Famous Architectural Students

Famous Architectural Students

January 3, 2020

What do Ice Cube, the members of Pink Floyd, and Seal have in common with former president Thomas Jefferson?

They all studied architecture!

Samuel L. Jackson and Courtney Cox also started off as architecture students prior to reaching success in other fields. 

Three of Pink Floyd’s five founding members, Waters, Mason, and Wright met while studying architecture in London at Regent Street Polytechnic, now known as University of Westminster. After two years of architectural studies, the three would end up leaving Westminster to pursue music. In 1969, Pink Floyd released “Music for Architectural Students,” an album dedicated to their period spent in studio.

I feel like we should listen to this is the office now. 🙂  

Fun Fact- one of our architects here at WDG started a band during his third year in college too!  I guess music is a good outlet for these creative minds.     

Jefferson was a practicing architect, but led a double life as President. He gained some success as an architect even though he did not have formal training – he learned all he knew from books. In 1772, Jefferson built a residence for himself in and named it Monticello. The house established what would be later known as ‘Jeffersonian Architecture.’

Star of It’s a Wonderful Life James Stewart studied architecture in New Jersey at Princeton. Although he really wanted to be a pilot for the United States Navy, his father persuaded him to attend Princeton, where he was awarded a graduate scholarship for his design of an airport terminal. Stewart did not continue to pursue a career in architecture but went on to enjoy a highly successful career and appeared in over 92 films.

Famous singer and husband to model Heidi Klum, Seal – studied architecture. After two years of study in London, Seal received an associate degree in architecture, subsequently working at a series of firms while developing an interest in music.

Known for her role as Monica on sitcom ‘Friends,’ Cox briefly studied architecture in D.C. at Mount Vernon College. Partially into her degree Cox withdrew to pursue a modelling career.

One of the most surprising on this list – American rapper Ice Cube studied architectural drafting at the Institute of Technology in Phoenix beginning in 1987, earning a diploma in draftsmanship a year later. Shortly after founding hip hop group N.W.A., Ice Cube began his studies in architecture as a backup for his career in music.

Not joking – Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic holds a degree in architecture from California Polytechnic State University.

Brad Pitt never actually went to architecture school but his interest in architecture is known. “Whilst acting is my career, architecture is my passion,” Pitt said in an interview in 2008 with the Telegraph. In 2007, he founded a charity (Make It Right) that collaborates with architects to build homes for communities in need…how great is that!

The man given the label of “the greatest American architect of all time” by the American Institute of Architects in 1991, did not have an architecture degree but was awarded an honorary doctorate of fine arts by his former school but not until he was in his 80’s. He moved to Chicago to gain real-world experience as an assistant to architect J.L. Silsbee. While working under his supervision, he took a chance and applied for a job at Adler & Sullivan, this leading him to a six-year-long apprenticeship at the prestigious firm. Here, Louis Sullivan provided the foundation of Wright’s instruction in architecture, before he established his own practice in 1893.

This is definitely a diverse group of people and perhaps a representation of the diversity of talents in architecture studios. 

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