Leland Stanford Junior University, known as Stanford University, is a private university located in the US state of California. Stanford University was founded by Leland Stanford, a businessman who owns a railroad company and the governor of California, and his wife, Jane Stanford. The university was named after the couple’s only son, Leland Stanford Jr., who died of typhoid at the age of 16. Today, the university is established around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level, and four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Also, the university is currently the 3rd university with the largest budget in the world. 

Stanford University is distinguished from other universities in that all its departments opened in various disciplines are at the top of the rankings made based on departments. For instance, Stanford University is ranked 6th in the US News & World Report (AIC) list of universities in the USA and around the world. The other distinctive feature of Stanford University is that the many inventions and brave attempts of Stanford students, graduated students, and teaching staff make the university the pioneer of Silicon Valley.

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Standford University_©Andrew Brodhead

From an architectural point of view, the Lelands, especially Jane, wished to see their university look different from the eastern universities, which emulated the style of English university buildings. Thus, the irreplaceable architecture of Stanford University began with this request. The Lelands wanted the university buildings to be like the old adobe houses of the old Spanish days, to be single-story, to have deep window seats and open fireplaces, and to have the roofs covered with dark red tiles. This way of thinking guided today’s campus buildings at Stanford University.

The campus, whose landscape ideas were created in beaux-arts style, was later shaped by the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted, John Charles Olmsted, Peter Walker, and Thomas Dolliver Church. Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York, designed the overall concept for the university grounds and buildings. The buildings’ style, called Richardsonian Romanesque, was a mix of stunning Romanesque and Mission Revival architecture. 

According to the architectural plan, the campus’ historic core, connected to the other parts of the campus by four main directions by strong axes, centered on the quadrangle containing native flora, thus corridors leading to the center provided strong linear sightlines to the core.

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Standford University_©Andrew Brodhead

About the Course

Stanford Architecture has an architectural approach that cares about collaborative thinking with the environment, pays attention to concepts and details, and uses technology skillfully. That’s why Stanford Architecture is a visionary leader in the field, committed to advancing architectural education, culture, and practice. With this way of thinking, SA students graduate as healthy, competent, and innovative practitioners who are dedicated to making the world a better place for all people. The strong math and science requirements of the Architectural Design Program prepare students for advanced studies in architecture and construction management. 

On the other hand, students have a chance to study in other disciplines such as civil and environmental engineering, law, and business. Namely, this undergraduate major grants a degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a specialization in Architectural Design. Coursework in the program combines applied architectural design studios with a wide variety of other courses such as energy conservation, sustainability, building systems, and structures, as well as design fundamentals and art courses.

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Stanford School of Engineering_©Bora Architecture & Interiors

Stanford Architecture presents the flexible architecture lesson plan, which is named Architectural Design program, by combining with a wide variety of other courses, in addition to extracurricular activities. It is clear that the campus is an architectural heritage in itself is an advantage for architecture students. In other words, each building of the campus is a hands-on architectural design studio for architecture students. 

Stanford Architecture encourages students to work more in the field of culture and arts by hosting students from more than 70 countries on a single campus. Stanford Architecture, thinking that architecture is not just about design, offers the skills that students can use throughout their lives, along with architectural education. For example, the ability to give and receive constructive criticism, public speaking, graphic representations of complex ideas, and collaboration skills.

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Stanford School of Engineering_©Bora Architecture & Interiors

Activities & Organizations

Stanford University presents students to many activities and organizations to develop their leadership skills. All activities and organizations, extra-curricular programs, organizations, performances, and forums, are available for students. Stanford University also supplies opportunities to students to establish their club according to their interests. 

At this point, Stanford University supports not only undergraduate students but also graduate students and teaching staff. You can participate in various clubs: arts, media, and entertainment club, education club, energy club, talk club, gaming club, future of cities club, etc. There are many positive aspects of joining these clubs. These clubs primarily help you expand your intellectual horizons in your interest, and thus your perspective expands. 

Moreover, you have a chance to communicate with people from around the world. That means you can create stunning works influenced by different cultures, and so you can explore yourself. As an extra, the most popular activity is cycling on campus. The main means of transportation at Stanford University is the bike, and all you have to do is explore bicycle routes and maps from the university site.

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Standford’s Main Transportation: Bicycle_©Andrew Brodhead

Arts & Culture

In 2006, Stanford launched the Stanford Arts Initiative to make the arts a core part of Stanford education. Today, as a result of this initiative, Standford’s Frost Amphitheater, Cantor Center for Visual Arts, and Roble Gymnasium ensure students of all disciplines engage with the arts. These buildings, which represent a dynamic sense with their powerful architectural expression and open and inviting spaces on campus, are positioned in front of the campus, emphasizing the importance of art.

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Standford’s Frost Amphitheater_©Harrison Truong
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Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts_©Andrew Brodhead

Stanford University, intertwined with arts and culture, won the Conservation Design Award in 2018 for its Roble Gymnasium Rehabilitation Project. The project, which was found very impressive by the jury, was restored by CAW Architects. The volume of the gymnasium for a flexible theater and the industrial character of the locker rooms for the Art Gymnasium were utilized, with the new program added. CAW Architects also added an Art Hall where students can explore multi-media art and performance in flexible spaces, with the project.

Standford’s Roble Gymnasium_©California Preservation Foundation


University, S. Stanford University | The Cultural Landscape Foundation. [online] tclf.org. Available at: https://tclf.org/stanford-university [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].

University, S. Stanford Bulletin – Stanford University. [online] web.stanford.edu. Available at: https://web.stanford.edu/dept/registrar/bulletin0809/4796.htm#:~:text=The%20style%2C%20called%20Richardsonian%20Romanesque [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].

[About the Course] University, S. Architectural Design Program Overview | Civil and Environmental Engineering. [online] cee.stanford.edu. Available at: https://cee.stanford.edu/academics-admission/undergraduate-majors-and-minors/architectural-design-program-overview [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].

[About the Course] University, S. Architectual Design Undergraduate Major | Stanford University. [online] exploredegrees.stanford.edu. Available at: https://exploredegrees.stanford.edu/soe-ug-majors/archdesign/ [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].

[Activities & Organizations] University, S. Activities and Organizations. [online] Stanford Graduate School of Business. Available at: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/experience/life/activities-organizations [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].

[Activities & Organizations] University, S. Explore Routes and Maps | Stanford Transportation. [online] transportation.stanford.edu. Available at: https://transportation.stanford.edu/bicycle/bike-questions-and-answers/explore-routes-and-parking [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].

[Arts & Culture] University, S., Stanford and California 94305. About Stanford Arts – Stanford Arts. [online] Available at: https://arts.stanford.edu/about/ [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].

[Arts & Culture] California Preservation Foundation. Roble Gymnasium. [online] California Preservation Foundation. Available at: https://californiapreservation.org/roble-gymnasium/ [Accessed 26 Aug. 2021].