Leading the Way: RIBA Validates Architecture Course

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The BEng Architecture programme from the Department of Architecture at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) has recently become the first programme of its kind at a Chinese university to receive validation by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) thus demonstrating XJTLU’s commitment to proving world-class, internationally recognised education to students from China and abroad.

During the University’s time as RIBA Part 1 candidate last year the Royal Institute noted that “challenging both western and Chinese educational paradigms for architecture was an ambitious goal”, but with the recent announcement of XJTLU’s validation RIBA praised the University for “developing an alternative model for Chinese architecture education”.

The report last week also stated that “the [RIBA] Board commends the Department and staff body on creating a distinctive environment in which students learn from an international and Chinese context with an ambition to produce a new type of graduate, with an emphasis on human-centered architecture, for the emerging global context”.

The official announcement from RIBA comes 18 months after the Department first sought recognition for their innovative and successful teaching methods and highlights their commitments to providing its students with the very best in terms of theoretical and practical training in the art of architectural design.

Those involved in securing the RIBA validation for theDepartment included Dr. Benjamin Spaeth, Programme Director of BEng Architecture, Associate Professors, Theodoros Dounas, Austin Williams, Dr. Nancy Diniz, Dr. Claudia Westermann, Dr. Glen Wash, Dr. Thomas Fischer, and Dr. Marian Macken, and Department Lecturers Ciro Marquez and Edward Farrell.

Support from Departmental teaching and professional staff, in addition to the programme management team from the University's Centre for Academic Affairs was also influential in the decision by RIBA to validate the BEng Programme.

Speaking of the recent recognition, Professor Pierre-Alain Croset, Head of the Department of Architecture at XJTLU said “it’s great to see that the hard work and dedication of the staff and students has resulted in this official recognition – underlying our powerful connections between west and east. As the most international architecture department in China, we at XJTLU, offer an exciting pioneering opportunity for the next generation of internationally mobile Architects.”

“Our next target is for RIBA to validate our Master of Architecture postgraduate programme,” Professor Croset said, adding that “Our challenging courses at undergraduate and masters level clearly indicate that XJTLU, in China, is well and truly open for business. This paves the way for closer cooperation and student mobility between our University and other leading schools of architecture all around the world.”

Set up in 2011, the first architecture students have just graduated from the School’s BEng degree course and in June 2014 the Department was awarded powers to issue Chinese degrees in addition to a full degree from the University of Liverpool, UK.

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