Ecological design is rapidly becoming a staple in architecture school. Its various names—sustainable, “green,” and environmental—all refer to the objective of designing buildings that have a smaller carbon footprint, from construction materials to functionality post-occupancy. Acronyms like HVAC and PV are now part of the mainstream architecture lexicon. These approaches are not globally applicable, however. For example, in tropical climates, the use of such technology is both impractical and ineffective. Additionally, the carbon footprint resulting from producing these devices and systems can be significant.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Architectureis addressing these very issues. Founded in 1958, the Department of Architecture is oriented towards architecture for Asia and the tropics. Kenneth Ho, Design Director and Co-Founder of Hopscape Design + Architecture and NUS alumnus, says, “Everything here [in the U.S.] is about sustainability like HVAC or solar panels. But there, sustainable architecture is passive. For example, when you build a house, it actually breathes because you build it off the ground, the air circulates through the floor and then out through the roof. Because it’s a tropical climate, you have to do this. NUS is one of the leading schools in teaching this in Southeast Asia. Its become a hub for neighboring countries who send their students to study there to learn about this.”
For most schools, receiving an M.Arch requires 2 to 3 years, and, according to NCARB, IDP towards licensure takes an average of slightly over 5 years, excluding the time to take the exams themselves.
The University of Minnesota School of Architecture is offering two degrees that will significantly reduce IDP requirements—pending approval by NCARB— and thus reduce the time it takes to attain one’s architecture license. Two M.S. programs, an M.S. in Architecture Research Practices and an M.S. in Architecture Metropolitan Design are designed as additional year-long degrees attained while students pursue their M.Arch’s. Even better, both are structured to not only help students attain up to 930 IDP hours toward completing the degree, but to defray tuition while doing it.
With its current total population over 1.2 billion people, India is the second most populous nation in the world. What’s more, current demographics show that, rather than being concentrated, India’s population is spread throughout its states. In demographic and statistical terms, then, India is ideally situated to provide architecture students with new insights into Ekistics, or the science of human settlements.
Founded in 2001 in response to the ongoing shifts in the urban landscape, the Faculty of Architecture and Ekistics at Jamia Millia Islamia, a Central University, grounds students in the ways that nature interacts with human needs/ethics in order to produce professionals instrumental in advancing a better built environment.
AD Architecture School Guide: Institute on Aging and Environment, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning
According to the UN, the elderly population not only exceeds the population of children in developed nations, but will increase more rapidly than any other demographic over the next 50 years — in fact, it could even triple.
Although most countries deal with the elderly population through institutionalized care, whether public, as in Canada or in Great Britain, or private, as in the U.S., the quality of care is widely divergent. It’s therefore fitting – and necessary – that the physical environment’s effect on elderly care is becoming a more prominent issue for research.
One institute that is leading the way in this research is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning’s Institute on Aging and Environment.
Finland is consistently ranked by several different organizations, amongst them the UN, as the top in student’s education, well-being and even overall human development rankings. These factors make pursuing higher education in Finland equally appealing. Why? Because in a country that is highly ranked for human development indices like life expectancy, and GDP per capita, and world happiness, the standard of living is most likely to be good for students as well. This is an important consideration for architecture students who often experience enormous stress within the studio culture which dominates most curriculums.
At Tampere University of Technology, not only can students benefit from a high standard of living, but they can also pursue a degree, conducted entirely in English, at all three degree levels: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral. Within those degree levels, the major areas span the range of practice-oriented architecture curriculums to those focused on theory and research. Focuses include Architecture, Architectural Construction, Architectural Design, Architectural and Urban Research, History of Architecture, Housing Design, Urban Planning and Design and Theory of Urban Planning and Design.
Architecture school should provide an environment to explore issues alongside practical skills and professional training. Ideally, there will also be opportunities to work with faculty and students in fields that complement architecture. Add a campus situated at an international city and you have The University of Hong Kong.
Located on the island of Hong Kong, HKU’s program is not one single entity but rather, it is a consortium under the Faculty of Architecture, what other universities refer to as a “college.” The Faculty of Architecture includes the departments and divisions of Architecture, Real Estate and Construction, Urban Planning and Design, Landscape Architecture. In addition, it also runs the Shanghai Study Centre. Sited in Shanghai, it provides a public arena for conferences, houses a public gallery. Interdepartmental as well as inter-university studios are also conducted there.
The Berlage Institute closed in 2012. But the Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design is open for business. And it is accepting students. Located at the Delft University of Technology, though they are independent entities, the new, re-visioned Berlage is not simply a continuation of the original Berlage. Instead, it has been reinvisioned to train students who already have either an M.Arch or a five-year degree.
The Berlage challenges students to understand the issues and principles surrounding the economy, the environment, and society as the route towards good architecture. History and cultural issues are therefore central to this Master’s of Science degree, as they should be. Because in today’s economy, the formula for success demands more than just an agility with computer programs. Students need to be able to exercise critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, many school studios fetishize style over substance but when their students graduate, they are ill-trained.
Social justice. How can that be achieved? At Portland State University School of Architecture, faculty and students are exploring just this issue in different forms. Often when people think of Portland or the state of Oregon, images of “crunchy” eco-“warriors” come to mind, but these issues are not simply proxies for a lifestyle or consumer choices. Rather, when discussing people and ecology, the issues are about resources. Specifically, how do humans use and allocate resources to promote fair, well-distributed advancements rather than exploitation, oppression and conspicuous consumption.
The ongoing struggles in the world’s economies has produced several innovations in the field of Architecture. One important change has been for professionals and students to seek more interdisciplinary skills that better prepare them for these inevitable economic shifts. Schools have responded in kind, defining those skills in either intellectual, analytical terms (i.e. teaching students how to better critically analyze situations while eschewing superficial “theoretical” approaches) while other schools have emphasized a more practical approach.
InSB exemplifies the latter: a program that combines all aspects of AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) into a single curriculum for both undergraduates and graduates. Founded by Tabitha Ponte and co-founder Arturo Vasquez, the school has an ambitious mission: to offer a truly integrated AEC education that is tuition-free.
What are Live Projects? A UK term, it refers to collaborations between architecture schools and real clients on real projects. In the US, for example, these are merely referred to as industry collaborations. Clients are widely variant, from municipal governments and youth organizations, as well as galleries and community-based gardens.
There are many iterations of this teaching model in the UK so the issue is, how to determine a good fit for prospective students? One issue that is increasingly at the fore of students’ minds is how to balance idealism with practical skills. At Birmingham City University’sBIAD (Birmingham Institute of Art and Design), the program is structured precisely to help students achieve that balance.
The economy is an issue on everyone’s mind and has been since the Crash of 2008. People around the world are cognizant of global issues precisely because we have all finally realized that nations do not and cannot behave as independent economic entities. The multiple economic crises reverberate through economies on all continents.
Given this situation, professionals in the architecture field—practitioners, teachers, and writers—have each tried to address the subject in meaningful ways that acknowledge the hardships while reassuring their colleagues and potential students that, eventually, things will be alright.
If there is one characteristic that defines “architecture” it is innovation. And if by innovative, you think responsive, then Domus Academy certainly qualifies. It was started by Maria Grazia Mazzocchi, daughter of Domus Magazine founder, Gianni Mazzocchi after people kept writing letters asking her to start a design school. And in 1983, she did just that.
For the basics, the school is very clear. Your accreditation comes from an affiliation with the University of Wales, in Cardiff, UK, which is awarded upon completing 180 Master’s level credits. And you also receive a Diploma Supplement from them which proves that you have a degree that is equivalent to major universities across the globe. And it’s sited in Milan, which if one is interested in Italian design, is an ideal locale. It’s a one year program, so it doesn’t require the extensive 2- and 3-year commitments that many programs across the world demand. It will cost a similar amount, however, at €23,790 Euro. But the best aspect of that admittedly large tuition fee is that it is for a single year—11 months to be exact. That means one can immediately begin searching for a job to pay off what is, after all is said and done, a relatively small student loan compared to average ones that are three times that size. There are also unrestricted scholarships available that defray costs from between 20%-50%. And in case you’re wondering, classes are taught in English.
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