- Alpha Rho Chi
Alpha Rho Chi (ΑΡΧ) is a professional co-educational college fraternity for students studying
architectureand related professions. The fraternity's name is derived from the first three letters of the Greek word for architecture, αρχιτεκτονική.
APX was founded on April 11, 1914, with the joining of Sigma Upsilon at the
University of Michiganand the Arcus Society at the University of Illinois to form a national fraternity for Architecture and the allied arts.
Sigma Upsilon was founded four years prior by eight architecture students at Michigan, with the intent of eventually forming a national architecture fraternity, and had drafted their constitution and laws to reflect that. Two years after they were founded in 1912 they were recognized by their school as a fraternity and started negotiation with other schools to open up more chapters.
In 1911 the Arcus Society was formed by 15 architecture students, at first secret and then becoming public a year later. After their recognition by their school, they started correspondence with several other schools in an effort to expand as well. One of those schools was the
University of Michigan, which was the start of the collaboration of the two founding brothers of APX, Leo M. Bauer of the Arcus Society and Chandler C. Cohagen of Sigma Upsilon.
The two founding brothers met on April 11, 1914 at the Hotel Sherman in
Chicago, where they selected the new name of the combined organization, the new constitution and by-laws, and the coat of arms. The brothers decided to keep the colors of the Arcus Society, azure and sanguine, and the white rose, a symbol of Sigma Upsilon to represent both organizations. They also selected the names of the new chapters from a list of prominent Greek, Roman (and later on Egyptian) architects. Illinois selected Anthemiosas their name and Michigan Iktinos
Expansion and World War I
Alpha Rho Chi set expansion as their first goal, wanting to embody their vision of being a national architecture fraternity. Several existing architecture organizations petitioned to join, but the only Tau Epsilon Chi of
Ohio State Universitywas accepted, being installed as the DemetriosChapter on February 25, 1916. The Cyma Club became the MnesclesChapter at the University of Minnesotaon October 10, 1916. Recruiting efforts remained active, but with the start of World War I, most of the brothers entered the armed services and the number of chapters stayed at four.
The Great Depression, World War II and Contraction
After the war, the Kallikrates Chapter was installed at the University of Virginia on February 15, 1922. The Andronicus Chapter was installed a month later, on March 22, 1922, with eleven charter members at the University ofSouthern California. Expansion continued at a rapid pace with the addition of membersat Kansas State, which formed the
PaeoniosChapter on February 10, 1923. Ten membersof the Delta Club at the University of Texas were initiated on April 19, 1924 to form the DinocratesChapter. The PolyklitosChapter at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-MellonUniversity) was established on May 24, 1924. With the addition of the TheronChapter atOklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) on May 23, 1926, the fraternity stoodat ten active chapters and was truly national in stature.
The Depression and World War II affected the strength of the local chapters, and severalfailed to survive. Only six chapters returned – Anthemios, Iktinos, Demetrios, Mnesicles,Andronicus, and Kallikrates – with strong alumni support and renewed membership. In1954, the
Vitruviuscolony was established at Pennsylvania State University, and it wasinstalled as a chapter on February 26, 1955.
Post-war, further expansion
Next to be installed was a very active group from Arizona State University, who becamethe
SatyrosChapter on May 13, 1962. Two surprised representatives from Virginia PolytechnicInstitute (Virginia Tech) were initiated at the 31st National Convention; in turn theyassisted with the installation of the MetagenesChapter on March 23, 1969. With the additionof the XenoclesChapter at the University of Texas at Arlington on September 13,1970, Alpha Rho Chi returned to its former high point of ten active chapters.
During the early 1970s, fraternity membership in general dropped again as controversyraged on college campuses over the Vietnam War and any “establishment” organization.Alpha Rho Chi continued on, installing the
CleisthenesChapter at the University of Houstonon March 11, 1972. The beginning of the 1980s saw college fraternities enjoy a renaissanceand Alpha Rho Chi added four new chapters. In June 1980, the vigorous DaedalusChapter was founded at the California Polytechnic State University to become thefraternity’s second West Coast chapter. After a freezing initiation night at the Anthemioschapter house, the DaphnisChapter of the University of Arkansas was installed on November23, 1980. The HeracleidesChapter of the University of Oklahoma was installedwith a down-home, Texas-style bar-b-que at Xenocles on September 6, 1981. After collectingthe required ten members for initiation, the Rhoecuschapter was installed at theUniversity of Kansas on April 8, 1984.
The Apollodorus colony was bussed from the University of Florida to Metagenes,a 13-hour trip. They were officially installed as a chapter in Gainesville, Florida on April 10, 1986. OnMarch 29, 1992, Alpha Rho Chi installed the
PytheosChapter at the University of Nebraska. The SeshaitChapter at Florida A&M University was installed on March 12, 1994, becoming the first chapter with anEgyptian namesake.
The New Millennium
The co-op program at the University of Cincinnati created a unique installation for the
RabiriusChapter,whose members were initiated in two separate ceremonies; one held in Cincinnati on November4, 2000, and the remainder of the members were initiated on January 20, 2001. In September 2001, aprofessor began correspondence with the fraternity in hopes of establishing a chapter of Alpha Rho Chi for the students at the University of Memphis. Up to this point, Alpha Rho Chi had limited expansion to accredited schools ofarchitecture; however, after revisiting the fraternity’s original objectives and mission, itwas determined that there was no reason to exclude the University of Memphis – and onOctober 19, 2002, the ImhotepChapter was installed in Champaign, Illinois.
Improved communications – including the alpharhochi.org website and nearly universalemail access – helped interested students of architecture discover and contact thenational fraternity, accelerating the pace of expansion of new and reactivated chapters.
Nicon Chapter was established at Florida International University on July 11, 2004. In theNortheast, the Vitruvius Chapter sponsored two new chapters simultaneously. Vitruviusinstalled the
DomitianChapter from the New Jersey Institute of Technology on January30, 2005 and the SenenmutChapter from the University at Buffalo on February 26,2005 – the chapter’s fiftieth anniversary. A colony at Tulane University was preparing itspetition to establish a chapter when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, closing theschool for a semester and scattering the students across the country and to other continents.After regrouping, the HadrianChapter was finally installed on November 4, 2006.
After rocky beginnings, students at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco successfully formed the
CossutiusColony, and were installed at the Andronicus chapter house on January 20, 2008. Representatives from Andronicus, Daedalus, Satyros, Anthemios, Hadrian, and Vitruvius chapters were on hand to usher in the newest chapter.
The Anthemios chapter house is currently a landmark at the University of Illinois. The Andronicus chapter house is a recognized historical structure by the County of Los Angeles, and is awaiting placement on the Federal Register of Historic Structures.
The Alpha Rho Chi Medal
The Alpha Rho Chi Bronze Medal is presented annually at over 100 schools of architecture to honor graduating seniors who have demonstrated leadership, service, and the promise of professional merit. The recipents of the medal are decided by the faculty of each
National Architectural Accrediting Board(NAAB)-accredited school. Membership in the fraternity is not a criterion for the award, nor is membership conferred to the medal's recipients. The medal program was established in 1931. Designed by sculptor Merrill Gage, the medal is cast in bronze and features an image of a seated Athenaholding a skyscraper.
On occasion, Alpha Rho Chi recognizes other individuals with two other classes of medals. The fraternity awards the Alpha Rho Chi Silver Medal for fraternal service. The Gold Alpha Rho Chi Medal honors an outstanding practitioner of architecture or an allied art. Recent recipients of the gold medal include
I.M. Peiand Samuel Balen.
Master Architects of Alpha Rho Chi
"Master Architect" is a special classification of membership in the fraternity to honor brothers who have gained national prominence in the field of architecture, the allied arts, or who have made significant contributions to the built environment.
The following individuals have been installed as Master Architect (with year honored):
Nathan Clifford Ricker(1914)
John Wellborn Root, Jr.(1951)
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe(1966)
Richard Buckminster Fuller(1970)
Pei is the only Master Architect of Alpha Rho Chi not to be a member of the fraternity.
University of Southern California
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Florida
CleisthenesChapter: University of Houston
CossutiusChapter: California College of the Arts
DaedalusChapter: California Polytechnic State University
DinocratesChapter: University of Texas at Austin
DomitianChapter: New Jersey Institute of Technology
HadrianChapter: Tulane University
IktinosChapter: University of Michigan
ImhotepChapter: University of Memphis
MetagenesChapter: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Florida International University
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of Cincinnati
SatyrosChapter: Arizona State University
*Senenmut Chapter: University at Buffalo
Florida A&M University
VitruviusChapter: Pennsylvania State University
Washington State University
University of Arkansas
Ohio State University
University of Oklahoma
KallikratesChapter: University of Virginia
MnesiclesChapter: University of Minnesota
Kansas State University
Carnegie Mellon University
RhoecusChapter: University of Kansas
*Theron Chapter: Oklahoma State University
University of Texas at Arlington
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