Transcript for the video: Postgraduate Architecture

Anthony Burke (00:02):

Good evening, everyone. How you doing? My name’s Professor Anthony Burke. I’m the course director for the Master’s of Architecture at UTS and welcome to this postgraduate information evening. We’re going to have about an hour or about 45 minutes to show you some images and have a bit of a chat when you’re ready, about what we do here at the school. But we have a special guest to start things off, which is our Head of School, Professor Deborah Ascher Barnstone, who is here with us and just wants to say a few words of welcome. So, over to Deb just for a moment. Here’s Deb.

Deborah Ascher Barnstone (00:31):

Hi everybody. We’re delighted that you’re joining us this evening. And particularly delighted with your interest in studying at the University of Technology Sydney. What many of you may or may not know is that this is the first and the oldest architecture program in Australia. A thumbs up from my course director. With an incredibly illustrious set of alumni, including people like Glenn Murcutt, Australia’s only Pritzker Prize award winner. We have a very proud heritage and we hope that you’ll find our program as exciting as we do. Over to you, Anthony.

Anthony Burke (01:14):

Thanks, Deb. Thank you very much, Deb. Thanks, Deb. See you later. Yeah, no, as Deb said, we’re a school that has a long tradition. We’ve been a university for 25 years, but before that we were a technical college and the program itself has been established for a very long time, so we’re quite proud of that tradition. Into the show. Just a quick acknowledgement of country. I’m not sure where you are, but I am standing on Cadigal Country, for the people of the Eora Nation, upon whose ancestral lands we’re standing now on for the city campus. And just want to pay respects to elders, past, present, and emerging. The traditional custodians of knowledge in this place.

Anthony Burke (01:56):

If you’re joining us on campus, we’ll be spending a bit, a lot of time actually, thinking hard about what that means to be both indigenous knowledge and here in a place of knowledge and place. It’s something we as architects love to think about. We will be recording the session so stay tuned. Careful what you ask, may be recorded. And if you’ve got questions and so on, just use the Q&A box on the chatline, or the chatline I think, that’s okay. Jess is here to help us out if we get into trouble.

Anthony Burke (02:25):

The UTS Master’s of Architecture. We are a course that currently is about 240 students strong, sitting in a school that is about 1200 students in architecture and a little bit more than that across the three programs in the school which are architecture, landscape architecture, and interior architecture. We as a school, we sit in the Faculty of Design, Architecture, and the Built Environment, which means our colleagues across the whole faculty are in everything from property, economics, to fashion design. Our role in architecture is in the middle of that big spectrum and we’re always delighted to be working across the borders of those discipline areas.

Anthony Burke (03:09):

In particular, we’ve got some amazing fashion designers and we have some incredibly talented and knowledgeable planners, and property economists and so on, which we often engage with. When you come here, if you come here, we hope that you’ll take advantage of that big spread of interest and ideas. In this little slide you’re looking at here, you can see architects is in there with landscape and interiors. And then within architecture itself, we have a couple of different courses.

Anthony Burke (03:36):

The bachelor of design of architecture is the undergraduate degree which leads to the master’s, the one that you’re interested in. Our master’s which is what we’re talking about this evening. We also offer a master’s which is like a … It is, not like. It is a one year research program, independently supervised and so on, and then a PhD, or a doctor of philosophy. That gives you a sense of where we sit, and what you’d be engaging with once you got here.

Anthony Burke (04:00):

The master’s, just to give you a snapshot of the kinds of things we’re doing in the course in general, the overview if you like, our studios are the course of it all. We have 12 credit point studios. That’s double the amount of time that we spend in class for the other subjects that we offer, in the master’s. And every semester we offer something like usually about 10 master’s studios to select from. We’re on the studios and I’ll go into them a little bit later on, but in general we offer vertical studios, which means you could be in fourth or fifth year and you elect to go into a particular studio, it’s a balance system.

Anthony Burke (04:38):

It does have a preferential balloting which means if you’re in your fifth year and your final elective, you have the highest priority. But generally our students are getting their first or second preferences for the types of studios they’re electing to go into. Those studios range right across the board. I’ll go into that a little bit later. The studios are 12 credit points, that means we meet twice a week in the studios. Usually a Tuesday and a Friday. We either have a morning and an afternoon session in both of those, and we have dedicated studio spaces and so on.

Anthony Burke (05:10):

That’s the kind of commitment to the studios, and as I said, that’s really the core of where it all comes together, where you’re activating, demonstrating, and showing your skills, and learning new skills with your peers. To support the studios and the learning in general, we have electives. They’re worth six credit points each. The electives are very broad in nature. We offer somewhere around four electives that are unique each semester, but you can take electives effectively from across the entire university. There’s always something to choose from.

Anthony Burke (05:43):

If you want to go and do say communications in music, you could do an elective in music if you wanted to, while doing the master’s of architecture. Generally our students take an elective which supports their studio work or an interest of theirs in architecture, which is something they’ve wanted to always explore or get used to. You can imagine electives which might be very history theory oriented, or electives which focus on say the tool path coating for the robotic fabrication facility, and anything again, in-between.

Anthony Burke (06:13):

We often do, or when we weren’t in COVID, we would often use electives for traveling studios or for traveling excursions or projects to various places around Australia or even around the world. Those studio trips are to a specific place to meet a certain group of people and so on. The electives are very broad based, and that’s where we really want you to pick the things that are of interest to you. There’s no real necessary sequence in the electives. It’s really a place of exploration for you.

Anthony Burke (06:43):

The studios in the same way actually, because we offer them vertically which means fourth and fifth year students working together, and because they’re electives, what that means is effectively you get to curate the kinds of architectural studios that you do through the four semesters of your master’s degree. You might have an interest, for example, in say more urban scaled architectural topics, so you can effectively curate through your choices studios which delve into those areas and opportunities more than say having to put up with a history theory type of studio that you’re not that interested in.

Anthony Burke (07:19):

Generally there’s enough of a range that people get to dabble a little bit, find out what they’re interested in, and then start to really hone in on the kind of architectural practice or future that they’re imagining for themselves through their studio choices, as their semesters go on. The last series of subjects that we offer in the school, in the master’s, I beg your pardon, is the professional practice subjects.

Anthony Burke (07:47):

They are really important to us. There’s four of those. It’s quite a commitment that we make and this is one of those things which does distinguish us from a lot of other master’s of architecture programs, and that is our commitment to the professional practice and engagement with industry. If I could put it this way, it’s like learning the real brass tax of what it means to be an architect out there working in the world, the kinds of context you’re in. I’ll go into that in a little bit more detail later on, but in general terms, we’re usually offering somewhere between twice as much or three times as much subject content area in the professional practice suite than other universities.

Anthony Burke (08:25):

Again, it’s important for us. We want you to be successful out there in the world. We want you taking your schools from in the university and really doing something with them when you get to practice. How you define your practice is entirely up to you, so we’re not just talking about traditional architectural practice here. We have a very broad interpretation of what that might mean and where you might go with a master’s of architecture degree.

Anthony Burke (08:49):

This is a very, very bare looking example of our master’s studio spaces. Generally we provide computers, we work with the robotic fabrication and the advanced fabrication facility in the basement of our building here on campus in Ultimo. These tools are available for you. Of course, with something like this Cooper robot, you’ve got to have some training. Maybe done an elective in it first, but we definitely want people to be really exploring the potential of these types of things.

Anthony Burke (09:18):

We do have a great computing facility. You’ll never be wanting for software or access. Although, we do find most students, especially post-COVID, have their own situation setup at home. Or bring their laptop with them. And I think it’s probably fair to say three quarters of our work is done through a computer in some way, shape, or form. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t actually far more interested in making a materiality than I think a lot of other places at the moment.

Anthony Burke (09:47):

Don’t be put off, if I put it that way, by too many computers sitting in a row. What we’re really interested in is getting much more hands-on with things. Another one of the spaces, this is a specialist lab we have. And another one, this one’s actually on Harris Street, just next to the ABC building on Harris Street if you’ve been around the area, and this is where we have a great shopfront window to the street, and where people are driving past or walking past can see your work. We often do exhibits in here.

Anthony Burke (10:14):

There are something like 60,000 vehicles passing by this window every day. It’s a very highly visible space for you to exhibit your work in and often get public feedback. In the room right nextdoor is a specialist lab called the IKEA Lab and that’s a relationship we have with the furniture maker, IKEA, and in that lab they often put exhibitions as well, and they have lots of people commenting on, knocking on the windows and so on, really wanting to see what’s going on. So, be careful, you might be on the street, people looking at what you’re doing.

Anthony Burke (10:46):

As I said, we’re not just computationally based in the sense of digital fabrication, all the rest. Really our interest is in material making and the possibilities of that. If you think about architecture as a real material art, something that we’re not just fictionalizing, something that we’re really wanting to build into the future, it’s important for us that we get you and your hands-on to mock-ups, one to one prototyping, those kinds of things, as much as the traditional architectural model making.

Anthony Burke (11:15):

The model making itself, if you’ve ever been to one of our end of year shows, you can see there are some excellent examples of some really very detailed types of finishing models. We spend a lot of time thinking about architecture through study models and all the rest. Again, even though we’re on campus and we’ve got our studio spaces, those spaces get very chopped up very quickly with the active detritus of the studio environment, which revolves around all this material model making and so on. Makes it a nice and interesting space to be in all the time.

Anthony Burke (11:49):

A lot of our making is one to one, so when I say prototyping, that does mean testing ideas, testing new materials, testing new [assemblitures 00:11:58] of bits and pieces of buildings. But we also have a real tradition now of making one to one, doing installations which are full scale installations. And we do that on campus often. As much as we’ve done it and we keep doing it off campus in exhibition context around the city. A big part of what we expect of you and what we’re trying to foster in you as a master of architecture student, is a really though knowledge of and engagement with our local professional practice industry, our discipline as it is out there in the world.

Anthony Burke (12:31):

That means you’ll be instructed in the studios by people who are running practices, who are directors in large practices, directors in small practices, as well as academics and others who are more specialist in their interests and their relationship to the discipline. That also means that when we do work, and we do finish our studios for example, we’re very often presenting our finishing work in architectural studios around the city. We have one right now which is just about to finish up, which is going to be doing their final review at Hayball, which is a great architectural practice in Surry Hills and they are a specialist in education.

Anthony Burke (13:07):

The studio, as you might imagine, it’s been around the schools of the future, and so they’ll be presenting not just to each other and to their professor, but to the entire office of about 40-50 people in that office who’ll be looking at their work and testing them on their ideas and really interrogating them and having a good chat and a good conversation about the work that they’ve done, the provocations that they’re making.

Anthony Burke (13:31):

So, more and more of that seems to be something that is evolving in the studios. Do expect to work with industry and closely with offices around the city, if you’re going to do the master’s with us. Before COVID, seems like there was a world before COVID and a world after COVID, we would often be out onsite doing all sorts of things. And even now we’re still out in New South Wales and rurally, doing studios and being part of community, part of country, working on the land and those sorts of things. It’s important for us to give you one to one experience, as much as one to one making. As much as we can, we want you speaking in front of people like the Department of Education or meeting community out in somewhere like Wilcannia where we had a studio go out this semester.

Anthony Burke (14:19):

They spent four days working with the community out there on the infrastructure and the housing and the facilities and amenities of that very small, rural community, in some pretty dry parts of New South Wales. But working with them to see how architecturally and from an urban planning perspective, we could help them to think about improving their situation, but working with a lot of input from indigenous elders and indigenous communities, and certainly looking for indigenous knowledge, which is fantastic.

Anthony Burke (14:46):

Also, that was a studio that was combined not just architects, but architects with landscape architecture students. So a really rich learning experience and going out onsite, being out on the country, that kind of thing is important to the learning. Being there is as important as the kind of people that you’re working with. There are three types of studios that we offer in the master’s, worth talking about just briefly.

Anthony Burke (15:13):

The first one we call a studio plus model and that is effectively the kind of traditional architectural studio you might be imagining. Yep, you’ll be designing some kind of recognizable, highly developed building proposal or building a proposal for a piece of architecture. And because it’s studio plus, what we do there to support that, but in a deeper sense, we have a consultant working with the lead instructor that is appropriate to that studio. Our lead instructor for a studio might engage a structural engineer or a landscape architect or a horticulturist, or a specialist in sustainable futures or environmentalism and those kinds of things.

Anthony Burke (15:52):

That ties into the topic of the studio, so effectively you’re not just getting your professor talking with you, you’re getting your lead instructor, your professor, working with a consultant from industry, that is engaged specifically around supporting the technical or content area of particular studio topic that you’re working on. In this way, it very much simulates the way that architects work in the world. Of course we’re working across a team. No, architects, despite what you might have read, is a hero. They all are parts of teams and parts of large assemblitures of consultants. Getting used to working in that context is super important. You have to know how to work across the disciplines and work with your consultant specialists.

Anthony Burke (16:34):

And also just understanding how they talk, what are their cultures like? For example, working with say an acoustic engineer, you learn an enormous amount about architecture but you also get to understand how they see the world and how they understand the world they’re working in. The studio plus model is a place where that real industry engagement in a working model, really happens.

Anthony Burke (16:58):

Studio X is another form of studio that we offer. Studio X are the experimental studios. This is where you really throw your ideas way out there. There are no limits on what a studio X studio might offer. It might be, for example, a very politically motivated studio. Something engaging say social justice and equity in the city. It might be a studio which delves into a really specific part of say Australian architectural history and looks to find the lessons in there that are applied to a studio model.

Anthony Burke (17:30):

It might also be a studio that doesn’t end up in a building as much as it ends up in a publication, or a video, or an exhibition at a prominent space somewhere in Sydney or in Australia. We have a couple of academics currently exhibiting as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale, in Venice. That’s a tradition we’ve had for a little while, since 2012 at least. We like to get out there and we like to push the work out there, and studio X is where some of our biggest ideas are really testing the boundaries of what architects do and what they can do.

Anthony Burke (18:00):

And remember, you’re selecting the kinds of studios you want to do as you curate your master’s package in that way of the elective studios and the balloting and so on. You might decide to do two studio Xs and two studio pluses. You might want to do three or four studio plus, in the sense that you get a full, really more traditional architectural, but really deeply integrated technical understanding of architecture.

Anthony Burke (18:26):

The third and final version of the studios that we offer each semester are the interdisciplinary studios, and sometimes we have two, sometimes three of these. And that’s where we’re working with colleagues, say in landscape architecture, or maybe interior architecture or some other discipline that’s across the faculty or even across the university. At the moment we’ve been mostly working with the landscape architects and that’s been hugely interesting, and hugely successful.

Anthony Burke (18:50):

Architects and landscape architects don’t always see eye to eye, but that’s the lesson in it, is how do you work with your colleagues in your aligned disciplines and the built environment? What do they have to teach you about the way that they work and see the world? In that sense, you’re working in these interdisciplinary studios precisely to be in that larger, broader conversation about the built environment, so you can figure out where the architect’s agency really lies and where your interests really intersect with the kinds of topics that we do.

Anthony Burke (19:20):

The electives I mentioned earlier, they’re very broad. This semester, for example, we’ve had electives running in advanced sustainability by one of our adjuncts, Paul [Staller 00:19:34], who’s the director at [Italio 10 00:19:37] which is an architectural specialist firm that does environmental consulting and strategy. Paul has been great working with our students, looking at particular kinds of typological models around surf clubs and community centers, and how they are not just engaging environmental thinking from a technical point of view, so not just the metrics of energy and materials and embodied energy and materials, and those kinds of things, but also even ideas like the resilience that particular design approaches offer to cities and even social sustainability.

Anthony Burke (20:12):

So, what does it mean to try and design a building that really engages with community to keep that community alive, keep the community engaged, and keep that social energy there? Which is so important to community building. One of the other electives we’ve had was on Hannah Arendt, a philosopher, deeply influential philosopher and thinker from the 21st century, who has a lot to say about architecture and its place in the world.

Anthony Burke (20:39):

That was run by a very esteemed Professor Andrew Benjamin, and he is a philosopher. He’s come to architecture 30 years ago in his career, and has always straddled both of those realms. For those of you who like to think through larger, more theoretical types of lenses, something like that is usually on offer. And the third one that I’ll just talk about very briefly was with Smart Design Studios offering William Smart, offering an elective in detailing. And they as a design practice, if you haven’t seen their work, Smart Design Studio, do look them up. They are fantastic architects, beautiful designers, and their attention to detail and material finessing is quite extraordinary.

Anthony Burke (21:25):

We’ve been really fortunate to have them spend a semester with us, really working on a very small chunk of architecture. They focused on the staircase, and spent 12 weeks really detailing and designing through a range of conditions through the staircase, and that vertical movement up and down of building. While that might sound a little bit narrow, what it really does is it hones your eye for the way material specificity and design detailing is a participant in the large concept of architecture. Super important when you’re in practice, of course. You’re designing the building from the top to the bottom. You’ve got to be able to design it one to five as much as you can design it 1 to 500.

Anthony Burke (22:03):

These are the skills that are often overlooked in design studios where the big ideas tend to dominate, the big forms and the big urban spreads. It’s important for us to make sure there’s time spent really focusing on something at a detailed level, yeah? Getting you really thinking very specifically about architecture. We also have visiting studios. We haven’t had as many recently, because of COVID. But we have a tradition and a huge international network which we are still engaged with through Zoom. But we are very much looking forward to having them back on campus with us, and for us being able to go overseas and visit them.

Anthony Burke (22:43):

This semester we’ve had a couple of studios run out of Melbourne. One in particular, if you’ve seen Restoration Australia, Stuart Harrison, the host of Restoration Australia, has been working with a great on an adaptive reuse project, which has been super interesting. We’ve had people like Liam Young from SCI-Arc, we’ve had engagements with people from Barcelona, from the United Kingdom and so on. Fairly regularly, dropping in and doing work with us, either in shorter intensives or in longer semester long studios. We also try and get us out there. Again, it’s a bit hard speaking about this now with COVID being what it is. But certainly we’ve got lots of traveling studios and opportunities for exchanges which I certainly am a huge advocate for taking advantage of while you’re at university.

Anthony Burke (23:32):

If you want to go and do a semester in Berlin, in the United States somewhere perhaps, if you wanted to do something in Singapore, maybe in Indonesia, there are all these possibilities open to you. We’ve got students coming and going quite regularly when the borders are open. Fingers crossed that will happen soon, and we’ll be back into that student exchange without any problems. It’s an interesting kind of conversation right now. Mostly the media is focusing on where our international students are coming from, and when are they going to be arriving? When will they be let back in?

Anthony Burke (24:05):

But for us here, it’s actually the opposite. It’s like when can we get out? When can we get back into the world? How can we start imagining the kind of travel we can do, the kinds of experiences that we can offer with our international studios or our international study tours? I’ve run a couple of study tours, one to Japan, and one to the United States. North America. For a long time actually, and they are really fabulous ways to meet architecture face-to-face in those wonderful countries, and meet practitioners all along the way. Specialists and practitioners that we know now are deep networks of knowledge.

Anthony Burke (24:39):

It’s a very big part, that international perspective is very important for us. It’s as likely, well actually I can’t say this with confidence anymore, I could have three years ago, I’d say it’s as likely you’d be working in your early years as an architect in Singapore as it would be in Sydney. We need to prepare you for that kind of international context where we have a very mobile workforce in many ways.

Anthony Burke (25:05):

To make you comfortable in that kind of context, we’ve literally got to go out and see it and be part of it. That’s still very much part of our thinking, although for obvious reasons, we’re not quite as active in that space right now as we’d like to be. This is just a range of some of the studios that were on offer two semesters ago. Just a quick cut through the kinds of titles that we’re offering. Some of the more theoretical examples here might be The Contemporary, Dirty Talks, Apocalypse Now was a very much environmental oriented studio. The Fire Studio was much more about indigenous knowledge and techniques.

Anthony Burke (25:42):

Super Roof and Super Context, they were really about digital computation and making, and Candalepas Associates, that’s Angelo Candalepas from Candalepas Associates has been teaching this for a little while, and it’s people like that who are coming in regularly now to teach with us and do two or three sessions in a row to spend some time, think through their thoughts with us. The master’s is very much different to the undergraduate degree. The undergraduate degree is about giving you foundational skills, making you comfortable with the general history of architecture, and giving you a really solid foundation.

Anthony Burke (26:17):

The master’s is much less about didactic learning, which is to say it’s much less about, “You will learn this knowledge from us now.” The master’s is generally always started with a question. What happens if architecture does this? What happens if we think of architecture in these terms? What happens if we want to address this context through architecture? What agency do we have to make an impact? We’re always asking a question. That question’s a very open brief, very different to the kinds of undergraduate types of studios you’re probably familiar with where you would often start with typology. This semester we’re designing a library, next semester a school, before that maybe a pavilion, something like that.

Anthony Burke (26:59):

When you see these kinds of titles, these are really provocations about the kinds of research and learning and then thinking through design that we do in the master’s. We also for a thesis subject. It’s not required, it’s for students who are really very independently motivated and capable and want to do their own particular topic. To do this, it’s in the last two semesters of the master’s degree. You do a six credit point elective pre-thesis subject where you explore your research topic and the topic you want to design through, and then your thesis is the following semester where you work with an independent supervisor or one on one with a supervisor.

Anthony Burke (27:43):

And you determine the times that you meet with that supervisor to best advantage for your thesis. It’s very much the model that you’d experience if you were working through a master’s of research or a PhD, where you and that particular supervising academic would determine how to approach the problem, what the methodology should be, and what the kinds of deliverables and outputs would be. We present that in a very academic setting, where you propose your thesis and you defend your thesis, and then a panel of judges will then assess your thesis contribution and your deliverables there and your attitude towards this particular topic.

Anthony Burke (28:20):

We do have that avenue. It’s for students who are as I said, very high achieving students. You’ve really got to be on a high credit distinction average to be considered for one of these types of thesis areas, because there’s a lot of independent learning. And the level of independence or individual interrogation into the design is very much A, self-driven, but also B, much deeper than you might go to in other studios. That’s just the nature of thesis. The questions that you’re asking are very demanding in other ways than what work you do in the normal studios.

Anthony Burke (28:57):

We have like everyone, we have juries and we have critiques, we have days where we show our work, we have end of year shows, we have websites. We have a social media feed. All of the work doesn’t just stay indoors. It really goes out into the world and we invite the world in to meet us in the studios, as often as possible. Be prepared in the midterms, in the final, the pre-finals and so on, to be really talking about your work with people who have never seen it before but which might be specialists from any number of different practices or discipline areas.

Anthony Burke (29:27):

The final review is the big day, of course. And like every school, it’s a very big public moment. We spend the whole day in our finals talking about the work that you’ve done and really giving each product a really good amount of time. And as I said before, for something like say the [inaudible 00:29:44] we’re running this semester, they are reviewing off campus, in the practice’s studios over in Surry Hills but they’re also invite a range of specialists for the education context, as an example, which are coming from the Catholic schools, from the particular advanced learning campuses like Lindfield, from really specialist areas to come and be a part of that highly specialized conversation at this point.

Anthony Burke (30:10):

As students, you’re right in there, right in the center of that conversation, actually driving the conversation which is exactly what we want. A very important day the final review is in that regard. We’ve got landscape studios this semester … Sorry, integrated studios working with people like Bob Carr, the ex Premier, coming to be a reviewer. When you’re talking about parts of the city you’re working on, it’s a really serious proposition to put that in front of a politician like Bob Carr.

Anthony Burke (30:40):

That’s the studio talk. Hopefully it’s given you an idea of the spread. I just want to finish up with the professional practice … Sorry, the professional practice subjects. As I said before, we offer four of those. Research cultures is a … Sorry, is a subject where you’re really exploring what it means to think more deeply as a professional through architecture. That opens you to you different avenues to which research happens throughout our discipline area.

Anthony Burke (31:10):

It involves traditional research methods and techniques, if you were to say be a PhD student. But equally what we’re seeing far more frequently now are individual research units in the bigger practices and even now in some of the smaller practices. A practice like say BVN, they’ve got real research interests in machine or automated fabrication techniques and technologies. They have their own research unit now that does that. We know Cox, for example, have their own computational unit.

Anthony Burke (31:40):

We know others have specialist areas in say environmental design, stewardship, resilience, climate change, those sorts of things. As a researcher, even as a standard traditional sort of architect, the kinds of information you’re being asked to go and find, and the kinds of ways that you’re navigating that space is what that subject is all about. The profession is about meeting different types of practitioners. We have a lecture series that comes from people all around the world. Gerard Reinmuth runs that. He’s the director of Terroir.

Anthony Burke (32:11):

He’s also a professor here with us. And Gerard is able to curate in a very international cast of people talking about the kind of specifics of their particular professional approach to architecture. Big practices, small practices, experimental practices, really niche types of practices around particular topics or areas, and all of that is opened up for discussion with students and lectures in the profession. Advocacy is an important one about us helping you to … I was going to say raise your voice. Find your voice in architecture.

Anthony Burke (32:45):

You know how to speak to a client, or the Lord Mayor, for example. And how in all of those cases, you’re able to find the right way to advocate for the benefits of good design. As a practicing architect, there’s nothing more important to you than your capacity to communicate effectively. Graphically and verbally, to your clients, to the stakeholders, to communities, to all the people involved in this very broad church that we call the discipline. It’s really important that you’re practiced and you’re comfortable in that space. That’s what advocacy is all about.

Anthony Burke (33:19):

And finance and project management is the tin-tax of it all. That’s where we look at contracts, we look at money, we look at how you make a living out of architecture, we look at what kinds of registration requirements there are that you need to tick off to be a registered architect, and we run you through scenarios where you are as the architect are literally doing a facsimile of running through contracts onsite as things go wrong and you need to contact admin, your way through a project, telling the builder what to do and advising the client of their role or the amount of money they have … Excuse me. They have to pay.

Anthony Burke (33:51):

How to handle something like a progress claim, those kinds of things. It’s very much about this is the day-to-day of architecture, and from our point of view if you can’t … For some students this comes as a bit of a surprise really, that we get so deeply into this stuff, but our point of view is you can’t handle that stuff if you’re not ready for it or aware of it. It will just overwhelm you, so you can be the best designer in the world, if you don’t know how to navigate your way through practice, you’re not going to make much architecture and that would be a shame.

Anthony Burke (34:21):

They’re our four professional practice subjects. We talked about electives earlier. We also have things like the public lecture series, guest lecture series in individual studios. We have our workshops downstairs, both traditional workshops and advanced fabrication workshops. And loads and loads of exhibitions that we’ve been doing. Plenty of opportunity to put your work out there in front of a public audience. That brings us to the end of the slideshow and a bit of the look and feel of it all. There’s some Instagram and Facebook references for you there. I just want to show you a quick video to finish off, and then we can break for some questions and answers. (silence)

Anthony Burke (36:35):

Okay. That’s it. Time for some questions and some chat. I guess the best thing … Thank you so much. That’s an amazing introduction. That’s me in a different context. Don’t worry about that. Right. The chat line. If you’ve got any chats or anything, put your questions in the Q&A or you can type it into the chat box. Jess, you can steer us a bit there.

Jess Shelley (37:08):

Wonderful. Thanks, Anthony. I can see a couple of questions coming through the Q&A already. Two great ones there.

Anthony Burke (37:15):

Great. I can-

Jess Shelley (37:16):

[crosstalk 00:37:16]. Perfect. Go for it.

Anthony Burke (37:17):

The first one there, will studios be run in person or online next semester, and 2022? We are very much back on campus. This semester we have a couple of studios, three in fact, which are either fully online or partially online, but we are probably not going to be running any remote online studios next semester if I can help it. It’s so important to us, to get everyone back in person. There might be occasions where that would be something for say a new international student, but really we need everyone back on campus. You should assume that you’ll be back on campus. That’s how we want to go forward into 2022.

Anthony Burke (37:57):

Jessica asks, “How many of the professional practice courses are required?” They are all required. That’s not an option, that’s part of the core. You have to do four studios and the four prof prac subjects as the core, and the electives are then open to you. How many people work part time during the master’s? This is a classic question and I’m going to be honest with you. Probably half or more of the current cohort of master’s students are working one or maybe two days a week.

Anthony Burke (38:32):

The reason I’m being really candid here is actually that’s something that we really want to make you think very, very hard about. The full time load for the master’s program really is the same as a full time week. Our rule is that for every hour of FaceTime, you should be doing at least two hours of your own work on that subject. And to do that, that’ll get you a pass. That will get you through, but it won’t get you a great mark. We don’t want that. We want you to get a great mark.

Anthony Burke (39:05):

In that sense, be prepared for a lot of independent work. This is a full time uni course. So, you can drop your credit load down to 18 credit points or 12 credit points. It just means your traverse through the master’s course is going to take a little bit longer. You’ll be adding a semester here or there to pick up those extra credit points that you’re not ticking off on the way through if you’re doing it full time. We do understand, working is a good experience, we encourage it in the breaks, keeping in touch with practices, doing a gap year, all of that kind of stuff is fully encouraged.

Anthony Burke (39:41):

But we are finding that particularly actually in the undergraduate, not so much master’s, there’s a growing concern that we have that everyone is trying to do too much and not understanding what a full time university course really means, to do well. And the quality of the course is something that we won’t be compromising on, so if you’re finding yourself torn between family, having a reasonable social life, attending university, getting the most out of it, as well as trying to hold down two and a half days a week at an architectural practice in town, you’re probably not thinking straight. I would encourage you to think carefully about how you do that.

Anthony Burke (40:19):

Especially when it gets to around about week five, which is the census date, where you have the last chance to withdraw from a subject. We have people having to make some very mature decisions about the limits on their time and what they can really achieve. It’s a question that I think you need to be just very careful about navigating through yourself. You don’t want to leave yourself with a transcript, an academic transcript that might reflect some good income to pay some rent for a little while. But end up in the pass range, when you can really be having a great transcript that’ll get you around, open doors, put you into good practices if you can focus in a more intelligent way.

Anthony Burke (40:59):

We’re here to help you with those kinds of balancing acts and certainly the student services over in Tower can help you navigate what is the best balance that you can strike. We understand, a lot of us have real life issues to navigate, so rent, food on the table, those kinds of things. They’re real. They’re not going away. But it means that perhaps you can’t do it all. You can’t do maybe it all as quickly as you’d like to. We’re really asking students to take some time and think through that very carefully.

Anthony Burke (41:27):

So, there’s a lot of flexibility in how you then do your course if you want to do it full time, part time at 18 credit points, or part time at 12 credit points. That’s all fine. It’s just make the right decisions, make intelligent decisions, so you’re not hurting yourself either in practice, or hurting yourself through an inappropriate work/life balance at uni.

Anthony Burke (41:50):

This is from [Shirin 00:41:51]. “If someone’s interested to do master’s of research, what’s the pathway?” That’s a different pathway. If you want to do a master’s by research, basically you’re proposing to an academic or to a group of academics, the type of topic that you would like to research. Generally that can be a pathway, I should say, to a PhD. If you’ve just done the undergraduate and you’ve done say three years of architecture and you want to do the master’s of research, the best thing to do is put together your research proposal and start a conversation with one of us here that is aligned to that particular area of interest.

Anthony Burke (42:28):

Find an academic who would be interested in supervising and working with you. That’s the best way to start. It will take probably six months to find that person, to lock it in, and to get going. And depending on your topic, we may or may not have the expertise to help you with that. You want to make sure that you’re in the right school to get the right advice for the right topic that you’re working on. I hope that’s helpful, Shirin.

Anthony Burke (42:55):

Any other questions that anyone wants to shout out or put up on the chat line there? Clearly the presentation was just so comprehensive, you’ve got it all. It’s all very clear. One thing I would say is at the end of the year, we generally have some kind of exhibition and so on. I would always advise people to spend a little bit of time coming and visiting campus before you make a decision about where you want to spend your master’s. All the universities, you’re probably shopping around, all the universities in Sydney offer something slightly different, and you’ve got to find your tribe, so to speak.

Anthony Burke (43:30):

You’ve got to find the place where you feel comfortable, where the kind of culture is the kind of culture that you will thrive in. And in that sense, all the universities are slightly different. It’s really worth spending a bit of time just coming to campus, checking us out, checking out our buildings, checking out some of the students to see what they’re doing. The buildings are public, so you can walk in to the public foyer spaces and so on and really get a sense of what it’s like to be here on campus. Yeah, advise you to spend … It’s a day well spent to go around say the three Sydney unis. Sydney Uni, UNSW, and us, and just get a sense of what’s it like being on campus?

Anthony Burke (44:06):

As you know, we’re a very urban campus. Chinatown’s right there, Central Railway Station is right there, Broadway and Central Park are right there. We’re very much engaged in a very busy part of town, and that’s a very big part of our DNA. That’s a little different at the other universities. It’s not to say it’s better or worse, it’s just different. So you’ve got to find the place that you’re comfortable in, and it’s just good due diligence to go and find the place you want to work in. From someone there, can you go into the research master’s after the coursework master’s?

Anthony Burke (44:35):

Absolutely. We’ve got a lot of students who do that. Students who are thinking that they might want to do a PhD, but aren’t quite sure about that very big commitment, so they finish the coursework and then they do in research, a master’s of research, working with one of the professors they’ve met along the way. And in that sense, you’ve done all the ideas, scoping, and the personnel scoping, so you can really get going very quickly with an M research degree, which is another degree on top of your coursework master’s, if you’d like to.

Anthony Burke (45:08):

We have a few but not many who go straight into the PhD. It’s more likely people go out into practice or out into the world and then come back and do a PhD with us later on or find a PhD supervisor. That’s really part of their experiences. A lot of students who go traveling and so on might end up say doing a PhD in Berlin, for example. Or getting a Byera Hadley Travel Scholarship from the registration board and discovering that they just love Turkey and they want to do say a PhD with a supervisor there, for example.

Anthony Burke (45:37):

All those things are possible, and a PhD and a master’s by research is a very individual pursuit. A bit like a thesis, but a higher level again, than the thesis. And a master’s by research generally speaking, is a written document. But often has drawings, drawing analysis, or even some design and prototyping involved. It’s quite an open brief that you set and you navigate with your supervisor. Just going to have a little bit of a pause there, let you type the next question in. Anyone?

Anthony Burke (46:20):

Any other questions that I can help you with this evening? Don’t be shy. Speak up. Okay. Well, I think Jess, what do you think? If there’s no more questions, I think we’re probably okay.

Jess Shelley (46:53):

Yep. That was a great session. Thank you, Anthony.

Anthony Burke (46:55):

No problem. And folks, we’re going to sign off now, but when we sign off, I think there’s a little survey that you will be asked to do as the session finishes. Is that right, Jess?

Jess Shelley (47:06):

Yeah, that’s right. Just three or four questions if anyone can complete that, that would be fantastic. Thank you.

Anthony Burke (47:11):

Great. Look forward to your feedback everyone and we hope to see you on campus sometime very soon. If you’ve got any questions that we didn’t cover off tonight, just send me an email and I’ll do my best to answer it or point you in the right direction if I can’t answer it, or it should go somewhere else. But door’s open, so make sure you come and talk to us. With that, I’ll say thanks very much and have a great evening. See you later.