UCD, KU Leuven, TU Berlin



I have been accepted to UCD to study masters in architecture, I was wondering if anyone has any information with regard to this university.

I am still waiting for a reply from TU Berlin and KU Leuven. The QS ranking states that UCD is listed in the 100s whilst the others are in the 30-40s. I know that the QS ranking does not always imply how good universities are but I cannot find a lot of information about UCD.

I am also a bit unsure due to the fact that the tuition fee in Ireland is 8 times more expensive than other universities and I am doubting if it is worth it to pay such money if I can better tuition from other universities.

Thank you

Jun 9, 20 12:16 pm

Hi saradimech,

In Ireland the fees for a bachelor degree are very low (ca.€3,000) and of the 6 schools of architecture in the country, 3 of them choose to qualify students with an MArch which means paying full fees (ca.€8,000 for the last 2 years), which seems a bit unjust. UCD is one of these and if you were interested in Dublin with cheaper fees, I think TU Dublin has an option of both a cheaper 5 year BArch and a slightly longer 5.5 year MArch (and I think this course is cheaper that UCD either way).

Anyway, the UCD course is very good. The school has a strong global reputation with famous alumni: Grafton Architects, O'Donnell + Tuomey, Kevin Roche. There is a very tight knit culture in the school to the jealousy of the others schools in Ireland, and UCD is definitely responsible for generating a very strong culture of architecture in Ireland (at least within the profession). The work of the students is (generally) of a consistently high standard and well crafted. The school does suffer a bit from being insular and perhaps too focused on the architect as a building professional, but I believe a new generation of professors and lecturers are starting to change this. The school is located in a really lovely building at the edge of the campus in Richview, although I believe it is being moved to a new building that is being designed by Steven Holl (don't ask when this is taking place but he won a competition just over a year ago). 

Student drawing abilities in the school is also very good, which I always found surprising as entrance into the first year is based purely on academic merit (the Leaving Certificate points system) and not on portfolio. Making models is hugely important in the school - and in all Irish schools - with many students focusing their thesis around this research method: whether spatially or contextually. 

You should know that Ireland is quite conventional and especially in UCD, there is a legacy of an approach which is quite committed to critical regionalism and craft based buildings; but this probably applies more to years 1 to 3 (the undergraduate program). If your interests are outside of this, there is scope as there are programs in urban planning and landscape architecture in UCD, but note both of these are quite new disciplines in Ireland and have yet to really find a place within Irish architectural discourse. Notwithstanding this, the lecturers in UCD are very intellectually engaged and well aware of contemporary social and environmental issues, but perhaps with an assumption that buidlings will provide the solution.

In summary, if you are really interested in Baukunst and the craft of architecture, then UCD is the place to be. If you are interested in really expanding the practice of an architect beyond building professional, then there are definitely better places to do this. I have little experience of TU Berlin and couldn't comment. From my limited knowledge of KU Leuven, they seem to approach architecture more broadly than at UCD. Also note that Irish and Belgian architectural culture is quite similar (like Swiss architectural culture), and therefore TU Berlin is likely a totally different offer to the other two.

Good luck in your decision.

Jun 9, 20 2:52 pm  · 
2  · 

Is TU offering Master of Architecture in English? I think the course it is offering a little bit specialized about Typology? I don't know if you should compare this special program to the normal master of architecture programs. 

Jun 10, 20 12:18 pm  · 
1  · 

yes they are offering masters in architecture typology. I am a bit uncertain whether i should specialise for my masters already


We need to get a feedback from someone who has attended the program to give us little insight of what to expect.


But I suggest to go with the cheaper option.


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