Approval was recently granted for the department of architecture in Nigerian universities to be transformed into a full faculty of architecture.
This was at a recent conference called the Architects’ Colloquium (2018) organized by the Regulatory body for Architecture in Nigeria (ARCON). It was announced that Architecture at Nigerian universities, which previously existed as a department under the Faculty – Environmental science/design/technology, will now move to be an independent Faculty.
The idea of a Faculty/School/College of architecture is not new globally, as it already exists in other parts of the world. Nevertheless, the nomenclature ‘School of Architecture’ is more widely used.
Furthermore, to properly develop an architecture teaching/research framework and encourage specialization, a Faculty is a good place to start.
Popular International Universities with Schools / Faculty of Architecture
The teaching of architecture around the world is either done in a department or faculty/school of architecture. Whatever structure a student trains, neither deprives him of being licensed nor of practicing architecture on graduation, so long as he studies in an accredited school. Examples of international schools/faculty of architecture are;
- Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, Canada
- Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto, Canada.
- Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, Australia.
- Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent, UK.
- Manchester School of Architecture, University of Manchester/Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
- School of Architecture, McGill University, Canada.
- Yale School of Architecture, Yale University, USA.
- School of Architecture + Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
From the above, it is clear that architecture as a faculty/school isn’t a new world over.
In order to expand the Architecture teaching/research framework and promote further specialization, a Faculty/School of Architecture is a good starting point.
14 proposed areas/departments of architectural specialization in Nigeria
- Urban design
- Landscape architecture
- History of architecture and heritage
- Architectural sustainability
- Professional practice and procedure
- Architectural science and technology
- Material and material development
- Facility management
- Digital and Information technology
- Building Construction
- Industrial architecture
- Marine architecture
- Interior design
Effects of Departments of Architecture in Nigeria becoming a Faculty
In the course of Architecture setting out on its own, certain merits/demerits will emerge.
Duplication of roles/specialties
One is the duplication of some of the already existing roles in the previous faculty.
For instance, in the old faculty, there is a department of ‘Building‘ and in the new Faculty of Architecture, there is a proposed department of ‘Building construction, materials and structures’.
Clearly, this is a duplication of specialization. Synergy could be sort in areas like this to bridge the gap and thus reduce redundancy in the new faculty.
Sectionalization of the profession
Another concern is the sectionalization of the built environment profession in universities.
Prior to this time, environmental design professionals in Nigeria such as Architects, Quantity Surveyors, urban and regional planners etc worked together both in practice and in academia, complementing each other to achieve a common goal.
In the event that a constituent and vital department opts to leave, what becomes of the old faculty in Nigeria? Will they also opt to be faculties?
It is evident that the idea of a faculty of architecture isn’t new the world over and in fact, most well-known and influential universities currently run a School/Faculty of architecture as against a department.
Also, the benefits of a faculty of architecture in Nigeria outweigh whatever demerits it may have, as it provides the platform for architectural specialties to be well developed and taught in Nigeria
This will also allow the Faculty of Architecture in Nigeria to have the independence of resources, facilities and objectives to pursue its cause better.
Nonetheless, there are certain resultant setbacks/demerits that will not only affect the original faculty where architecture was resident in Nigeria but also cause a duplication/redundancy of new departments.