We shape our buildings;
thereafter they shape us.
Welcome to the Department of Architecture at Tshwane University of Technology. We wish you a pleasant and productive time preparing yourself for your chosen career in architecture. In this Department, both students and staff, are a very close knit family, who enjoy and support each other in this exciting teaching and learning process. Studying architecture is one of the most rewarding and creative processes which you are likely to ever experience and we are sure that in years to come you will think fondly back to your time spent here. That is of course, if you put in a responsible effort and take your studies seriously.
There will be many new architectural terminology and concepts which you will learn during the next few years. Below are a few to start off.
Crit / Formative Assessment
A critical evaluation of your work done by either your lecturer or your peers (your fellow students, usually your equals) in order to assess your work and ensure that you are on the right track.
Communal workspace where practical assignments are done.
A studio which accommodates 1st to final year students.
A studio which accommodates students from a single year group.
Your lecturer offering practical subjects which are offered in the studio, namely Architectural Design and Contract Documentation.
Your own personal workplace in the studio.
The Department offers courses in architecture that have been approved and accredited or registered by the :
– CHE [Council for Higher Education]
– SAQA [South African Quality Authority]
– SACAP [ South African Council for the Architectural Profession]
– CAA [ Commonwealth Association for Architects]
The fact that the SACAP has accredited the courses implies that once you have completed either your Bachelors or Masters qualification, you are allowed to register automatically as either a candidate Senior Technologist or a candidate Architect with the SACAP.
This Council is the statutory body regulating the profession in South Africa. According to the Architectural Professions Act only registered persons may practice the profession.
Didactic model: teaching techniques
All subjects in the program are compulsory. There are no elective subjects. All subjects are taught by means of formal lectures, workshops and assignments. Students learn by self study, research, and executing assignments. The crit [discussion / evaluation] sessions, especially in subjects like design and contract documentation, constitute the main interaction between studio master [ lecturer ] and student. Occasionally selected modules are presented by students or student groups. In these instances the research and lecture that is presented is evaluated as an assignment and the material is sometimes used as teaching material after the necessary editing by the staff member.
Teaching and learning materials
Models and drawings
You need to buy all material required for drawing and model building yourself. We do provide a model building room where you can make use of the machinery and hand tools. As from 2009 we have been the proud owners of a laser cutter. This makes model building much easier once you have mastered the CAD or graphic software. You have to provide the material you need for cutting. We will attempt to find material at bulk or cost price which makes it cheaper for you to buy. There is a fee for laser cutting, but the rates that we charge are substantially lower than what is offered commercially as we subsidize this from the laboratory fees.
Plots and prints
We have in-house A0 wide format plotters & scanners for all your plotting requirements. Pricing for prints are advertised at the printing lab located in building 11. A FUNDI card system will be used for payment of the prints and scans, more information will be advertised in the labs and studios.
The Department hands out limited notes or internally printed study material. The only study material to be used in your studies are prescribed text books. Architecture books are used as reference material for the rest of your professional career and should therefore be regarded as an investment.
Second hand books, which are obviously the best and cheapest option, are often available from students who have cancelled their studies. The offers are pinned up on the general notice board. We only prescribe books that are available, i.e. in print, and should therefore be obtainable at most academic book stores. Unfortunately not all book dealers are willing to keep enough architecture books on their shelves for fear of surplus stock.
Bursaries, achievement awards and the Dean’s list
Bursaries and financial support are available. Consult the General Rules document of the university.
First-year bursaries which are subsidized by the Department’s School fund are available, the better your results at school the higher the financial assistance.
The SACAP awards very lucrative bursaries to students in need, who have excelled academically at school. You will be informed by the first year guidance lecturer when to apply for these bursaries, usually in late February.
Students who pass all the subjects of a year within the minimum period with an average of 70% are placed on the Deans list.
A monetary reward will be transferred to the students account. The value of this award will depend on the funds available in the school fund.
The university also awards performance bursaries for which you have to apply. Consult the General rules and information pamphlet in this regard.
Full-time Master’s degree students are awarded substantial bursaries, but with certain conditions. There are also very lucrative scarce skills bursaries available from the NRF.
How to deal with complaints and unhappiness:
Tertiary students are mature individuals who determine their own progress and development and should, therefore, be very critical about the learning and teaching environment in which they find themselves.
It is then only natural that any problem which might arise should be resolved by means of interactive communication.
A hierarchy of communication has been set up to resolve the issues that might occur. Problems in the classroom can only really be resolved by the students and the lecturer because they are both at the core of the problem and know what the issues are. Each year group has a student representative to speak and act on behalf of the group and has representation on the Architectural student body and represents the group at the Departmental meetings.
If a problem cannot be amicably resolved with the lecturer then the mentoring lecturer for the year group must be approached. Thereafter the protocol to follow is the Head of Department [Prof Jacques Laubscher], The Dean of the Faculty [Prof Ben van Wyk], the Deputy Vice-Chancellor [Prof Lourens van Staden] and finally the Ombudsman for academic matters.
A central part of architectural education is the design studio, in which you learn by doing, i.e. through experience by executing the design of projects. This kind of learning is demanding and you are expected to be committed and work independently and responsibly toward self set goals.
The studio provides a space where each student has a place. Unfortunately the space must be equipped by you. The Department provides seating and a work table. In our new facilities you will be able to connect to wireless internet connection. As registered student, you will also be able to connect at various hotspots on the Campus. This service is currently being rolled out, and not always fully operational yet, so please be patient in the interim.
The studio is a social meeting point as well as a forum for the exchange of ideas and exposure to the work of other students as well as an opportunity to see the studio master regularly. Vertical studios are encouraged. It is therefore advisable that a good mix of undergraduate and graduate students sit in the same studio. Senior students are often consulted to help with basic design problems. Just the mere fact that work other than your own is on display contributes immensely towards the improvement of standards.
Architectural design has so much to do with precedent and learning from other designers who are grappling with the same problems, that an entire culture of openness and interaction is required. You are therefore encouraged to share all your research and solutions with your peers and request their input and critical evaluation. Group dynamic rather than individual excellence always produces more individual stars. So, do not hide your work, splash and expose it.
“Learning is a remarkably social process . In truth, it occurs not as a response to teaching, but rather as a result of a social framework that fosters learning.” John Seely Brown. Independent Co-chair of the Deloitte Centre for Edge Innovation.
How are the laboratory fees spent?
– Items of which the full cost is carried by the levies.
– Trades skills training course.
– All reference books in the Architectural reference library.
– All joint transport by bus or minibus to sites, factories socials etc.
– Upkeep of hardware in the CAD lab i.e. computers and, plotters and scanners.
– Wireless Internet access.
– Digital cameras
– Software licenses.
– Transport to student congress if not held in Pretoria
Items of which partial cost is subsidized by the levies.
– Student Body for academic and social functions [R100 per student transferred to the ESB account]
– Security system.
– Subsidized plotting.
– Subsidized photocopying.