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Western Sydney University to offer Master of Architecture

As part of a newly developed architecture program, Western Sydney University will offer a Master of Architecture (Urban Transformation) from March 2019. The program “has been established to seize upon the opportunities presented by the growth and dynamic of the western Sydney region,” with the university’s Parramatta location the base for an examination of the development of major cities.

The size of the cohort will be limited to a “boutique” 25, with a year-long thesis a central part of the two-year course. Graduates will be expected “to use the medium of design to make contributions to a collective body of urban design knowledge.”

Chris Knapp

Chris Knapp

Image: WSU

The course will be based studio space near Westmead Station and the inaugural semester will involve a design studio working with the Sydney office of international practice Diller Scofidio and Renfro. In 2021, the program will be relocated to a proposed vertical campus for WSU on Hassall Street. Blight Rayner and Tzannes won a NSW state significant design competition for the project.

The program will seek accreditation from the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia and the NSW Architects Registration Board in 2020.

The program has been designed by Chris Knapp, WSU’s chair of architecture, who was appointed in 2017. Knapp has also overseen the implementation of the university’s bachelor of architecture program.

Knapp is the director of Studio Workshop, a practice that bills itself as working at the “intersection of design, technology, craftsmanship, and the built environment.” It combines conventional practice techniques with digital fabrication processes in residential and commercial works.

“Greater western Sydney is rapidly changing and offers a dynamic urban laboratory in which to educate future architects,” Knapp said at the time of his appointment.

“Our goal is to equip this generation with intellectual, interdisciplinary, and technical skills that will expand the range and capability of the architectural profession to transform the complex challenges of the 21st century city for the benefit of society.”

In 2019, the program will also conduct a six-part series of public lectures in collaboration with the City of Parramatta, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and the NSW chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Applications for the first semester close on 15 February.

For more information, go here.

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