The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has awarded unconditional RIBA Part 1 accreditation to the undergraduate program at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, making it the first Chinese architecture program to be certified by the UK architecture body. The accreditation marks another first for XJTLU's partner university at Liverpool, which pioneered the RIBA accreditation system by becoming the first certified course in the world in 1906, and officially marks the program at XJTLU as on a par with other architecture schools around the world.
In their report, the RIBA board commended the university's architecture department for "creating a distinctive environment in which students learn from an international and Chinese context with an ambition to produce a new type of graduate, with an emphasis on human-centred architecture, for the emerging global context." The RIBA also praised the program as an "alternative model for Chinese architecture education," adding that the school's aim of "challenging both Western and Chinese educational paradigms for architecture was an ambitious goal."
Despite only being set up in 2011, the architecture program at XJTLU has rapidly become one of China's most prestigious architecture courses, with students recruited from the top 5% in China's University Entrance examinations.
"It is great to see that the hard work and dedication of the staff and students has resulted in this official recognition - underlying our powerful connections between the West and East," said head of XJTLU's head of department Professor Pierre Alain Croset. "As the most international architecture department in China, we, at XJTLU, offer an exciting pioneering opportunity for the next generation. Our next target is for the RIBA to accredit our M.Arch postgraduate study programme."