Singapore Institute of Architects and Singapore University of Technology and Design Ink Memorandum of Understanding for Education and Professional Practice

29 Aug 2012

Come 2013, undergraduates and faculty specialising in the Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) pillar from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will have direct access to established practicing architects residing on campus. This prestigious fellowship-type programme, which will strengthen ASD's ties with the architecture industry, is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and SUTD today. 

The agreement which creates a framework for collaboration in education, student-faculty-industry professional exchanges, includes garnering SIA’s expert advice on the structure and content of SUTD’s internship programmes for its ASD students, to ensure that the experience will provide an excellent basis for its Masters of Architecture Programme.The Masters Programme will eventually allow a graduate to be registered with the Board of Architects after a period of on-the-job training and passing a professional examination.SIA would also be advising SUTD on the establishment of its ASD Advisory Board and other academic matters for meeting professional architecture practice. The MOU signed by SIA President Mr Theodore Chan and SUTD Provost Professor Chong Tow Chong, is the first formal agreement signed by SIA with a university, as well as, SUTD’s inaugural agreement with the architecture industry.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at SUTD’s campus at Dover, SIA President Theodore Chan said: “SIA has mooted the idea of having more alternative undergraduate architectural degree programmes for more than 10 years now. Through this tie-up with SUTD, which is offering the second architecture degree programme in Singapore, SIA aims to take on a bigger role in cultivating future professionals who would learn to appreciate the reality of the architectural practice.”

SUTD Provost Professor Chong Tow Chong said: “This partnership with SIA is in line with SUTD’s “outside-in” approach to our curriculum as a whole, which is designed with consideration of the industry’s evolving needs, perspectives and challenges faced. We believe that providing our students with a strong technical foundation alone is not sufficient.To better prepare them for the real world, regardless of the field of study, we also need to bring academia and industry practices closer together by providing our students with direct professional guidance from industry experts.”

Professor Chong added: “We believe the opportunity for in-depth exchanges between SIA, SUTD students and faculty, through collaboration on our campus, will be the first such arrangement for SIA as well as for Singapore universities.” 

In addition, the collaboration will allow SUTD to seek SIA’s inputs in its ASD professional practice courses, an integral part of architecture education, typically offered in the last year of study. These cover topics such as legal aspects of the profession, types of practices, which are often taught by a selected group of practitioners and specialised lawyers.SUTD students will be able to take the professional courses offered by SIA as electives, as well as, free SIA membership that will facilitate their active participation in educational and social programmes and industry events.

About the ASD pillar

SUTD offers a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) that leads to a Masters of Architecture majoring in ASD. This five-year programme has been conceived to serve the emerging critical needs of a world in transition and a profession evermore engaged with the evolution of business, technology and socioeconomic institutions. ASD at SUTD distinguishes itself by equally focusing on the immediate present and future needs of architecture and on a course framework that concentrates on technological innovation, design creativity and cultural sensitivity. ASD students will be exposed to real estate valuations, finance, environmental studies, computer-aided design and construction, and information and parametric model building. Students will also be afforded plenty of opportunity to confront global problems such as energy and resources, changing manufacturing norms, structural shifts in demographic and economic frameworks, etc.

The ASD pillar will provide a basis for architectural practice internationally. This will be done with certification from the Singapore Board of Architects and other architectural education accreditation organisations such as those in the US or in China. The intent is to provide SUTD ASD students with the potential to practice globally, bringing to their work a high level of technical competency and scientific knowledge while being attuned to the business opportunities and cultural resonances that will make their design proposals most effective. ASD graduates will be prepared for positions in architecture and urban design, environmental design, construction, and real-estate management and development, as well as for post-graduate academic programmes in architecture, civil engineering, and business.

About Singapore Institute of Architects

The Singapore Institute of Architects ( is a professional organisation established in 1963 with the objective to promote the architectural profession and the built environment in Singapore. The Institute is the sole representative for architectural profession in Singapore.

The Institute’s Mission is “To champion excellence in architecture and the built environment” and its vision is to see “Singapore as an Architecture Capital”.

The management of the affairs of the Institute is the responsibility of an elected Council, comprising 21 members, one of whom is appointed by the Board of Architects, Singapore, as an ex-officio member. There are 6 office bearers, who are responsible collectively for the administration and financial matters of the Institute. 

About Singapore University of Technology and Design

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is Singapore’s fourth publicly-funded university, and one of the first universities in the world to incorporate the art and science of design and technology into a multi-disciplinary curriculum.Established in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Zhejiang University (ZJU), SUTD seeks to nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators in the fields of engineering systems and design, information systems technology and design, and architecture and sustainable design, to serve societal needs.

The University is distinguished by its unique academic programme which incorporates elements of technology, entrepreneurship, management and design thinking. It also offers an MIT-SUTD Dual Masters' Degree Programme; a full-time programme leading to a degree from MIT and another from SUTD. As a research-intensive university, SUTD will bring together the best minds and ideas to seek solutions to modern-day challenges and create a better future.

Speeches by:
1. Provost of Singapore University of Technology and Design, Prof Chong Tow Chong
2. President of Singapore Institute of Architects, Mr Theodore Chan