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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
21 April 2006


Scottish architectural giant Keppie Design has condemned a leading architecture school after it scrapped two acclaimed courses.

By Will Hurst

Strathclyde University is closing its part 1 Building Design Engineering and part 2 Integrated Building Design courses, which Keppie director Andrew Pinkerton called a unique model of the type of cross-disciplinary working needed in practice.

Students at Strathclyde also voiced their opposition to closing the courses, which combined architecture, structural engineering and environmental engineering in a form that seemed to mirror the recommendations of the government's Egan Review.

The university's architecture department said it had been forced to close the courses for financial reasons, but remained committed to exposing architecture students to other disciplines.

Pinkerton claimed firms like his were desperate to take on students and graduates with the technical knowledge to accompany their conceptual education.

"The different disciplines need to work together," he said. "Building Design Engineering was one of the best rated courses at Strathclyde... the industry recognised that the students coming out were of a higher calibre than other architectural students.

"It is disappointing that a course that recognises the realities of the industry has not got support from the academics."

Fifth-year student Jonathan McQuillan, who studied both courses, called the closures a "real shame" and demanded a re-think.

He added: "I'm the last of a rare breed and I don't think future students will have the opportunity I had."

But Alan Bridges,course director for the Building Design Engineering course, insisted the decision to scrap the courses had not been taken lightly. He said it had resulted from the university's engineering departments closing their undergraduate courses.

"These are courses we would have liked to continue," he said. "But we could not technically support them. We could not afford to carry the total cost of trying to provide that range of [academic] experience."

Bridges added that the university was now providing an undergraduate course called Architectural Engineering, although the course was not Arb accredited.
 

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Strathclyde's Civil Engineering and Architecture departments were almost forced to merge a couple of years ago due to them both running out of money. Over the course of one summer, a lot of inexperienced people found themselves in senior CE positions by default as most of the senior lecturers either quit or were 'cut', and the students suffered as a result.

Strathclyde is like almost every British university nowadays, in that it is being forced to adapt in the climate of tuition and top-up fees, has grand plans for future development, but doesn't have two beans to rub together to fund them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The BDE course was useless anyway. Churning out architectural technitions at best - except with out technical knowledge. For example a studio pproject is to design a B&Q.

I hope this is a positive step forward to creating architects and engineers not a half baked composite.
 

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the BDE course, as a concept is great. the problem i have with it is that the courses, and disciplines in general are taught separately as they each require a long time to learn! if you could always learn to be an engineer and architect commensurately then it would have been done a long time ago.

Jack of all trades and master of none seems to fit quite well...
 

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actually that's what an architect was bingo bango - before the beaux arts tradition of intellectualising architectural practice came and 'streamed' it into its current state . . .
architects of the past WERE also engineers and builders.
 

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yeah, cheers SI. although i will be honest and say i wasnt actually thinking of that when posting, what i mean is the BDE course (of which i am a fan to be honest, at least conceptually) was attempting to put out graduates skilled for todays workplace, responding to the demand by the likes of keppie and all practices for multi disciplined grads. great in theory, and as you say the way it was always done originally. but the actual result wasnt anywhere near the level required. i never really saw any decent scheme from the BDE stream from an architectural design point of view.

perhaps it is telling that i couldnt really crit anything to do with their structure/environment design.....

also, back in the day alot architectural education was vocational wasnt it? im not being cheeky but actually asking. i know that you could often pay an architect to mentor you up until the 60's or so. im glad its not that way anymore.
 

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yeah socceroo, and, even scarier hybrids exist: in the case of the Ottoman Royal Architect Sinan, they were also soldiers! (we're talking 16th century here)

Before his 50 year career as an architect, Sinan spent nerarly thirty as a campaign soldier, working his way up the the Sultan's elite guard before he was apppointed as boss architect/engineer/ceramics chief/urban designer.

Bingo - fair comment - I knew what you meant anyhoo.
 
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