“We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us.” – Winston Churchill
With the impending threat of global warming, the oft-repeated warning of overpopulation, and the ever-increasing distance put between mankind and the natural world, it’s hardly a surprise that the business of construction lies in an era of radical change. With Raconteur reporting that the global construction market is forecast to grow by more than 70 percent between now and 2025, universities and building companies alike are helping pave the way to safe, sustainable construction, while qualified pioneers and leaders of the field look for innovative ways to build cities that will meet the demands of an environmentally-conscious society.
The Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde – a leading technological university set in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city – was formally-established in 1967, but the institution’s initial teachings in architectural disciplines date as far back as the late 1800s. As one of the oldest and most influential Schools of its kind in the entire UK region, the Department has earned a global reputation of excellence, and resonates Strathclyde’s ethos for being the “place of useful learning”.
“Our vision is to continue to be one of the world-leading providers of education and research in sustainable architecture and urban design while contributing effectively to global society and to the welfare of the country,” says Professor Ashraf Salama, Head of Strathclyde’s Architecture Department. “Such a vision is articulated in a mission that attempts to reflect the trans-disciplinary nature of architecture as a profession and as an academic discipline.”
Operating at the intersection of art and design, culture and technology, engineering and society in both global and local contexts, the Department’s teachings seek to address environmental and societal issues currently facing the built environment, also placing substantial emphasis on the opportunities those challenges create.
Through various pedagogical approaches and a rich catalogue of specialised courses that currently rank eighth in the UK, Strathclyde’s Department of Architecture strives to:
- Create an enabling environment conducive to critical inquiry and reflective design practice;
- Excel in design studio teaching and delivery of instruction while promoting a culture of scholarship and life-long learning;
- Explore and disseminate knowledge through scholarly architectural and urban design research and exemplary creative design production;
- Advance and apply professional knowledge and expertise through effective international partnerships and service to the profession and society at large.
“The study of architecture at Strathclyde utilises the University’s location in the heart of an aspiring and continuously growing city,” says Dr David Grierson, Deputy Head of the Department. “Glasgow, being one of the thriving cities in the UK, surrounded by distinct landscape with cosmopolitan outlook, offers a unique hinterland with a richness in its built environment, and thus provides a unique opportunity for learning about architecture and urbanism.”
This strong, design-led, cosmopolitan profession yields a select pool of talented mentors who are committed to student learning. These full-time, professionally qualified staff, professional engineers and a multi-generational collection of part-time experts offer integrated course delivery, enabling a wealth of practice-based and trans-disciplinary design research to develop over time. Here, students are genuinely passionate about the diverse course material, allowing their professional capabilities to flourish in line with intellectual growth.
“…Many of the issues explored in design projects as well as in our taught classes manifest a continuous commitment to the positive development of the city, its professional and cultural institutions and its local communities,” Dr Grierson adds. “This enables instructive and constructive discourse that crosses the boundaries between academia, society and the profession. This is not all; it is coupled with our global reach where our students have the opportunity to engage with pressing issues of concern to the world community.”
All of this, paired with the institution’s current and continuing efforts to build on their Professional Development course Portfolio (CPDs), is how Strathclyde helps hone the next generation of influential academics, architects and designers who continue to evolve the global construction industry, shaping a bigger, brighter and much more sustainable world enriched with thought-provoking innovation, determination, and consideration for the wider world.
“Under the area of Sustainability & the Built Environment, our research is leading the way to a more sustainable future in response to government, industry and societal needs, with research clusters in the fields of: architectural design & conservation, innovation in creative & construction industries, construction law, and sustainable design & technology. And under the area of Urbanism & Global Cities we are at the forefront of research on how people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world with expertise manifest in research clusters that include architecture & urbanism of the global south, cultural & historical studies, and urban design.” Professor Salama concludes.
“Our aim at Strathclyde is to produce graduates who are global professionals, suitably prepared to meet the complex demands of architecture and urbanism in the 21st century through innovative, research-informed building design appropriate for tomorrow’s responsive cities.”
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