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About the Department of Architecture & Landscape Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities

The University of Greenwich has a long history as one of the UK's few institutions to offer fully integrated and professionally accredited architecture and landscape programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This is a tradition that can be traced back to the Hammersmith College of Art and Building (founded in 1881) and Woolwich Polytechnic (founded in 1890), which together merged to form Thames Polytechnic in 1970, which in 1992 became the University of Greenwich.

Greenwich has gained its reputation primarily as a teaching institution, and that tradition in pedagogy has been enhanced with the addition of an array of ambitious young teachers representing a wide variety of positions both in their teaching and in their individual working practices. Unlike many of its competitors, Greenwich is not a monoculture; its diversity can be seen in its teaching staff, its student cohort and through the work of its studios. To maintain this diversity, the department is a firm believer in the 'unit' system, as long as it does not become trapped by fashion and dogma. The units at Greenwich range from the highly pragmatic, run by visiting practitioners, to the more esoteric and speculative. The tools of these units range from exquisite hand drawings, parametric and generative systems to film and animation.

The culture of difference and openness is valued, actively promoted and manifest for all to see. The desire at Greenwich is to create an elite institution, not an elitist one. The department is developing a new attitude to design-based research. The scope of these activities and the dissemination of the associated ideas have led to the organisation of three highly successful 'Future Cities' conferences, developing a thriving international evening lecture series, and participating in external events such as hosting an evening salon at the Barbican Gallery for the 2011 OMA Progress exhibition. The work of both students and staff has also featured in a wide range of international exhibitions and publications.

The department has at its disposal world-class expertise in the development of virtual and augmented realities, in the terrains of synthetic biology, nanotechnology, cybernetics and advanced forms of digital manufacturing all essential for architecture and landscape in the 21st century. Indeed, the way we study history and theory actively engages with the future as much as the past; we believe we have a responsibility to look forward, to not only deal with what architecture and landscape are and were, but to set an agenda for what they could be.

It may seem as though the department is seemingly trying to square an impossible circle, by combining advanced speculative research with a pragmatic approach to developing skills that will be readily usable and make our students highly employable within a range of industries. In all aspects of our teaching practice we are fusing traditional studio- and practice-based pedagogy with more contemporary approaches that fully exploit the potential of online media, virtual learning environments and social networking.

Architecture and landscape education are currently undergoing some profound changes, and at Greenwich we are making sure that the nature of what we are teaching and researching is flexible and reactive to the advances in technology and the expanding global market place. We are educating our students with a toolkit of tactics and strategies to complement a more traditional body of skills, and to have the same passion and drive for their work that we ourselves have for our own teaching and research.

Nic Clear
Head of Department