Reason and Virtue: Informing a Classical Education
“Architects are asked to act, and through their actions, to define how the world ought to be.”
Knowledge alone is not enough to create an understanding of the world. Knowledge reveals the basic facts, but we still need reason to prioritize and assemble this knowledge in a useful manner, and we need virtue to direct us toward just ends. That is why faith is a crucial aspect of education. Without steadfast belief in a better future, virtue and reason give way to futility and cynicism. Only through conscious participation in the great cultural project of the world can we hope to achieve our personal and public aspirations. Architects are asked to act, and through their actions, to define how the world ought to be.
The School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame offers two professional degree programs: a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree and a two-year Master's of Architecture degree. The School emphasizes the principles of the traditional city and its architecture as a way to understand and solve the problems of contemporary life. It uses the past as a way of informing the future.
The liberal arts program all Notre Dame students explore in the first year forms the foundation for the principles of construction and their relationship to architectural form and the built environment. The third year, which the students spend entirely in Rome, explores traditional urbanism and how classical architecture facilitates a humane and sustainable way of life. By the fourth year, issues of regionalism and cross-cultural values are explored through the typological understanding of the city and its architecture developed during the previous three years. By the fifth year, the students have forged individual viewpoints about architecture and engage a diversity of issues that culminate in their spring thesis studio.
Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean