Building Arts

hands holding and painting a stained glass piece over a light

The built environment has a profound impact on how humans interact with the natural world as well as each other. By designing and constructing structures and elements which are aesthetically pleasing and culturally significant, buildings can impact our perception of the world in profound ways. As a Building Arts major, you will dedicate your time to engaging with various aspects of traditional and modern building practices. These include drawing and design, as well as practical engagement with multiple types of building materials. Students will exit this program with a greater understanding of the role buildings have historically played within society as well as the processes and procedures of designing and building exceptional architectural elements.

Program strengths

As the only BFA in Building Arts in the United States, Bryn Athyn College gives students a unique opportunity to focus their creative energies within their chosen field of study. By learning from the department’s experienced instructors, all of which have developed international reputations for their work, students have the opportunity to develop their skills under the guidance of world experts in their fields. Additionally, the assemblage of buildings and collections inside the Bryn Athyn Historic District, including Bryn Athyn Cathedral, Glencairn Museum, and Cairnwood, allows the students unprecedented access to one of the most prominent architectural collections in the United States from which to study and gain inspiration.

Areas of Focus

Apart from the Core Building Arts Curriculum, students will specialize in one of the following areas:

The metals specialization allows the students to pursue their interest in historical and modern applications of forged and decorative metal work. Areas of focus include

  • Tool and hardware production
  • Traditional joinery design and production
  • Small scale design and production
  • Large scale design and production

The glass specialization allows students to pursue their interest in the historical and modern application of architectural glass. Areas of focus include:

  • Glass painting
  • Glass design and production
  • Glass dynamics
  • Stained glass restoration


Before applying to the program, students should take the following courses:

  • FA101 or 201; Aegean to Early Christian
  • FA141: Building Arts Foundation I
  • One studio arts course


Contact Information
Stephen Hartley
Head of Building Arts Program