Architecture for the disadvantaged and displaced will take centre stage in an innovative new Master of Architecture at UNSW aimed at tackling some of modern society’s major humanitarian challenges.
The degree will offer four significant directions, including humanitarian architecture, housing, urban conditions, and high performance architecture, which focuses on sustainability and technology and will link up with the Co-operative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living based at UNSW.
The humanitarian architecture stream will be spearheaded by international disaster risk-reduction expert Professor David Sanderson, the inaugural Judith Neilson Chair in Architecture.
Established earlier this year with a $10 million endowment from philanthropist and White Rabbit Gallery founder Judith Neilson, the Chair aims to lead research and education in architecture for disadvantaged and displaced people globally.
UNSW Dean of Built Environment, Professor Alec Tzannes AM, described the new Masters as “architecture with substance, addressing the big issues facing the world”.
“Too often we think of great architecture and design only in terms of aesthetics. Great architects are usually feted for expensive, visually stunning landmarks that transform skylines, not lives,” said Professor Tzannes.
Too often we think of great architecture and design only in terms of aesthetics. Great architects are usually feted for expensive, visually stunning landmarks that transform skylines, not lives.
“Our graduates from the humanitarian architecture stream will have the skills to design affordable and sustainable housing for communities displaced by natural disasters, conflict or economic hardship. Blending creativity with technical knowledge, they will deliver architecture that addresses a more sustainable, liveable and equitable urban future,” he said.
The holder of the new Anita Lawrence Chair in High Performance Architecture, Professor Mattheos Santamouris, will bring his international expertise in sustainability, technology and low energy building materials to the high performance architecture stream.
Rounding out the UNSW Architecture team are some of Australia’s leading architectural thinkers, including Seidler Chair in the Practice of Architecture and Pritzker Prize Laureate Glenn Murcutt and award-winning UNSW alumni and Professors of Practice Ken Maher and Richard Johnson.
The faculty’s dual undergraduate degree with Shanghai’s Tongji University offers Bachelor in Architectural Studies students a testamur from each institution opening up greater opportunities for a career in either China or Australia.
Director of Architecture, Professor Xing Ruan, said UNSW’s architectural education has always had a distinctive character.
“Ethics and aesthetics have always been intertwined, and indeed, inseparable in our Architecture curriculum. The new Master of Architecture promises to be one of the most engaging and inspiring programs for future leaders of the profession,” said Professor Ruan.