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Architecture Unveils Real Estate Concentration

architecture renderingIn fall 2006, CUA’s School of Architecture and Planning moved to the forefront of a growing trend in the architecture field — real estate development. A number of universities offer real estate development courses, but in September CUA became one of only two nationwide offering a Master of Architecture degree with a concentration in real estate development, says program director Judith Meany.

Catholic University’s program, held in the evening, provides a foundation in architectural design as well as an overview of real estate development that emphasizes urban planning regulations, site and market analysis, construction management and project financing.

Last semester, eight students in the program’s Real Estate Development Design Studio examined how cities are evolving as urban land becomes scarcer. In addition they each created plans for a virtual 50-story skyscraper that would be located in Rosslyn, Va. Based on so-called vertical urban theory, the students’ skyscrapers are akin to cities in the sky that house office, retail, hotel, museum and residential space, reports architect Patrick Saavedra, the CUA visiting critic who co-teaches the course with Meany.

The move to create a concentration in real estate development came about, in part, because of interest and encouragement from a growing number of CUA architecture alumni who have become real estate developers, says Meany, a CUA adjunct associate professor of urban planning.

Meany notes that the new evening program offers flexibility for working students. “This kind of program gives us an opportunity to raise CUA’s national visibility in a city where many young people want to pursue an educational opportunity while working,” she says.

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Revised: March 2007

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