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New York / Paris

Applications for the Shape of Two Cities: New York / Paris program are reviewed on a rolling basis, and are now open for submissions for entry in the 2024-25 academic year.
Learn more about the application process.
The Shape of Two Cities: New York/Paris Program is for undergraduate students and recent graduates from colleges and universities around the country. The program’s goals are to introduce the fields of architecture, planning and preservation; encourage their exploration in the contexts of history, theory and practice; and identify and analyze their interrelationships, especially in regard to the making of cities. The in-depth course of study is suited to students without previous academic experience in design who are interested in architecture, planning or preservation as a career, students in the liberal arts who are interested in approaching urban and historical issues from an architectural and urban planning perspective, and students with previous design experience who would like to develop additional studio skills in preparation for application to graduate school. All classes are conducted in English.
The program offers a two-semester curriculum that immerses participants in the rich physical and intellectual urban environments of New York and Paris. Instruction draws on the resources of Columbia University and its faculty, and the architectural communities of New York and Paris. During the first semester, students live and study in New York and enjoy the resources of Columbia University and GSAPP. The second semester is spent in Paris at Reid Hall, Columbia University’s center for French studies located in the heart of the Montparnasse district.

Students in the program enroll in either the Architecture Option or the Urban Studies Option and share in a core of courses while embarking on their specializations.

First-term core courses:
1. A6769 - History of the American City
2. New York and/or American History

Second-term core courses:
1. A4030- The Development of Paris
2. A4031- History of the European city
3. A4029- Architecture, Planning, and Preservation: Paris

These courses ground the program in a rigorous review of urban history and urban form, provide the academic structure for the students’ comparative analysis of New York and Paris, and complement the liberal arts curricula of participating colleges.

The Architecture Option combines class and studio work to introduce design, architectural theory, and structural concepts. Through a series of increasingly complex projects that are focused on New York and Paris, design studios emphasize form and space-making and the formulation of public and private spaces as they relate to urban morphology. Representational and analytical drawings and model-making are woven into studio projects as a means of developing and criticizing design concepts.

The Urban Studies Option emphasizes workshop and seminar work to introduce its fields, which are placed in the contexts of urban and architecture history, historic and contemporary approaches to planning and preservation, and analysis of the social and cultural development of New York and Paris. The first term prepares students to embark on a major independent research project in Paris around a theme developed through discussion with the faculty. This option emphasizes the combination of research and field analysis as a means for developing urban planning and design strategies.

Current Faculty
Rosalie Genevro
Carol Willis
Michelle Young