best architecture school in aussie?

steph p.

What's the best architecture school in australia? and what is the worst? preferably one with good graduate programs

Aug 15, 06 8:06 pm
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

rmit is the one with the reputation, and SIAL

u syd has a good history/theory dept.

or you could go to nz instead.

anyone else?

Aug 15, 06 11:28 pm

uwa is rapidly going downhill, they really need to attract some quality senior lecturers

Aug 15, 06 11:52 pm

RMIT, but I am biased.
Depends where you want to live.
Melbourne is best, but I am biased.
Objectively, QUT, University of Sydney and Deakin are worth a look at too.

Aug 16, 06 12:22 am

RMIT used to be considered the best, but that was during the "crazy computer image" is struggling now. their campus is proof of this.

currently sydney university has had a change of head of school, and everybody seems to be running from there. the students are very unhappy.

Melbourne seems good, and is an all rounder.

University of New south Wales (UNSW) is currently held to be the best in the country, and Glen Murcutt(Pritzker winner) has recently joined the staff. they have an excellent history and theory, with john lang etc. The design stream is broadly based, so students can find what they want from it.

In New Zealand victoria university (in wellington) has the best reputation.

Aug 16, 06 12:46 am
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

Vic? you gotta be kidding me!

U of Auck is clearly the best, and i'll get into a punchup with anyone who disagrees.

Aug 16, 06 1:27 am

What kind of reputation does the University of Technology, Sydney have?

Aug 16, 06 1:28 am

UTS used to be like a glorified drafting school. it recently got a new head of arch (a woman, don't know her name). and she has switched it all around, got some new professors etc and is trying to make it cutting edge, this is all good, but it will need a few years to mature and find itself.

agfa8x, i stand by my opinion. although i hear the new head of school at UAuck is Lindsay Johnson, he is a great guy.

Aug 16, 06 2:49 am
underage rage

I studied at Victoria in New Zealand. It has a great reputation because it is a fantastic school with excellent post-graduate programmes

Aug 16, 06 4:14 am
underage rage

I studied at Victoria in New Zealand. It has a great reputation because it is a fantastic school with excellent post-graduate programmes

Aug 16, 06 4:14 am
steph p.

another question: tu delft or unsw? why does the duration of the program vary from school to school? does the duration of the program matter, esp. for graduate?

Aug 16, 06 6:07 am

Agfa, I've got a big right hook for ya. I studied at Unitec...with actual architects...who've built stuff in the last 20 years.

Just for jokes :) We did get a 5 year CIA acceditation vs your 2 tho.

It's a pretty small community in NZ, I don't think there is all that much between the schools, apart maybe from their leanings. AUckland isn't that great a city anyway, I'd rather live in Wellington.

Just my 2c

Aug 16, 06 8:24 am
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

You're probably right on both those last two, antipod.

Aug 16, 06 4:22 pm

mhollenstein - RMIT struggling? Campus proof of this? Care to justify?

Aug 16, 06 4:57 pm

yeah... i wanna hear about this too.

Aug 16, 06 6:33 pm


Aug 17, 06 6:36 pm

mhollenstein - "University of New south Wales (UNSW) is currently held to be the best in the country"

- by who?? there is no sense in australia right now that UNSW is the best in the country. there is a very divergent sense of which schools are doing well, but as with any architectural scene, "best" can only be defined when you define the context or the aspiration. depends on what you want to get out of the school. or depends on how you determine success.

UNSW is getting mentioned now only because it was so unmentionable for so long.

UQ - (univ queensland) - strong academic standard, with good, dedidcated teachers, but limited facilites.
QUT - (queensland univ of technology) - up and coming, with a new head of school (John Frazer - former AA, former Univ of Hong Kong - involved in generative, computational architecture) with other good teachers, but somewhat uneven.

USyd (univ of sydney) - lackluster under the leadership of tom henegan, who in typical sydney fashion doesn't like things to be too risky or too flamboyant, so they become merely dull.
UNSW - well respected and reinvigorated, but still a fairly normative school, with competence the defining character.
UTS (univ of technology-sydney) - big shift with new head and the addition of andrew benjamin for the graduate program. conscious effort to become something different in australia - not sure it will work or if the 'old guard' will allow it. but taking a risk none the less.
Univ Newcastle - can't really say. Michael Oswald is impressive, but not sure how it trickles down in the school.

melb uni (univ of melbourne) - solid, high academic standards, but not very exciting. no real names or noticeable directions. somewhere between USyd and UNSW.
rmit (royal melbourne institue of tech) - the current standard by which most other schools are judges. more vigourous in stating its claims and more diverse than most. the graudate programs have taken precedence in the last few years, with the SIAL program being the most notable, with world-class staff and reasonable studies. some of the work being undertaken is quite strong and brings numbers of speakers, researchers and students into town. the other graduate programs in landscape architecture, and degrees by projects are also worthwhile
deakin - reasonable and adequate, but no real force. located in geelong, seen as a refuge for those not yet comfortable or able to afford the 'big city'.

univ of tasmania - (launceston) - a fairly humble school, but with a few quite spirited staff (richard blythe) who make an effort to produce something worth looking at. the school attracts many students from around the world who see tasmania as a last refuge, and who aspire to working close to big trees and impressive landscapes.

univ of western australia - used to be interesting and produce some good students, but seems to have gone quiet.
curtin univ - again, seems only to figure in the very local, regional sense.

the one link to many of these schools?? the AA.

current or recent heads of architecture (or heads of departments) at the following schools were all involved in one way or another at the AA: UQ, QUT, UTS, USYD, RMIT, UWA

much as in the US, but with a delay, the quality and reputation of the schools of architecture in australia is shifting from the status of the undergraduate to the graduate program. again, to define which school is "best" or "worse" one needs to state the conditions for selection.

Aug 19, 06 12:29 am

rmit and Melb uni are good.
but i'm planning to go to the US for MArch.

Where are you from steph?

Aug 21, 06 12:14 am
steph p.

whew thanks, dlb. that was quite a response.

Aug 21, 06 2:22 am

curious dlb---do you think usyd is totally to blame on tom heneghan? I had him as a professor at washu (and still keep in touch with him as a friend) and find him anything but lackluster. Would be pretty disappointed to find out otherwise.

Aug 21, 06 4:29 am

university of newcastle hosted our Glenn Murcutt masterclass - I was impressed. Asside many of the tutors we had for the seminar were also at the school Pete Stutchbury, Rick Leplastrier, Lindsay Johnston and Glenn is an advisor. The newcastle area is kind of cool too

Aug 21, 06 11:41 am

hey diabase, sorry for the late response, i am travelling through NZ at the moment.

my statement - "University of New south Wales (UNSW) is currently held to be the best in the country" - is in reference to articles i have read about architectural education in both australia and new zealand. it is also related to the feedback i have gotten from architects i have spoken to. but as you state, it depends on what you expect from a uni.

when i spoke of rmit's campus, i mean things things like this.

I am glad people are so passionate about their universities.

Aug 21, 06 11:17 pm

Its a great building! Here it is in context - Corrigan and ARM [almost] side by side... The Arch studios are on the top 2 floors.

Aug 21, 06 11:56 pm


Aug 21, 06 11:59 pm
steph p.

the facade looks good. but it reminds me kinda like a decorated shoebox?

Aug 28, 06 8:03 am

i studied in perth at curtin, this was a while ago now. but at that time rmit was considered the 'best' school in oz,
UWA used to have a good rep, but after it very nearly lost its accreditation (only saved by some fairly dodgy deals) its rep never fully recovered.
but look anyway, a good student will do good work anywhere, a crap student is still crap regardless of where they study.

Aug 28, 06 8:17 am

oh gosh. i reallly don't like RMIT's facade and I have to go pass it almost everyday.

Aug 28, 06 8:23 am
steph p.

what don't ya like about it, miss_j? anyway, to answer your Q from another thread: i'm from jakarta.

Aug 28, 06 8:38 am

steph - it is postmodern yes, different yes. but to my eyes it is so bloody ugly! The photos here make them look okay. You've got to see them in person.

Aug 28, 06 8:46 am

steph are you choosing between RMIT and tu delft??

Aug 28, 06 8:50 am

Thou shalt not criticise Peter Corrigan.

And its not post-modern.

Aug 28, 06 4:54 pm
steph p.

don't you have to have one year of work experience to apply for m.arch at rmit? in that case, i think i'd go to tu delft.

miss_j have you worked or interned in an architecture office?

Aug 29, 06 5:24 am
Muizz Adam

Hi everyone!

This is my first post (I've been a lurker for quite some time, heh).

I'm going to start my first-year undergrad next year, and I wanted to know your views on both RMIT and UniMelb -- which has the better undergrad program?

I know it's difficult to define, but hey, I'm still fresh out of high school and I'd really appreciate your input. That being said, I'm kind of biased towards RMIT because of the design-centric approach, as opposed to UniMelb's research-based methods (correct me if I'm wrong).

(Oh, and if it helps, I love OMA's work, and the genius that is Rem Koolhaas -- pardon my naivety)

Dec 10, 06 8:51 am
Muizz Adam



Dec 11, 06 10:22 pm

No brainer - RMIT. If you are in Melbourne, go and visit the campuses. Melbourne has a better library, but you can get borrowing rights from RMIT. RMIT has SIAL.

Alumni/Staff from RMIT include the following:

Hamish Lyon
Paul Minifie
Wood Marsh
Elenberg Fraser
Mark Burry
Mauro Baracco
Charles McBride Ryan

etc, etc.

Dec 11, 06 11:09 pm
Muizz Adam

I don't have the luxury of visiting Melbourne beforehand, but from what I've heard, it's a great city and a wonderful place to live. Can't wait.

Thanks a lot!

Dec 12, 06 9:16 am
brent allpress

The Melbourne University based Melbourne Institute conducted a study of Australian university rankings and had this to say on university-wide rankings that do not take into account specific discipline strengths:

"Any prospective student should be aware that the ratings of Australian universities might produce a list of what is regarded as Australian top universities, but this does not mean that these universities have what the student requires over all areas of study. Many of the Australian universities have reputations in various areas that are far better than the reputations that the ranked or elite level universities have for those particular areas. Two examples would be RMIT University's architecture studies and La Trobe University's nursing studies."
- 2004 Melbourne Institute - International Standing of Australian Universities, in Australian Education Network: Rankings of Australian Universities

RMIT Architecture website:

Dec 17, 07 10:41 am
Prince Imrahil

Im an International Student and im gonna start my undergraduate studies this year,i want to study architecture in Nz or aussi no diffrence,and i dont know which uni to choose,first i was only thinking about UQ but uni Uni sydney RMIT and university of auckland added,i would appreciate it if you let me know which one is better for undergraduate courses.

Aug 27, 08 12:39 pm
Prince Imrahil

Im an International Student and im gonna start my undergraduate studies this year,i want to study architecture in Nz or aussi no diffrence,and i dont know which uni to choose,first i was only thinking about UQ but uni Uni sydney RMIT and university of auckland added,i would appreciate it if you let me know which one is better for undergraduate courses.

Aug 27, 08 12:39 pm
le bossman

there aren't any

Aug 27, 08 12:48 pm
Prince Imrahil

le bossman what do you mean?

Aug 27, 08 1:05 pm
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

All the universities you listed are good, and you'll get a good architectural education there. RMIT has a bigger international reputation than any of the others. Is there anything in particular you are looking for in a university?

Aug 27, 08 3:50 pm
le bossman

oh sorry i was thinking about something else

Aug 27, 08 5:09 pm

hello guys..
this is my first response
i have read thru what all u had to say.
well im still confused as to which whould be the best college for me.
i m an intenational student looking to do my masters in Architecture in Australia. so please anyone if u cud fill me on this one would appreciate a lot.

Oct 9, 08 5:45 am
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

what do you want to know, nirvan? there isn't a 'right' answer to this question. It will depend on what is important to you. Which schools are you considering?

Oct 9, 08 2:17 pm

Thanks for responding agfa8x. Well the choices i have shortlisted are Uni Syd, UNSW, UTS, RMIT and Uni Melbourne. I was wondering out of these unis which one has the best M Arch program. M arch particularly specializing in Sustainable dev. Well actually i was more interested in joint programs like MArch+MBA or MArch+Mcom....something to do with business basically. But i don't think the unis in Aus have these programs. ( correct me if I'm wrong).
Thanks a million.

Oct 10, 08 12:02 am

And i think my first preference would be Sydney as far as cities are concerned.
Thanks again.

Oct 10, 08 12:04 am
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

I'm not sure how wise it would be to try to do a joint program: an MArch is a pretty serious fulltime commitment - I can't imageine how you could possibly fit in another Masters degree at the same time! I'm in NZ, and I don't know all the australian schools well. RMIT is the heavyweight. Melbourne and Sydney are both great cities to live in. Uni Syd, I think, has been on the upswing recently.

Oct 10, 08 2:21 am

Make sure you have a correct understanding of the Masters degree. In the states, the masters degree is a 2 year option after a 2-3 year undergraduate degree. In Australia and NZ, architecture is primarily a 5 year b.arch degree. Masters is done for approx 2 years after that.

So an OZ/NZ masters is more or less equivalent in terms of duration to an American PhD. In other words there is no professional need for any OZ/NZ student to do a masters degree. Students who do often are on the track for teaching or some other specialization.

So if you are wanting to get any study in Australia recognized in the states as part of a masters degree it is not so clear cut.

In terms of schools I am not sure now. RMIT [where I studied] will probably always be the 'best' school in OZ/NZ, but if you want to live in Sydney then all of the schools are pretty good.

Oct 12, 08 4:15 pm
Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

actually, all the schools in NZ are switching to a 3yr BAS + 2yr MArch. Unitec already has, and Vic and UA are doing it next year. Not sure about australia.

Oct 12, 08 6:29 pm

diabase, you're underestimating the American bachelor's degree... it's typically 4 years, not 2-3, so they are more on par than you think.

Oct 12, 08 6:43 pm

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