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Architectural Education
 
ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION IN SRI LANKA
The role of the SLIA in relation to Architectural Education in the country
 
Sri Lanka Institute of Architects law no. 1 of 1976 enacted by the National State Assembly vested statutory powers with the SLIA.  One of the main objectives of the SLIA is to promote and advance the study, practice and application of, and research in architecture and kindred subjects, and the arts and sciences connected therewith.
 
The powers to organize, supervise and control admission to the architectural profession, and education and training of persons to qualify as architects, are vested with the SLIA by the statute. It further allows SLIA to prescribe or approve courses of study for the qualifying examinations for membership of the institute and to conduct courses of study for such purpose.  The Board of Architectural Education implements the commitment of the SLIA with regard to the aforesaid activities and is responsible for evaluation of qualifications, and for conducting examinations for those eventually seeking registration by the ARB.
 
The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (Amendment) Act No. 14 of 1996 enacted by the Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, has further reinforced the statutory powers vested with the SLIA.  The Architects Registration Board (ARB) established under the amended act, controls and protects the use of the name Architect and its derivatives.
 
Architectural Education In Sri Lanka At The University Level
 
Architectural Education in Sri Lanka has undergone rapid changes over the last forty years.  Moving the first course of study from the Institute of Practical Technology, Katubedda, to the University of Colombo in 1969 and upgrading it to a university level course at the Faculty of Natural Sciences were the first major changes it faced.  With restructuring of the University System in 1972, the course reverted to its place of origin at Katubedda, which by that time had been elevated to a Campus of the University of Sri Lanka, and was consolidated as a separate department of study under the Faculty of Engineering.  In 1978, the University System was restructured and as a result the Katubedda campus received autonomous status and became the University of Moratuwa.  Subsequently, in 1979, the Department of Architecture was separated from the Faculty of Engineering, and a new Faculty of Architecture was formed by creating two additional departments viz, the Department of Town and Country Planning and the Department of Building Economics.
 
The Department of Architecture from its very inception has had a very close relationship with the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects, Royal Institute of British Architects and the Commonwealth Association of Architects.  These institutes have recognized and accredited the courses of architecture offered by the Department in 1985.  Further, the Department of Architecture has developed working relationships with schools in other countries, particularly in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, India and Pakistan.
 
The Department of Architecture of the University of Moratuwa, offers both undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Architecture.  The course structure was originally a two tiered one, namely, a first degree B.Sc(Built-Environment) which was of 3 years full time duration, followed by a two years post-graduate full time course leading to a M.Sc (Architecture)  post-graduate degree, with 12 months of practical work training under a Chartered Architect in between.

 

 
 
Following international trends this has now been changes to a 5 year professional degree course of Bachelor of  Architecture (B.Arch), inclusive of 9 months of practical training. SLIA – BAE has already recognized B.Arch for exemption from their Part II qualification.  RIBA and CAA will visit the Department of Architecture in march 2008 to review B.Arch. for exemption from their Part II examinations.  By successfully competing the B.Arch, Degree holder can prepare to acquire a full professional qualification from the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects by passing its Part III professional examination, subsequent to  two years of practical training under a Chartered Architect.  This examination is recognized by the RIBA for exemption from Part III of the RIBA professional examination and degree holders can eventually obtain overseas membership of RIBA.
 
Architectural Education at Other Tertiary Level Institutions
 
During the mid 1980s, 25 years after establishing architectural education at the tertiary level in Sri Lanka, the Council of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects noted that formal educational facilities in Sri Lanka were not adequate to fulfill the needs of the country.  The Council of the SLIA at that time was of the view that there existed a need for alternative educational opportunities to satisfy the growing demand for well-trained architects, in the context for rapid changes taking place in the built environment of Sri Lanka. Although the SLIA campaigned for the establishment of alternative formal training facilities in architecture, nothing materialized. Therefore, the SLIA itself had to step in and establish a Lecture Course in 1986.
 
The City School of Architecture (CSA) with a history of twenty five years and a student population of nearly two hundred, offers an alternate career in architecture that acknowledges that Architectural Education is a broad based teaching and learning process, where a major portion of the teaching and learning components lie rooted in the real world of practice.
 
The school brings these experiences through its architectural programmes which are based on a “Learn while you Work” concept. Talented and qualified individuals who posses an aptitude for architecture are selected through an Aptitude Test and Interview and are given an opportunity to pursue an academic career in architecture, whilst apprenticing under a Chartered Architect. Students thus receive a quotient of the practice based education through their Trainer Practices, whilst, CSA brings within its structured curriculum, architectural education and the experiences of the practice of architecture. The “Learn while you work” concept of the course enables students to form working relationships and establish direct links with the construction industry.
 
The School has on offer two courses of study based on a sandwich concept – the four year CSA Part I Course and the three year CSA Part II Course, which prepare students towards the Parts I & II of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects Professional Practice Examinations. The City School of Architecture confers a Diploma in Architectural Studies and a Higher Diploma in Architecture as academic qualifications to students, on successful completion of the Parts I & II Courses and Examinations.
 
CSA is a Listed School of the Board of Architectural Education, SLIA (Sri Lanka Institute of Architects). Having received RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) “Candidate Course Status” in 2009, and RIBA Validation of its Parts I & II Courses in January 2011, CSA students completing the Parts I & II Courses and Examinations will receive the internationally reputed RIBA Parts I & II Professional qualifications. This qualification will pave the way for students to work towards RIBA International Membership. The value addition to the CSA academic programmes, provides international recognition, greater mobility for higher education and employment opportunities.
 
The Part I course established in 1986 and the Part II course established in 1991, together was named as the Colombo School of Architecture in 1999. In 2008, the school christened as the “City School of Architecture” came under an autonomous management with shareholding by the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects and its Membership.
 
CSA advocates an equal opportunities policy and encourages participation of male and female students. The diversity in age, cultural and social backgrounds in every batch of students, broadens students’ views and brings together diverse personalities to create a wholesome environment for higher learning.
 
Design is the core subject of the course and is conducted as interactive studios. An atmosphere of critical debate, innovative design thinking and a quest for creative design is encouraged through the faculty, tutors, critiques and resource persons drawn form the practice and academe giving balanced teaching inputs. Peer interaction and reviews are also encouraged.
 
Theory subjects, site visits, local and international experiencing architecture visits, joint study programmes with foreign universities, participation in local and foreign student conventions, apprenticing in a Trainer Practice – all offer the CSA students the necessary peripheral inputs to reinforce their design thinking and design skills to enrich them to become Tomorrows’ Architects.
 
Over 700 students have registered with the school and of the seventeen batches that have gone through the portals of the school, many have established individual practices, whilst others have continued their education in academic institutions abroad, reading for Masters and Doctoral Degrees. Many architects produced by the school have received awards and accolades locally and internationally.
 
The City School of Architecture is optimistic in its quest to become one of the leading institutions in the South Asian Region, to educate and train Architects. Its mission remains to train students as qualified Architects with competitive and comprehensive knowledge of the profession, able to adapt to real and contemporary trends and needs, be professionally ethical and socially and environmentally responsible. The school proposes to expand to offer areas of specializations within the realm of Architecture, Design and Management and continue to emphasize the exploration of wider usage of passive systems in its academic programmes, thus giving students a better understanding of the responsibilities towards one’s own environment. Socially biased projects are also looked at as an indispensable part of the curriculum in order to train the students to address actual national and regional needs of South Asian societies, in a pragmatic manner.
 
For further information refer the City School of Architecture website: www.csacolombo.edu.lk