Drawing, Designing, Thinking: 150 Years of Teaching Architecture at MIT

Founded in 1865 as one of the four core programs of instruction at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Department of Architecture was the first university program in architecture in the country. For over 150 years, MIT’s program has educated many of the profession’s most accomplished practitioners in a curriculum created by some of its most influential educators.

From its early mission to elevate the profession of architecture within a rapidly growing nation, the program evolved to encompass an expanding field of practice, scholarship, and research. The earliest students had a rigorous training in architectural drawing and in the principles of design, but as the profession and architecture itself grew more complex, “architectural thinking,” as the founding architect and first instructor William R. Ware called it, required a multidisciplinary education. 

Today, the department is a large community of educators who work in a wide range of disciplines with a diverse student body from around the world. Aiming to address global challenges, the department is a place where architecture is explored along a wide spectrum of possibilities, from the pragmatic to the visionary.


Curatorial Team

Mark Jarzombek and Gary Van Zante, lead curators
Irina Chernyakova, Daryl McCurdy, Jennifer Tran, Alexander Hilton Wood
J. Meejin Yoon and Andrew Scott, advising curators

This exhibition is made possible through the support and collaboration of our colleagues in the MIT Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, and the MIT Libraries.

MIT Architecture
Alexander Bodkin (MArch '19), Research
Andreea O’Connell, Douglas LeVie, Renée Caso, Patricia Driscoll, Staff

MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections and MIT Libraries
Nora Murphy, Archivist for Researcher Services
Myles Crowley, Reference Archivist
Tom Rosko, Head, Institute Archives and Special Collections

Wunsch Conservation Lab, (under IASC)
Jana Dambrogio, Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Conservator
Ayako Letizia, Conservation Associate
Emilie Hardman, Program Head for Special Collections

Exhibitions and Media Team, MIT Museum
Ann Neumann, Emma Westling, David Nunez
Tonian Irving, Project Manager

Exhibition Design
IBAÑEZ KIM, Cambridge, MA
Mariana Ibanez and Simon Kim with Adam Schroth

Graphic Design
E. Roon Kang and Richard The, New York City, NY

Funding for this exhibition has been provided by
Eugene McDermott Foundation
School of Architecture and Planning, MIT
Department of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, MIT
MIT Museum