Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) has just launched the newest architecture degree programme in Sarawak. The new architecture program, currently under Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, started its first semester in September 2017. The UNIMAS program for Bachelor of Science (Hons) Architecture will be accredited as LAM Part I.
As a public university in Sarawak, UNIMAS aims to provide the important platform to transform Sarawak into a developed state under the SCORE project. This is not only in parallel with the goal of accelerating the State’s economic growth and development but also in improving the people’s quality of life.
Bearing the responsibility of providing quality education, the university will ensure that the academic program is relevant to the needs of the nation and the industry specifically. It is crucial that the program offered to the students is developed with the input of the stakeholders. The development of practice- integrated learning system shall prepare the workforce to be competitive in the profession.
The program which is currently registering 20 students as its pioneer batch; half are Sarawakians with others from the Peninsular and Sabah.
As for me, being a graduate architect who has been working in the industry for about 10 years, I’m honoured to have the opportunity to be one of the educators and be able to share my experience with the students. Prof. Ar. Dr. Julahi Wahid as the first professor of architecture in UNIMAS was my former lecturer who setup the programme. I was offered and invited by him to be part of his team to establish the program.
Engagement with Professional Bodies
On December 11, 2017 we invited some local architects, Ar. Chai Si Yong, Ar. Noraini Narodden, Ms. Helen Paul and Ms. Nur Yasmin Yamaan to our Year 1 interim project assessment as the critique panel. The students were required to design a functional 1:1 scale forest sculpture. The exercise of the project is to examine the students’ ability to integrate form and space in relation to nature. The students are to choose one plot from two identified sites in the campus. The crit session is important as the panel gave their input before the students proceed with the refinement of the final product and the installation works.
Architecture Education Challenge
It is important to introduce issues of sustainability in the curriculum. Therefore the challenge would be ‘transforming’ the architects of tomorrow. The university is to reorient teaching, research and community outreach towards sustainability. As architects play an important role in the creation of the built environment, the students as our future architects shall be aware of how their actions will impact the future natural environment, as well as the people. One of the challenge is also on the vast changing of digital era. For example, although the industry is yet to fully transition to BIM, the program has to be able to step in front and prepare the students with BIM knowledge and skills.
Working with PAMSC
We would like to have the local architecture community to be part of our program in a variety of ways. We look forward to professionals speaking in our classes about their works and probably other topics, providing students’ project reviews and critiques, providing office and site visits, as well as internship opportunities for the students. With PAMSC involvement, hopefully we will have the chance to participate in student workshops. We would also like to look for small projects within the community to plug our students into, so that they could be part of a real project, with real contexts, constraints and clients.
Dona Rose Amer Koesmeri; a graduate from USM, a Malindo in real life, full-time lecturer at UNIMAS, part- time architect as she does tiny bits of help here and there for her husband’s (Ar. Royzaid) new architecture practice; loves and is serious with tennis; she is preparing to sit her LAM part 3 exam next year.