Architectural Education

Architectural Education: Global Difference, 16 September 2011 

At a time when higher education is facing significant changes which may limit opportunities for professional study, this debate, held at the RIBA in September 2011 considers architectural education in a global context.


Simon Allford (chair), co founder of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects.

Professor Neil Spiller, Head of the School of Architecture, Design and Construction at Greenwich University. He previously worked at the Bartlett from 1993 until 2010 where his roles included Vice Dean and Director of Postgraduate Design.

Vittorio Lampugnani, professor for the History of Urban Design at the ETH Zurich Faculty of Architecture. He has architectural practices in Milan and Zurich.

Professor David Dunster, recently retired Roscoe Professor of Architecture at the University of Liverpool. He has taught at Kingston Polytechnic, the Bartlett and South Bank University.

Professor Jo Noero, Professor of Architecture at the University of Cape Town. He has lectured and taught in many countries around the world, notably as Director of Graduate Studies, Washington University. His practice Noero Wolff Architects is based in Cape Town.

Dr Julio D Dávila, Director of the Development Planning Unit's PhD Programme at UCL. A civil engineer and urban development planner by training, Julio's current research interests include the role of local government in progressive social and political transformation in developing countries.

Adriana Cobo, senior lecturer at the University of Greenwich. She has worked as a lecturer at the school of architecture at Los Andes University, Bogotá and Universidad San Buenaventura in Cali, Colombia as well as guest lecturer at many others.

Professor David Gloster, Director of Education at the RIBA. He previously worked as an academic for 20 years at both the Architectural Association and London South Bank University.

Professor Katharine Heron, Head of the Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster since 1997, and Director of AmbikaP3. She is a member of the RIBA Education Committee, of its Validation Panel and a past- chair of SCHOSA. She is currently an advisor to the Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne, and a regularly attends the Graduate Research Conference convened by RMIT both in Melbourne and in Brussels.

Simon Allford introduces the event, setting the context and framing some of the themes for the afternoon's discussion (duration 4:04).

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Neil Spiller: 'A Clarion Call for Unity in Architectural Education' (duration 11:00)

Vittorio Lampugnani considers his own experiences in architectural education, which are mainly German and Swiss, but also Italian, Spanish and North American (duration 17:10).

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David Dunster responds to the discussions presented in the first half of the debate (duration 18:48).

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Questions from the floor to respond to the presentations by Neil Spiller, Vittorio Lampugnani and David Dunster (duration 40:32).

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Jo Noero presents a general critique of architectural education; architectural education in South Africa; practice and the academy (duration 17:43).

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Dr Julio D Dávila considers ‘urban institutions and informality: the relevance of context in architectural education’ (duration 10:37).


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Adriana Cobo: ‘Educational priorities: comparing Colombia and the UK’  (duration 6:53)

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David Gloster presents an overview on RIBA International Validation (duration 9:38)


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Professor Katharine Heron responds to the topics raised from the other speakers (duration 9:04). 


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Questions from the floor to respond to the presentations by Jo Noero, Julio D Dávila, Adriana Cobo, David Gloster and Professor Katharine Heron  (duration 41:15)

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About the series

The Melvin Debates reflect their wide and varied interests in architecture of Peter Melvin (1933-2009) and Muriel Melvin (1931-2008). They both studied architecture and worked together for almost 50 years after they married in 1960. They established what became Melvin Lansley and Mark in 1965, and Atelier MLM in 1994. Peter Melvin was a member of RIBA Council for many years, and twice a Vice-President. The debates are funded in their memory by their children Joanna, Jeremy, and Stephen Melvin.