January 24, 2005
Following threats of closure over concerns about its research profile, the department
of architecture of the University of Cambridge will remain open, restructuring its academic activities. The University accepted the department’s new plan for its future on January 12. It will now focus its research on sustainable design, and new academic appointments will be made possible by the early retirement or departure of six of the department’s seventeen academic staff members.
“I am confident that the new strategy, building upon existing strengths, will enable
the department to excel in every respect,” says Professor Alison Richard, Vice-Chancellor
of the University of Cambridge. “The department is the best teaching department in the UK,” says Professor of Architecture Marcial Echenique. “With this new strategy, we will not only be able to continue this but also become an international leader in sustainable design – addressing one of the world’s most pressing challenges.”
Matthew Barac, a PhD student in the department adds, “The department has been forced to take a look at itself in a very public way. The force of support felt in the press, lobbying from every quarter and the rally in November when many of the department’s architectural alumni turned up knocked the university off its guard. Now we have an
opportunity to return in earnest to the question of the meaning of research in architecture and to unify and streamline the department without compromising its tradition.”