Message from the Director
As the newly appointed Director of the School of Architecture since the beginning of 2014, I have constantly been asked to identify my ambitions for the School and our students. In a nutshell, for the School: 1. building more bridges with the profession; 2. integrating design with research; and 3. thought leadership in our field. And for our students: 1. core competence; 2. critical thinking, and 3. creative leadership.
In particular, I see core competence and critical thinking as the twin pillars that support and sustain creativity and leadership among our present and future graduates, who are not merely being trained to join the ranks of the current profession, but being educated to be able to adapt to the inevitable changes that will be encountered during their careers in a future, largely unknown profession, as well as to define and formulate that new profession with leadership.
To this end, the current activities of architectural research in our School have been identified and organized into distinct Design Research Units, in order to integrate research and teaching, as well as provide more meaningful content to our design studio projects. The pre-professional BSSc (AS) programme continues to go from strength to strength, commencing with a thoughtfully formulated foundation studio, and followed sequentially by studios that introduce design projects of increasing scale and complexity until culminating in a comprehensive design studio that serves as a capstone to these undergraduate architectural studies.
It is expected that the professional M.Arch. degree programme will be shaped even more significantly by the introduction of Design Research Units in order to bring more pedagogical direction into the M1 and M2 design studios, with the aim of sharpening critical thinking and building up core competencies to the extent where students are better able to explore and resolve architectural issues independently and in-depth, and to design their projects both comprehensively in scope and detailed in execution.
Together with the teaching postgraduate programmes (MSc in Architectural Conservation and Design; Sustainable and Environmental Design; and Urban Design) as well as research postgraduate programme (leading to MPhil and PhD degrees), this more purposeful alignment and integration of design and research in all programmes will enrich the exploration and advancement of knowledge in concentrated areas, as well as to enable more lasting contributions to our built environment via projects or policies.
Looking forward, I hope that all students and graduates will embrace these changes and challenges in both your academic education and professional careers as you develop your own core competency and critical thinking with continual discoveries that will lead you eventually to creativity and leadership in our design professions.
Prof. Nelson Chen, FAIA FRIBA FHKIA
Professor of Practice in Architecture
Director, School of Architecture
The Chinese University of Hong Kong