There are no ideal cities, but they all strive (or at least should) to become comfortable and enjoyable for their residents. Architects are responsible for the appearance and ergonomics of public buildings and spaces. The creative imagination of these professionals sometimes has no limits. Today, extraordinary conceptual constructions, for example the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Sydney Opera House or the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, are increasingly becoming the hallmark of the city. To learn how to express your ideas in this way, ambition and imagination alone are not enough. The theoretical basis, spatial thinking, understanding of materials, legal aspects and trends are important.
Studying architecture is the dream of many people, and of course in every country there are universities where with effort and dedication a student can leave perfectly qualified to start practicing the profession when he finishes his FBP of architecture (in spanish: PFC de arquitectura) and gets his degree. Most of these students will be dedicated to functional projects, apartment buildings, single-family houses... It is a necessary job and at the end of the day they are the buildings that generate the bulk of the cities, and besides, it is where people live and where they set up their businesses, so their importance should not be underestimated.
But there may be some particularly gifted, or perhaps highly motivated, students who want something more from this profession, and who dream of designing buildings like those mentioned in the previous paragraph.
For this type of student, a 'normal' university or architectural school may not be enough. As in all areas, there are a number of universities of great prestige and highly recognized internationally for the quality of the training they provide.
Of course the level of demand of these universities is very high, both in terms of skills and purchasing power, although people out of the ordinary can always try to fight for a scholarship or find some way to finance themselves. Studying at specialized universities abroad opens up broad professional perspectives: reaching the international level, cooperation with architectural studios and design offices, participation in international competitions and exhibitions, as well as the opportunity to work on ambitious global projects.
How to choose the right educational institution for you?
Every year, educational and commercial agencies conduct surveys among employers and alumni, on the basis of which the qualifications of the best universities are compiled. One of them, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), has compiled a rating of the best universities that graduate architects, and these have been the results.
The 7 best architecture universities according to QS World University Rankings
The analytical company QS annually awards a rating of the best universities in terms of teaching of specific specialties, taking into account the academic reputation of the educational institution, the demand for graduates among employers and the contribution of students and teachers to the development of science and world culture. It also takes into account the content and relevance of the educational programs and the development of the university's international relations.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
Officially, the best university in the world opens the ranking of architecture universities. The MIT School of Architecture, the oldest in the United States, appeared in 1865. The main areas of study: architectural design, urbanism, construction technologies, multimedia art, real estate. The institute is known for innovative approaches to work and research in the field of architectural technologies, which are carried out on the basis of 10 university laboratories.
The Bartlett School of Architecture (University College London), United Kingdom
The oldest British School of Architecture, opened in 1841. Every summer there is an exhibition of students' work, traditionally considered one of the most brilliant events for the professional community: the number of visitors reaches 10 thousand. The school is located in the center of London, where the offices of the most important architectural firms in the United Kingdom are located. The university is equipped with the latest technology: students work in computer labs, use a 3D printer, a day and night light emulator, which allows them to understand how the projected building will look in real conditions.
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
The Dutch university closes in the three best universities of architecture. "The Netherlands has always prioritized the correct use of limited space," says Dean Peter Russell. "At Delft University of Technology we are asking ourselves how to do it better". The main direction of the university is architectural design, and it is with this that the university's key studies are connected, which are carried out at the intersection of architecture and the humanities, social sciences and technology.
University of California, Berkeley (UCB), USA
At the California Institute at Berkeley, architecture is considered part of the creation of the environment and is closely related to the landscape. When designing buildings, students learn to take into account socio political and cultural contexts. The faculty has a huge library, a 12-acre landscape garden, one of the largest architectural project archives in the United States, a computer lab, and two research centers.
ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Switzerland
The Swiss Technical University of Zurich has a large architecture faculty with 2000 students per year. Main directions: history and theory of architecture, research and preservation of architectural heritage, technologies in architecture, urban environment and landscape design. The university cooperates with the world's leading architecture universities, including Harvard University and Delft University of Technology. Thanks to this cooperation, students can participate in training at a partner university to broaden their professional horizons.
Manchester School of Architecture, United Kingdom
One of the strongest British schools of architecture was formed in 1996 as a result of the merger of two universities: Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and the University of Manchester (UoM). Students study areas such as urban design, environmental and landscape design, conservation and maintenance of historic sites, architectural history and urban planning.
Harvard University, United States
Architecture, Urban Design, Real Estate and Landscape Design are studied at Harvard Graduate School of Design. The teaching of architecture at this university is based on a balance between tradition and innovation, mastering knowledge and maintaining creative enthusiasm. At Harvard, students are prepared to participate in global projects and are taught to take into account, when creating them, issues such as environmental degradation, rapid urbanization, resource scarcity, and social stratification.
Possibly none of these universities are within your reach, but you should not give up your desire to be a great architect for that reason. Having access to an excellent education is of course an advantage, but it does not disable those who with effort and tenacity fight for their dream of being architects. Even if at some point you need help for FBP architecture (ayuda para PFC arquitectura) don't give up on everything. Studies are only the beginning of a long career, which you must build day by day, and if you are really passionate about your profession, have no doubt that step by step you will achieve great things.