In times such as ours, when the interests of students and teachers of architecture oscillate between focused but narrow expertise and free but often irrelevant experimentation, the existence and ambition of a School such as University College Dublin offers a welcome alternative, for a number of reasons. First, UCD’s dedication to both its home city, Dublin, and its surrounding countryside, situates its programmes at the intersection of themes that are essential in architecture today: culture and nature, modernity and tradition, the attractive promise of new technologies and the tested wisdom of craft methods. A second strength of UCD is its inclusive approach to architectural skills and their acquisition. No choice between digital and manual methods can be made today. UCD’s serious commitment to the full range of design techniques introduces students to their several strengths and their complementarities. Lastly, UCD offers students a combination of professors and professionals that binds together studies in the theoretical and practical aspects of architecture. No School’s graduates approximate the ideal of the “reflective practitioner” more closely than this one’s. That the teachers and students are not just serious about their work but wonderfully collegial makes the School even more special.
Professor of Architecture, Associate Dean, Chair Graduate Group in Architecture,
University of Pennsylvania
Looking back over the years it seems to me that the ethos of architectural culture in Dublin has always been based on cultivating a particular type of sensitivity towards the nature of the environmental grain, irrespective of whether the subject in question is an urban grain or the grain of a particular landscape, or a mixture of both. It is just this tactile quality that makes the teaching of architecture at University College Dublin into a unique experience, one which is not available today elsewhere. Understated, modest, and non-spectacular and yet, at the same time, always pertinent, UCD has something to offer that the big global schools cannot match, namely, a commitment to the craft of architecture that is as critical as it is pragmatic.
Ware Professor of Architecture,
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation,
We have reviewed the work of students at UCD over several years. It is exceptional work. The programme of study addresses architectural issues in ways that are both global and particularly Irish. There is a clear understanding of the issues and theory that inform and drive current pedagogy. Yet the work here is done with a grounded artfulness. The hand is considered a powerful tool. The heart has parity with the head.
TOD WILLIAMS & BILLIE TSIEN
Architects, Louis Kahn Chair, School of Architecture,
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Noa Barak, Junior Year Architecture Student, University of Massachusetts Amherst, academic year 2016/2017
“My time at UCD has been unforgettable. I have spent the last year studying architecture, which is unlike a lot of the other study abroad programs in the sense that it requires a lot more work than most. The architecture program here in UCD produces independent-thinking, hard-working students who go on to achieve amazing success in their careers. It's easy to understand why, because the program requires you to do a lot of things on your own with very little strict guidance. I have learned so many basic planning and time management skills as well as creative processes by which to go about my work. I loved my time at UCD. I would say if you decide to come to UCD for architecture just know that it will be challenging but the skills you learn and especially the people you study with in Richview will make your time at UCD 100% worth it.”
Daniele de Marzo Gianipero, Centro Universitário Belas Artes de São Paulo, Brazil, Architecture and Urbanism, 2015/16
"The year 2015-2016 was a watershed in my life. When I applied for UCD I didn't know what to expect, I had never left my country before and the idea of living and studying across the ocean for a whole year was very scary. Luckily for me, I was accepted, so I had to take all the courage I had - which I found out to be a lot and flew to Dublin in July. I attended 5 weeks of English classes before the beginning of the academic year, which helped me a lot during my time here. The Fresher's Week was amazing; I got in touch with a whole new universe and discovered the UCD societies (and joined 12). I was able to make friends from all over the world and learn about their cultures, not to mention how impressed I was with the university's facilities, structure and staff. The teachers of the modules I took were all very helpful, open-minded, and knew the best way of delivering the information they had to. The laboratories were perfectly equipped, just as the class rooms and, of course, the legendary James Joyce Library. Despite being HUGE, the entire campus is harmonious, the contact of the buildings with nature (and the awesome lakes!) happens all the time though a unique landscaping (a delight for me as architect student). So wherever you are, however stressed you are, if you glance out the window you'll find an inspiring view - it's always clear that you're in Ireland. Basically, it's like living a fairy-tale, only you have exams by the end of the semesters. My entire experience would never fit in one testimonial, but I truly encourage everyone who has a chance to come and try doing the same. I saw things from out of my comfort zone, I lived and discovered things that are unusual for me in my home country, and this is what makes you grow as a person. You get to know the world from a brand new perspective and realize how big it really is. I learned a lot, and yet I know I still have a lot more to learn. I will miss UCD and Ireland a lot, the time I had here and the people I met will last in my memories forever. I feel I can now say that everything you read about studying and living abroad is true, and more than that, after this year I believe it should be a human right."
Tara Allentuck, Landscape Architecture Junior Year Student, Virginia Tech, Fall 2015.
After hearing from previous students at my school how amazing UCD was I did not believe it until I stepped off the plane in Dublin. Waiting for me was the best semester I have experienced so far in college. Everyone at UCD was friendly and willing to help the lost international student. My Landscape Architecture projects were challenging where I was able to grow as a young designer. The tutors were always eager to help me as I was trying to learn the metric system and aspects of the Irish landscapes. In my landscape modules I was mixed in with both the local students who accepted me into their group. One of my favourite experiences here was when some the landscape architecture tutors took the first years and international students on a trip to show different landscapes around Ireland. As sad as I am to see this semester come to an end, I am glad for all the opportunities UCD gave me and would not change a thing about my experience.
Christopher Rucinski, Landscape Architecture Junior Year Student, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, spring 2015.
Studying abroad at UCD was an experience that opened my eyes to the wonders of travel. As a student of landscape architecture, my adventures had been focused on visiting Europe's most stunning landscapes. Whether it were the breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps, the stunning Cliffs of Moher, or the genius gardens at Powerscourt, there is something to be learned from every outdoor environment. My time at UCD changed the way I think about education, cultural differences, and my own perspective of life. I will forever remember the opportunity that UCD provided for me and so many other international students.
Talia Gasko, Urban Planning Junior, University of Delaware, Fall 2018
My semester at UCD was one of my best semesters of college. I was enrolled in the Landscape Architecture program, but after switching majors back at my home university (University of Delaware), I was able to take more Urban Planning focused courses. The faculty I worked with in order to make this module adjustment were great and made the process really easy. I was able to get all my first-choice modules and a great schedule with modules on only Tuesdays and Wednesdays. With all my free time I got the chance to explore Dublin, and greater Ireland. The country is beautiful and is filled with so much culture. Everyone I met was lovely and so down to earth. The societies I joined on campus were quick to include the exchange students just like the full-time students. I felt like I had a strong community through my societies from day one. UCD's campus was also gorgeous, with lots of trees and wildlife intertwined with the buildings. It was a really great place to walk around on a daily basis. I loved everything about Ireland and my semester abroad! I highly recommend it to anyone looking at UCD.
Nadine Salhab, Urban Design Senior, American University of Beirut, Fall 2018
My time at UCD was one of my best experiences so far. Following my Master’s in Architecture, I started an Urban Design masters at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) and got the opportunity to study abroad for a semester at UCD. I am used to travelling a lot across the world but, before applying to UCD, I never thought about studying abroad, or visiting Ireland. I didn’t know what to expect and I was a bit worried about going to live in a country that I’ve never been to. Little did I know that my decision was actually leading me to the most enriching experience of my life! The contact with UCD was very easy and the international team was very supportive. The courses were very interesting. They enhanced our sense of teamwork, communication skills and time management. The group discussions were very inspiring. There were students from different ages, from all over the world. The cultural exchange widened my horizons and helped me learn about aspects of planning and design from different points of view. The dedicated teachers in my faculty were very supportive and always ready to listen to the international students. I also got the chance to take a Spanish class which allowed me to connect with students from other faculties. Moreover, UCD’s campus was a great environment for studying. The nature melting with the built environment made me feel that I was anywhere but a university. Whenever you felt tired or down you could just take a walk or sit by the gorgeous lakes!
I also got the chance to explore the emerald isle with all its breathtaking landscapes. I was amazed by the l hiking trails and unique town centers across the island. I had the chance to discover most of the regions and hidden gems across Ireland. I was hosted by an Irish lady that treated me like family and made me feel like I was at home even before I got to Dublin. I’ve never met locals as friendly as the Irish people. Their positive vibes make you fall in love with the country!
I was also lucky to meet lovely people from my classes and UCD societies. I developed special bonds with people (I never thought I would get along with) from different continents. I would definitely recommend UCD and Ireland to anyone who wants to live a unique educational experience abroad, combining culture, leisure, peace of mind, and most of all, personal growth. If I had the choice, I would definitely live the experience all over again, and I wouldn’t change a thing!