Oklahoma State University was established in 1890 as a land-grant research public university under the Morrill Act. It is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in the United States and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 20,197 students as of the fall of 2021. Oklahoma State University has a large campus size of 1,489 acres, but only about 700 acres have been built, with the rest being left open for farm and cattle land. Oklahoma State University is ranked #182 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022-2023 edition, and the School of Architecture is ranked #34 among architecture schools in the southern United States and #108 among all architecture schools in the United States. 

Oklahoma State University Edmon Low Library_ ©Photo: Mack Burke
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OSU Freshman Class of 2022_ ©Photo: Mack Burke

School of Architecture

Oklahoma State’s School of Architecture, established in 1909, provides professional degree programmes in architecture and architectural engineering. The School’s primary strength is the integration of these programmes through shared faculty, facilities, and coursework. It is one of only a few such integrated programmes in the United States, and its graduates are well-prepared for the interdisciplinary nature of professional practice. As a primary unit in the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology (CEAT), the School of Architecture benefits from excellent state-of-the-art resources that significantly enhance the student experience.

Donald W. Reynolds Architecture Building_ ©Photo: Long Range Facilities Planning

Currently, the School of Architecture has roughly 325 students enrolled in its five-year accredited architecture and architectural engineering programs, with 18 faculty to support and educate the students throughout their careers. Starting classes within the school start close to 150 students, but throughout the years and the studios, students will venture over to various other degrees, which is a normal process within any school. By the time someone reaches their fifth-year studio, their graduating class will be around 35 to 40 students. This small class size helps students become close friends with one another and helps build better professor-to-student relationships because the professors can spend more one-on-one time to help further develop the students’ studio projects.  

Since the School is associated with CEAT, there is a heavy emphasis on the technical and engineering side of architecture which differs from many other architecture schools that are more focused on the design and the art of architecture. This isn’t to say that art is not emphasised because one of the professors is Moh’d Bilbeisi, known worldwide for his water colouring and sketching abilities. Professor Bilbeisi teaches many of the beginning studios. Hence, the younger students get to have their artistic abilities critiqued within the first few years and can come up with some unbelievable artistic designs before moving into their third year, where it gets more technical. 

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Interior Structure of OSU SOA_ ©Photo: Don Wheeler Photography

Amenities within the School

The School of Architecture is also one of the few architecture schools in the nation that has its designated architectural library. This library is located within the same building where studios and other architecture classes would be held, which helps give students easy access to secondary information. Most professors will also recommend a book that is either in discussion or could provide the student with more precedent buildings to spark some more inspiration in the design of their studio project. This space also provides a secondary area for students and faculty to meet and study away from their hectic studios that tend to be quieter. The librarian also tries to cater to the students in small ways by providing a snack basket, puzzles, and other games to relax away from schoolwork for a little bit. 

Another of the amazing qualities that the School of Architecture has to offer is its workshop. Within the workshop, there is a CNC machine that is brand new with the ability to cut out intricate models as well as do topography. There are also all the woodworking tools a student would need, like chop-saws, clamps, lathes, band saws, and bench sanders. Several large tables allow students to lay out the projects and work on them in one space. In a separate room around the corner from the workshop, there are two laser cutters, three 3-D printers, and a UV printer. All these tools are open to students in the third year and above 24/7 and open to the younger students during office hours because they need to be there when the shop technician is still there to supervise them over the new equipment. 

The School of Architecture at Oklahoma State also heavily emphasises studying architecture outside of the United States, so much so that there is a required class for students to spend some time abroad. This class can be accomplished in three different ways, first by doing the competition studio with Professor Ra who focuses on his home country of South Korea and leads students in various worldwide architecture design charrettes or competitions for various civic projects that South Korean cities would like to build. Second, a student can become a foreign exchange student with universities all around the world that the professors have personal connections with and spend an entire semester or even a year at that university. And the third option is to spend a summer abroad with the OSU faculty. With two studies abroad options given each year, the faculty rotates between three options to go to France, Germany, Netherlands, England, and Scotland; or a trip to Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece; or another trip to China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. 

Oklahoma State University is an amazing university with many degree opportunities; one of its new colleges is the School of Architecture. The architecture program is not an art degree solely focused on the beauty of the building because it is within the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology; it has a degree plan for architectural engineers with a heavy emphasis on the structure of a building. The School of Architecture is a five-year accredited program that draws in hundreds of people every year. Still, due to the rigorous time commitment, many people chose to change majors, having graduating classes of less than fifty. This small class size makes students close friends and allows professors to have one-on-one critiques with the students. Anyone interested in studying architectural design or structures of buildings should consider Oklahoma State University. 

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Old Central at Oklahoma State University_ ©Photo: Lance Walker
References:

Academic catalog (2022) School of Architecture < Oklahoma State University. Available at: http://catalog.okstate.edu/engineering-architecture-technology/architecture/ (Accessed: December 21, 2022).

Architecture Ranking 2022: Oklahoma State University (2022) Architecture Colleges. Available at: https://architecture-colleges.com/oklahoma-state-university (Accessed: December 21, 2022).

Burke, M. (2022) Oklahoma State University Edmon Low Library, OSU News and Media. Available at: https://news.okstate.edu/articles/communications/2022/oklahoma_state_university_partners_with_coursedog_to_streamline_course_scheduling.html (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

Burke, M. (2022) OSU Freshman Class of 2022, OSU News and Media. Available at: https://news.okstate.edu/articles/communications/2022/osu_freshman_enrollment_hits_all-time_high.html (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

Don Wheeler Photography (2012) Interior Structure of OSU SOA, Wallace Design Collective. Available at: https://wallace.design/inspire/donald-w-reynolds-school-of-architecture-oklahoma-state-university/ (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

Long Range Facilities Planning (2009) Donald W. Reynolds Architecture Building, Our Work Pictures of LRFP’s constructions. Available at: https://lrfp.okstate.edu/ (Accessed: December 28, 2022). 

Oklahoma State University – Profile, Rankings and Data (2022) USA News. Available at: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/oklahoma-state-3170 (Accessed: December 21, 2022).

Walker, L. (2022) Old Central at Oklahoma State University, OSU News and Media. Available at: https://news.okstate.edu/ (Accessed: December 23, 2022). 

Author

Rachel is currently in her last year at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma, United States. She will be graduating with her Bachelors in Architectural Design and a Minor in History of Architecture. It could be said that architecture rules her life, but she couldn’t imagine being obsessed with anything else.

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