Where exactly do architecture degrees fit into the future of work?
A question that many aspiring design students, creative educators and university marketing teams may be asking themselves or have thought about before, this is a question worth asking in uncertain times.
Drawing on the release of future of work reports, such as the pivotal PwC Workforce of the Future 2030 analysis, or the recent research outlines from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a common theme is the promotion of creativity, agility and awareness.
To survive future shifts, employees are expected to hold onto their creativity, to approach tasks with agile mindsets and be aware of every technological change that’s waiting around the corner.
For the future of architecture and architecture degrees to remain relevant, it’s vital that universities promote modules that motivate students to think outside-the-box and include courses that create architectural concepts, stretching far beyond traditional architectural visions.
From providing a potential solution to climate change, to giving birth to abstract concepts such as bubble architecture, this is a subject that suits learners with an interest in the seemingly impossible.
And for Flemish contemporary architect, Stéphane Beel, it’s important that educators and students question the future of architecture and their degrees.
“We have to deal with a lot of changes now and the changes are happening more rapidly, we are dealing constantly with higher demand of technology and technology has to help us. It can help us to analyse all the stuff that is coming from all around and we have to have more specialists to deal with things that are more specific.
“We have to look to the city, to the global things – to think global and act local. Be aware of what’s happening in the world and act appropriately. These technical things can help us with reforming the city which means we don’t build only with architecture, for example, in Antwerp, we have the ring road, and they say we have to close the ring because of all the issues and that it’s no good for the people. I think it’s twenty years too late,” Beel explains.
By thinking about the future, not only will aspiring architects and architecture educators get ahead of the game, they’ll also bring ample benefits to city structures and citizens’ everyday lives.
Here are four architecture schools that are staying ahead of the game with future-focused degrees…
Harnessing the value of future architectural concepts and sculpting the future of architecture degrees, Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Architecture has an internationally recognised reputation in providing inspiring and innovative education in the built environment.
Situated in an exciting architectural environment that’s admired by students, the school’s capital city location means learners have access to an internationally recognised creative sector and a close connection to practices and events tied to architecture, landscape and building science professions.
The school features a unique, interconnected group of degrees that stimulate diverse discussion and inspiration. This includes the accredited degrees Master of Architecture- Professional (MArch[Prof]), Master of Interior Architecture (MIA) and Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA).
Sitting alongside these are the Master of Architectural Science (MArchSc) and the Master of Architecture (MArch). At undergraduate level the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) incorporates the flexibility to study any one of Architecture, Landscape or Interiors; you don’t have to decide until year 2. In the Bachelor of Building Science (BBSc) two majors are possible: Sustainable Systems and Project Management.
Actively engaged in national and international professional practice and research programmes and led by experienced and award-winning academics, the school is regularly producing award-winning designers and technologists in their chosen profession.
Covering the areas of creative and critical practice, sustainability and wellbeing, performance and technology through research initiatives and degrees, VUW School of Architecture equips learners for a challenging and satisfying role in crafting a better world for global communities and clients.
Redefining the lines of architecture, SCI-Arc, founded in 1972, approaches architecture from an innovative, experimental perspective.
A school that specialises in architectural thinking, Sci-Arc is in a quarter mile-long former freight depot in the Arts District of Los Angeles, distinguished by the vibrant atmosphere of its studios.
SCI-Arc offers two Master programmes accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The M.Arch 1 programme is a three-year professional Master of Architecture that welcomes students from any undergraduate discipline and provides a strong foundation for the field, as well as a framework for experimentation and critical inquiry.
And the school’s M.Arch 2 programme is a two-year, five-term professional Master of Architecture, aimed at the reappraisal of architecture.
With a core commitment to experimentation and theory, SCI-Arc also encourages undergraduate students to create sophisticated portfolios that will make them highly competitive in the global architectural marketplace.
The school has a reputation for producing individuals who are savvy and ready to become leaders in the future of architecture.
The Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is located at the epicentre of high-density, ultra-rapid urbanism.
Here, commitment to innovation and sustainability empowers forward-looking architects and other urban professionals currently shaping this innovative region.
The go-to Master of Architecture programme is a two-year course that gets to grips with the theoretical culture of architecture and the complexities of contemporary design.
A boundary-pushing educational hub, the faculty provides students with an education that’s so much more than a quick degree; it’s ‘a laboratory in architecture and city building’, shaped by analysing and overcoming the unique challenges found within Hong Kong’s iconic futuristic environment.
Asking fundamental questions about the future, such as, “What does it mean for a building to be environmentally sustainable?” or “How do we measure, analyse and understand the environmental performance of buildings?”, the HKU Faculty of architecture cares about the future of architecture degrees and students.
Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) is a collaboration between the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, combining two schools of architecture with more than 100-years of educational experience to create one of the largest specialised schools of architecture in the UK.
With a progressive curriculum that encompasses areas as diverse as urban design, urban development, ecological and landscape design, and the conservation and management of historic environments, it’s a school suitable for all architectural interests.
Variety, vitality and quality forms the basis of study at MSA, reflected in shining appraisals from professional institutions, the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA), whilst also collecting a variety of external academic awards.
Students also have direct access to the facilities and resources of both universities, including libraries, computer suites, making and media workshops, as well as access to the specialist staff from both universities, who are dedicated to the success and development of their students’ studies.
Motivating students to build a better future, MSA serves learners with a refreshing approach to architecture.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International