A year ago, on June 24, 2016, Peter Russell gave his inaugural address. In it, he described his program for the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment with three A’s: Automation, Africa and Agility. In the past year, progress has been made on each of these long-term projects. 

For each A, a town-hall meeting was held to identify key-issues relative to the Faculty’s agenda, strengths and potential. Following each town-hall meeting, a workshop was held (or will be held in the case of Agility). At these workshops, a brainstorming and elevator pitches have helped to deepen a roadmap in order to determine first steps as well as general roadmap for Bouwkunde in the coming years. What follows is a short description of where we are with each of these topics. 

Automation

The workshop concentrated on three areas where the faculty can focus on automation’s influence on the built environment. A general consensus was reached, that pilot projects within the faculty might best demonstrate this by creating projects affection education, research and the daily BK-City life. Pilot projects have been approved for a course in Spatial Computation, the creation of a BK City Smartphone App and the establishment of the Automation lab. Perhaps most prominent is the lab as it has become for the time being, focused on the use of VR and AR technologies. Currently, with 6 separate VR stations in the new lab, Bouwkunde enjoys one of the highest densities of VR gear in the Netherlands. This has raised interest from many design studios to experiment with VR in the design process as well as other types of courses.

Africa

The workshop on creating an African research network for the built environment has coalesced into a working group to establish a major research conference in the spring of 2018. Leading up to that, we are working on a symposium/workshop that the TU Delft will help organize in Africa this coming November. The workshop will lead to the agenda of topics for the conference by inviting researchers on the ground to bring issues to the workshop. This is partially being supported by the TU Delft’s Global Initiative. As well, we are working to deepen our cooperation with UN Habitat’s activities, including hosting the only UN Urban Thinker’s Campus dealing with Education in Urbanism last month.

Agility

The town hall meeting was well attended and this is perhaps the toughest of the three A’s. Improving agility in our education is actually an ongoing task, but by placing special attention on this topic, we hope to engage every level of the faculty in the goal of improving the quality of our education while addressing the rapidly changing expectations of society on our graduates. It is clear that this will involve new pedagogies (see the VR-Lab) but also better structures to allow our education to remain agile. The M.Sc. MADE master is one step on this path, as will the Education review we are going to undertake in the spring of 2018. In the meantime, we expect to hold a workshop on Agility in the beginning of the coming semester to gather ideas and form a roadmap towards a future-fit education in Architecture and the Built Environment.

Citizens of BK-City who want to contribute to these projects or who want to be kept informed register via: nowisthetimeforthefuture-bk@tudelft.nl.