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Masters at a Technical University in the Netherlands

robhaw

I have graduated with a BA in Architecture (RIBA Part I) from a UK school and have 2 years professional experience in the UK. My undergraduate was humanities-oriented and project/studio based education. I am due to start my Masters in September and I am interest in architecture graduate programs that have a more technical focus.

I have looked into the two technical universities at the Netherlands, TU Delft and TU Eindhoven and I am highly interested in:

-MSc Architecture - Building Technology track at TU Delft

TU Delft Curriculum 

-MSc Architecture - AUDE track at TU Eindhoven.

TU Eindhoven Curriculum 

Both programmes are offered in English and the tuition fees are 2,000 euros/year which is significantly less than what I am going to pay at a UK university for an MArch (£9000/ year).

In terms of academic interest I would like to study subjects like construction, facade engineering, climatic design, building energy performance, acoustic / lighting design and apply this knowledge to design projects. Both programs cover some of the above subjects in their curriculum and also have design projects.

In other terms, I want to get a more comprehensive education on how to put a building together to complement my existing education and thus become a more well rounded architect.

I am more drawn to TU Eindhoven's programme as it is multidisciplinary and also looks more comprehensive while also allowing you to take electives from other disciplines like etc structural design. It also has courses in procurement or project management which I find interesting.

The issue is that I intent to practice in the UK, where a RIBA/ARB accredited MArch can allow me to later directly sit the Part 3 exam and register as an architect . On the other hand, doing a MSc in one of the TUs is 5 times cheaper (!) but would require me to sit the Part II and Part III exam in order to then register in the UK.

I am also concerned that moving to another country for 2 years could alienate me from my existing professional network in the city I currently work in the UK.

Do you think it's a better choice in the long term to go for a professional MArch degree in the UK as opposed to the above programmes?

Also do you believe that a technically focused Masters would be beneficial at this stage or could the above subjects be covered through self-directed study?

Thank you in advance for your time.

 
Dec 2, 18 8:55 pm
elianaacevedo

I think you had already said it all, and its a personal decision. I would study in the country that I plan to work. 

Dec 3, 18 9:57 am
archinet

Depends how hard it is to be able to do the part 2 exam. I recall having the part 2 recognized (at least for australians) as being really hard in the UK and that ppl had to pay the ARB 10k to do it- but I am not sure about this. Can´t you just do the last 2 years of a diplom in Netherlands? That should be recognized as a part 2 degree or is it not? I guess you would know.  Other then the part 2 obstacle having to pay an extra 9k a year is a rip off and prolly you will still have your connections when you get back to the town you are from once you are done with your studies.

Dec 3, 18 10:49 am
randomised

Can't you study in NL and do an exchange to the UK?

Dec 3, 18 11:02 am
robhaw

Hi, I understand you are Dutch? Would you recommend Eindhoven over a UK school? What are the strongest and weakest points of the school in your opinion? I understand its focus is very technical and that's exactly what I am after.

randomised

It's technical if you want it to be, it's not a one stop shop. Take a look at the Dutch Archiprix nominations for example: https://www.archiprix.nl/national/index.php?m=59

robhaw

Is this the equivalent of UK president medals? I can see more entries from Delft. I have read in forums that Delft is more friendly to foreign students as a programme compared to Eindhoven which only recently changed its programmes to English. Is Rotterdam the centre of the architecture industry in the Netherlands? Do firms there generally recruit from Delft or Eindhoven as well?

randomised

They’re the Dutch submissions for the International Archiprix, the best graduation projects (not sure European or global). And I think Delft is bigger than Eindhoven and academies combined (not sure), so it makes sense to see more of their students. And next to universities (Eindhoven and Delft) there are also academies, where people with different backgrounds (e.g. art school) can study to become an architect. At those academies you need to work 4 days in an architecture office and go to school in the evenings and one day a week. So that’s also an option if you want to have 4/5 years of working experience (and exhaustion) under your belt when you graduate. 

And yes, Rotterdam is the centre of the architecture industry (together with Amsterdam) because there was a lot of building to be done in R’dam after WWII and it has big name offices such as OMA, MVRDV. When recruiting I don’t think they prefer Delft over Eindhoven, they simply look at your portfolio and CV, and if you live in the city even better (no travel expenses and more time to spend in the office).

robhaw

I understand that both universities are well reputed in the NL. In the UK people don't know Eindhoven but I like the fact that it is a smaller school, which means more contact time with teaching staff. However, I am concerned as to how organised things are. I read somewhere that some of their staff barely speak English. On the other hand their curriculum seems intensive with 10 modules per semester. In regards to registration in the Netherlands do you need to pass an exam like RIBA part 3 after completing 2 years of internships? Also do you think it's viable to work in dutch firms without fluent Dutch? I have worked at some reputable firms in the UK, so portfolio and CV is not a problem; just the language.

justavisual

https://www.architectenregister.nl/en/

https://www.beroepservaringper...

you can easily work with just english...or you can learn dutch...

TU Delft is better than Eindhoven - why do you need extensive contact with teachers?

robhaw

Thanks for these links. I did my BA at a school with a large student body. Tutorial groups were crowded and tutors spent very little time with the students. It was a teaching style 'learn it all by yourself' and it felt like the school was only interested in taking our money. I want to try a smaller school and I think both TUs seem like good options.

randomised

Student - teacher ratio will be roughly the same at all of those, including the academies, difference is 10-15 students per studio in Delft just means more studios to choose from, while that could be all the students of an entire year at the academie.

robhaw

The building technology track that I am interested in at Delft offers 2 studios only, but I now noticed that it doesn't allow you to register as an architect. In general, is there a large body of international (non Dutch) architects working in the Netherlands much like there is in the UK?

randomised

Not really, there's a lot of non-Dutch interns that simply leave after their Erasmus scholarship runs out, some stick around as junior architects and only a couple manage to stay longer and develop into job running project managing architects, mostly if the office they work at does international projects. Problem is, that unless you're an English native speaker or the projects are in your native tongue that there's usually a double language barrier holding people back. You'd hardly see non-Dutch architects managing and running projects involving Dutch clients and municipalities, they always play 2nd fiddle unless they really learn the language.

robhaw

I visited Delft & Eindhoven this week. I loved Delft as a city and the school is great, including facilities, studios and student work. Eindhoven however will be offering from next year a dual masters in Architecture & Structural design which I am very interested in. I am applying to both and I am slightly confused regarding admission requirements. Both universities require 7.5 GPA. I have a UK first class degree from a Russell Group university. A first is awarded for +70%. How is it possible that Dutch universities require +75%?

randomised

Because they can? , maybe they don't want any average foreign students lowering the bar...or screwing with their percentages.

robhaw

I think you read this the wrong way. In the UK, an architecture school's very best student scores 75%. There must be a difference in the equivalency of UK degree classification vs Dutch GPA. I will sent them an email to clarify.

randomised

You just need 75% of the maximum score, so apparently that means 75% of 75% for the UK? maybe it's a metric vs imperial thingy :)

robhaw

I applied and received an offfer. It turns out that a UK first is +80% in the NL system. Randomised, do you have any friends/colleagues who studied at Eindhoven? Would they recommend the school?

randomised

Yes, I know some people that studied there, they really enjoyed it and would recommend it I guess since they are running or working at award winning offices in Amsterdam and are doing very interesting work.

robhaw

I have heard a rumor that TU Eindhoven is like a degree mill where they admit a lot of international students to earn more fees. The university says that 25% are international students. Myself I am an EU student so I will be paying 2000 euro fees, but I am concerned with whether they admit low quality international students just to fill the spaces and make more money. Do you think that the level of education at Eindhoven is good and generally how competitive it is to gain admission? How does the level of students and teaching staff compare to Delft?

randomised

The percentage of international students in Delft and Eindhoven would be similar I guess, you can check the staff through their websites.

robhaw

I see, thanks. Do you think that international students speaking only English integrate well in the student body, or are sort of sidelined by Dutch students who form their own groups? Do you think that international students get sufficient support from the university and get to do good work? Or are they treated more as customers rather than as students?

randomised

The international students mostly keep to themselves, just like the Dutch students. You have to remember that the Dutch students started studying together two/three years before when they started their bachelors, made friends and joined fraternities etc. it’s quite difficult to mix that up and also while most Dutch people/students speak/understand English they’ll switch to Dutch the moment there’s more than one of them around. The work of the international students I’ve known was actually very good, they seem to have way more focus and determination with less distractions of side jobs, friends and family around, live closer to campus etc. They were definitely treated as students by the teaching staff, hope that helps...

robhaw

Hi, thank you for the reply. TU/E is now offering a new dual MSc where you can take two tracks simultaneously. I am considering doing the Architecture & Building Physics dual MSc which will be 150 credits. I have looked into the curriculum and I find it very interesting, as it covers lighting design, acoustics, envelope design, materials technology & energy performance in addition to the standard architecture curriculum, which leads to registration in the NL. From your experience, do you think that studying the above subjects would be beneficial to someone who is early in their career and education? Personally, I want to develop into a technically minded architect and have a great interest in the above. Also, do you know if the nature of the architectural profession in the NL is generally more technical than it is in the UK (like for example it is in Spain)?

justavisual

In NL you can be either an architect or a technical architect. Of course some people are stronger in either or, but there is actually a separation in job titles. Technical architects are specialized in detailing etc...

Read here (use translate in google chrome): https://sfa-architecten.wptest...

justavisual

-

robhaw

Is this similar to being a technician? In the UK we have technicians and technologists who are production staff. I don't want to be just production, but an architect with a solid understanding of subjects of technical nature. I want in the future to be able to have stronger input into design and also take projects through construction, by engaging consultants and contractor people. I just think that architecture schools in the UK are not technical enough that's why you don't learn much about how a building is put together in school. There are architectural technology courses in the UK but these are run by ex-polytechnic colleges and I think universities in the NL offer a better quality education and also value for money.

justavisual

You don't need to learn this stuff in school - you can do that in an office...just choose jobs wisely and don't get pigeonholed. Anyway to be a technical architect or to deal with consultants and contractors (which any good designer will also do) you will need to speak Dutch should you choose to remain here.

Go to school and do what you want and come out with a strong design portfolio and some decent connections in the industry. Do an internship or 3.

robhaw

Do you think I could learn lighting design or building energy performance at work? I have worked at some large practices in the UK and still I think that work is where money is made and time spent on training is very scarce even at large offices that have resources to train their staff.Where training is provided, it's usually in the form on lunchtime presentations or daylong seminars. In terms of professional rights, I think I am going to Cardiff for the MArch RIBA Part 2 qualification and then in the later years I could go to Delft or Eindhoven for a technical MSc. The problem with MSc Building Technology at Delft is that it doesn't allow you to register as an architect, while the dual MSc at TU/e is currently seeking approval from the Architectenregister.

justavisual

Lighting design and energy performance - we use consultants. You want to be an architect, know the basics and know who to call for help, you dont need to do it all yourself.

Rightly so that the Delft building tech track doesn't let you register - its not architecture. The TU/e if its currently seeking approval can take around 2-4 years before its approved and there generally isn't a reciprocity agreement in place for those who received the degree when it wasn't  yet approved. 

If you want to work long term in NL, be prepared to learn Dutch. Anyway you need to do the 2 year BEP after graduating to get registered.

robhaw

You are right it is not architecture, but believe that an in-depth knowledge of technology can create better architecture. I want to be able to understand what my consultants are talking about and guide them as the lead consultant, rather than passively accepting what they offer. I am perhaps trying to master too much too early but I have a genuine interest in these subjects and I want to acquire a thorough knowledge of them, as I believe this will give me confidence in my abilities. 

This is why I have also been conducting a lot of self-directed study during the past two years since graduation. I am really interested in the field of integrated building design as a model to achieve high performing buildings and even if go to Cardiff for my MArch I am most likely to write a dissertation on this subject. I generally quite enjoy the traditional notion of the architect as a technical polymath, however I have been told (as I mentioned in my original post) that doing a exclusively technical MSc rather than an MArch this early in my career could stigmatize the way I understand architectural design and narrow my vision. 

That's why I think Delft's Building Tech MSc might not be the best option at this stage. On the other hand, TU/E offers a hybrid MSc that combines a major in architecture and a minor in a technical specialism (like Building Physics) which makes it a better option. However, I don't know when this new MSc programme could be approved and I have some concerns about joining an entirely brand new programme.

TED

Brexit is throwing all rules out the window.  I hope UK stays in.  Looking closer today.

TU Delft is a great choice and I would do it - Perhaps look at a longer view plan of getting qualified in NL, working 2 years then with full reciprocity to return as a qualified architect.  

If UK leaves EU - is better to be on that side of the pond.  

(Personally, Delft is much better than any Uni in the UK) 

Dec 3, 18 11:36 am
robhaw

Hi TED. Thanks for the reply. Do you perhaps know why the GPA requirement for these universities is that high(+75%)? 75% is the maximum you can probably achieve at a UK architecture school. I have a first class degree from Manchester and wonder whether this will put me in a good position against other applicants.

robhaw

Also, why are you saying it's better to be on the EU side?

TED

75% is the grade under their system but it states (delft): A bachelor honours degree with Upper Second or First Class. Your documents must clearly state that you have obtained/will obtain an honours degree. If this is not stated on your degree, an official letter from your university indicating that it’s an honours degree needs to be uploaded with your diploma.

https://www.tudelft.nl/en/educ...

TED

I think the UK is heading for a deep recession/depression. So if you can gain residency or right to live in NL you will be far better off to work across EU over the next 10 years.

robhaw

Hi Ted, thanks for your messages. I have received offers from both Cardiff and TU Eindhoven. Would you recommend Cardiff and generally do you think the school is doing well in the last years? What do you think in terms of its reputation with employers in London and South UK?

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