About the Department of Architecture

The Department of Architecture was formed during the 1970s in the Faculty of Building Economic Science at the then University of Port Elizabeth. The Departmnet remained committed to architectural education throughout its existence under the leadership of eminent architects. The merger in 2004 of the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), Port Elizabeth Technikon and the Port Elizabeth branch of the Vista University created the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, a new university with many of the characteristics of a comprehensive university. This also led to the creation of a School of Architecture which is sited in the Faculty of Arts, the School brings together the Department of Architecture (from the old UPE) and the Department of Architectural Technology and Interior Design (from the old Technikon) under one umbrella structure in 2007.

The Department of Architecture offers three programmes: the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS), a three-year degree programme; the Bachelor of Architecture Studies (Honours), a one-year programme; and the Master of Architecture (Professional), a one-year postgraduate programme.

The Department see itself firmly rooted in its regional context. This is a unique complex context with a diverse population, two large metropolitans (Port Elizabeth and East London), numerous smaller towns and villages, a variety of social-economic issues, a complex history that is central to understanding South Africa, and wide variety of landscapes and biomes. We see this complex context as the primary laboratory and informant within which we have fashioned our architecture programme.

While emphasizing the regional we have also engaged with the national and global. Global and national trends in architectural, environmental and technical thinking have been woven into our programme. Critical thinking around the appropriateness of especially these global pressures, with an understanding of our own African context is needed in order to place this in a relevant perspective.

The Nelson Mandela University Department of Architecture critically engages with the making of humane architecture with a balance between theoretical and pragmatic approach shaped by the social, economic and ecological informants with a locally rooted but globally inspiring architecture.

For more information
Dr Jean-Pierre Basson
Head of Department: Architecture; Senior Lecturer
Tel: 0415042244

Cape Town and Bloemfontein
Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth