Speech by SUTD Provost, Professor Chong Tow Chong

29 Aug 2012

Mr Theodore Chan, President of Singapore Institute of Architects

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

A very good morning to all and welcome to SUTD.

SUTD’s signing of MOU with Singapore Institute of Architects marks an important milestone today as it is SUTD’s inaugural agreement with the professional industry, specifically, in the architecture industry.This partnership with Singapore Institute of Architects is in line with SUTD’s “outside-in” approach to our curriculum, which is designed with consideration of the industry’s evolving needs, perspectives and challenges ahead.Simply providing a strong technical foundation alone will not sufficiently prepare our undergraduate students for the real world. We see a need to bring academia and industry practices closer together, through the provision of direct professional guidance from industry experts to our students, regardless of the pillar or field of study.

We are grateful to SIA for supporting SUTD’s endeavour to provide an industry-driven education for our students.SIA’s support will be specific to our Architecture and Sustainable Design programme, which is a five-year Masters of Architecture, majoring in Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD).This programme has been conceived to serve the emerging critical needs of a world in transition and a profession that is continually engaged with the evolution of business, technology and socioeconomic trends.

As many of you may be aware, SUTD is the second autonomous university in Singapore to offer a degree programme in architecture. With an interdisciplinary pedagogy that enables architecture students and faculty to cross the boundaries of the other pillars, which are engineering-focused, it is our aim to ensure the ASD programme is not only innovative and relevant to the needs of the architecture industry, but also offered in the most progressive manner in Singapore.

A key objective is also for our ASD pillar to 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, UK or in China.Our intention is to provide SUTD’s ASD students with the potential to practise globally, bringing to their work a high level of technical competency and scientific knowledge, while being attuned to the business opportunities and cultural aspects that will make their design proposals most effective.

I believe the opportunity for in-depth exchanges between SIA, SUTD students and faculty, through their collaboration on our campus, is the first such arrangement for SIA, as well as for Singapore universities. I shall not elaborate on that as I understand Mr Theodore Chan, President of SIA, will highlight this unique aspect of our partnership, and our ASD Design Programme Director, Professor Thomas Schroepfer, will follow up by giving you the specific details of our MOU agreement later.

We have congregated here today to witness this very significant MOU between SIA and SUTD. I have every confidence that this will mark the beginning of a fruitful and rewarding partnership.I wish everyone a good day. Thank you.