Department Overview

History of the Department

The Department of Architecture was established at the University of Pretoria in 1943 and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2018.

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1908     The first students registered for classes at the Pretoria Centre of the Transvaal University College (TUC).
1927     The Architects and Quantity Surveyors Act, Act No. 18 of 1927, is promulgated.
1929     Studies in Architecture are initiated at TUC with H Bell-John appointed as part-time professor.
1930     The TUC becomes the University of Pretoria (UP). 
1931     Part-time classes in Architecture commence at UP.
1932     UP is appointed as an examining authority in Architecture and Quantity Surveying. According to an agreement with Wits University, the syllabus in Architecture is prescribed and examinations conducted by Wits as the only school of Architecture, while UP prescribes the syllabus and conducts the examinations for quantity surveying.
1942     The UP Council, with Gerard Moerdyk as chairman, ends the agreement with Wits and approves the presentation of courses in Architecture at UP.
1943     The Department of Architecture and Quantity Surveying is formally founded in the Faculty of Science at UP as the third school of Architecture in South Africa. Prof At Meiring is appointed as the first full-time professor and Head of Department. The Department is situated in Vermeulen Street in the Pretoria inner city. Students can either enrol for a five-year full-time degree or a part-time diploma.
1957     The Department moves to the Hatfield Campus and is located across the campus while a new building is being completed.
1960     The Department moves into the newly completed Boukunde Building.
1961     The part-time diploma course is replaced by an eight-year part-time degree, while the five-year full-time degree is extended to a minimum of six years.
1967     The part-time programme is discontinued. Prof Alewyn Burger is appointed as Head of Department.
1971     The Department’s name is changed to the Department of Architecture as quantity surveying becomes a separate entity. The new four-year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture is instituted.
1972     Substantial reconstruction to the Boukunde Building is undertaken, which is completed in 1973.
1974     The Bachelor of Architecture degree is reduced to five years as the year of work experience falls away. Students are required to work in practices during the university recess.
1983     UP introduces a semester course system that has a significant impact on curricula.
1985     Prof Dieter Holm is appointed as Head of Department.
1986     Prof Chrisna du Plessis is appointed as Chair of the National Architecture Students Union.
1987     The Department of Landscape Architecture becomes an independent entity under Prof Michael Murphy.
1988     Prof Willem van Riet is appointed Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture.
1992     The Division for Environmental Design and Management was established.
1993     The Department of Architecture celebrates its golden jubilee. The first students enrol for a degree in interior design in the Department of Home Economics.
1994     The first democratic elections are held in South Africa and the country is re-admitted to the Commonwealth. The Department’s professional degree in Architecture is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1995.
1997     The Department’s name is changed to the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the two programmes are re-amalgamated under Prof Schalk le Roux. 
1999     A new equifinal curriculum structure is implemented, which does away with the typical division between programmes. New three-year undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Landscape Architecture are launched. The programme in Interior Design is transferred to the Department of Architecture and the four-year Bachelor of Interior Design is accredited by the Federation of Interior Architects and Designers and Design South Africa.
2000     A new faculty structure is implemented, and the School for the Built Environment is established. New tiered categories of professional registration for the architectural and landscape architectural professions are introduced.
2001     The first cohort that enrolled for the new BSc(Arch) and BSc(LArch) degrees complete their undergraduate studies.
2002     The first students enrol for the MArch(Prof), ML(Prof) and MInt(Prof) degrees. These are two-year postgraduate degrees with the option of a stand-alone honours year. The first students complete their studies towards the new BSc(Int) degree.
2003     The programme in Landscape Architecture celebrates its 30th anniversary and the programme in Interior Architecture celebrates its 10th anniversary.
2004     Prof Roger Fisher is appointed as Acting Head of Department until the appointment of Prof ’Ora Joubert. The two-year professional postgraduate degrees are divided into a one-year honours degree, followed by a one-year professional master’s degree.
2009     Prof Karel Bakker is appointed as Head of Department.
2014     Prof Karel Bakker passes away on 19 November 2014.
2015     Prof Chrisna du Plessis is appointed as Head of Department.
2016     Renovations to the Boukunde Building commence, under the supervision of alumni Karlien Thomashoff of Thomashoff + Partner Architects.
2017     Construction starts on the remodelling of the Boukunde Building, which would serve as a living laboratory for architecture students.
2018     The Department celebrates its 75th anniversary. The new Boukunde Building is completed and staff and students take up residence in their new home.
2019     Establishment of the Unit for Urban Citizenship and collaboration with the Mamelodi Community Learning Collaborative.
2020     Expansion of research areas into smart cities and neighbourhoods, and resilient and regenerative cities. 
2021     Contribution to the establishment of the Hatfield Digital Twin City Initiative as the Department moves into the digital space. Presentation of the undergraduate degrees in Landscape and Interior Architecture is phased out and a new interdisciplinary undergraduate Architecture curriculum is launched.

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