The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.

Page  56Department of Architecture. — By faculty decision enrollment in the department during the period 1954-74 was held steady at approximately 330 students because of the crowded condition of the Architecture Building. Although a new building to house the College of Architecture and Design had been proposed for the North Campus in 1950, and preliminary studies prepared in the summer of 1955, authorization to proceed with program development was not granted until 1964, and another decade would pass before the new building finally became available for occupancy.

In retrospect, the delays in the provision of adequate physical facilities was fortuitous, allowing time for the faculty to reshape the educational programs of the department in response to the momentous changes taking place in society and the profession. There was general agreement that additional changes were required, and in 1954 the faculty initiated a long-range study of the curriculum. Following four years of intensive study, several new courses were introduced in 1958, covering areas not previously identified in the program. The action increased the breadth of the program without sacrifice of depth. It was nonetheless clear that demands being placed on the profession required a more drastic change in the educational programs of schools of architecture. The five-year program was outmoded, and in 1960 studies were initiated to develop and structure a six-year program.

This new six-year program in architecture was implemented in the fall of 1967. It was sufficiently broad and basic to serve as a foundation for any later specialization in graduate work or professional apprenticeship. The program included two years of liberal arts studies, taken in any accredited university or community college, and four years of professional studies. In the professional program, the first two years included a "core" of required studies, culminating in the Bachelor of Science degree. The first professional degree — Master of Architecture — is awarded upon completion of the professional program.

By the fall of 1967, the Architecture Building, built to house 300 students was literally stuffed with more than 800 students. Implementation of the six-year program required several additional classrooms and special laboratories which were not available. The addition of a second floor in the high-ceilinged Room 340 created 3,400 Page  57square feet of new space. Three temporary classrooms and a Building Technology Laboratory were constructed by students and faculty in the old Wood Technology Building adjacent to University Hospital.

With the change to Master of Architecture as the first professional degree, the faculty approved a proposed two-year graduate program leading to the degree Doctor of Architecture (Arch. D.). Under the leadership of Professor Walter B. Sanders, the program offered five areas of study: facilities development, technological advance, human behavior-response, operational aids, and historic analysis. In the fall of 1969, Michigan became the first College of Architecture to offer the two-year professional degree (Arch. D.). Since the death of Professor Sanders in March, 1972, the Arch. D. program has continued to acquire stature under the direction of S.C.A. Paraskevopoulos. Talented young professionals are attracted to the program and their presence serves to upgrade the quality of work throughout the College.

The successful development of the doctoral program was a natural outgrowth of the long history of architectural research work performed at Michigan by faculty and students. George B. Brigham, Jr., had initiated research activity in 1943 with a project to develop a prefabricated plywood house. In 1948 the Architectural Research Laboratory (A.R.L.) was founded. C. Theodore Larson became the first Director of the Laboratory, retaining that position until his retirement in 1972. One of his early contributions was the Development Index, a method of investigation and a means of organizing and facilitating the flow of information needed for the development of man's environment.

The early work of A.R.L. included a series of projects designed to explore the structural possibilities of the Unistrut system of building construction. Its first task was to develop a standardized demountable framing system for school buildings, using Unistrut steel channels and parts. This was followed by development of the "space frame" roof assembly, and in 1954 the Laboratory designed and erected its own building in the courtyard of the Architecture Building. Materials for this building were donated by interested building products manufacturers; the entire structure was assembled by architecture students. For the next twenty years the building served as a center for all sponsored research programs conducted by the Department of Architecture.

Page  58The sponsor of the Unistrut research project, the late Charles W. Attwood, was president of the Unistrut Corporation and an alumnus of the College. With a special grant of $5,000 from him in 1955, the department established a revolving fund, the Charles W. Attwood Research and Publications Fund, to publish its research reports. A number of these have gone into several printings, with worldwide distribution to libraries, business and industrial firms, government agencies, planners and designers.

In 1959 the Laboratory undertook a series of investigations into the effects of environment on the learning process. Projects ranged from basic behavioral research to the development of planning and design criteria for specific building facilities, such as childcare centers, courthouses, and cardiac care units. The Institute of Gerontology works in close collaboration with the Laboratory. Studies have included the spatial and privacy needs of the elderly, their perception and manipulation of their environments, and new approaches to their housing needs.

In 1962, A.R.L. began studies on the use of cellular plastics for low-cost housing in underdeveloped countries. Several prototype structures were erected, creating what some termed a "plastic slum" in the Architecture Building courtyard. A number of promising techniques in building technology were tried, including sprayed foam, folded paper-foam board, spiral generation, and filament wound structures. In recent years, research emphasis has shifted to investigations in the use of solar and wind energy, the forecasting of life-cycle building costs, and the development of computer-based building information systems, the development of techniques for simulating the visual, lighting, acoustical, and thermal performance of buildings, and experimentation in new techniques for developing community involvement in the community planning and design process.

One of the most important tools for research and education is the computer. With the impetus provided by Professor Willard Oberdick and funds by U.S. Steel, a teletype was acquired and coursework was introduced in 1966. In the spring of 1967 the first in a series of continuing education courses was offered in computer applications. Since then a rapid growth and development has occurred, with most technology courses utilizing the computer in design and performance evaluation studies. Under the direction of Professor Harold Borkin, significant advance has been made in the use of computer graphics in Page  59architecture. The ARCH: GRAPHIC system, first devised in 1970, permitted the user to manipulate a set of objects to form shapes, combinations, buildings, even whole cities, within minutes on the face of a cathode ray tube. Recent refinements include techniques of hidden line removal, the ability to sketch buildings for easy input, and to simulate a walk through a complex, thus viewing what has been drawn from a variety of perspectives.

A number of constructive changes were initiated or given new impetus during the period of student activism in the 1960s. Students were provided with much more freedom in the selection of coursework to meet program requirements. Changes were made in the structure and operations of the department to permit and encourage greater participation by students in the management of departmental affairs. The department became an educational resource for the resolution of urban problems. Funds were established to assist in the education of disadvantaged persons from inner city areas. Minority enrollment was encouraged, at first for racial minorities, but later to include women, a distinct minority in the profession of architecture. Affirmative action programs were instituted. A new concern developed for the "user-client" of buildings, as distinct from the "owner-client." Research opportunities increased in human behavior-response to the built environment.

One outgrowth of the period was the development of community assistance programs. About 1949, as part of the teaching program, groups of students and faculty advisers began working with small communities in efforts to formulate community goals and to develop comprehensive growth plans. The Reed City project of 1964-65 was perhaps the most celebrated of these, but all served as an important learning experience for students, faculty and the people of the communities involved. By 1968 it was realized that all previous community service attempts had been of short duration — a year at most — and all had been in small communities.

A new course, "Conflict and Consensus in Urban Problems," was instituted in the graduate program in 1968. The immediate goal was to introduce students to some of the economic, social, and political dynamics encountered by individuals and organizations involved in urban renewal and development. In response to the course, several students and faculty became associated on a work-study basis with neighborhood groups in Detroit, Flint, Page  60and Ann Arbor in an advocacy-architect role. A small group of students, assisted by Professor Harold Himes, began an active participation in the Model Cities Programs in Ann Arbor and Flint. A workshop was established in the Grass Roots Organization Workers (GROW) area, a neighborhood of some 15,000 people located just west of downtown Detroit. In the three-year period, 1968-70, nine students and James Chaffers, a doctoral student, worked under the direction of community leader Mrs. Howard and the GROW community organization to assist in the development of a Neighborhood Plan for Long-Range Growth and Development. On April 11, 1970, for the first time in the history of the city of Detroit, the GROW Neighborhood Plan was adopted as an official part of the map and text of the Detroit City Master Plan.

Other educational experiments have proven effective with less reliance on full-time faculty, an increasing use of part-time professionals, and a greater intermix of students and professionals in work-study programs.

In 1972, for the first time, a firm (Smith, Hinchman & Grylis, Architects and Engineers) was contracted to conduct courses in professional practice and management. That same year, the Professional Exposure Program was inaugurated. Developed and coordinated by Professor Harold Himes, the P.E.P. program required of the student one term in school, while arrangements were made to place her/him in a professional office for an eight-month work-in period.

In the years since 1952 more than a hundred excellent teachers have participated in the educational programs in the Department of Architecture. Of special distinction was the contribution of Professor Sanders, a member of the faculty for twenty-five years, who also served as chairman from 1954 to 1964. He died in March, 1972. The Walter B. Sanders Memorial Fund was established the following year as a permanent endowment to honor his memory.

By 1974 the faculty in architecture numbered 45 persons, the majority of whom were on part-time appointments. Since the founding of the College in 1906, it has been acknowledged that professional activity, either in practice or research, was essential in order to maintain one's teaching capability. This new policy simply recognized that at least one day a week should be devoted to professional activity, and research, in particular, was encouraged.