Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (00:03):
Hello everyone and welcome to the information session for RMIT Architecture. But before we begin I'd like to acknowledge the people of the Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung language groups of the Eastern Kulin Nations, in whose unceded lands we conduct the work of the university. I'd like to respectfully acknowledge their ancestors and elders past and present.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (00:28):
I'm Professor Vivian Mitsogianni. My title is Associate Dean and Head of Architecture at RMIT. And it's an absolute pleasure to present to you today some information about RMIT Architecture, what we do, who we are, what we stand for, and particularly the type of learning environment that you will find yourself in and be part of if you choose to join us here at RMIT. Now we work together with students and many of the staff here are practitioners so we work together on projects. This is an example of one of my little research projects from a few years ago where I worked with some staff and students, and it was built, some of you may have visited at the National Gallery of Victoria a few years ago.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (01:32):
Before we begin just a little bit of information about becoming an architect in Australia. In order to become an architect you need to have completed an accredited degree. The accredited degree is the Master of Architecture. And in order to do the Master's of Architecture you have to do the Bachelor of Architectural Design. So you need a bachelor's degree which is a three-year degree generally, and a master's degree. Then there's a couple of years of work experience, one of those years of work experience you can actually do while you're studying and then you can sit the Registration Board of Victoria exam and if you pass you can register, call yourself an architect and provide architectural services. You can work as a student and a graduate in architectural practice but you can't call yourself an architect.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (02:26):
The RMIT architecture degree is two degrees, so it's a three-year Bachelor of Architectural Design Degree and a two-year Master of Architecture. And we consider RMIT Architecture as one culture, one very diverse culture so all of our staff teach across the bachelors, the master's, our PhD programs, and also do research. We place quite a lot of attention to vertical integration throughout all of our degrees, rather than separating the bachelor's over here, which some people do the master's which others do so we are one diverse culture.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (03:11):
And throughout this presentation what I'm going to do is show you in the background like this, some of the work from our students as well as the staff that teach here at RMIT. We see it in the Multidisciplinary School of Architecture and Urban Design. So architecture also has the Master of Urban Design in our unit and we also share space with our colleagues in Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, our PhDs, and also research clusters.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (03:46):
In terms of our difference we say that we're primarily focused on design and we have a international reputation for design excellence. We also say that we value ideas-led venturous design exploration and design innovation. We are very much focused on designing, we're very future-focused, we have developed skills to really push the boundaries of our understanding of what architecture is, we're always looking to what will come next in our disciplines and in our cities. And importantly, we've developed ways of teaching students how to adopt those skills.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (04:34):
The future of the profession will be very, very different in 10 years, time in 20 years time, in five years time even. What's important for our students to understand is how to be critical thinkers, how to be entrepreneurial, how to be independent, to understand the changing nature of new technologies, and it's these skills that will make sure that they are a fit for the work that will come that we don't necessarily currently understand the shape of, although we do a lot of work in trying to predict what that is. One of our other key things at RMIT key values is our links to industry. We have a incredibly high critical mass of practitioners that are very venturous practitioners, that are very future-focused and innovative that come and work here at RMIT Architecture, both locally and internationally.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (05:42):
Here's some examples from our staff. Another key difference, I suppose at RMIT is that we have many staff that are actually practicing, that have practices, and that work with us as a practitioner academics, is the term we use, and also who very actively teach students in design studios and other courses. Here's some we've produced earlier. This is Associate Professor Paul Minifie and Dr. Jan van Schaik, both looking very happy. This is some of their work in their practice called MVS. Paul is very interested in digital tools, mathematics and new geometries so he sets up design studios and teachers studios that look at how you might incorporate new mathematical concepts and discussions about geometry into architecture. One of their buildings there is the VCA College of Ideas, Victoria College of the Arts Center for Ideas and the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary down the bottom there.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (06:59):
Amy Muir is another one of our staff. Amy is currently the President of the Australian Institute of Architects. Amy has a practice called Muir, she also teaches into our technology stream and teachers coordinates the graduating students semester. Amy is able to bring the work that she's doing with the Australian Institute of Architects very directly in professional practice to the shaping of our curriculum and also to the work she does with our students.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (07:35):
And here's a couple of our adjunct professors. This is Howard Raggatt and Ian McDougall, they teach the IRM Studio which is their practice studio. Runs every semester more or less at RMIT and has been doing so for a very long period of time. They have done quite a lot of civic projects in this city and in Australia, some of you may be familiar with the Melbourne Theater Company on your right and also the extension, a very delicate extension to the Shrine of Remembrance there.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (08:14):
Something we are very, very proud of and I suppose this is sort of a little bit of evidence of the way that the profession has recognized our staff, the Australian Institute of Architects Silver Medal, which is the Victorian chapter's highest honor has gone to RMIT staff and alumni and adjunct professors for the last seven years, so that's something we're terrifically proud of. The 2018 example is for the New Academic Street project which you can see just across the road, that was a project by some of our adjunct professors and alumni.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (08:58):
And also McBride Charles Ryan, our adjunct Professor Rob McBride's practice, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Center which is a very interesting building that some of you may have seen received it in 2017. And also we're very proud that Peter Elliot Architects who also did quite a lot of work at RMIT and is also an alumnus received the Silver Medal for this building, some of you may have seen it on Open Day, the Parliament of Victoria Members Annex which is a terrific way to put a building in that area in a very non-intrusive way. We are also absolutely stoked that the Emerging Architect prize has gone to our staff and alumni again, eight out of the last nine years. There's Amy in 2016, Ben who are our staff members, Rodney and also Monique in 2018.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (10:09):
I suppose all of that I hope paints a picture of the mission here at RMIT which is, highly experimental, highly future-focused exploration. We want to design the future, we want to experiment, but also we want to make sure that those ideas are currently relevant in practice and that they are really leading and directly embedded in the profession and the work of the profession. Which also of course speaks to employability for our graduates and relevance of the work that we do here at RMIT. All of these guys teach design studios and other courses with us. And this idea of researching by doing, researching by designing is something that we've done a lot of work, over 30 or more years in understanding. This is some of the work of one of our professors, Leon van Schaik, who's worked in understanding innovation and has written a lot about procuring innovative architecture and what designers actually do.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (11:27):
Research through design, we do do a lot of research on the staff that is more conventional research, which is about writing but really a lot of what we do is by making and through doing. This is just one example, Roland Snooks, one of our associate professors, he's PhD. Roland is very much interested in digital technology, new digital tools and how we might use them to inform architectural design and architectural space. This is an example of Roland's PhD, some of the highly experimental work he was doing for pretty much close to a decade. And then some of Roland's bulk work with as a sort of, again, a struggle to make that realizable in the world.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (12:22):
We all learn from each other and the type of culture of learning that we are immersed in much of what we learn at university, much of what we learn is not necessarily written down in the curriculum, it is about having access to a culture of ideas in which you can look over your shoulder, see what's happening, and also learn from your environment. In terms of where we are in the RMIT Design Hub which is just down the end of the axis there. It was designed by one of our alumni, Sean Godsell. We also have lectures in this building called the Swanston Academic Building, it's actually the business building. It was designed by Lyons, one of our professors, the practice of Carey Lyon. And of course we have access to all of RMIT University which is a very, very large section of the campus in the city, as well as going up close to Lygon Street. we have campuses in Bundoora and Brunswick, which we don't currently use and of course we have a site in Barcelona, which we do use and also Vietnam.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (13:42):
In terms of our programs this is the course map. What you see here is year one down the bottom, semester one semester two, and then year two and three up the top. One of the key characteristics of our program is a focus on design, so Design Studio is the largest course that you do every semester all the way up into the master's stream. When you come into the first semester you will do Design Studio as you will every other semester. You will do throughout the degree courses in communication so that means how do you communicate your designs? Often that's 3D modeling, 3D rendering, drawing. Now it also is scripting and coding and various other things, we teach you all of that. You'll do courses in technology, so that's building construction, how buildings don't fall down. You are not learning the work of engineers but you are learning what you need to know to be able to brief other allied professionals. You'll do history subjects so 20th century history, a portfolio subject, and also some electives.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (15:10):
All of our design studios are vertically integrated so after the foundation semester we have a pool. We have a pool of studios where all the levels are mixed and students get to choose the studio that they want to do every semester based on interests. The last Design Studio is completed so Design Studio six with the master's pool of studios. The idea there is to give you a seamless transition into the master's.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (15:50):
When you come into RMIT Architecture it's our intention to keep the student at RMIT and to offer you where as best we can entry into the master's program. If you achieve a particular GPA you will automatically be offered a place in the master's program, if you do not achieve that GPA you will be interviewed along with everyone else that would like to enter the master's program.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (16:21):
RMIT is a bit different, we're not like some schools that have a very gigantic bachelor's and then try and kind of slim it down. Shall we say to the master's it's our intention that as our students we try and help you become architects by completing the master's degree. Once you get into the master's again you'll be doing Design Studios, I'll explain what they are in a second, but also courses in professional practice, how to stop yourself from getting sued, everything you need to know about running a practice as well as an independent graduating project. So that's the major project where you will under the supervision of one supervisor within a very big cohort of people design a project that will be your entry into the profession that really speaks to your ideas.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (17:19):
The Design Studio is a very big thing. What is a Design Studio? Before the semester starts studio leaders like myself will stand in this lecture theater and we will present the project that we are doing as a Design Studio for that semester to the student cohort. We have around about 20 studios in the master's and we have around about 20 studios in the bachelors. Not at all... In fact we are quite rare in offering choice in the bachelor's not many schools have a year structure, we don't do that, we encourage independence from the very early years. The thinking is if you're doing something you're passionate about, you're interested in, you're going to do well in that and the knowledge will be transferable somewhere down the line.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (18:17):
We all do posters and make presentations about the type of studio that we're going to do in that given semester. In the very foundation semester, so when you've come from high school we ease you into the studio process by giving you a foundation semester that has three different mini studios based on three very diverse positions, research positions we hold at RMIT.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (18:49):
You don't need any skills other than a pass in English to enter RMIT Architecture. We teach you everything you need to know to be successful in our program in the course, so don't be alarmed if you think you don't have spatial skills or viscom, but if you are interested and passionate about pursuing architecture we would welcome your application. Here's an example, this is the foundation semester. So two months into the first year from our technologies and techniques cluster, they have produced a mini-project for a site on the city. There's a number of 3D visualizations that they're presenting and also they've made some models. And they're also learning how to draw plans elevations sections in another subject, they're learning technology in another subject and history so they're consolidating all of that in the Design Studio. This is a very different studio from our culture stream where they're looking at film, art, culture, wider ideas, and starting to incorporate those into their projects.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (20:08):
A couple of weeks ago another insight into our studios, this is the Terminal Drive Studio by NH Architecture. It's the second week, or it was last week of our semester, so these students were given a task to do. They're looking at office buildings, they've been on a tour of a very innovative office building and have had an induction, various readings, and they were asked to come up with a study model which they're doing. What they're doing here is there's a map of the area on the ground and they're starting to locate their office buildings. And then they'll have a discussion about that over four hours or so in the studio, they'll get other tasks and it'll work back and forth as a project.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (21:02):
In terms of our exams, so an exam in RMIT Architecture for studio looks a bit like this. This is an end of semester presentation which is very public, all the students are welcome to attend. For this particular studio the students are working in a pair. They have drawings on the wall, they've also made some prototypes, there's a concrete one there, and they're starting to do some animations and fly-throughs of their projects and they'll receive critique from a panel that includes their tutors, people from the profession and other experts.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (21:42):
And of course, diversity is very important. At RMIT we run some very diverse and competing positions, it's our view that to have a robust culture of ideas we need to have a certain level and acceptance of diverse ideas. And I suppose this slide is just showing our graduating students' final project and the very different positions that they've pursued. Katarina's is a very poetic project, she's interested in writing and she's interested in art and making various spaces in that realm. Chris, he did an augmented, sorry, a VR project and he's presenting it on those three screens best seen with a VR headset. And Simon Robinson took on the project of what happens when you remove the Melbourne's Railway Crossing Removal Project and what happens when you have leftover space from that project? How can you stop it being anything but just leftover waste space? They've taken some topical questions that are out there in the world, with their tutors they've been developing those projects and then they'll go out into the profession with a portfolio of work that they are hopefully proud of to show.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (23:08):
And of course we do a lot of stuff out in the profession. These are some students on a research placement at NH Architecture that we run every semester, NH where the architects that did QV Redevelopment, the Melbourne Convention Center, and they come to do some more exploratory work with us in the university. March Studio, they're an exciting young practice, Rodney, that I showed you the Emerging Architect 2019, that's his practice, and here's some of our students in his office doing one of those studios. And of course along with a gigantic exchange program we have many studios every semester that will travel to various places. Last semester some students and I went off to TU Delft in the Netherlands to work with MVRDV who are quite an exciting practice. Here's some students from the semester before having a celebratory drink, they can do that because they're over 18.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (24:14):
At the end of semester we have an all-school exhibition that you're welcome to attend, it's open to the public, and along with all of that we have a range of electives and other subjects that we do. Here's the robot in our basement working with Kam on a project that ended up looking like that and we also have workshops and various other things. There's an augmented reality display that you can see on level five and here our students are trying to work on some form work for concrete, they're making these facades through their project.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (24:53):
And now for some information on application and our selection process, please don't be concerned if you don't find all the information you need from this session, please visit rmit.edu.au and search for architecture and there'll be lots more information available there.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (25:18):
Application into the Bachelor of Architectural Design. That is the degree that you will enter upon completing secondary education, is a three-step process. Step one for all local applicants is to apply through VTAC as normal. RMIT Architecture has no prerequisites other than the university requirement of a study score of at least 30 in English. The second part of the process or step is that you'll be completing a pre-selection kit. Please note that the pre-selection kits are due relatively early or earlier than most people would expect. This year they're due on the 2nd of October and the kits are available now. The reason for the early date is we've tried to keep them away from peak exam period. There are some exceptions to the pre-selection kit if you've completed a year in another tertiary degree and these are listed on this slide.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (26:31):
The pre-selection kit is not a test. There's no right answer, we're not trying to test how much you know about architecture. In the pre-selection kit you'll be asked to respond to a question and come up with a design and written response. Through the kit we're looking for a demonstration of innovative thinking, creative thinking, adventurous thinking, and the ability to communicate an idea in both visual and written form. As you can imagine we get quite a few applications to the architecture program. So spend quite a bit of time on your pre-selection kit, try to explore and show us something that not everybody will be showing. Try and find a creative response and draw on your own individual experience and knowledge and skills, which will make you stand out inevitably when submitting the kit.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (27:50):
We short list from the pre-selection kits and if you're short listed you will be invited to an interview in mid-December. We're very committed to this process, we spend three whole days with all hands on deck interviewing prospective students to RMIT Architecture, we want to meet you, we're very interested in hearing your ideas and seeing your perspective and we spent a lot of time on this process, which results we think in a very diverse, engaged student body. There is no folio requirement for application or an entry into the Bachelor of Architectural Design. Step one apply through VTAC unless you're a part of the exemptions noted. Step two, complete the pre-selection kit due relatively early, and step three, if you are shortlisted you will be invited to an interview.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (29:07):
Entry into the Master of Architecture is a two-step process. A prerequisite for the Master of Architecture is a dedicated architectural discipline bachelor's degree. All applicants submit an RMIT online application. You're required to submit a folio and a range of other material. Shortlisted applicants only will be invited to attend an interview in early December. If you are an international applicant into Bachelor of Architectural Design or the Master of Architecture you must apply through RMIT international, except if you're a current student of a standard Australian Year 12 VCE or international baccalaureate program in Australia or New Zealand in which case you apply through VTAC.
Professor Vivian Mitsogianni (30:03):
In terms of how successful applicants are decided, places in both the bachelors and master's are offered in terms of a ranking. And we look at the pre-selection kit and interview, for master's applicants we look at the folio, interview, and academic results. Thank you all, I hope you've enjoyed finding out a little bit more about RMIT Architecture. If you want to see more projects I'd also like to invite you to our first virtual exhibition at rmitarchitecture-exhibition.net. The exhibition features projects from all students across all programs at RMIT Architecture. Thank you all and goodbye.
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