This is the transcript for the video Architecture & Landscape Architecture

Okay, everybody. We will get started. Just before we lunch into the main body of the presentation, I just want to let you know that the session today will be recorded. Any questions that you contribute to the discussion, there will be a record of those kept within the recording and the recording might be used for future open day purposes. I’d also like to, before we commence, acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation upon whose ancestral lands our city campus stands. And I’d also like to pay respects to the elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for the land on which UTS sits.

As I said earlier, if you do have any questions at any point during the presentation, please post these into the Q&A function which you will find located in the Zoom menu. Please just post any questions and we’ll come to those at the end of the presentation when there’ll be ample time to address any further questions that you might have about the school of architecture. I’m going to start the presentation and then I’m shortly going to be joined by my colleague, Dave Pigram.

My name is Rhys Williams and I am a lecturer in landscape architecture at UTS. And as well as teaching in landscape architecture, I also teach into architecture at a first year level. And David Pigram is located within the architecture program, but also teaches across into the landscape program. And collectively we have responsibility for the first year program across both courses. So we’ll be talking both to architecture and to landscape architecture for the purposes of today’s school of architecture presentation.

We do actually have free disciplines within the school at UTS. We are one of the few schools within Australia that has the benefit of having landscape architecture, architecture, but also interior architecture, which joined the school from the school of design last year. And there is a separate presentation from interior architecture where you can gain more information about that particular discipline and what it has to offer. But I think it’s important to stress that there’s lots of opportunity for experiencing all three of the disciplines within the school structure both through options within the course programs and particularly through electives where you have the opportunity to experience things which might sit conventionally outside of the remit of the major that you’ve chosen, the lead discipline that you’re studying within. But as I said, today we’re just going to be talking to landscape architecture and interior architecture.

For those of you who might not know, UTS is located within the city of Sydney. We’re very fortunate to have a city campus that is located very close to Darling Harbor and also a short walk from there into the CBD. By being located within the city, it allows us to take advantage of a whole range of networks that ensure that as a student of landscape architecture or architecture at UTS, you are connected to a range of practitioners who bring their expertise to bear on the studio teaching throughout both of the courses. And these are practitioners that are leading in their fields. They are undertaking work within an Australian but also a global and international context.

And so for us as well as really celebrating the fact that we have a city campus and that we have these amazing facilities located at UTS within the Ultimo, we think one of the most defining things about us is the teaching staff. We have both the sessional community that we draw on from across Sydney and beyond, but also importantly the faculty that we have at UTS. And so I just want to talk a little bit, to start with, about that faculty because these are the people as a student in landscape architecture or architecture, you’re going to be engaging with daily. And these are people that are going to connect you to your chosen discipline. And it’s important that these are people that are producing work which is seen to be at the highest standard, both within Australia but internationally as well. We have staff that have a really important standing within the international sphere, both for landscaping and for architecture.

And so just to give you a sense of what the faculty is doing and who they are, Gerard Reinmuth is one of our professors at UTS and he spends his time both between teaching at UTS within architecture, particularly in the masters of architecture, and producing projects both here within Australia and overseas, in this case for a project in Sweden and in close at home, as I said in Australia. He recently won a very prestigious award. His practice won a very prestigious award for the design of the Penguin Parade Visitor Center which some of you might’ve visited prior to the construction of this project. And so, yeah, we’re very lucky to have Gerald as somebody who connects academia scholarship research, the kind of experimental and hypothetical work that happens within the university and the physical construction that he undertakes through his practice which is called TERROIR.

We’re also joined by Urtzi Grau. Urtzi Grau comes from a background in the Northern hemisphere studying in Spain and in North America on the East coast of the US. This is a couple of years ago now, but he was shortlisted along with his collaborators in Fake Industries, his practice, as one of the shortlisted competitors for the design of a new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki. This was a particularly interesting project because it had to do with not only the extreme pressures that are associated with managing the design of an architectural space that allow for the exhibiting of an incredibly important and priceless collection of artworks, but at the same time dealing with the climatic extremes that you do get up in Finland in Helsinki, very close to the Arctic Circle.

So there was a really interesting tension there between the interior and the exterior conditions that were explored through this proposal for designing an incredibly adaptable plan for housing a collection of the Guggenheim’s work in Helsinki. Building from that project, unfortunately the Guggenheim Urtiz’s scheme wasn’t built, but he’s currently constructing a project in Milan, the Lorenteggio Library in Milan, and that is a project that’s currently underway. And again, many of the thematics that we see explored within the Guggenheim work have been developed upon further and are now being actualized or realized within the case of this project in Milan. So again, this is a member of faculty who is actively teaching and informing the strategic direction of the school here at UTS but also building at the same time and get constructing works around the world.

As well as building works of architecture and landscape architecture, we also have people contributing to more experimental spheres, working within the spaces of curation and publishing. And so we’ve had members of our faculty both exhibit but also curate pavilions at the Venice Biennale. And more recently in Milan last year at the Triennale di Milano. We were very lucky to have a number of members of faculty exhibit work that looked at ways that we could better nurture, protect, and celebrate the very fragile environment at the Great Barrier Reef located up near Cairns. And this was an installation work that was based around a video work that provided a voice for many of the fragile species that are subject to the impacts of climate change currently. Obviously both within the Australian context, but much further a field. And this is a work that won a best in show award for the Milan Triennale and hopefully it will be an exhibit that comes eventually back to Australia.

We also have members of faculty who are working in other spaces. For example, working specifically with technologies and technologies that help designers analyze the landscapes, the conditions within which they design. For example, James Melsom, who joined us a couple of years ago from a role initially at Etihad, which is a very important institution in Zurich. Working with the landscape program there, but also into the architectural program as well. He’s really interested in the ways that we can use advanced technologies to document and analyze our understanding of the world around us and what we understand to be the growing or increasing complexity of the world and our relations to it.

And so he works a lot with drones, with LiDAR scanners in order to produce incredibly precise and rich data that can then inform the ways in which we choose to design, where we choose to intervene, how we choose to intervene. And in many cases providing a rationale actually for projects in their own right. And James provides various opportunities both to the architecture program, but also to the landscape program for students to begin to develop fluency working with these technologies. And we think that makes a UTS graduate within either of the disciplines incredibly attractive to future employees because these are typically technologies that a practice would need to bring a consultant in in order to incorporate into their working methods. But if we can support our students in actually developing those skillsets themselves, then they can become really valuable members of a team that can actually lead the future direction of practices within Australia and further a field.

This is some of the work of Dave Pigram who’s also along with me, one of the leaders of the first year program. Dave works in a similar area to James working with new technologies, but particularly in the area of computational design and robotics and with a particular emphasis on materials and structure. And so he’s worked on a host of projects here in Australia, but also overseas at the scale of individual houses, at the scale of one-to-one mockups that test technologies, test approaches to construction and structure as well as working with our advanced fabrication lab at UTS where through the studio teaching he does, he gets to experiment with ways in which robots can be used far more extensively in the production of architecture.

And myself as a landscape architect, I’m particularly interested in ideas of change in landscape. Landscape is a really fascinating medium and a phenomenon that is incredibly dynamic and always subject to change often in ways that are quite dramatic. And so a lot of my research focuses on how we document that change within built works in order to develop a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of what landscapes do once they’ve built. And so I’ve spent quite a bit of time around Europe looking at various projects that really challenge the ways in which we think about landscapes, how they’re constructed, what they look like. And perhaps most importantly, what they actually do, how they function as landscapes. And our systems that incorporate a wide range of phenomenon: human, non-human, geologic, hydrologic and so on and so forth. And a lot of that work that I do is documented through further photography that I produce.

Before we go into the specific details of the courses that you’re looking to study in, it’s probably really important to bring attention to the idea of the studio as a starting point, and it’s also important to acknowledge as well obviously this year has been far from a normal experience for any of us. But I do want to stress that we are moving slowly back to normality, we will hope, and that sees us beginning to make a return to face-to-face teaching across our courses at UTS within the school of architecture. It’s important for me to let you know that there’s been a wide range of facilities that have remained open at UTS in accordance with all of the rules and regulations that have been in place.

And so students have had access to the advanced application labs, the workshops, the computer labs and for a large period of time during how time teaching remotely, the library has also been accessible. And now we’re moving to returning to face-to-face teaching in a way that’s safe and realistic and where we’re starting to see students back on campus much more fully, and we hope that you’ll have the opportunity to experience the studio environment if you come and join us next year. The studio is a really important part of architectural education. It’s a place and it’s a particular type of space. It’s a big room, typically a big room with lots of tables, lots of space where you can pin up your work, where you can make a lot of mess, where you can be really creative and produce things that exceed the physical limits of a piece of paper or what you might be able to do in your desk, in your bedroom back home.

It’s also a process. It’s a way of working. It’s an exploratory process where failure is as important as success. You probably learn much more through the things you do wrong or the mistakes you make or the kind of the dead ends that you end up at. And so it’s a space of experimentation and working iteratively where you build up a body of work where each piece of subsequent work builds upon the previous material. And it’s also a culture. It’s about a way of working. It’s often collaborative and it really relies on everybody being involved and sharing their perspectives on the work they’re doing and on the work of others. And so talking about the work, discussing the work between students, but between students and faculty, is a really critical part of the studio experience.

And so as I’ve said already, working collaboratively is a really important part of the studio environment. And from the get go in first year within your first studio, you will be working collaboratively with other students in order to produce collective outcomes. And that’s a far more, I can tell you, that’s a far more enriching and fulfilling experience than working in isolation at home kind of at your desk. And through that process of experimenting and collaborating with other people, you will learn a great deal more than you would studying in isolation.

Studios are also about making. And so, as I said, you’re not just going to be limited to developing ideas and communicating your ideas on paper, but also working physically with a range of different materials. In some instances at scales that are quite big that might take up an entire room, that will fill up an entire studio bay. And so these are some photographs of some models that were made last year by students in the first year course through a process of casting, so working with plaster and concrete, in order to construct a 3-Dimensional description of a range of different architectural conditions that they had observed around the city. So this is a miniature description of something that’s been experienced and observed full-scale within the environment of Sydney.

And also, when we can, we really like to get out of the studio. A really, really important event for our first years is the annual studio camp. Unfortunately because of events, we weren’t able to run this in 2020. But in 2019, we had an incredible experience taking near on 200 students to Glenworth Valley, just North of Sydney, and conducted a project or initiated a project onsite looking at the ways in which we use drawing and process of observation to understand the landscape and the built environment around us.

And then obviously James joined us as well when his drones. So we were very fortunate to get some amazing footage of ourselves within the field. But that’s been a really important experience, I think, a really formative experience in both the experience of the courses. It provides an opportunity to develop methods that are relevant to both landscape and to architecture, but also really important experience of getting to know the people that you’re going to be studying with for the next four to five years. This is a big investment of time and, yeah, some of the most important people beyond the faculty members are going to be the students that are sharing the experience of studying.

I’m going to pass out… Hi, Dave. I’m going to pass you over to Dave now who’s just going to give you some additional information about the overall overarching structure of the architecture stream within the school of architecture.

So you can see here, it’s got a course map. There are four kind of key elements. The main one then you can see on the left with double sized red bars. That’s what we call 12 credit points that you can just simply imagine that as two days per week or two sessions per week in a design studio, and that takes up literally half of the assessment and half of the credit time for the entire degree for the full five [inaudible] our technical areas. So that might be construction, environmental control, thermal control, acoustics, systems and services. So those are the things that then plug in and help reinforce the knowledge and the design exercises which we’re doing in studio.

You can see in the back end of the degree, the second semester, or sorry, the final year of the undergrad, year three, and then in the masters, that we get electives come in. Those electives can be within the faculty. Some of them are offered by the school of architecture and they can also be taken across the university. So in other faculties in other schools. And then you can see in the back end in the masters, the dark red color, that’s what we call the professional practice streams. That’s where we learn how architects operate within the city, how the city is shaped. Introduced to the notion that your own design practice, so design of that practice, is the most important design project of your career. And looking at ways that we can advocate for positive change within the city and the larger community.

And for landscape architecture, the cost structure is slightly different. Like architecture, we are a professionally accredited degree, accredited by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Our cost structure is divided into a four year honors degree. And then with the option, depending on performance at the end of the fourth year, the option to continue to do a one year masters. So the option to complete and to exit as a master of landscape architecture within five years, but also with the option to depart at the end of year four and practice as a landscape architect.

In order to align us with the other courses in school of architecture, we share the 12 credit studio point loading. And then you’ll see there there’s a range of landscape-specific subjects in the way of history theory, a range of technology subjects that include things like botany, infrastructure and landscape construction, and then a series of electives where you get the opportunity to do things that maybe sit outside of the conventional balance of landscape or if you’re an architect, sit outside the bounds of perhaps the conventional bounds of architecture. And so these electives are really important here in terms of perhaps both developing a sense of a specialization. There might be things that you really want to focus your attention on within those elective units, or as a means of just experimenting widely to see what else is available to you as avenues for practice.

So choice is a very important part, not only in the elective but also within the master studio streams. What’s shown here on screen is one of the ballot day presentations. At the beginning of every semester, it’s marked by a major event where all of the people offering master’s studios, both from landscape and architecture, stand up and describe the way they’re going to approach the semester, whether they’re going to be working in groups, what type of projects, what things that are important to them, what kind of knowledge and techniques that we’re building and drink on. And then students get to literally vote for ballot and put in their preferences. And we make sure that everyone gets for sure in their top three is typical or top four is basically guaranteed, and the vast majority get their first choice.

So it’s an important moment and it marks the start for everyone to return from break. It’s incredibly exciting with everyone debating who they think will be the best for them. There’s a couple of strategies. Some people try to go all in for diversity and do four radically different studios. One of the great things about being quite a large school is that we have between 12 and 14, or even up to 16 studios on offer each semester; some of which take combining landscape and architecture students explicitly, others which landscape and architect students might choose to take something that’s offered by a faculty from the other area. But anything from large scale urban questions, small scale fabrication questions, radically ecological questions that involve new forms of modeling with all kinds of unusual materials, and anything from heritage to theory-based exploration.

So really an incredibly wide range and we’re seeing here some of the outcomes in the final reviews where we bring in people from overseas, or even from just say no circumstances. And in fact, under COVID circumstances, even more people from overseas are participating in the juries since they’re online and it’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s somewhere between an exhibition and a performance. So all of the work is up on show and really get to see incredibly wide range of things going on, even from things like making it one-to-one in the robotics lab.

So as Dave mentioned, there’s a strong emphasis at UTS on international connections, both in terms of students going out into the world, but also bringing practitioners and researchers who are incredibly esteemed in their fields, in their specializations, bringing them to UTS, whether that’s in-person or as we’ve been doing more recently, online, and teaching into the program in a really kind of focused and precise manner. Opening up their world of practice to what we do here at UTS.

And some of the types of experiences that might be offered to you that involve going beyond Sydney, the precursor to the Milan exhibition that I showed to you earlier was a series of field trips that involved students traveling to the Great Barrier Reef meeting with a range of different stakeholders who are engaged both in industries on land and in the conservation of the Great Barrier at sea trying to understand the complexities that play in this environment. Myself, I’ve taken students a number of times to Europe to look at contemporary works of landscape architecture. And most recently last year, traveling to Switzerland to look at the relationship between photography and landscape architecture, visiting a range of high profile projects, but also institutions, galleries, museums throughout Switzerland.

There’s been an annual trip to to Japan. And I think the way that this particular trip is structured provides a good indication of how many of these international experiences play out. Here on the left you can see the architect that designed this amazing kindergarten that you see here on the right. So students had the opportunity both to visit the project itself, but also to meet with the designer and his team in his office. He’s very kind of compact. Obviously in Tokyo it’s incredibly a dense place. And to actually see the drawings, all of the working materials that were produced in order to arrive at this incredible work of architecture that’s actually won many awards.

And then also traveling to India to look at a range of seminar works of architecture, in this case by Le Corbusier. And again, paralleling the annual trip to Japan an annual survey field trip to the USA, visiting projects realized throughout the course of the 20th and the start of the 21st century. So these experiences are incredibly important and they enrich the work then that’s done in the studio when students return.

As an alternative to traveling as a group, there are also a series of opportunities to the individuals. In this space, the Danish Exchange sponsored by MADE by the Opera House. As we’ve had students go to Denmark, we’ve also received a number of students to Denmark. The exchange goes in both ways, so we both host and send out exchange students to various places in the world; but Europe, America, and the UK in particular. There are many options. On top of sending specific students, we love to receive other academics and practitioners from around the world and they’re sent here giving part of our weekly lecture series. And also in this case, involved in delivering a master class. Often during the summer, we’ll do a two week intensive as an elective and it’s very often local faculty teaching in collaboration with international designers and researchers.

Oh, sorry. That’s all right. I wasn’t expecting it to be there, but I will continue. So what we’re going to do now is we’re going to go in to talk about the specifics of the courses that you’re looking to study. As I’ve said already, landscape architecture is a four-year degree, an honors degree with the option of a one-year masters the fifth year or the other alternative is to do a one-year research masters for those students who might be looking to pursue more scholarly opportunities and possibly a position within academia following the completion of their undergraduate studies.

Landscape architecture is an incredibly expensive and rich domain of activity. Since the creation of landscape architecture as a profession late in the 19th century, landscape architects have taken a really pivotal role in shaping the relationship that humans have to the natural world. And typically that started off being done in fairly explicit ways. For example, for the construction of parks like Central Park in New York, which I’m sure some of you may have visited. But increasingly as our understanding of the world becomes more complex and the issues that we face as communities become ever more extreme and challenging, what constitutes a landscape project is really up the question.

And so this is really marked by what we understand to be our movement as a civilization into the idea of the Anthropocene. So we exist now on a planet where no part of the planet is left untouched by human influence. There are no wild pristine areas that are beyond the impacts of the ways in which we’ve chosen to live, particularly since the industrial revolution. So questions about how we actually begin to adapt to living in those circumstances, but also the really important questions about how we are going to shape a much more sustainable and ethical future of the things that landscape architects are now focusing on. And in order to do that, that means we need to be working far beyond the limits of what we might think of as a conventional park and looking in a much more systemic and expansive way about what is a landscape project.

And so there are many landscape architects who are looking at an international or a kind of planetary scale at the ways in which what we do, for example with our forests, for example, in Australia, has an effect on larger climatic patterns; how we feed the world, how migration occurs for the bird species for example. So, there’s incredible scope there to work on incredibly exciting projects that extend across our borders and have real world impact.

And students are addressing these issues by working with a range of new technologies. I talked to you earlier about the work of James Melsom. And so students are learning how to work with things like LiDAR material, with drones, with things like GIS, global information systems, so they harness the increasing body of data that we have about the world and our abilities to model the complexities to produce designs that have proven effects.

And just to give you here a few examples of the types of projects that are coming out of this approach to thinking about landscape. As a result of changing climate, we’re seeing nonhuman species moving into areas that they wouldn’t normally exist. So for example, here’s some polar bears who have found their way a little bit further South than they would normally be found in the course of kind of spring season. So landscape architects are working actively to think about ways that we can accommodate those movements of species. And so this is an example here of animal bridges that were constructed by landscape architects in Canada to help deal with the interface between human and nonhuman species. In this case, at the junction of a highway. What happens when animals start appearing in places they don’t normally exist? How do animals and nonhuman species exist together where they haven’t previously?

Thinking about food. Food is a real issue at the moment. How are we going to feed a growing population? How are we going to address food quality and food shortages? And so, some of the projects that our students are doing currently is plugging into some of this broader research that’s being done internationally and thinking about the ways in which Sydney might start to reimagine its landscapes in order to provide more of its food on its doorstep, rather than bringing stuff in from overseas and elsewhere in Australia.

We’re also dealing with re-imagining landscapes that are understood to have seen out their lifespan, to have expired as a result often of extractive processes. So thinking about ways that, for example, mining sites can be re-imagined as ecologically rich and diverse environments where people actually want to go; want to run, walk and explore, and they no longer consider those landscapes that are off limits.

And it’s also dealing with ideas about our coastal landscapes. And so the ways in which we re-imagine our lives on the shoreline. In this case, Dave has been doing some really interesting work across both architecture and landscape architecture in collaboration with practitioners and researchers from Switzerland to think about the ways that we might begin to use robotics and machinery to restructure that is [inaudible 00:36:14]. And so this was a really successful elective that ran over the summer session with students from multiple years developing approaches to working with robotics in relation to aquatic systems.

And in terms of graduate destinations, I’m pleased to say that our students have continued to be incredibly attractive to employers, both within Sydney and far abroad field. We have a very high rate of graduate employment. And it’s also very typical to find students who are studying spending a day to two days a week in practice. For example, this is a student, Jeremy Chivas, he’s actually now working for McGregor Coxall. He does two days a week in practice and then spends the rest of the time working on his master’s thesis. And that’s given him the opportunity to work on the projects of the likes of the Parramatta City River Strategy. Again, taking some of the experience from the studios he’s done at UTS to think about ways that we could inhabit the rivage of Parramatta, reconnecting people to a water body that’s long been disconnected from the city. I’ll push over to Dave who is going to talk about architecture.

Fantastic. Thanks, Rhys. Architecture is structured around two part degree program. So the first three years you receive a bachelor of design in architecture. That gives some students an opportunity to exit. If they decide that they don’t want to proceed to be a professional architect, then you get to leave with a degree and it gives you opportunity to take other paths that are related to the types of design thinking, special practices and advocacies that we learn and actually generally applicable skills in the first three years. Unless you choose to continue, which is the vast majority, then there’s two more years studying the master of architecture, and that then makes you eligible to proceed into the architect’s registration process. You do need to do all five years to be then eligible to continue towards registration.

Architecture is involved in envisaging the way that we live, and especially the ways that we lived together. Similar to landscape, we take a systemic and expansive view of the field and its implications and we try to understand the [inaudible] environments contribution to issues such as equity, sustainability, and the construction of culture. At UTS, we believe fundamentally in the vision of the architect as a public intellectual and as an important advocate to positive change. In order to be able to do that, to have a wide ranging view of alternate possible futures, then from the ground up, from first year we’re really involved in developing external methods of thinking.

So ways in which we can externalize our thinking process, use different drawing methods. In this case, time-based registration of the activity of eating a meal. Other times it might be physical model making. Casting, we’ve seen already. We’re very involved in other forms of augmented forms of vision, whether it be virtual reality or augmented reality. Of course, we spend a lot of our lives inside of the 3D environments of modeling software and each one of those tools and techniques adds away to all of those prior existing techniques which allows us to think differently. So whether it be a charcoal drawing or an algorithm coded in Python, each one of them brings new possibilities, new ways of staying.

Of course, all of them have blind spots. And so it’s incredibly important that we continually add to that repertoire of thinking techniques and representational techniques, communication techniques, so that we’re not stuck with any of those blind spots. And we know that none of those tools are naive. None of them are entirely innocent. Each of them has biases. And so we need to make sure that we become experts in not only how to use them, but when and why and what each of those techniques is best for.

So we learned very quickly that most of our models involve a fairly high amount of abstraction. You won’t see models that look like train sets with green grass and little baby sheep and these sorts of things. The methods of abstraction, which is about the removal of information, is about ensuring that we see the things that are most important. It’s a key fundamental tool in our repertoire is this abstraction, this removal of unnecessary information in order to focus on the key aspects.

Not only do we learn how to use all of these techniques, but we get very excited about showing off what we can do with them. We invite the world to come and see. So this is an exhibition set up in Central Park. Very interesting development by John Nouvel and others. Norman Foster across the road from our campus. We were lucky enough to take over one of the spaces between tenants and to have a large public exhibition. We do this often when [inaudible] shut down whole streets and brought in food box and had 8,000 people in Kenzie Delaine before it became what we know of it now. So we’re agents of change and we’re occupants of the city. We don’t just imagine it and close doors in our studios, or at the moment now. Using rooms and bedrooms where we really want to get our ideas out there.

And as I mentioned, the kind of black bars in our schedule, we reinforce all of that creativity with the solid knowledge of systems of structures, of acoustics, of thermal and of environment so we know well both the impact of what we’re doing and the ways in which we need to coordinate in order to make things work. And we fundamentally believe that by taking all of those challenges very seriously by becoming experts in each of those aspects in their interaction, that our projects become better and more unique and we are less constrained by pragmatics as far being experts.

So similar to landscape architects, our architects often start to work often during the masters. Then people are doing, as Rhys says, one day a week or two days a week in a practice or they’re using their summers in order to do longer forms of work experience. And that puts them in a great position, both because of our explicit connections to industry with people we have coming in and teaching or sitting on reviews and also because of our connections internationally. So this is Kimberley Merlino. She received a scholarship which allowed her to go and do an internship at Gehry Partners in New York.

And then she took that experience and her success in the degree back here to Australia and she’s been working for Tzannes Associates who recently won the gold medal, the Lifetime Achievement Award in Architecture, a Sydney practitioner, and is most recently producing this in its companion project, the largest timber office building today in Australia. We are looking at how we can take a material that’s been quite long used in Europe. Recently, the Australian Building Code changed and especially the fire code. And now we’re able to build larger buildings in timber, which is fantastic. It has about one third the embodied energy of equivalent concrete building. So fantastic that our graduates are actually involved in this important transformations.

Cool. We’ve now got an opportunity to answer some specific questions. There’s one thing that’s immediately come to mind that maybe I should clarify. But really I don’t know, there is a question about hours per week. In terms of the… The courses are full-time and the studios, to give you an example, a 12 credit point studio is two days a week. And that includes lectures, typically on both days in the past. That’s how we’ve run it. And then a free hour, a tutorial session where you meet in groups normally averaging around about 20 students and work with a tutor in order to develop your design work. And obviously then you have the supplementary subjects other times through the week.

Obviously we understand that people do need to maintain some form of employment while studying. But we strongly advise against, probably working more than kind of two days a week has a negative impact on your ability to keep up with what is a relatively higher workload. So yeah, just make sure you’re thinking about that when looking at the course and thinking about how you’re going to probably adapt your existing patterns to fit in with the timetable demands.

Related to that, there’s a question about what’s the workload like when combining a degree in architecture with a bachelor of creative innovation? So fundamentally the landscape architecture is really architecture degree. And even when you’re doing a double degree, it’s a full-time program of study. That means you need to allow roughly 40 hours a week. And those people who are doing really well, potentially doing more than that. We do know that you’re working as recess to earn an income. So that means that people are kind of dedicating seven days towards the combination of study and work, and probably don’t have as much of a weekend as they might like in the breaks.

When you’re doing the bachelor of creative intelligence and innovation, that dual degree, a lot of the… So the winter break and the summer break is dedicated towards them picking up that study, and that’s how you’re able to get a double degree without taking the length of two degrees on top of each other. So that means that when other people are either taking a break or getting some extra work or going into internships, then you’re doing the bachelor of creative intelligence and innovation.

I should say anyone who does that thinks it’s fantastic. They’re really talking incredibly highly of the combination and they’re very high performing students. It’s quite competitive to get in. And I should also say it’s not necessarily in the sense that you’re absolutely trying to become a fully accredited professional in both landscape or architecture irrespective of whether you do that double degree or not. It’s really adding alternate ways of thinking and a different skillset.

In terms of assumed knowledge for both courses, I’ll talk about it, Dave talked about it, but in the case of landscape architecture, we have people come from a wide variety of backgrounds. However, there are some recommended areas of study: visual arts, design and technology, geography, earth, and environmental sciences. Those are things that we suggest would be useful to have a grounding in if you’re thinking about entering into landscape architecture. The first year, I didn’t mention this previously but the first year, particularly the first semester when you have a number of joint courses between architecture and landscape architecture, we deliver a foundational curriculum that provides a bedrock then for subsequent discipline-specific study throughout the remainder of your degree.

And during that time, you will acquire a whole range of skills that you won’t have the opportunity to develop beforehand. But also if you’re not familiar with things like drawing or photography or making physical models, then there is an opportunity for you to develop those skillsets or begin to develop them from the first semester onwards. However, there is the opportunity to have some experience in visual arts and design technology. That’s always, we feel in landscape, a benefit just because it means you have a fluency when it comes to expressing your ideas, not just in written form but also visually and possibly even in three dimensions.

There’s a question, does combining architecture with BCII leave enough time to do an internship to work your experience in the holidays? There are actually internships that are part of the BCII and that then become credited to your degree. There’s a couple of rules around that. There needs to be a company that’s involved in innovation. I’ve actually, to be honest, hosted one of those students in my own practice. So yes, that does happen and it’s kind of formalized. In a sense, it’s true that they do a reasonably good job of filling up your time. You do still get shorter breaks but there are internships as part of their program.

Another question is, can you choose electives in the undergraduate degree or only the postgraduate? So speaking for architecture, and this will fill in for landscape, in architecture in an undergraduate degree in the second half of third year, there are two electives. So within that full three years, there are two electives. And then in the masters you get an elective every semester. So four electives. That makes seven in total for the degree. Somewhat similar for landscape for outreach.

Yeah. So yeah, you do an elective in second year, another one in third year, and then there are two within the fourth year, the honors year, the final year of the undergraduate degree. Typically, and this is design project as well, the electives are a centrally curated program that are led by one of our faculty member, Endriana Audisho. And those are electives, very rarely now they’re electives that are solely pitched to one discipline. So there’s an opportunity there to study alongside students, both from interior and also from, yeah, interior architecture. [inaudible] for those electives. And then they’re typically multi-year cohorts within each of those subjects and they run during the main teaching session. So spring and autumn and then also during the summer break as well. A lot of people like to do the summer elective in order to give themselves more time for the studio and so on within the main semesters.

Will you learn aspects of landscape architecture when studying architecture and vice versa? Yeah, absolutely. Yes. So the first reason for that is that the first studio is common. So it’s a fundamental studio that Rhys and I run for both landscape and architecture students. On top of that, then as Rhys just explained, there are electives that might be run by either of the faculty members and guests from outside that might typically relate to that discipline, but that are open to people from other disciplines, including also from interior architecture. And finally there are master studios that sometimes explicitly combine, they really aim for half architects and half landscape architects.

There’s a fantastic one this semester run by Penny Allan and James Melsom who are looking at the bushfire in a specific community on the South coast of New South Wales with an indigenous involvement. And there are other more general master studios where you can just choose to go in. And that question might be more aligned with kind of landscape topics or architectural topics. So there’s many, many ways that you can try to have a foot in both fields if you are unsure of which field to go into, or if you just think that you’ll be, and I believe this is absolutely true, that you’ll be a better architect if you know more about landscape architecture and hopefully vice versa.

Maybe that’s a good point on which just to talk to the question of, it’s something that always comes up around the question of transfer. At the end of first year, the ability to maybe move into a major that you didn’t identify it at the outset. There are very limited opportunities to do that. It’s still a highly competitive process the options to try to move across between disciplines at the end of first year. And so we do strongly advise you to do as much research as possible. Myself and Dave as well as other members of the faculty are available to you if you have discipline-specific questions. And so we ask you to make an informed decision at the outset of first year and then continue when you have chosen a discipline path for the course of your degree.

There is a joint master’s degree that is in formulation that won’t be out for a number of years yet but that will allow you, upon completing the main bulk of your undergraduate study, to then do a double masters that allows you to exit both accredited as a landscape architect and an architect. But that currently isn’t on offer but hopefully will be in a couple of years time.

So it might be just in time for you guys.


There’s a question, what percentage of people move on to do the master’s in architecture? I don’t have the hard numbers on that, but it’s somewhere between 60 and 80%. And the ones who don’t necessarily move from ours, they may go to another university. We certainly accept a lot of people from other universities who decide that UTS is the place to be. So for sure the majority.

Do many students take the combined architecture and BCII option? Not so many. It’s very competitive. Not that the general architecture degree is not already very competitive. So typically we probably have somewhere between one and five students of any year that is doing a double degree.

There is a question in the chat about credit recognition. You may have done prior study which will allow you to be exempt from certain subjects within your chosen degree. That’s something that you’ll need to talk to the admissions team about. There’s a special process for applying for that recognition. And there are a range of sessions running through the course of the day where you can talk to somebody from the admissions team to clarify that process.

Great. What are the employment prospects like for architecture? I guess you mean graduates at present. I won’t answer that for right now because it’s not relevant to you, but in a typical situation, a non-COVID situation, then again the vast majority of students are able to get jobs in architecture within, well, if I say within a few months, it’s probably actually because people like to take a break and do some travel or something after five years of studying. So it’s not that they’re searching madly for three months and then finally get something. It’s that they take some time off and then engage. So if you make it all the way through to the end of the master’s degree, especially if you do well, then you don’t have an issue getting a job both here and internationally.

Yeah. And Dave, this point is a really important one both for landscape and for architecture that we’re not designing graduates to address kind of the immediate needs. We’re looking off to say, what are going to be the issues in five years, six years time? What are going to be the challenges that our graduates are going to need to address? And so I think when thinking about graduate employment, you need to be looking further ahead than 2021 because circumstances are obviously going to be very different as we’ve seen how quickly things can change over the course of this year.

So yeah, we take that very seriously. We’re trying to help you to become malleable, malleable is not the right word, adaptable intellectuals that are capable of not only responding to changes in discipline, but hopefully actively driving them. So trying to create your own place in the world and shape the discipline in a way that you need to be able to then in turn shape the city, the environment and culture in ways that you think you can make your best contribution.

So we’re really definitely trying. We take very serious the idea that we’re trying to give you an education for lifelong prosperity, and that we hope that involves lifelong learning, but that we’re not trying to give you exactly the skills that profession thinks you need right now today because in five years it will already be different and certainly by the time you are midway through your career or towards the end of your career, any of the explicit skills that you will have learned will not be directly in practice except perhaps drawing and general model making. But the more general skills of being adaptive, of knowing how to make iterative design processes, of being able to explain complex ideas and to envisage many possibilities within a given set of constraints and opportunities, those are the things that you’ll take with you for your whole career. And AutoCAD may not exist by then. Perhaps we have, it’s almost out already.

There an interior architecture question, Dave, that you’ve got.

How similar is interior architecture and architecture? It’s a very good question because for many reasons we have a very similar core set of skills. The difference is simply scale and focus. But having said that, architects will do very small scale, very detailed projects and in practice will take on that kind of work. Similarly interior architects, while the focus is on interiors of existing buildings, then it’s not unusual for an interior architect to design a house or design a shop or some other building. So there’s a large amount of overlap, both in the skills and in the application.

But it’s probably worth thinking about it as if, are you more interested in taking an existing envelope and crafting that environment to be incredibly specific and having that as the full proposition that you would take to your clients, say, “This is what I’m an expert in,” or are you more interested in saying, “I want to be the one who from the ground up imagines the entire building,” and perhaps works with an interior architect or perhaps, depending on the commission, might do the interiors work themselves. But they’re excellent degrees. But really it’s about your interests. What is it that you… how would you like to practice in the future?

I mean, that should be for all of the three. We’re very privileged in the sense that the three disciplines in the school are all extremely excellent. So that should absolutely not be a choice made on any perception of quality that the degrees and the faculty are amazing. The students that we produce are amazing. You should be picking based on what your interest is only.

Are there any other questions? We’ll give it a couple more minutes if you’ve got something to put into the Q&A box or to your repertoire-

I should also just remind you while you’re thinking, given that there’s been a couple of questions about the BCII, there is a chat today between 10:00, or 10:00 is already gone, but it goes till 2:00 PM. So if you want to know more, you can join that chat. Details would have been in the general program for open week.

Any other questions? No.

Great. Still 12 of you there. Some of them signing off. Yep. If you’ve got your questions answered, then you’re free to go. If you’re madly thinking of a question, perhaps just write wait into the chat and we will indeed wait for you then to write the question out in full. As you’re signing off, thanks very much for attending. We look forward to meeting you in whichever of the disciplines you choose next year. And thank you for the thank you Mr. Anonymous, or Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous attendee.

All right. I’m going to stop sharing. Thanks everybody.