

Coordinates: 42°20′53″N 71°05′09″W / 42.34792°N 71.08585°W / 42.34792; -71.08585

Boston Architectural College
Former names
Boston Architectural Club (1889-1944)
Boston Architectural Center (1944-2006)
Type Private college of spatial design
Established December 11, 1889
(as the Boston Architectural Club)
Endowment $8.7 million[1]
President Glen S. LeRoy, FAIA, FAICP, University of Pennsylvania
Provost Diana Ramirez-Jasso Harvard University
Academic staff
300 educators and professional practitioners
Students 700 degree students
300 continuing education students
Location Boston (Back Bay), Massachusetts, United States
Campus Urban, non-residential
Accreditation New England Association of Schools and Colleges
National Architectural Accrediting Board
Council for Interior Design Accreditation
Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board
Nickname The BAC
Affiliations Professional Arts Consortium

Boston Architectural College, also known as The BAC, is New England's largest private college of spatial design. It offers first-professional bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, and non-professional design studies. The college offers continuing education credits and certificates and also hosts the BAC Summer Academy for high school students, as well as a variety of other ways for the general public to explore spatial design. It hosts spatial design exhibits and exhibits student and alumni work in its McCormick Gallery and frequently hosts conferences and symposia on spatial design.

The BAC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA, formerly FIDER) and the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). The BAC is a member of the ProArts Consortium.


Boston Architectural Club (1889–1944)

Boston Architectural Club was established on December 11, 1889. The certificate of incorporation explains that the club was formed "for the purpose of associating those interested in the profession of architecture with a view to mutual encouragement and help in studies, and acquiring and maintaining suitable premises, property, etc., necessary to a social club... and...for public lectures, exhibitions, classes, and entertainment." Members of the Club provided evening instruction for drafters employed in their offices. From this interchange, an informal atelier developed in the tradition of France's École des Beaux-Arts. The Club held annual public exhibitions and published illustrated catalogs.

The BAC began its formal educational program under the joint leadership of H. Langford Warren and Clarence Blackall. The school was organized to offer an evening education in drawing, design, history, and structures. Like its informal predecessor, the BAC soon developed into an atelier affiliated with the Society of the École des Beaux-Arts in New York. The BAC's design curriculum, teaching methods, and philosophy closely resembled those of the École des Beaux-Arts.

In 1911, the Club acquired a building at 16 Somerset Street on Beacon Hill. The BAC building contained a two-story Great Hall designed by Ralph Adams Cram as well as other spaces used for lectures, meetings and exhibitions, a library, and several studios. The newer facilities attracted more students, and the course of instruction became increasingly defined and formal.

In the 1930s most American schools of architecture broke away from the Beaux-Arts tradition and began to establish their own curricula and teaching methods. Without the support of a university structure, The Club struggled with the pains of growth and adjustment. The BAC appointed Arcangelo Cascieri to serve as dean. Cascieri brought the BAC through its philosophical transition without sacrificing the atelier teaching method. The BAC began to draw its faculty from nearby architectural schools and the extended local community of related professionals.

Boston Architectural Center (1944–2006)

The Club reorganized in 1944 as the Boston Architectural Center, with the mission "to provide instruction in architecture and related fields for draftsmen and others interested in the practice of architecture or the allied arts, especially those whose employment might interfere with such education in day schools and universities."

By 1965, the BAC had developed a continuing education program to serve the broader community. By the mid-1960s, the Somerset Street building no longer sufficed to serve the needs of the growing school, and the BAC purchased a brick building at 320 Newbury Street. A national design competition was held in 1964, and the winning entry, by Ashley, Myer & Associates, houses the BAC to this day.

Boston Architectural College (2006–present)

On July 1, 2006, The Boston Architectural Center formally adopted the new name Boston Architectural College in an effort to more readily identify as a college of higher education awarding accredited professional degrees in architecture and design.

In 2007, The BAC acquired 951/955 Boylston Street the former home of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston for $7.22 million.[2] The 25,423-square-foot (2,361.9 m2) complex currently houses studios on the second and third floors and a lecture hall on the ground level. The first floor contains flexible gallery and lecture space.

"The BAC's renovation of the former Division 16 Police Station at 951 Boylston Street into studios, workshops, and community gathering spaces marks the first time in nearly half a century that we have opened a new building for teaching professional design," said President Ted Landsmark. "This iconic 19th-century building is linked to our 20th-century Newbury Street facility by a recently completed Green Alley sustainability project. Our practitioner-educators now have appropriate spaces within which to teach across the disciplines of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and design studies. This new Back Bay space enables us to bring together design professionals who think innovatively about how design can address pressing urban, environmental, health and wellness, and sustainability problems, and supports our engagement with diverse individuals and groups that use design to improve human living, work, and recreational conditions. We thank the many people who have brought this long-sought dream to fruition, and we are pleased to welcome new colleagues and friends to the BAC's Boylston Street campus facility.

The former Back Bay Police Station Division 16 was built in 1887 and subsequently served as home to Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. The building now includes student meeting spaces, studios, a lecture hall and a gallery. It also features, for the first time, a universally accessible entrance through the front doors of the building."[3]

Schools and programs

The Boston Architectural College consists of four schools: School of Architecture, School of Interior Architecture, School of Landscape Architecture, and School of Design Studies. The College also offers classes through the Sustainable Design Institute (SDI) and the Continuing Education program.

School of Architecture

School of Interior Architecture

School of Landscape Architecture

School of Design Studies

*Design Studies students concentrate in one of the fields listed.

Sustainable Design Institute

The Sustainable Design Institute (SDI) offers a completely online program of graduate-level courses, developed with Building Green, conferring certificates in sustainable design. Many courses are accepted for AIA Sustainable Design/Health, Safety, Welfare Learning Continuing Education Units; many have been approved as part of the US Green Building Council's Education Providers Program, and offer continuing education credits for LEED APs, and most are accepted by the Royal Institute of British Architects for Continuing Professional Development.[4]

Landscape Institute

The Landscape Institute offers continuing education courses in landscape design, landscape design history, landscape preservation, and planting design and is the longest running program of its kind.

The Landscape Design Program was established through the Radcliffe Seminars in 1970. It was the result of positive feedback from a 1968 lecture at Radcliffe, "The Intellectual History of Garden Art." The institute moved to Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum in 2002 and would later become a part of the BAC in 2009. Though now an institute of the BAC, the Landscape Institute curriculum still involves partnerships with the Arnold Arboretum in addition to partnerships with The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, Historic New England, and the Wakefield Trust.[5]

Continuing Education Program

The BAC offers continuing education course in a range of design fields. The BAC is a registered AIA provider for Continuing Education.

Academic-Only First Year Program (AOP)

The Academic-Only First Year Program is an optional first-year foundation studies program offered across the four schools of the BAC.


The BAC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and the BAC's first-professional degrees are professionally accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA, formerly FIDER) and the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). The BAC is a member of the ProArts Consortium.

Graduation rates

According to the BAC's website, the college's 2015 graduation rates, based on 150% of BAC program length, are:


951/955 Boylston Street; the rightmost large doors house a Boston Fire Department station

Facilities at The BAC are referred to by their addresses. The college purchased 951/955 Boylston Street, which was vacated by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, when it moved to the Boston waterfront in 2006. The college is planning major work on the 320/322 Newbury and 951/955 Boylston properties towards the goal of making both properties and the surrounding cityscape more sustainable by reducing rainwater runoff and powering the campus facilities with a geothermal well. The current plan also calls for improvements on the public alley between 320/322 Newbury and 951/955 Boylston.

With the exception of access-regulated thesis studios in 100 Massachusetts Avenue, there are no 24-hour access spaces at The BAC. Administrators have also explored, at various times, the idea of investing in student dormitories.

320 / 322 Newbury Street

320 Newbury Street is a Brutalist building designed by the firm of Ashley, Myer & Associates in 1966 and renovated in 2000 by Silverman Trykowski Associates.[7] The design intended for the building "... not to depend on a sense of weight to achieve importance but rather, through the energy of form, to evoke a sense of aliveness and contending." The design uses cantilevered, suspended masonry masses and accentuated vertical "slits" in the exterior by which some of the building's core functions can be seen from the outside. Open studio floors allow students to look in on one another's classes and studios, and the ground floor, open to Newbury Street, invites the general public into the McCormick Gallery.

The program for the new building originally had specified capacity for 200 students with 30 to 50 square feet (4.6 m2) of space allocated to each student. Several floors were designed to be rented until the school required them. Growth of the student body, however, proceeded more rapidly than anticipated, and the number of students gradually increased to as many as 650 in 1974. The "extra floors" were never rented, and the expanding student body and staff needed to support them quickly placed demands on all existing space.

In 1987, to accommodate its growth, the BAC purchased the adjoining building at 322 Newbury Street, a former carriage housebuilt in 1899. The interior of the carriage house was renovating into administrative office space.

The west elevation of the building is articulated with a mural by the artist Richard Haas, which was completed in 1975. The trompe l'oeil mural of a Classical-style building and dome provides a contrast to the Brutalist style of the building.

McCormick Gallery

The BAC operates a gallery on the main level of its 320 Newbury Street building. McCormick Gallery features student work as well as themed spatial design exhibits. The gallery is free and open to the public, and is prominently located at the corner of Newbury Street and Hereford.[8]

Student life

Student organizations


Notable people

See also


  1. As of June 30, 2011. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2011 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2010 to FY 2011" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 17, 2012. p. 22. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  2. "BAC Opens 951 Boylston Street". Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  3. Archived April 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Archived August 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. "BAC in Brief".
  6. "McCormick Gallery - Boston Architectural College". Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Student Organizations - Boston Architectural College". Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  8. "Student Government Association - Boston Architectural College". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  9. "THE BAC STUDENT DEVELOPMENT BLOG: Boston Architectural College Rings". 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  10. "Student Resources A-Z - Boston Architectural College". Retrieved 2013-10-03.

External links

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