We face a fundamental question which can be described as both ethical and ecological. How can accelerated development be prevented from turning against man? How can one prevent disasters that destroy the environment and threaten all forms of life, and how can the negative consequences that have already occurred be remediated?
-- Pope John Paul II
Our school's mission, Building Stewardship, focuses on preparing architects and designers to assume a personal responsibility for the welfare of the world. We stress the interdependence of the words 'building' and 'stewardship.'
We focus on how stewardship itself must be designed and constructed, as process and result - how humanity must actively envision and build a collective ethos of stewardship. Experienced in the integrative, creative and holistic process of design, architects and planners are uniquely positioned to help forge a compelling contemporary attitude toward stewardship for society at large. In addition, our school focuses on how we must be capable stewards when we indeed do physically build. We must care deeply for the impact our projects will have upon past and future human efforts and upon the fragile natural wonder of our globe.
We interpret stewardship broadly: it encompasses understanding the built and natural environments, protecting and preserving these resources. It promotes social justice and respect for the quality of human life for fellow citizens. It treasures the vitalizing potential of aesthetics. This broad humanistic interpretation of stewardship encompasses a variety of aims, including ethical responsibilities, beauty, community involvement, responsible development, preservation of the urban fabric, appropriate technological innovation, and livability. All of these impact our school's attitude toward our traditional tasks of teaching, research and service.
In keeping with The Catholic University of America's mission of service to the Church, to the community and to the nation, our school educates future architects and designers to be engaged and active citizens in their communities and the world at large. To embrace this holistic approach, CUArch emphasizes:
- Design Excellence: We focus on design methodology as a model for stewardship efforts. We emphasize exemplary design through the exploration of projects at a variety of scales, programs and cultural settings using a balance of theoretical/technical knowledge and hand/digital craft. Our belief is that good design means good stewardship.
- Interdisciplinary Study: Researchers and practitioners must be good observers and listeners. Our school broadens students' understanding of the world around them and the challenges of stewardship. We engage other campus disciplines in the work of the school, so that students understand architecture's place within a larger, interconnected, and dynamic context.
- Washington, DC, as a Design Laboratory: Our mission resonates powerfully within our nation's capital. We encourage a hands-on immersion in the reality of stewardship. We embrace our city and its diverse metropolitan area through numerous cooperative projects with governmental agencies, funding organizations, arts and museum groups, and local universities. CUAdc, our design collaborative, provides pro bono design services to nonprofit and community groups. For comparative purposes, we augment the experience of Washington with an outstanding array of foreign travel options.
Our belief is that we are all stewards of this earth. Architects and planners have the skills to help forge a true difference in humanity's future.
-- approved by the faculty, August 2007