Part of the 4TU.Federation
4TU.
Centre for
Engineering Education

Project introduction and background information

Architecture[1] (‘Bouwkunde’) is a practical engineering science that focuses on solving socio-spatial-technical issues in the built environment. Academic skills focus to a large extent on assessing design situations, informing design decisions, underpinning design solutions, and critically reflect on design processes. Together with many faculty colleagues we clarify the pivotal academic skills for architects (‘bouwkundigen’).

Objective and expected outcomes

The editorial board aims to develop a coherent overview of the pivotal academic skills for architects, as learning tool for our own bachelor students, but also as international benchmark for a theme that the field of Architecture has difficulties with to define and to explain.

Results and learnings

The core knowledge question of the engineering sciences is ‘does it work?’ (my design, my prototype, my plan, my model), whereas empirical sciences deal with the core knowledge question ‘is it true?’. Therefore, engineering sciences make use of a variety of less-traditional academic skills and research methods. This book is not only meant for our (bachelor) students as a handbook to refer to, but will also help our tutors with the further academicization of our design oriented curriculums.

[1] With ‘architecture’ we refer here to spatial design, planning and engineering in the built environment in a wider sense: architectural design, urban design and planning, building technology, architectural engineering, landscape architecture, management of the built environment.

Practical outcomes

The book Academic Skills for Architects sets the scene by first presenting architecture as scientific field within the engineering sciences, and secondly by presenting general conventions of scientific ways of working. Then it elaborately focuses on architecture specific academic skills and research methods, and it presents and discusses the relation between scientific research and academic design. Finally, the book shares insights in academic reflection approaches relevant for architects, with specific emphasis on design thinking and design processes, design implementation and stakeholders (practice, feasibility, entrepreneurship), and moral sensitivity and values for the built environment.