“In design, content is everything,” says Khoi Vo, chair of interior design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He’s speaking to the fact that SCAD packs a 55-hour overview of art and architecture history into its 180‑hour BFA program.
The courses include surveys in world vernacular architecture and western art. “To innovate, designers must be aware of what has come before them; and learn, adapt and re-appropriate methodologies that best solve a specific and current problem,” says Vo. “Students are exposed to history regarding all aspects of the built environment, from the large urban scale, to the human scale of furniture.”
With campuses in Georgia (Savannah and Atlanta) and two overseas (Lacoste, France, and Hong Kong), the academic approach has kept SCAD in the running as a top-tier school, beating out institutions with much stronger name recognition, such as Parsons and NYSID. Despite the college’s location, far from a cultural mecca, Designlntelligence has named its undergraduate program the most admired in the U.S. for four years in a row.
Practical skills are just as important as theory, and each campus is equipped with the latest 3-D printers, laser cutters and CNC machines. In third year, students team up with a studio from another creative discipline – fashion, industrial design, furniture, jewellery, for example – to work on a project with a corporate partner. Likewise, the Collaborative Learning Center brings together faculty and students from multiple disciplines to work with such brands as Disney, Verizon, United Colors of Benetton and the Gary Sinise Foundation to solve real-world problems.
Location: 342 Bull St., Savannah, Georgia (main campus)
Programs: BFA, MA and MFA
Tuition: US$34,470 at U.S. campuses
Notable alumni: Chuck Chewning (creative director at Donghia), Benjamin Fay (former retail designer at JCPenney and Apple)
For more information about education in architecture, industrial design, interaction design, interior design and landscape architecture, visit our Top Schools section.