Welcome to the Department of Architecture!

At times of transition we have opportunities to look forward, as well as backwards, to see where we have been, where we stand now and how we might imagine a new future. This includes celebrating the legacies of some of our founders like mid-century modernists rock stars Lillian and Willis Leenhouts, who helped start the school more than 50 years ago. They left a building legacy in Milwaukee and this region that is equaled by few others. We will work in the coming years to boost your knowledge of their work.

Since this is also a time to look forward, we can see ourselves in flux, operating at a time when the definition of professional practice is evolving. The kinds of firms, the way they practice, how they engage with communities and how they embrace “we” instead of “I”, are all reflections of times that have changed since Lillian and Willis practiced. As we continue to think about what the future of practice might look like, we can recognize that some elements that have been fundamental to this school stay the same. You may be surprised that the core principles of architectural practice of Lillian and Willis Leenhouts were the ideals of empowerment, social justice, sustainability and community engagement. Those legacies live on today in our classes, studios and seminars. We do not train students to be the practitioners of today, but empower you with the skills to change the profession and make a new future. Ask yourself: how can I be the change agent for the 21st century practice? Looking to the future means building on these past legacies and ideals.

What might the future hold for you, your peers, your generation — those who are like you and those who are not? What will architecture and design say about your generation’s practice? What does it say about your generation now? How will you think differently after this experience at SARUP? If you start and finish this journey thinking the same way, then something has gone wrong. Embrace the unknown, welcome change, and in turn you will become the change this world needs.
We are here to help you achieve your architecture ambitions. We do this by:

Student organizations are another great way to stay connected. Grab a friend, join a group, and make a difference. I encourage you to get involved. Take advantage of as many activities as you can. This is one of the best times to be engaged.
Have a GREAT semester.

Mo Zell
Chair, Department of Architecture