Amongst others, the NJSOA maintains two pillars of expertise for which it is internationally renowned: Digital Practice and Design in the Public Realm.
For more than 30 years, the NJSOA has been in the forefront of academic computing and defining Digital Practice. The NJSOA was the first of US architecture schools to introduce 3D modeling and color in digital design studios in 1985, the first to introduce computing in the first year as a complete replacement of manual drafting, and the first to establish a digital archiving system accepted by the NAAB. NJSOA continues to command respect in the digital computing arena with faculty on boards of several organizations including ACADIA (The Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture), where NJSOA faculty have served as president on three occasions. NJSOA students regularly win national imaging competitions.
Design in the Public Realm
For over 15 years, the NJSOA has exceled in the Design of the Public Realm. The school has a longstanding reputation of deploying studios to take on real-life projects that yield productive outcomes. Through its Infrastructure Planning Program, these studios have drawn in over $2m in funded research. It was because of this record that NJSOA was asked by HUD to work in New Orleans after Katrina and to host a Mayor’s Institutes of Design for the NEA. NJSOA studios have focused on every city in New Jersey and several of its regions. Its work with local chapters of Habitat for Humanity won the NCARB Prize, a coveted $25k award. Most recently, the NJSOA participated in and fundraised for the Solar Decathlon, a highly competitive program sponsored by the Department of Energy. NJSOA’s capacity in the public Realm is enhanced by its being part of a technological, research-based university. Many of its research undertakings have benefited from collaborations with Civil Engineering, Management, Human Factors and Biomechanical Engineering. The Idea Factory, an incubator of intellectual property supported by CoAD, could only happen in an environment like NJIT's.