American College of the Building Arts
THE ACBA MISSION
The American College of the Building Arts educates and trains artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment, and understanding of the world's architectural heritage through a liberal arts education.
THE ACBA History
The American College of the Building Arts was licensed in July 2004 by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to award the degrees of Associate of Applied Sciences in Building Arts and Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Building Arts. The college offers a four-year liberal arts curriculum in six craft specializations within three areas: forged architectural iron, the trowel trades (masonry, plaster, and architectural stone) and the wood trades (carpentry and timber framing).
Of the eight founding faculty members, three were European – educated and trained in traditional programs in England and France; two more had studied in England and one in Rome. Two had worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and one with Colonial Williamsburg. Fifteen students were admitted to the first class and, at the opening ceremony in August 2005, a stone was ceremonially split according to a long Japanese tradition associated with starting a new project.
Students pursue a hybrid curriculum that embraces tradition without ignoring the present – a foot in the past to be able to go forward into the future. Trade classes are integrated with general education classes to the point where a debate about ironwork can happen in English class and research papers show up in the blacksmith’s shop. Borrowing from the real-world emphasis of European programs like the Compagnons du Devoir in France, ACBA has developed a world-class internship program that has sent students abroad to work on castles and cathedrals.
While the College continues to grow, its graduates are influencing the built-environment both here in the United States, and abroad. ACBA is actively working with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) to gain accreditation in the Spring of 2014.
THE ACBA VISION
The American College of the Building Arts will be the leading resource in higher education dedicated to the innovative and continued practice, study and promotion of the Building Arts.
To achieve ACBA’s mission we will be governed by the following five strategic objectives:
Long-term success will be based upon the development of a committed and inspired community which is dedicated to fulfill the mission of the College.
Achieve and Excel
Establish accredited academic programs that result in superior student competencies in a “Liberal Arts and Building Arts” major that affords our students a range of post-graduation options and offers exceptional opportunities for the College’s broader constituents.
Seek opportunities to create or establish successful educational learning outcomes.
Outreach and Development of Educated Artisans
Inspire future students and supporters by encouraging and promoting the Building Arts in the United States and throughout the world.
Identify, develop, and manage resources whether human, economic, or physical in order to meet the mission that ensures directed growth of the institution.