School of Architecture of Tianjin University: the pioneer in China‘s architectural education

Clockwise: Gymnasium of New Campus of Tianjin University, Chief Designer: Li Xinggang; Tianjin University New Campus Library, Chief Designer: Zhou Kai; Bird‘s Nest-National Stadium, Co-designer: Li Xinggang; Water Cube, Co-designer: Zhao Xiaojun. Photo: Courtesy of Tianjin University

 

Students from the School of Architecture of Tianjin University show their works. Photo: Courtesy of Tianjin University

The Bird‘s Nest, or Beijing National Stadium, the Water Cube, or Beijing National Aquatics Center for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Speed Skating Oval for the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Beijing Daxing International Airport, Dunhuang City Museum, the Conference Hall of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou… This series of marvelous architectural designs are the work of elites who graduated from the School of Architecture of Tianjin University in North China‘s Tianjin Municipality.

Founded in 1937, the School of Architecture has a history of over 80 years. The architecture program was accredited as China‘s first batch of Excellent Qualification in Architecture Education in 1992 and 1995, for bachelor‘s and master‘s degrees respectively. The programs have since been recognized internationally according to the Canberra Accord on Architectural Education. 

The vision of the school can be summarized as follows: “Creating an ideal human habitat for the future while carrying forward the wisdom of Chinese architecture.”

It is composed of four departments – the Department of Architecture, Urban and Rural Planning, Landscape Architecture, and Environmental Design – as well as three research institutes – the Institute of Architectural History and Theory, Architectural Technology and Science, and Construction and Design. The departments rank top in the list of National Discipline Accreditations. For example, the Department of Architecture and of Urban and Rural Planning ranked 3rd in the 2016 National Discipline Evaluation, and the landscape department ranked the 5th. 

The school also pays great attention to international exchanges, and has established long-term cooperation with many top universities and research institutions both in China and abroad such as the University of Michigan in the US, University College London in the UK, Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin in Germany, the University of Tokyo in Japan and National University of Singapore in Singapore.

Each year, many students from the School of Architecture are given the opportunity to make study visits to well-known universities abroad, and at the same tine, international and exchange students from other countries and regions come to study at the school. 

Currently, a total of 140 faculty members and about 30 administrative staff are working in the school, and many of the faculty members have made great achievements in architectural design and technology in key building projects in China, heritage conservation, sustainable environment as well as international academic and cultural exchanges. 

The School of Architecture of Tianjin University enrolls about 190 undergraduate students annually, including 90 in the architecture, 40 in the urban and rural planning, 20 in landscape architecture, and 40 in the art design departments. Over 200 graduate students and about 50 doctoral students are enrolled each year. 

Over the decades, thousands of students have graduated from the school, with many of them making great contributions not only to architecture, but also to emerging industries such as animation.

Shang You, who graduated from the School of Architecture of Tianjin University in 2005, is the producer of hit animation series White Cat Legend, which scored 8.5/10 on the Chinese review site Douban.

Shang told the Global Times that “Although I changed my career path, learning abilities are universal. My four years of study at Tianjin University taught me how to deal with complex work and study problems, and I still benefit from those skills.” 


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