Homelessness. Climate change. Self-driving cars. These are just some of the 21st century challenges architects are facing today. But these issues also represent some of the most exciting areas for the built environment industry.
Architects have a responsibility to create sustainable solutions for these challenges, including creating quality eco-friendly spaces in overpopulated cities.
They are increasingly required to be specialists in their field, equipped with multidisciplinary skills to tackle global challenges and maintain social responsibility.
The introduction and implementation of new technologies like big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) will also lead to more smart cities – known as ‘cities of the future’ – which will soon be a major influence in the architectural field.
According to Architect Magazine, “Clients have also become interested in the data generated by the buildings. As previously mentioned, everything from thermostats to doors is being connected to the Internet so it can broadcast its use.
“At last year’s Venice Biennale, the exhibition’s director Rem Koolhaas, Hon. FAIA, predicted that every architectural element is about to associate itself with data-driven technology.”
As a result, universities are giving graduates a head start on tackling 21st century challenges in the future with cutting-edge research projects, playing a crucial role in influencing the future of the field and the cities we live in.
Here are some leading Architectural schools and departments around the world that are developing architects who will mould the future of architecture.
At this New Zealand university, the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) and Bachelor of Building Science (BBSc) programmes grant students with the perfect launchpad to build a career in these exciting fields.
For those already working in the profession and want to deepen their understanding of a particular aspect of architecture, they can go for the Master of Architecture (MArch).
The MArch programme allows students to delve deeper into the history and theory of architecture, developing their critical thinking and discussion skills with in-depth study into their area of interest.
There are plenty of resources and facilities to support learners through their academic journey. First year students share a large studio, used to complete coursework, projects and assignments.
Students in years two to four have their own large architecture or design studio space with separate, discipline-specific studio spaces, furnished with modelling tables, lockers and storage, CAD/Design computers and adjustable ergonomic chairs.
Students also get the chance to learn from individual and group research projects led by faculty who are industry experts.
The campus is situated near Cuba Street, providing a vibrant backdrop that allows creativity to flow.
The Faculty of Architecture at UHK is committed to educating students, offering a vibrant culture of service, scholarship and invention.
Located in the urban centre of Hong Kong, programmes here are embedded with a multidisciplinary curriculum emphasizing technology, history and culture.
Architecture students gain broad knowledge and skills in the management of the environmental, social and aesthetic challenges of contemporary architectural practice.
Preparing students for work in both international and local communities, the Faculty offers plenty of opportunities for design workshops, international exchanges and study travel.
Students of the Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies are taught how to master software and technology currently being used in the architectural profession.
Through hands-on learning, students develop the process of design from conception to representation to presentation.
At RMIT university in Australia, architecture is focused on design, and students are taught how to explore innovative practices in an environment that promotes project-based research, critical debate and rigorous enquiry.
The Bachelor of Architectural Design helps students take their first step towards becoming an architect, developing their understanding of the field and providing them with a varied set of skills and learning experiences.
Students focus on learning the core skills required of an architect and architectural designer, developing a broad understanding of design and communication skills.
They also learn from internationally-recognised and award-winning architects, alongside visiting national and international experts, consultants and specialists, enhancing their student experience.
RMIT Architecture students gain real-world understanding with industry-linked projects that help them become innovative architects.
They also benefit from learning in a hands-on environment where they develop their drawing, 2D and 3D design skills in state-of-the-art designs studios.
At QUT in Australia, the Bachelor of Design (Architecture) programme is globally recognised for its emphasis on innovation and sustainability.
Students undertake architectural design projects in studio settings, learning to create environments with positive impacts on human health, environmental quality, social relationships and urban systems.
They also study sustainable systems using advanced digital design tools to equip them as forward-thinking architects who can keep up with future trends.
Throughout their degree, students are engaged in architectural design projects with a practical edge, encouraging them to think logically and creatively about how buildings are constructed and function.
They also broaden their perspectives and develop global mindsets through real-world field trips, international study tours and student exchange with partners all over the world including Italy, Canada, France, China, Hungary, Colombia, Mexico, USA, UK and more.
Through their innovative approaches to architectural education, these universities are paving the way for progressive architects who will play important roles in future built environments.
*Some if the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International