All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Ad College Guide

Ad College Guide: The Latest Architecture and News

AD Architecture School Guide: Brussels Faculty of Engineering [Bruface]

ULB Solbosch Campus - Building R42. Image © gm2011.ulb.ac.be, via Bruface Facebook Page
ULB Solbosch Campus - Building R42. Image © gm2011.ulb.ac.be, via Bruface Facebook Page

The United States has an architecture school in almost every major university in each of its 50 states. And while it’s true that the choices seem endless, it is also true that there are certain values and approaches that dominate. Ecological architecture, for example, is often not passive, but is technology-laden, which means a large production footprint for materials like PV panels, special types of glass, or other cladding solutions. This is just one example of how industry and pedagogy shape one another and in turn influence the perception of “legitimate” architecture. Teaching architectural history offers another example in which what comprises “relevant” history is all-too-often limited to Euro-American examples. Everything in Asia beyond twenty years ago, whether it is Southeast, South, or East, is usually ignored because - although the names of historical architects may well be known in their own countries, they are not easily translatable for the average English-language author of architecture survey books.

The truth is that even in architecture schools in European nations, approaches and emphases on pedagogical content and styles vary widely. For example, schools in northern Europe have very different views on what is important and how to teach it than schools in western Europe. One school with a very defined point of view is the Brussels Faculty of Engineering, or Bruface, created by Vrije Universiteit Brussel in cooperation with the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. There, students can receive a Master of Science in Architectural Engineering; they are trained not just in design, but in engineering, emphasizing a more structural, practical approach.

AD Architecture School Guide: The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

MATAERIAL (shown in the video above) is "the result of the collaborative research between Petr Novikov, Saša Jokić from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and Joris Laarman Studio. IAAC tutors representing the Open Thesis Fabrication Program provided their advice and professional expertise."

Most architecture programs focus on traditional degrees, ranging from practice-based Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees to the more theoretical Doctorate. But, until recently, there has been a void in postgraduate training that actually teaches fresh graduates and experienced professionals new technological skills. The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (or IAAC) has taken an important step towards filling this gap with two programs: the Open Thesis Fabrication (OTF) program and the Fab Academy.

AD Architecture School Guide: Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts

Most architecture schools around the world offer their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in separate tracks. That means that if students want to attain a Master’s degree, they first need to acquire a B.A. or B.S.,which usually takes five years. Altogether, this can be an expensive, eight-year endeavor that can subject students to crippling debt. One US report found that both undergraduate and graduate students can easily accumulate $100,000 in student loan debt, and another finds that “undergraduate students majoring in theology, architecture and history are much more likely to graduate with excessive debt,” compared to those pursuing math and the sciences.

Given these harsh realities, a school that combines both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in a single, five-year program is a welcome option. Enter the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts‘ School of Architecture.

AD Architecture School Guide: Delft University of Technology

Recent reports by the UN on projected population growth until the year 2300, as well as current population trends, have raised numerous issues, from access to healthcare to housing. Of particular importance is how these issues will affect the urban landscape, and how professionals can respond to these changing conditions, on both a local and global scale. Urban planners and designers must not only be concerned about issues such as congestion and mobility, urban renewal and densification, but must also “[take] into account…economic globalization, the consequences of the financial crisis, [and] climate change” as well.

Clearly, these are not matters that can simply be understood by scrolling through different websites over the course of a single afternoon. Luckily, just these issues are explored at Delft University of Technology’s Master of Science in Urbanism.

AD Architecture School Guide: Carnegie Mellon University

At Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture, prospective students are likely to find a course of study that will interest them. The School’s newly revised undergraduate curriculum allows students to choose studios in their 4th and 5th year that concentrate on breadth or depth in the following topics of interest: Sustainable Design, Digital Design, Management and Critical Practice, Design/ Build, Urban Design, and Future Studios. For example, students interested in digital fabrication, computational design, and new materials may choose to concentrate in Digital Design.

AD College Guide: Centre for Architecture and Human Rights / King Mongkut’s University of Technology

Courtesy of CAHR
Courtesy of CAHR

Intervention in Human Rights has, until now, had very few models in the architecture profession. There are the non-profit organizations and NGO’s. They often focus on structures and spaces that have been decimated by natural disasters or military conflict. Then there is the Forensic Architecture approach which seeks to document exactly what people have undergone in those circumstances. Most architecture activists, however, fall into the first category, focusing on building or re-building.

While these models are very useful, they contain some inherent problems. One is that many of these organizations have predetermined agendas that dictate their intervention. Part of this is driven by the funding cycle: donors are not always inspired by the thought of funding a pig farm, but the idea of a new school designed by a famous architect makes an attractive selling point for new and continuing donors. Too often, however, that results in projects that are disconnected from the actual needs of local populations. Unneeded buildings are a waste of resources, time, money, and labor. 

Continue reading the school profile after the break