Located in the Minnesota-straddling city of Fargo, North Dakota State University (NDSU)—known as North Dakota Agricultural College from its founding in 1890 up until 1960—has announced the establishment of a new arts- and architecture-dedicated school that will merge its previously ununified architecture, landscape architecture, and visual arts departments. By bringing together these three departments as the School of Design, Architecture and Art (SODAA), the university hopes to “further its field of study for design and art education,” per a news article published by NDSU University Relations. NDSU is currently the only institution of higher learning in the Peace Garden State that offers programs in architecture and landscape architecture.
NDSU is one of two public research universities in North Dakota along with the University of North Dakota and is joined by four other regional public universities and several community colleges within the North Dakota University System. There are also other private and public colleges, including tribal institutions, throughout the state.
By comparison, at least three colleges in South Dakota, including South Dakota State University, offer architecture programs.
Today, NDSU architecture and landscape architecture alumni can be found practicing throughout the Upper Midwest and beyond with firms including the Miller Hull Partnership, Gensler, HDR, HansonLA, FTLA, and on.
“This is a great opportunity for us to combine 100 years of design excellence in architecture with emerging new design fields to create a powerhouse of design thinking,” David Bertolini, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, told NDSU University Relations in a statement. “The new school will disrupt current design education practices to provide valuable careers to benefit the state and the region.”
The new school will be located at NDSU’s Renaissance Hall, a 100-plus-year-old former farm supply warehouse within the university’s satellite campus in downtown Fargo. NDSU’s main 258-acre campus is located just north of downtown.
Although the three departments are part of a newly formed school, there are hopes that the spirit of collaboration with other departments outside of SODDA, including engineering and construction management, will continue.
“There is not a discipline on campus where the school is not a potential partner,” Michael Strand, school director and professor of art, added in the news release. “Design plus anything is possible and is a key to bringing innovative solutions to both challenges and opportunities we have today.”