Support for CAED

Photos of students working on studio projects

Design/Construction/Material Study

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design is nationally recognized for outstanding educational programs that prepare professionals for careers that shape the built environment through hands-on, project-based learning. We are unique in that students from all five disciplines - architectural engineering, architecture, city and regional planning, construction management and landscape architecture - collaborate to dream, design and do. We are committed to providing high quality facilities equal to our national rankings. We invite you to participate in advancing the legacy of the CAED, and supporting our students’ education by helping to develop, build and equip inspiring learning environments for the future.

Labs, Shops, and Studios

We promote Learn by Doing through creative practice. In our labs and shops students explore material aspects of building using models and prototypes, both physical and virtual. Our studios simulate professional work settings where students work together on projects that develop their professional abilities. CAED graduates are exceptionally well prepared to successfully transition from school to careers due to this hands-on educational paradigm. Our top priority is to provide all students with access to the materials, tools and processes used by professions and industries concerned with the built environment. For example, we will update labs to provide state-of-the-art software and tools for:

  • Visualization and communication
  • Analysis and predictive modeling
  • Manual and computer-aided construction with wood, metals, plastics and other media
  • General materials testing
  • Concrete mixing, construction and testing
  • Structural dynamics and seismic design

It is also our goal to provide students with strategic opportunities to work with emerging technologies in ways that foster early adopter mindsets with long-term career benefits, such as:

  • Robotics
  • Performative building systems

Interdisciplinary Projects

To deepen students’ understanding of the many factors that inform the built environment and prepare them to become successful collaborators, students engage in interdisciplinary projects. These activities involve at least two majors, and may include cross-college collaborations. The Solar Decathlon involves students from four CAED majors, as well as students from four other colleges.

Design/Build and Community Service

Cal Poly faculty and students provide creative energy that serves communities, from city plans to new public spaces such as parks and community centers or facilities for those in need such as affordable housing. Projects designed and constructed by our students in partnership with community clients are as close as the university campus, and as far away as Tanzania.  We are committed to supporting service learning activities and continue our commitment to providing these life-changing Learn by Doing experiences.

Poly Canyon

A long-standing Cal Poly tradition, the Poly Canyon Structural Design Laboratory is home to over twenty experimental prototypes ranging from sculptures to residences.  Over the years, thousands of students advised by faculty and with the support of alumni and industry mentors created this living legacy. Poly Canyon is distant from the campus center, and unfortunately, vandalism and weathering have taken their toll, making some structures unsafe. The college has undertaken a sustainability plan to address the future of existing structures and re-energize the Canyon as an experimental construction site, allowing students to take advantage of future Learn by Building opportunities. This includes maintenance and security plans, a preservation plan for viable structures, and proactive facilitation of new student projects including the long-standing annual Design Village competition.

CAED Community, Identity, and Outreach

Promote CAED’s leadership in design, planning and construction education by raising awareness about our achievements and investing in the people, activities and places that serve our community.

Cal Poly Scholars
Supporting under-represented minority students (often the first from their families to have ever attended college) with financial need to complete their education, the CP Scholars program provides on-campus housing, proactive advising, social activities and an iPad or laptop computer.  Students live on campus the first two years together with other CP Scholars, creating the community these students need for success. Your contribution of $20K for a four year degree or $25K for a five year degree will ensure one student is provided the extra support this program provides.

Faculty/Staff Skills Development

Investing in the professional development of faculty and staff helps the college maintain currency in our disciplines. This funding supports activities such as conference participation, site visits, educational programs and association memberships.

George Hasslein Endowed Chair for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environmental Design

For over half a century George Hasslein served the university and its students as a professor, department head and founding dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. This endowed chair will help carry forward his vision of student-focused architectural and environmental design education for the benefit of future generations of planning, design and construction industry leaders.

CAED Gallery and Traveling Exhibition Program

As a premier college of the built environment, we have a public responsibility to share the creative ideas our faculty and students generate. Exhibition is an integral part of our educational process where students learn to present their work and receive valuable feedback as well as have opportunities to learn from the work of their teachers.  To realize this program we are planning for:

  • A new CAED Gallery on the Cal Poly campus to showcase the best work of students and faculty to the public, the campus community and visiting professionals. We will transform the space currently occupied by the Dean’s and Architecture Department offices into a gallery fronting onto Dexter Lawn, a hub of campus activity.
  • A program of traveling public exhibitions starting with a storefront location in downtown San Luis Obispo, then expanding to include shows in active pedestrian districts of San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. Future plans also include exhibitions in national centers for environmental design such as Chicago, New York and Boston.  Each exhibition will provide the opportunity to connect our students to alumni and other professionals throughout California and the nation.
  • A CAED exhibit curator position and student Earn by Doing positions to run the on-campus gallery and traveling exhibition program. 

CAED Commons

Help us transform the central atrium of Building 5 into a clean and comfortable commons available to students and faculty for studying, collaborating socializing, and celebrating 24/7 rain or shine. The Commons will provide all students, especially those who are not assigned permanent studio workstations, with places to be between classes where they can interact with peers who share interests across the college’s disciplines. 

Neel Resource Center and Studio Patio

Paul Neel, dean emeritus of the CAED, played a major role in the development of the college’s professional programs. His influential career included appointments as California’s State Architect and president of the Architect’s Board. This project will enhance the mission of the interdisciplinary Neel Resource Center by adding adjacent outdoor places for students to gather, reflect, celebrate and create.

Hasslein Courtyard

The open space bounded by the KTGY Gallery, the Instructional Shops, and the ARCE office will be redesigned in conjunction with the development of our instructional shops to create a multipurpose space serving learn by making activities and college events.

CAED Teacher/Student Scholars

Providing faculty and students with opportunities to engage in energizing forms of scholarly work is paramount to the quality of education at Cal Poly. In the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, faculty scholarship focuses on innovative approaches to shaping and serving the built environment. This work informs the next generation of planners, architects, engineers and builders as they prepare to pursue careers focused on improving the quality of the places and structures that serve society.

The activities supported by the CAED Teacher/Student Scholar Program, which may occur locally, nationally, or globally, integrate teaching and learning with research and other forms of creative scholarship in ways that allow faculty to develop throughout their teaching careers while providing transformative experiences for students.

  • Student Scholar Fellowships ($5K/ea.) – Intended to advance the scholarly work of faculty while benefiting the professional development of students, these paid assistantships invite students to add new dimensions and perspectives to the scholarship of their faculty leaders.  Assignments will vary according to faculty needs and may include literature searches, case studies, data collection, prototype construction, materials/systems testing, performance modeling, or communications.
  • Learn by Doing Experience ($10K/ea.) – By augmenting a course or extracurricular faculty-led activity, these grants benefit a group of students and enhance the professional development of teachers.  Funds can be used for travel, specialized software or equipment, involvement of expert consultants, or competitions, for example.
  • Teacher Scholar Fellowships ($15K/ea.) – These awards provide release time from teaching or other assigned work to pursue scholarly activity leading to professional development that also enhances educational opportunities for students. It can be used to conduct research, engage in creative practice, prepare manuscripts, chair scholarly conferences, and more.
  • Scholarship in Education ($30K/ea.) - Faculty undertake transformative projects that make connections between scholarship and teaching in ways that significantly enhance the education of their students. An external jury of distinguished peers selects recipients. Funds can be used for student assistants, travel, equipment, software, materials, consultants, summer salary, etc.

Matching Gifts



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Upcoming Events

  • Nov. 8, 2018
    CAED Alumni Gathering,
    Texas AIA Conference Frost Tower, Fort Worth TX
  • Nov. 8-11
    Alumni Weekend - Homecoming CAED Honored Alumni
  • Dec. 15, 4 pm
    Cal Poly/CAED Fall Commencement
    Cal Poly Rec. Ctr.

Giving to CAED

CSI President with ARCE students

More on CAED support

CAED Connections

Connections 2018 Magazine

Connections Magazine

Hearst Lecture Series

Image of Omar Gandhi's work

Next: Omar Gandhi on October 19th

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