Founded in 1986 as a graduate program, the University of South Florida’s School of Architecture and Community Design (SACD) was the first state school of architecture in Florida to be located in a major metropolitan center. Metro Tampa Bay, a significant post-war urban territory with some 3 million residents in a five county area, serves as an architectural and urban design laboratory. The school maintains close ties to the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and numerous architectural offices throughout the state. Our graduates practice throughout Florida and across the US, as well as abroad. Our colleagues in the USF College of The Arts are the School of Art and Art History, School of Music and School of Theatre and Dance, in addition to the Contemporary Art Museum and Graphicstudio, a word renowned professional print atelier.

The SACD curriculum prepares its graduates for a full range of professional activities. The Master of Architecture degree (M. ARCH) is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and is a professional degree required for licensure. Follow these links to  the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) website for useful information about studying architecture and becoming an architect.


The School of Architecture and Community Design is a studio-intensive program with emphases on design process, the craft of making, urbanism, tectonics, digital fabrication and the cultural influences on architectural space and built form. The design studio is the heart of the school and the place where various technical, theoretical and material coursework are tested in a critical, collegial and hands-on environment.  

One might best summarize the character of SACD by citing our interest in craft and context. A visit to our design studios reveals a deep interest in craft and, by extension, the crafting of place and the construction of context.


In “The Craftsman,” author Richard Sennett speaks of material culture and offers a reading of the value of skilled work where “the desire to do a job well done for its own sake” encourages individuals to “learn about themselves through the things they make.” The concerns of material culture are the concerns of the USF School of Architecture and Community Design. That is, the value imbued in the making of an object or set of related things. Material culture binds the corporeal — the physicality of materiality — with intellectual production and situates the resulting work in a vernacular, place-based logic.  

At SACD we explore the intrinsic connection between the eye, the mind and the hand. We seek to make as a means of inquisition. We view making as an intellectual act, a form of thinking.


Each semester the design studios embark on field trips to regional, national and international locations to experience significant architectural works and urban systems. Recent domestic trips include Savannah, Charleston, New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Seattle and Denver, among others. International destinations have included Great Britain, Thailand, Cyprus, Ecuador and Japan. Summer study abroad studios include international travel for several weeks followed by a Tampa-based studio in the second half of the summer. Recent study abroad programs have included trips to the Netherlands, Slovenia, Japan, India, China, Spain, Portugal and Italy.


In the graduate core design curriculum students complete a series of projects intended to instill a spatial sensibility and develop a rigorous language of representation. Students study archetypes such as corner, door, and wall. The architectural program mediates between the qualitative and the quantitative, permitting the poetics of utility to inform spatial/material decisions. The core sequence culminates with projects linked to various constructed landscapes, both real and imagined.

The advanced studio sequence explores varied building types, contextual conditions and programmatic concerns.  The program of institution and the definition of public space remain constant subjects of study. Tectonic investigations permeate studio and support courses. Materiality and assembly become manifest through the ambitious and popular design/build workshops. Additional coursework in theory and sustainability, workshops in making and materiality, seminars in digital fabrication and interdisciplinary work within the College of The Arts, is complimented by urban design coursework and research/community engagement projects.