Welcome to the November edition of the UQ School of Architecture Alumni e-newsletter. The past few months have been a very busy and exciting time in the School, with numerous developments including new staff: we have welcomed Dr Manu P. Sobti, an urban historian and specialist in Islamic architecture, who has joined us from the School of Architecture & Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA. We have also been joined by Dr Frederico Fialho Leandro Alves Teixeira, who holds a Doctorate in Architectural Design from Istanbul Technical University, and whose research interests include digital and design experimentation through the use of multimedia. Fred also has extensive architectural practice experience, having worked for Zaha Hadid Architects amongst others. We have also had a number of distinguished visiting scholars and guest lecturers, including Andong Lu and Marc Treib.
A feature of teaching in this School this year has been the opportunity for students to travel as part of their studies. We know that students value these experiences enormously – in fact they are often the chance of a lifetime, an intense but illuminating glance into another place and culture through a structured educational programme, undertaken with peers and friends. This year we had students travel to Hong Kong and Penang, and next year we plan even more journeys – to Myanmar, the Pearl River Delta, Santa Monica, and Chandigahr, amongst other locations. The School has been both fortunate and strategic in securing Commonwealth government support, through competitive grant funding, for some of these trips.
At the time of writing, we are almost at the end of the teaching year, having recently completed Crit Week. This is always a highlight of the semester, with the design studios from both the Bachelors and Masters degrees consolidated into a week long programme of presentations, lectures, and social events. This semester our special guest critic was Andrew Maynard, who travelled from Melbourne for the occasion, and gave a lively guest lecture as well as participating in many of the crit sessions. Andrew was a generous and insightful critic, and it was a pleasure to host him. At the end of each year we also invite an external moderator, who helps us to benchmark our marking against the standard of other architecture schools nationally. This year that role was taken by Dr Rachel Hirst, of the University of South Australia, who offered valuable feedback as we continue to improve and build our design teaching and studio culture. Having completed Crit Week, all eyes now turn to the end of year exhibition – eMbARCH, which will open on Friday 25 November, please join us!
This month we thanked and farewelled our outgoing Advisory Board, who have provided excellent advice and support over the past three years. We are planning some changes in how the Board is managed from next year onward, so please watch this space.
In closing, don’t forget to donate to our campaign to fund our Social Outreach Studio – which will be a design studio focused on socially-aware projects and those which assist the less fortunate in our society. We are almost half way to raising the funds needed for our first studio, so please support this worthy initiative!