Returning to the home campus, fourth-year students learn about the American city and its architecture. That process begins with “Between Two Capitols,” a field trip led by fourth-year studio professors that is required for all students. The purpose of the trip is to explore the history of the American city. Beginning in Williamsburg, the trip continues to Richmond, where students study the classical tradition as it evolved in urban and architectural contexts. Along with Washington, L’Enfant, and Madison, there is a focus on Thomas Jefferson’s architecture, starting with the first new state capitol in America and his focus on an academic village at the University of Virginia. The trip ends in Washington, D.C., after students have spent the week noting the differences with medieval urbanism and the continuity of ancient and Renaissance architecture.
Emphasis in the fourth year is initially on regional characteristics of traditional architecture in the United States and exemplary American urban contexts. Issues of regionalism and cross-cultural values are explored by means of projects that involve contrasting topographic, cultural, and ethnic settings. Projects in Mumbai, Kyoto, Isfahan and other sites around the world are explored along with the importance of a cross-cultural understanding. Thus the complementary nature of seemingly conflicting universal and regional constructs becomes clearer.
Fourth-year students are also invited to begin a concentration in the first semester. The three concentrations are Furniture Design, Preservation and Restoration, and Architectural Practice and Enterprise.
In the second semester of the fourth year, students participate in Expo Roma, a weekend celebrating the year in Rome with family and friends. Students display their sketchbooks, watercolors, and pictures, decorate Walsh Family Hall to reflect their favorite spaces in Rome, and produce a video capturing their year abroad.
Fourth-year students are also encouraged to participate in the annual Career and Internship Fair in March.