School of Architecture

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Armed with only their sketch books and pens, 17 Bachelor of Architecture students travelled to Singapore and Malaysia for a 17-day fieldtrip led by UQ Architecture Lecturer, Leonie Matthews

Funded by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan, the aim of the trip was to expand students’ knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region.

Building upon work done on the 2016 fieldtrip to George Town, this year’s trip had an expanded itinerary visiting four cities - including Singapore, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur (KL) and George Town – that are historically linked as significant colonial trading posts along the Malacca Straits. The focus of the trip was to develop an understanding of the cultural heritage of these cities and the ongoing challenges of maintaining links to the past.

“The trip far exceeded any expectation I had prior to going over,” said UQ Architecture student Vita Attrill.

“The people were amazing, the food was delicious, the culture was fascinating, as were the buildings - particularly the shophouses. And travelling with 16 peers was definitely an experience in itself and one I learnt a lot from.”

“It is definitely the highlight of my time at UQ so far,” Ms Attrill said.

During the last week of their international travel studio, the students were joined by UQ Architecture Adjunct Professor Kevin Low and Brisbane based architect James Davidson and received the opportunity to display their own work to the local community of Georgetown, Penang during a one-day exhibition.

“This trip provided an invaluable opportunity for students’ to immerse themselves in observing, documenting and analysing aspects of each city,” Lecturer Leonie Matthews said.

“International fieldtrips provide an experiential learning experience that can never be replicated in the classroom and "Lessons from Malaysia" has enriched not only students understanding of other cultures but they have also built strong supportive bonds with each other and created new networks for their future,” Ms Matthews said.

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region. 

Funding is sought annually by UQ School of Architecture and in previous years has provided funding for trips to Penang, Myanmar and Hong Kong.