We shape our buildings;
thereafter they shape us.

Winston Churchill


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.

Vertical Studio
A studio which accommodates 1st to final year students.

Horizontal Studio
A studio which accommodates students from a single year group.

Studio Master
Your lecturer offering practical subjects which are offered in the studio, namely Architectural Design and Contract Documentation.

Work Station
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.

Academic programme

The Department of Architecture offers two courses in architecture, namely:
– Architecture : Professional course code BTPS09
– Architectural Technology Management course code BTAQ95

The first three years of both courses are identical. Thereafter students follow a different curriculum.

After the first three years, students who follow the professional route require one year to complete the first degree (and register as senior technologist) and two years (Masters course) after that to qualify as a candidate architect.

Students who follow the management route require one further year to qualify as a candidate senior technologist and a further additional year to qualify with a Masters degree. This Masters degree qualification, will not allow you to practice as a professional architect, but it will prepare you for a multitude of exciting careers in the built environment depending on your research topic.

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

Learner guides / Study Guides

You MUST receive a learner guide for each subject at the start of the academic year. This document will stipulate all you need to know about the subject. For instance who the lecturer for the subject is, time slots for lectures, the curriculum outline, how are tests written and assessed, how you gain promotion to the next level of study. Included will be all the learning modules and year program as well as many other facts. This is not a text book or learning material though, it is a map to guide you through the learning material, and most importantly, IT SPELLS OUT THE RULES APPLICABLE TO THE SUBJECT.

This study guide is provided to you in electronic format on myTUT or, as well as being available offline at the Department [see LABSPACE] but those of you who do not have access to electronic display devices i.e. a computer may use the computers in the CADLAB. Hard copy is available in the library in the Study Guide files. There is one for each year. The copies in there may not be removed and is only for reference.

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.

Text books

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 students are awarded substantial bursaries, but with certain conditions. There are also very lucrative scarce skills bursaries available from the NRF.

Exclusion policy

The university has an academic exclusion policy to prevent students from studying in a program which is beyond their immediate capabilities.
Below is an excerpt from the University’s exclusion policy which is applied very strictly.


3.1.1 A student* will not be permitted to register more than twice for the minimum duration of a program. A student* who has failed to complete his or her studies in the maximum period permitted, may appeal to the dean of the faculty concerned submitting full reasons for this rule to be relaxed. [*day class, evening class, distance education, block and telematic registrations]
3.1.2 A day-class student (evening class, postgraduate, block and telematic registrations excluded) who has not obtained the following credit weights by means of subjects and/or modules passed, may only continue his or her studies after the permission of a committee consisting of the dean, head of department, a senior lecturer from another academic department, the Head Student Administrator (Faculty Officer), and a student representative, has been obtained: At least one half (0,40) credit weight at the end of his or her first academic year. At least one (1,00) credit weight at the end of his or her second academic year. At least two (2,00) credit weights at the end of his or her fourth academic year, which include at least all the year or semester subjects prescribed for the first year.
Note: These restrictions also apply to students who change from one program to another.
3.1.3 A student may be excluded based on evidence (proof) of poor class and or tutorial attendance (refer TUT Policy on Class Attendance – as published in the student diary and Prospectus)
A single exclusion model shall be applied by all academic faculties of TUT.

Because of the specific abilities required to cope with the subject Architectural Design as the core of the architectural program, the Department has an additional exclusion policy with regard to the subjects Architectural Design and Contract Documentation.
Design specifically is a subject which requires an innate [inborn] ability and to be successful in architectural studies it is imperative that a student must do well in Design.

Failure to cope with the demands of Architectural Design I and Presentation Techniques I is a clear indication that a career in architecture might not be the best choice for you, and they will find it extremely difficult to cope with the architecture program in subsequent years regardless whether they did well in the theoretical support subjects. Design is the major subject in the course and all other subjects are offered in support of design. It is our experience that students who fail Design I also need two years and more to complete Design II as well as Design III which leads to a study period extending beyond the required minimum time allowed. Statistics taken over the past five years indicate that 74% of students that fail Design III also failed Design I.

This results in extreme frustration and in a loss of confidence and self-esteem which is a very destructive process on the individual. Rather than running the risk of being excluded from tertiary study in two or three years’ time we strongly recommend that you consider all the other options. There are quite a few careers in the building and construction industry which do not require an innate creative ability.

Students often feel that they should be allowed a second chance in design, however experience indicates that this is not a good option as design is an innate quality which can be compared to an ability to run fast, sing well or simply just being tall, no matter how hard you try you will find that it is difficult to improve even a little bit on these qualities if you do not have them.

Although TUT and the Department are doing everything in our power to select candidates who have indicated through the potential indicator testing that there is a good probability that they will make a success of architectural study, there is a 75% success rate of accuracy. The potential assessment test places emphasis on three dimensional perception abilities, creativity and drawing aptitude as well as an ability to think laterally, but the only truly reliable test to determine whether you are suited to architectural study, is your ability to do well in the major subject, Architectural Design I, during your first year of study.

The exclusion policy of the Department therefore refers specifically to the core subjects of the program.

A student who has failed two or all of the following three subjects will be advised not to continue with the first year of study:
– Architectural Design I
– Presentation Techniques I
– Contract Documentation I

Communication channel

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 class room 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.


Main library
The main library is on the campus Building 21, directly east to the Admin building 31. Refer to your campus plan in the general TUT information pamphlet. This houses a collection of Architectural books, all the architectural periodicals, as well as a good collection of audio-visual material.
There are facilities available for photocopying and internet access at a nominal cost. Our faculty has a dedicated librarian, Mr Mishack Modiba , 012 382 6387 who has specialist knowledge, and who will assist you with all your library requirements. The Theory of Design I lecturer will arrange that you meet him during the library tour.

Arts campus library
On the arts campus in town is a library specifically for the arts. So if you are looking for material more allied to the arts you will most probably find a must much more relevant collection of material in this library.

The Architectural reference library

The Department has an in house reference library, the Architectural Reference library. This is a reference library only, and books cannot be taken out on loan or removed from the room.

This library is specifically to support the design process and studio activities. The volumes on the shelves are mainly books which contain illustrations, books illustrating the work of prominent architects as well as technical books and brochures illustrating construction and materials technology. The design process relies heavily on a clear frame of reference based on mental images [something we refer to as your architectural vocabulary]. A mental image collection is similar to a language vocabulary. Just as an understanding of a word or term will allow you to communicate properly when writing, a thorough understanding of visual imagery will allow a student to design more effectively. This, of course, can only be acquired by visiting buildings and places and assessing them in an analytical manner. But with modern technology it is possible to be taken through a building or place by means of images, whether still or moving.

Visual stimulation is so important in the design process and you must use this facility to your advantage.
The library is supported with a locally adapted database, Cumulus, which should assist you in the search process. A brief instruction will be given to you to enable you to use this facility.

Please make sure that you are aware of the library’s regulations. The removal of any book without permission will lead to expulsion from the Department of Architecture, and probably also from the University.

The facility is available most of the time, as indicated by the published timetable on the door. It is regrettably not available after 4 in the afternoon but in exceptional circumstances special arrangements can be made.


The CAD Lab

The CAD lab has been established primarily for the offering of short courses and teaching of subjects involving computers. It is also to aid students without computers to gain access to CAD programs and the Internet as we use myTUTor in our courses.
It is also for general research using the various programs at our disposal and the Internet. It can also be used for typing projects and general computer operations.

This facility uses a considerable part of our Departmental budget and takes a lot of time to maintain. It has come to our notice that this facility is being abused. Numerous computers had illegal software loaded on them. This is a direct contravention of TUT policy. If you need special software then you must ask for permission for this to be loaded and prove ownership thereof.

Virus protection

If you wish to connect to the TUT network in the studios, then you must be aware of TUT policy and you MUST have an updated virus protection program. This applies to both the hardwired and the wireless LAN. Virus protection software is available to all registered students in our department. It is available from ICT services on campus. You are referred to Ms Devaksha Guptar for this. If you don’t like the TUT virus protection software on your computer you cannot connect to the TUT network. This is not negotiable. If you do not wish to link to our LAN but still swop our files with friends then have a virus protection program on your computer. Many, such as AVAST or AVG are available free or some like Bit-defender are relatively inexpensive.

Viruses are being spread by memory sticks. Make sure yours are free from viruses.

CAD Lab Rules

– No eating or drinking in lab
– No smoking
– No surfing pornography sites nor surfing to Facebook, chat sites, Limewire, music sites, Bit-torrent etc.
– Keep it clean at all times
– No games. This facility is for work!!
– No loading of your own (and most probably illegal) software
– No copying of music CD’s (this is illegal and breaking copyright law)
– No copying of movie DVD’s (this is illegal and breaking copyright law)
– No downloading of movies or anything that is not related to architecture
– No fiddling with the computer settings

Action will be taken against anybody contravening the rules or not acting in the best interests of the facilities.

Access control and security

Because we are living in an unfortunate crime ridden society and the resultant loss that we have had of property in the Department, we operate strictly behind security gates. This is an attempt to safeguard your property, as well as the University’s. The University cannot take any responsibility for loss of student equipment. It is therefore imperative to you be very security conscious at all times and report any suspicious behaviour immediately.

Academic records

The Department keeps a physical file record of each student. On file are your personal data, selection data, your academic records, your sick certificates or any other communication between the Department and you. Therefore, any relevant material, especially letters and sick certificates which might have an effect on your academic activities must be handed to the Departmental administrator Ms Labuschagne who will make a copy for you and place the original on your file.
Obviously this file is available for perusal if requested. These records are kept for two years after you have completed or cancelled your studies.

The studio

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.

Laboratory fees

The majority of subjects offered by the Department carry a levy for laboratory fees administered by the University. These fees are used to support all students and maintain the standards set by the Department that has earned us full accreditation, Part 1 and Part 2, from SACAP and CAA, allowing for automatic registration with SACAP. The bulk of these fees are used to purchase and upkeep the state of the art equipment provided by the Department and includes the cad laboratory, the plotting room, the model building room and most important of all, the reference library.
The laboratory fees for architectural subjects are spread over all the subjects as all students benefit from each subjects’ levy. With the exception of the levy for the training at Attridgeville college, which is directly related to the subject Construction Methods I, all other subjects’ levies are used to cross-subsidize the expenses incurred.

An example or two will explain the concept more clearly.

To study architecture, each student should have his or her own personal computer with the necessary software like Autodesk, Auto Desk, Revit, Archicad, Sketchup, Adobe Creative Suite, Corel and MS Office. Not all students can afford the approximate R20 000 required for the computer and necessary software and regular upgrades. Therefore students are allowed to occupy a desktop station in the Cad lab for extended periods to do the necessary drawings and plot at the subsidized rate. But not all students make use of this facility and therefore cross subsidization takes place. Another example would be for instance, each student is required to purchase reference material as recommended books for the Design subjects. Two decent books would cost a student in the region of R2000 per year. We purchase about R80 000 worth of reference books annually and make them available in the reference library. You might be plotting much more than someone else who might be using the internet more but in the end it all equals out.

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.

email: labuschagnemm@tut.ac.za
tel: +27 12 382 5252
Staatsartillerie Road, Pretoria West, Building 11