Architecture Department



In a rapidly changing world where unprecedented challenges emerge with ever-increasing frequency, the education of an architect must remain adaptive. 

University of Colorado Denver Department of Architecture fosters the capacity to ask bold questions, take risks, think independently, and approach the work of architecture with curiosity. 

In doing so, we strive to be agile, flexible, visually adept thinkers and makers who contribute to addressing global challenges over a lifetime of active, inquisitive learning. 

Five Goals

These five strategies, developed cooperatively with members of our academic community, will guide us through the next five years:

1. Address societal challenges

What global challenges will intensify in the next three years? Thirty years? What can design do to respond to these challenges?

We must passionately address the systemic, messy, current, and emergent planetary issues we face as a society, and find ways that architecture can have a meaningful impact.

2. Prioritize intellectual engagement

How does the program help to prepare for these challenges? 

We seek to advance the intellectual quality of the Department of Architecture by prioritizing education over vocation. We foreground questioning, risk-taking, synthetic thinking, and analytical judgment. We see technical skills as accruing over time and ever-changing in response to technology and culture. 

In short, we succeed when architecture school lights a fire of curiosity.

3. Foster learning and teaching excellence

How will I learn? How will the curriculum adapt to support me?

Our curriculum evolves continuously through self-reflection, evaluation, and systematic revision measured against tangible results. We grade ourselves as rigorously as we grade our students.

4. Support research and creative work that advances the discipline

How can we foster intellectual, material, and cultural experimentation?

We will advance architecture by exploring new frontiers, creating new knowledge, and sharing with our students emerging developments in the field. We support an ethic of generously sharing, collaborating on, and debating research.

5. Broadcast our work

How will you impact the national and global conversation around architecture? How will you ensure that all this work matters?

Part of our work is to share what we learn by distributing research, creative work, and student work through an active communication program that works with a number of different media platforms.

We will share what we learn and invite the highest caliber, most diverse thinkers to join us.

Architecture Contacts

Marc Swackhamer headshot

Marc Swackhamer

Professor and Chair of the Architecture Department
Jo VandenBurg portrait

Jo VandenBurg

Instructor and Associate Chair of Architecture
Mira Woodson headshot

Mira Woodson

Assistant Professor CTT
Jodi Stock

Jodi Stock

Admissions Coordinator
Jeana Delamarter photo

Jeana Delamarter

BS Arch Admissions Counselor, Summer Camp Manager, and Study Abroad


In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a preprofessional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The University of Colorado Denver offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

  • M. Arch Four Studio Track (preprofessional degree + 60 credits)
  • M. Arch Six Studio Track (non-architectural degree + 105 credits)

The Master of Architecture’s most recent NAAB visit was in 2015 and the program was granted a full eight-year accreditation.

Department News

Student working on a machine in the Design Fabrication Lab.

Making Buildings. Making Landscapes. Making Cities.

The Design Fabrication Lab at the College of Architecture and Planning supports the exploration of ideas through the physical investigation and manipulation of materiality. Both a model shop and a laboratory, the lab was named to express the seriousness and rigor with which students explore ideas of making.


Olivia Collier and Maslin Mellick working

CU Denver Grads Find a Way to Turn Tires Into Sustainable Tiles

Thirty miles from Denver, you’ll find a mountain—but not one made of granite or shale. This one has earned the moniker “Tire Mountain” and is made up entirely of rubber. For two students in the College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), that garbage pile became the inspiration for their senior capstone project. 


Front facade of the Oglala Passive House by Ben Jaworski

Small Homes with Big Design

Students in Professor Julee Herdt’s Master of Architecture (M.Arch) studio spent their fall semester getting to know representatives of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Community and designing carbon-neutral, affordable housing units for the Pine Ridge Reservation.