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Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
MARKHI-Moscow Architectural Institute

Global Metropolis: New York-Moscow Design Leadership Program

Degree: Columbia University Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design



Degree: Columbia University

Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design

A joint program of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University (GSAPP) and Global Institutes

Program Committee:

Markus Dochantschi, Director

Phu Hoang, Studio Critic

Masha Panteleyeva, Research Advisor

Supporting Faculty:

Enrique Walker, Laura Kurgan, David Benjamin, Adrej Nekrasov, Viktor Kuvaldin, Dimitry Gusev, Jack Kelleher, Andrew Wixom, Graham Shane, Douglas Gautier, Keith Kaseman, Kate Orff, Florian Idenburg, Jing Liu, Thomas Leeser, Nanako Umemoto, Jesse Reiser, Mark Wasiuta

The Global Metropolis program started in 2011 in partnership with MARKHI. The first year of the program focused on the NY - Moscow axis. The second year expanded the focus to NY - Moscow - Istanbul and the third year will expand the focus to the full Studio-X Network of NY - Moscow - Istanbul - Beijing - Mumbai - Rio - Johannesburg. The central idea is to establish the first design leadership program aimed at the global professional.

This program invites students from all over the world to imagine future urban and architectural forms that overcome the constraints of today’s global city. Through their focused design research, the students will be challenged to project design strategies in various scales (from urban to building) that deal with the emergent needs of a global urban environment that is growing at a staggering pace. The main focus of the program is globalization and its wide-ranging impact on societies, ecologies and cities. The key reference points for the investigation of the new global landscape is New York, the classic model of a dense hyper-connected global city and cities undergoing dynamic transformation and reconnection to the global world. Students will be asked to research case studies of cities such as Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Beijing, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Amman, Paris and Tokyo, benefiting from the GSAPP Studio-X laboratories global network.


A class of highly selected students with above average design and theoretical skills is anticipated for each year. All applicants for admission to the Global Metropolis Program must apply for the MSAAD program on-line. Students can contact the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs at GSAPP for information. Admission will be based on an evaluation of applicants academic records, professional experience and samples of their work.

Please follow the instructions and requirements for how to apply to the MSAAD program:


Applicants are required to submit the following documents in English:

1. On-line application (https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=COL-ARCH)

2. Application Fee ($75.00 US)

3. Three letters of recommendation

4. Personal Statement (explanation of their motivation for engaging in the program, 500 words)

5. Transcripts in English

6. Portfolio

7. TOEFL: the minimum score is 100 (internet-based score)

The application deadline is January 1, 2013. Applicants will be notified of the committees decision in early March.


This unique program provides a new set of skills that the global architects of the future will share. At the same time it fosters the individual strength of each student through the development of an original design thesis. Each student thesis toward a new global urban environment will be manifested through both individual research initiatives and design studio projects. The unique synthesis of both individual research and design studios allows students to address and transform larger contexts by making them more legible through analysis and expressive architectural forms. By simultaneously thinking at a range of urban scales, the students will program infrastructure, design urban systems, neighborhoods and buildings while also addressing regional and rural questions. Students will re-examine the conventional land-use strategies, city programming, and architectural concepts since many of the existing systems are no longer capable of addressing the radically different morphologies and typologies that are shaping the contemporary urban context. While a strong theoretical thinking is necessary, a strong set of design skills is expected from each student.

More specifically, students will deal with a key set of basic global issues: Students will strengthen their design and theoretical research through a rigorous educational process and will test through their independent thesis work how global issues develop on the example of different world sites. The program offers students the opportunity to travel to several Studio-X cities for extended research trips, a unique method of conducting “live research” in global cities. Ideally, the students independent field of interest must be defined by the end of the first semester and it culminates in an original design research report at the end of the third semester with the Studio-X cities acting as the shared reference points for all students.

Summer Term (New York)

The summer term is carried out in New York, at Columbia University, during which the students will join the other Advanced Architectural Design (AAD) students arriving at GSAPP to take advantage of the wide range of intense workshops on the core training in the latest thinking about the condition of the global metropolis and the latest thinking and techniques in visualization, computation and technology.

Fall Term ( Studio-X City)

During the fall term, students will choose a research topic and develop their research into a design proposal for a site in a different Studio-X city every year. The goal of the studio is the development of an architectural argument supported by design research. A parallel seminar will allow students to develop their research into a thesis, of which a written abstract will be submitted at the end of the term. An intense workshop in the Studio-X city will be followed by a short trip to a regional location to the city, where students will have the possibility to discuss their thesis with various critics on the topic of their preference and attend lectures by different experts. The research advisor will assist the students through their 15-day stay in a Studio-X city, which will be structured around a symposium, several special lectures and an intense design workshop.

Spring Term ( New York - Studio-X City)

During the spring term, students will continue their initial theoretical research in a more systematic way and will begin a design studio with a new critic. In that term, they will be asked to define their design goal and choose a site in any of the Studio-X cities, where they will test their ideas during a one to two-week research trip to a global city of their choice. At the end of the term they will be expected to present their design project to the jury and submit their written research thesis. During the course of the semester, students will prepare this final written research document based on the two completed design projects. The required research seminar will focus on the students individual topics and prepare them in the writing and structuring of this final report.

I. The Studio Research Sequence

The Summer studio focuses on a New York Site and is shared with the other incoming Advanced Architectural Design students. In the Fall semester students are given a studio topic and associated program in a Studio -X city, where they will travel and pursue a 15-day intense workshop with lectures by different experts on various topics. In the Spring semester students continue their initial research in a more systematic way and begin a design studio with a new critic. They are asked to define their design goal and choose a site in one of the Studio-X cities, where they will eventually travel to test their ideas. The studio sequence will result in architectural, urban or infrastructural scale projects. At the end of that term they are expected to present their design project and submit their design based research.

II. The History/Theory Sequence

The history/theory sequence is organized around a set of classes on the evolution of global cities. The summer course provides the framework for understanding the architecture and urbanism of New York City from a global perspective. The fall seminar explores the history of architecture and urbanism of the Studio-X city, which will be visited by the students. The spring seminar explores a wide range of global cities (including Beijing, Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Moscow and Johannesburg in Columbia Universitys Studio-X network) and other key cities such as Tokyo, London, Hong-Kong, Amman and Mexico City. A range of invited Columbia professors deliver lectures on each of these cities.

III. Global Tools

In all three semesters, students in the program will receive state-of-the-art training in the latest techniques that are a vital part of the skill set of the professional of the future. These tools range from digital design and fabrication, through real estate development, data visualization, and interface design. In the summer semester students will join with the other advanced students arriving at GSAPP to take advantage of the wide range of intense workshops on the core training in the latest thinking and techniques in visualization, computation and technology. In the Fall semester, a special series of workshop classes will be provided. In the spring it is expected that students will take advantage of electives in the most advanced workshops of their choice.

IV. Electives

The integrated program also includes a wide range of elective classes from throughout the School of Architecture and University. Students are free to select classes in the area of their greatest interest and are encouraged to take classes in other departments.

V. Supplementary Activities

Additional guest lectures, workshops and seminar discussions, city walks exploring the urban fabric, visits to governmental and business offices, real time video links to key places and people, exhibitions, publications etc., offer further investigation on globalization issues, theoretical and critical debates, and on significant contemporary architectural and urban projects.

To graduate with a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design degree from Columbia University requires a minimum of 45 points in the following curriculum:

Summer Term

Design Studio I9
Global Tools (Digital Craft)3
Global New York seminar3
15 (18)

Fall Term

Design Studio II9
Global Tools (Visual Studies Electives)3
Research Seminar (Thesis Preparation)3

15 (18)

Spring Term

Design Studio III9
Global Cities Seminar3
Research Seminar (Thesis Writing)3
15 (18)

Professor Valery Bgashev, Vice Rector (MARKHI)

Tel: 7-495-6281269,E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]