1952 photo of naval armory.

History

History

The roots of the School of Building Construction (BC) at Georgia Tech go back 60 years to the World War II era. The nation faced severe housing shortages, materials depletions, and a weak economy, as a result of the wartime demands. The Johns-Manville Corporation, one of the country’s largest building materials manufacturers, joined the efforts to re-house the nation by funding and building construction education programs. He sponsored multiple programs around the country, including the one at Georgia Tech.

Though the years, the Institute has shaped the reflection and vitality of the program, and those charged with its direction. When the State Board of Regents elevated the School of Architecture to College status in 1975, the Building Construction Program retained professional degree-granting status.

From Naval Armory to the Caddell Building

School Chair, Daniel Castro-Lacouture, providing tour of Caddell building to visiting scholars. Scholars look at design of building while Daniel speaks.
Photo: School of Building Construction

By 1952, the School of Architecture (it became the College of Architecture in 1975) was already well established at Georgia Tech. After World War II, the student population soared, and the School got a new building and a professionally-oriented curriculum to keep up with demand. Designed by the director of the School, Harold Bush-Brown, and other leading faculty (including future director Paul M. Heffernan), this new building signaled a new identity for architectural education at Georgia Tech.

A short distance away from the School of Architecture building, plans for a Naval Armory on Georgia Tech's campus were taking shape. ROTC was once compulsory for Georgia Tech Freshmen and Sophomores, and although now an elective, it is still a visible part of Georgia Tech's campus culture.

The School of Architecture continued to expand its range of disciplines in the 1950s, establishing the Building Construction program, which offered a Bachelor of Science degree in 1958. Classes were taught in the basement of the new Architecture building. 

Who would have thought this tiny program would eventually take over the entire Armory building?

Development and Change

Students sitting at table and talking in the West Architecture building.
Photo: School of Building Construction

The rise of Atlanta, the growth of the construction industry, and the development of sophisticated technology in building systems and materials have had profound effects on Georgia Tech's Building Construction program. Initially, Georgia Tech's academic mission, and that of the Architecture department, focused on local concerns in Atlanta and the rest of the South.

But as enrollment increased across Georgia Tech, which was becoming a nationally recognized research university, the School of Architecture's disciplines continued to grow in size, scope, and importance. The School of Architecture became the College of Architecture in 1975. A major addition to the building, now called "West Architecture," was completed in 1980. The College's first Ph.D. program launched in 1982, and with it, a signature focus on research began.

The Building Construction program played a major role in these new research initiatives. In 1986, the College of Architecture established the Construction Research Center, the first of its kind in the United States. The Building Construction program received its Accreditation for Construction Education (ACCE) in 1999, and the Board of Regents approved the Master of Science degree in Building Construction and Facility Management in 2000.

Recent History

Students looking at a city view from the rooftop of a construction site.
Photo: School of Building Construction

The building and construction industry continued to develop and change rapidly in the new millennium. Georgia Tech recognized the need for an even more professionally-oriented Building Construction program, transforming the curriculum to graduate-level study only. The graduate program now offers four degrees:

 

  • Master of Science in Building Construction and Facility Management
  • Master of Real Estate Development
  • Professional Master's Degree in Occupational Safety and Health (Online)
  • Ph.D. in Building Construction

 

Students were now conducting research and earning an advanced degree in these disciplines.

In 2009, Building Construction was elevated to School status and proudly renamed “The School of Building Construction.”

The Doctor of Philosophy with a Major in Building Construction was approved by the Board of Regents in 2011, becoming the first doctoral program of its kind in the U.S.

Shaping the Future of Construction

Students lifting custom built drone for demo.
Photo: School of Building Construction

In place of the circa 1952 Naval Armory is now a state of the art facility, the John and Joyce Caddell Building, which is the home of the School of Building Construction and an ambitious example of adaptive reuse. Our new LEED platinum-certified building offers students access to real-time sustainability performance information. Strong industry relationships and a focus on grooming C-level leadership is a due in no small part to this dedicated space for research, collaboration, teaching, and learning.

The vision of the School of Building Construction is to be a global leader of research and education in the real estate development, construction, and management of the built environment. Join us on this journey!

Contact Our Thought Leaders, the Faculty

Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi giving presenting in front of a class.
Photo: School of Building Construction
Assistant Professor Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi teaches a construction management class.”

Faculty at the School of Building Construction conduct sponsored research from prestigious agencies locally and nationally (e.g., National Science Foundation, Construction Industry Institute, Construction Sciences Research Foundation, Department of State, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation). Our research is multidisciplinary and integrated. We not only shape the future of construction, but we design and improve construction processes in the built environment. 

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