University of Waterloo
School of Architecturehttps://uwaterloo.ca/architecture/
Founded in 1957, Waterloo has come to be recognized as one of the best and most innovative post-secondary institutions in Canada. While its reputation rests on its pioneering of the cooperative form of education and the application of computers in university teaching and research, it is a comprehensive university with six faculties. Situated on a verdant 1,000-acre campus on the north side of the twin cities of Kitchener/Waterloo, the university has grown to be the eighth largest in Canada with an enrollment of 16,000 full and 8,000 part-time students. The area is becoming well known for high-quality design; the region is also gaining a reputation for environmental-and ecosystem-based land use planning. The twin cities have a combined population of 250,000 and are located 100 kilometers west of Toronto. Easily accessible by bus, train, and automobile, Toronto is the focus of much of the design work in the school, the source of part-time instructors and critics, and the site of practice for a great many graduates. Waterloo, however, is not a metropolitan school; students? lives are focused on the academic program and the design studio. At the same time, the school aims to create opportunities in a world far wider than that represented by the glow of the metropolis on the horizon. The School of Architecture is situated in the Faculty of Environmental Studies in a unique grouping with a School of Urban and Regional Planning, a Department of Geography, and a Department of Environment and Resource Studies. The four similarly-sized elements have cooperated to provide students a range of support services of very high-quality, particularly in areas of computing, electronic media, cartography, photography and graphics. The school provides a professional education rooted in humanistic studies. Architecture is conceived as a cultural praxis, and while design, technology, and professional practice are heavily weighted in the curriculum, the unique opportunities presented at Waterloo lie in studies of environment, culture, history and criticism, and their application in design. Each year the school receives over 800 applicants for 60 places in the first-year class; a rigorous admission process involving a portfolio review, interview, and written test is employed in the selection. Because the co-op program requires students to work to receive a degree, the school is obliged to restrict admission to citizens and permanent residents of Canada. Transfer students are occasionally accepted into the second and third years of the program based on academic credentials, portfolio review, interview, and written test.
Undergraduate Philosophy The Waterloo School of Architecture is a professional school dedicated to providing the best possible preparation for a career in architecture. But any simple axiality implied by this statement must quickly be qualified, for while the school is profoundly linked to practice by its aims and by virtue of the co-op program, it is also firmly committed to the proposition that architecture is a cultural praxis, and thus, that in the education of the architect, there must be continuous components of humanistic study, critical discourse, environmental theory, and open and speculative design activity. Crucial as well is wide experience in both traditional and contemporary techniques of visualization. Waterloo would contend that these tools are the most useful in confronting the realities of diminished opportunity in traditional practice and in bringing the skills of the architect to bear in a world much in need of design, but virtually innocent of its value. Graduate Philosophy
Undergraduate Program Waterloo offers a single professional program in architecture consisting of two consecutive undergraduate degrees. The first is a Bachelor of Environmental Studies/pre-professional architecture involving six, four-month semesters of study. It is followed by the Bachelor of Architecture which requires four semesters to complete. Alternating with the academic terms are seven, four-month work terms, of which at least five must be spent in an approved employment situation. Though the program is split, it is, in reality, a continuum. The first degree provides the option for students who do not wish to pursue a career in architecture to receive credit for their very considerable work. The core curriculum in architecture consists of 35 courses of diverse credit weighting. In addition, seven free elective slots must be filled. The program is extremely structured and dominated by academic courses in the lower years. In the upper years, the number and credit value of academic courses decreases and design predominates to the point in the thesis year that design makes up six-sevenths of the total credit. The curriculum is divided into four theme areas or streams: design, culture, ecology, and technology. Design is, by far, the dominant and central activity, a condition reflected in the overall credit load. Technology has the largest number of courses, continues farthest in the core curriculum, and is grouped into sub-themes such as computing, building construction, structures, building services, and practice. Culture, on the other hand, begins with a sequence of four broad and very demanding courses, but after second-year provides a series of options in history, theory, and criticism. This element of the curriculum is unique to Waterloo. Its aim is not simply to put architecture in some historical or cultural context, but to explore themes and forms that are fundamental to all creative work and thought. The ecology stream presents architecture and settlement within the context of natural order, considers the implications of emerging environmental theory and aims to prepare architects to be active in mediating the highly polarized discourse between environment and development. Each of the three academic theme areas bear directly on the design program at both a general and a specific level. At Waterloo, the design studio is carefully laid out in sequence with each term having a predominant theme. After an introduction to architectural design in first-year, students proceed through studios dealing with the domestic condition, architecture and the natural environment, architecture and construction, sustainable urban form, and the urban institution. In the second half of fourth-year, students are presented a series of options, small groups form to work with individual faculty members on specific design or theoretical propositions. In the final year, students undertake an independent design thesis. Group work, research, and case studies are included in all studio programs.
- Community Design