Subject focus: Built Environment programmes in Australia and New Zealand

 The University of AdelaideThis month's subject focus look at built environment programmes.  At Australian and New Zealand universities this subject area encompasses a wide range of programmes in architecture, building and construction. It includes programmes that look to design, build and manage beautiful, useful and efficient buildings and their environments.

You can choose to undertake professional training in disciplines including architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, construction project management, property development, and surveying. Courses are also available in areas such as urban development and design, urban policy and strategy, urban planning, building science, and sustainable development.

Studying architecture in Australia or New Zealand can give a new perspective to your studies - architecture is heavily influenced by the culture and environment in which it is set - and the structure of training is the same as that in the UK. After completing a degree in Australia or New Zealand, you can take an Architect's Registration Board (ARB) equivalency exam, enabling you to transport your qualification back to the UK. You can find out more about gaining your professional accreditation here.

Architecture, Building and Construction

Bachelor of Architectural Design at the University of Adelaide

The School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Adelaide delivers a three-year undergraduate Bachelor of Architectural Design programme that leads to the two year professional graduate degree of Master of Architecture. The School offers a Design Internship Programme at the postgraduate level that provides an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience and to apply the knowledge and skills related to their studies in a work place setting.

The structure of the degree provides students with a broad knowledge base that allows them to specialise in architecture, landscape architecture, planning and planning (urban design) at postgraduate level. The undergraduate programme is structured to enable students to choose a final career specialisation after they have completed the Bachelor of Architectural Design. 

Students will find themselves involved in practical aspects of the programme, such as designing, making models, visiting building sites, landscapes, gardens and exhibitions, absorbing aspects of the society in which people live and formulating proposals for improving the environment.

The majority of teaching activities are based around the design studios, where topics are developed and discussed with studio leaders. These studio sessions are supplemented by courses in various other topics such as representation, construction, environment and history and theory.

Representation introduces students to the latest computer and hand-based drawing techniques. Construction uses specialist equipment for modelling and experimentation and the Environment course includes issues of ecology. History and theory engages with the traditions of the discipline to consider frameworks for contemporary design.

The School provides an immersive and interactive learning environment that provides both high-level theoretical knowledge as well as practical hands on experience. Our staff are dedicated to providing our students with an exceptional experience: they constantly seek out new opportunities for travel and practical work experience; provide students the chance to hear from and meet world renowned design professionals; and embed their own cutting edge research into the curriculum; while also reflecting the advancement of knowledge and current thinking in the discipline.

As a Bachelor of Architectural Design student there is an opportunity to travel both overseas and interstate as part of this programme thereby allowing students to learn valuable design techniques from other cultures.

Features of the student experience:

  • Continuous cohort. Architecture students tend to go through their five-year programme with the same cohort, which allows students to really get to know their classmates and build a network while they’re still at university.
  • Project based assessment. All assessment is project based, and there are no formal exams in this degree.
  • Mix of academic and industry teachers. Theory and research is the basis of any discipline, and practical experience is equally as important. The School engage both leading academics and practising industry professionals to guide students through their learning.

In 2013 the School completed a major addition to the facilities, investing over one million dollars in new equipment to enhance the student's experience. The School provides 24-hour access for students to the CAAD Studio and state-of-the-art model making laboratory, which is among one of the best equipped architectural design labs at any university in Australia.

While many students love to painstakingly build multi-dimensional models by hand, the technologically advanced model making laboratory includes the latest prototyping equipment that students can use to create incredibly detailed models for their projects. The lab includes:

  • Two laser cutters to create precise scale models that accurately represent topography, elevation and space. Students can design realistic models using a variety of materials including wood, plastic, glass, stone and more.
  • Two 3D scanners/digitisers that enable students to turn physical objects into digital 3D models that can then be printed in different mediums.
  • One 3D printer that enables students to create realistic models from computer inputs.
  • Nine foam cutters that create models from digital designs and precision cut them out of large pieces of styrofoam.

Getting the chance to create professionally finished models gives students the experience using the tools they will encounter throughout their career.

The School has two Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD) studios that feature industry-standard computational design technologies and the high-end computer software needed to prepare designers for the digital era. These are for the exclusive use of students studying an Architecture and Built Environment degree, so they won't need to compete with other students for access to the computers.

Our students are taught by a number of staff within the School who have been assessed as World Standard by the Australian Government Excellence in Research Australia rankings. Our Staff are happy to discuss any ideas that encourage students to engage with the Bachelor of Architectural Design and the broad range of careers it can lead to. This could include:

  • Hosting school visits and interactive activities on campus.
  • Visiting your school to deliver talks in line with the curriculum.
  • Extending the invitation to staff and students to our regular student exhibitions and Speaker Series events.
  • Attending School career fairs or information sessions.

Zi Shin Low completed Bachelor of Design Studies (renamed to Bachelor of Architectural Design) and is currently enrolled in the Master of Architecture/Master of Landscape Architecture

"Pursuing my architecture degree at the University of Adelaide has been a great journey of both self-discovery and learning. The combined efforts from dedicated teaching staff and school academics created a well-rounded curriculum that covers the broad fundamentals of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design knowledge."

Programme Details

Duration: Three years

Start: Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (June)

Tuition Fees: A$27,500 per year

Entry Requirements: You will need to show a portfolio of your design work

Master of Architecture at UNSW Australia

The UNSW Master of Architecture degree provides a professional education in the practice and theory of architecture. It is designed to deliver an architectural education appropriate to contemporary multidisciplinary professional practice.

The program provides students with advanced knowledge and techniques in architectural design and related technical and academic knowledge. It also allows students to tailor their studies towards specific interests through the large range of elective offerings they may take within the Faculty.

At UNSW Built Environment we develop global leaders in architecture, planning and construction. Connecting world-class knowledge with leading practice, the Master of Architecture will equip you for an outstanding career.

Professional Accreditation

Once you attain your Master of Architecture degree you will have professional recognition from the NSW Architects Registration Board and Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA). You will be eligible, after a recognised period working in a professional setting, to undertake the Professional Practice exam to become a registered Architect. Find out more about transferring your qualification back to the UK.

Specialisation streams

The UNSW Master of Architecture is distinctive. We offer a comprehensive architectural education with four areas of specialisation: 

  • High performance architecture
  • Housing
  • Urban conditions 
  • Social agency

Students can also elect to complete the programme without a specialisation.

Achieve design excellence 

You will gain advanced knowledge and techniques in architectural design, allowing you to cultivate approaches to achieve creative ideas and design excellence. You will have the opportunity to actively integrate your theory, technology and elective course studies into design studio projects.   

The design studio is central to the curriculum of many of the Australian School of Architecture and Design. You will have access to a purpose-built, natural light filled studio spaces located in the Red Centre, Old Main and Square House buildings. These studios act as core spaces for the design courses across the various disciplines where you will explore your creativity.

You will be encouraged to actively integrate theory, technology and elective course studies into design studio projects, which will advance your disciplinary depth and understanding of the complexity in architecture, and the broader disciplines within the built environment field. You will gain this through assessments within the program courses that acknowledge these qualities through the extensive use of individual and group work initiated and developed projects. 

Learn from the best

The UNSW Master of Architecture is regarded as one of the most prestigious architecture programmes in Australia, taught by internationally recognised academics, renowned adjunct professors and award-winning visiting architects, ensuring you learn from the leaders in the fields of teaching, research and innovative practice. The programme fosters a broad vision and a considered understanding of the socio-cultural and economic contexts which influence the making of architecture.

UNSW Built Environment is led by renowned and multi award-winning architect, Dean Professor Alec Tzannes AM. We are the only faculty in Australia with an international Pritzker Prize winner (regarded as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in architecture) Professor Glenn Murcutt, UNSW Alumnus, on our teaching staff. The academic staff are active researchers, scholars and practitioners who have strong knowledge across all aspects of architecture – design, technical skills, computing and history. 

As a graduate you will be acknowledged for your high level of employability and excellent career pathways recognised through national and international professional development.

Programme Details

Duration: 2 years

Start: Semester 1 (February) or Semester 2 (July)

Tuition Fees: A$78,210 (Approximate total fees for students starting in 2016 (subject to change))

Entry requirements: 6 months industry experience, and a strong portfolio of design work