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Study Architecture in New Zealand

Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand



The New Zealand landscape has been the main  inspiration to architects in this country as they have evolved their own styles, particularly for peoples' homes. And as the New  Zealand landscape is varied, so are the designs it inspires. We invited the Victoria University of Wellington to tell us more... , 

"New Zealand cities present a largely European face through their architecture," Associate Professor David Kernohan,  Dean  of the School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington, says. "While some  older buildings do survive, New Zealand cities are characterised by high-rise office  buildings though none are as high as in New York or Chicago."

It is at the domestic or residential scale that New Zealand architects excel. New Zealanders have a close relationship with the  land, its topography, verdant bush, blue seas, clear skies and open  spaces have been an inspiration to New Zealand architects. "Whether building in the rugged country of Otago, the plains of Canterbury, the hills of  Wellington or the bays of Auckland, New Zealand architects have expressed both  individuality and innovation in their designs for peoples' homes. Now this is beginning to  impact on its cities too. Wellington Harbour, with its new civic centre and the Museum  of New Zealand now under construction, epitomises the ability of New Zealand  architects to foot it with the best internationally, while providing an  architecture that reflects our Pacific context," Associate Professor Kemohan said.

While New Zealand is a relatively young  country, it has an interesting history which is seen in its architecture.  The first New Zealanders were the Maori, who arrived several centuries ago. Many fine  examples of their highly decorated "whare whakairo" or meeting houses remain on marae throughout the country, some dating back to the 1840s.

The British colonial period followed and in  the four main centres there are still many fine examples of Victorian and Edwardian  architecture. These include the older university buildings, such as Auckland University's Arts building, Otago University's principal building in  Dunedin, and the former Canterbury University buildings  which are now an arts centre in the middle of Christchurch. In Wellington, Victoria University's Law Faculty is about to  move into an historic building which once housed the entire New Zealand civil service,  a large wooden building styled in the manner of a stone edifice.

Wood is extensively used in construction in New Zealand, because it is good at with- standing the earthquakes to which much of the country is prone. Designing structures to withstand earthquakes is a major practical and research focus for architects and engineers in the country. A type of shock absorber which is fitted into buildings, bridges and other structures to reduce earthquake shocks was designed in New  Zealand and has now proved its worth in quakes in California and Japan.

New Zealand has three Schools of Architecture offering degree-level courses. Those at Auckland and Victoria Universities both offer five-year Bachelor of Architecture courses which are recognised internationally by the Commonwealth Association of Architects, and nationally for registration purposes. These schools offer postgraduate degrees to masters and doctorate levels. Also in Auckland is the Unitec school, which began offering its five year undergraduate degree programme in 1992.

Victoria University's School of Architecture is now housed in the Wellington city centre in a building which has itself won a national architectural award - a former freight depot that has been refurbished and opened up, with a large slice taken out of its centre, to fill the building with the clear New Zealand sunlight. At Victoria students can also undertake a three year Bachelor of Building Science, or a four year Bachelor of Design taught in conjunction with the Wellington Polytechnic. Areas of research expertise include  energy and environmental design of buildings; building performance and evaluation; building economics, management and regulations; interior architecture and design; and culture, history and theory in architecture. Much of the School's current  sponsored research is carried out through its Centre for Building Performance Research, and the School benefits from its situation in the national capital through the ability to liaise with the head offices and research centres of many major institutions.

Auckland University's School of Architecture, Property and Planning offers degrees in these three fields. A three year Bachelor of Architectural Studies can be taken either as a qualification in its own right, or as a stepping stone towards the full Bachelor of Architecture. The three year Bachelor of Property is a specialist business degree, covering aspects such as valuation, investment, development, management and marketing in this field; an honours degree can be completed with an extra year's study. The Bachelor of Planning is a four year degree taking in diverse areas such as local and regional land use planning, urban design, and heritage and building conservation. A Master of Planning Practice degree is also offered, which can be completed in two years by graduates in other disciplines.

Entry to both the university architecture programmes is highly competitive. At Victoria University entry is normally undertaken through an intermediate year at a New Zealand university, while mature students with relevant experience or other qualifications may be able to use this background to gain admission.

At Auckland University students can enter the undergraduate programmes directly from school, or with work or other study experience that could be recognised as earning credit for some of the degree. Requirements for entry include a portfolio of work and a written statement.

The Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland also offers a five year Bachelor of Architecture degree in its School of Architecture and Design. Qualifications for entry are less rigorous than at the two universities, and the emphasis is on 'learning by doing' with the design studio intended to simulate real-world conditions. This degree is expected to be recognised for New Zealand registration purposes from 1997.

As well, Unitec offers Bachelors degrees in Quantity Surveying and Construction Management which involve four years of full time study, or can also be taken on a part time basis. Again, the approach is practical, with much of the learning achieved through students undertaking problem based projects. ...

Postal Address:
Victoria University of  Wellington
PO Box 600
Wellington 6001
NEW ZEALAND

+64-4-472 1000

+64-4-499 4601

International student 

E Mail enquiries

victoria-international@victoria.ac.nz

+64 4 463 5350

+64 4 463 5056


www.arch.victoria.ac.nz

Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand

Postal Address:
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Wellington 6001
NEW ZEALAND

+64-4-472 1000

+64-4-499 4601

International student 

E Mail enquiries

victoria-international@victoria.ac.nz

+64 4 463 5350+64 4 463 5056

www.arch.victoria.ac.nz

 

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