Faculty history

The Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning is the oldest of its kind in Australia. Our undergraduate Bachelor of Architecture degree began in 1919, with the Faculty of Architecture forming the following year. Since its establishment almost a century ago, our Faculty has enjoyed a long history leading the way in the teaching and research of the built and digital environments.

With lectures originally given by Sir John Sulman, the Department of Town and Country Planning (now the Discipline of Urban & Regional Design and Policy) was founded in 1948. We were also the first Faculty in the the world to create the Chair of Architectural Science. And we recognised the way our world was heading, when we established the Centre of Design Computing and Cognition way back in the 1960s. Our Design Computing Program was the first to the be offered in the country.

Over the years we continued to establish a national series of firsts: the Design Computing program (1978), the Illumination Design course (1979) and the Heritage Conservation specialist program (1990s). We also proudly produced Australia’s first PhD graduate in Architecture, Peter Smith.

And even now, we are still leading the way. In 2009, we established the original Interaction Design and Electronic Art program in the Asia Pacific. The combined Architecture and Engineering program commenced the same year.

The growth of our disciplines covered is reflected by our change of name, in 2006, from the Faculty of Architecture to the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning. Our premises have progressively become larger and better equipped as we have grown. The Wilkinson Building- still the heart of our Faculty- has grown incrementally to accommodate for changes. The Denis Winston Library, the largest academic collections of its kind in Australia, was incorporated into the Sci-Tech Library in 2008 to make additional space for studios.

Every one of our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees has a fine international reputation. Many former students now hold senior professional and academic posts in Australia and around the world. Among our notable alumni are Louise Cox, President of the International Union of Architects, and Howard Tanner, President of the Australian Institute of Architects. Phillip Cox of The Cox Group, responsible for two of modern Australia’s premier sporting and entertainment venues- the Sydney Superdrome and Sydney Aquatic Centre- was once walking the halls of our Faculty as a student. These are just a few of our success stories.

We have been, and continue to be, the premier institution for Architecture, Design and Planning.