Nov. 4, 2013

Contact: Rachel Garrett

Cal Poly Architecture Program Achieves No. 1 In National Ranking

Landscape Architecture Rises to No. 4

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program moved to the No. 1 spot in DesignIntelligence’s latest rankings of the country’s top 20 architecture and design schools.

As well, the university’s bachelor of landscape architecture program ranked fourth in this year’s listings. In addition, DesignIntelligence lists the nation’s 30 Most Admired Educators for 2014, and two members of Cal Poly’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design received the exceptional recognition.

K. Richard Zweifel, longtime associate dean of the college, was cited for understanding the “profession and the interaction between disciplines.” He also was recognized for “his leadership and his work with the American Society of Landscape Architects” and for his consistency and vision, which “have kept Cal Poly among the best education programs in multidisciplinary design professions.”

Brent Freeby, architecture lecturer, “is known for his critical feedback and ‘tough love’ ways.” He received praise from students “for his support and knowledge,” and for pushing “them to grow and learn at a high level.”

Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program moved up from No. 5 in last year’s rankings. Cornell University, Rice University, University of Texas at Austin, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University filled out the second through fifth spots, respectively.

Cal Poly also topped the list in regional rankings of the top architecture schools in the West, followed by the University of Southern California, Southern California Institute of Architecture, University of Oregon, and Cal Poly Pomona.

In assessing eight specific architecture skills acquired by alumni of all architecture programs including both undergraduate and graduate programs, Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program ranked first in construction methods and materials, and sustainable design practices and principles; second in cross-disciplinary teamwork; and fourth in analysis and planning, and computer applications.

The bachelor of landscape architecture program rose nationally from seventh place last year to fourth this year in best preparing students for success in the profession in 2014. It retains last year’s first-place spot in the Western regional rankings. In landscape architecture skills assessment, it placed nationally in four of six categories.

“Our exceptional placements in national rankings recognize the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, the passion of our students, and Cal Poly’s extraordinary polytechnic environment where creativity flourishes in a Learn by Doing culture,” said Christine Theodoropoulos, the dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

The ranking results are published in the 2014 edition of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools and are based on a survey conducted by DesignIntelligence on behalf of the Design Futures Council.

Rankings fluctuate because surveys depend on variables including how many firms participate. For the 2014 top-schools rankings, data was gathered from professional practices and corporations that hire recent graduates. The response rate represented an almost 250 percent increase from the prior year. In addition, deans and academic program chairs of architecture and landscape architecture schools were asked what they consider to be the significant issues facing architectural educators today, and students were polled about their satisfaction with their education.

DesignIntelligence is a global network of design industry professionals. For more information on DesignIntelligence, visit

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