The School of Architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has completed, in 2017, 60 years of academic presence, forming part of a major progressive academic institution,- the biggest university in Greece. The School has adopted since its foundation, an extrovert attitude and a pluralistic approach to architectural design. The curriculum of the School addresses all levels of scale in design practice from regional and urban planning, landscape design, architecture, interior and industrial design to building technology and conservation of buildings and sites. A series of courses on art, theory and history of art and architecture, underpin the design studio courses promoting students’ creativity and critical thinking while underlying the historical, cultural, social and environmental context defining architectural design and practice.
The recent economic crisis in Greece had major repercussions on the School’s life and function, with a decrease in the number of its faculty and its funding. Despite these adverse circumstances the School retained the character of a “big” architectural school and all disciplines included in its curriculum. Responding to new conditions and with the goal of keeping its identity as a dynamic and progressive academic institution, it revised drastically its curriculum that was first implemented in the year 2014-15. Making the best use of its human resources at faculty level, it introduced a new pedagogy that placed as its core the architectural design studios. The studios were addressed as the hub for promoting creativity, experimentation and critical thinking, where students will have the possibility to synthesize, implement and integrate all knowledge provided by their studies.
The goal, of the School of Architecture at A.U.Th., is to educate architects that are capable of coping with the increasingly demanding and competitive professional conditions of the actual globalized context, both in Greece and abroad. In this ever changing global context, architectural design should respond to challenges in regard to environmental crisis, social inequality, new urban conditions and the confronting local and global patterns and forms of built space. Furthermore, revising the social and historic actual context is mostly critical.
The post graduate studies provided by the School comprise five Master’s programs offering specialization in five respective fields of architectural practice. There are two interdisciplinary Programs in Landscape Architecture and Preservation - Restoration of Cultural Monuments, one inter-university Program in Museology and two architectural design Programs, that of Environmental Architectural Design and that of Advanced Computational Design. For the coordination and organization of the Master’s program the School is taking advantage of the expertise of other departments within the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, as well as, other universities in Greece and abroad, promoting synergies and interdisciplinary research. The School is also providing a PhD curriculum supervising currently a large number of PhD students.
The School’s facilities include a well-organized and equipped Digital Design and Fabrication Lab that provides the means for research and innovative students’ experiments during the architectural design studio courses and a specialized architectural library that is part of the Aristotle University library network.
The architectural education provided by the School could be evaluated through the high quality of the final research and design diploma projects presented by its students, as well as, major distinctions and prizes they receive, during their post graduate studies and professional careers in Greece and abroad.
For safeguarding and promoting the level of attainment and quality of studies in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki School of Architecture, there is an imperative need for the increase of faculty and staff, as well as, the refurbishment and secure protection of its educational spaces and facilities. Ultimately, the School will continue to monitor the implementation of the new curriculum, while providing any needed adjustments, in order to fulfill its steadfast goals and objectives.
I wish to you all, a very productive and creative, new academic year!
Head of the School of Architecture AUTh