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The Bute Building, home to the WSA

The Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) (Welsh: Ysgol Bensaernïaeth Cymru) is an academic school of Cardiff University. It is generally regarded as a world leading school of architecture.[1][2]



The Welsh School of Architecture was established in 1920[3] originally as Cardiff's Technical Institute[4] (later part of the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology).

For two years[when?] WSA was voted the UK's top School of Architecture in the Times Higher Educational Supplement league table.[citation needed] In 2013 it was ranked second by The Guardian and, in a poll of architects carried out by the Architects' Journal, was ranked equal first with the Architectural Association as the top UK school.[5] Its "intellectual, yet no-nonsense approach"[5] to design embraces all aspects of architecture and is focused around the studio project, based on one-to-one design teaching.[citation needed] Academic staff are supported by visiting professors and tutors from local and leading UK practices.

The UK's largest Sky Dome, an artificial sky 8 metres in diameter run by the school and used for daylight modelling and sun-path studies, was built in the basement of the building in 1999.[6]

In July 2013 the annual degree show of student work was for the first time held in London, at the Truman Gallery in Brick Lane.[5] The 2015 show was described by The Observer as "more down to earth" than others but "motivated by a belief in betterment".[7]


The WSA offers an accredited BSc undergraduate degree in Architectural Studies.[8] It condenses its Part II architecture course, which would normally involve 2 years of full-time study, into a year spent working in practice with part-time study modules, followed by 1 year full-time at college.[5] The Part II doubles as a Master of Architecture qualification.[8]

The school also offers a range of taught and research postgraduate courses[8] including the Diploma in Professional Studies, an MA in Urban Design and Master of Science degrees in Sustainable Building Conservation or Sustainable Energy and Environment.

Notable people and AlumniEdit

  • Prof Dewi-Prys Thomas (1916–85) - a charismatic teacher and advocate for Wales and the built environment.
  • Prof Dean Hawkes
  • Prof Sarah Lupton – architect, arbitrator and author of numerous books on professional practice and law. Personal Chair at WSA.
  • Prof Malcolm Parry – TV personality and former Head of the School of Architecture
  • Prof Peter Salter
  • Prof Flora Samuel – former lecturer at the school and author of books on Le Corbusier; head of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture (since 2010).[9]
  • Prof Simon Unwin – author of Analysing Architecture and other books. Former Senior Lecturer at the school.[10]
  • Prof Richard Weston – architect, author and designer.[11] Current (2011) Chair of Architecture at WSA.
  • Prof Alan Lipman


  1. ^ "2015 QS World University Rankings by subject", Top Universities, 2015. Retrieved 2017-16-03.
  2. ^ "2016 QS World University Rankings by subject", The Guardian, 2016. Retrieved 2017-16-03.
  3. ^ About Us – Facts and Figures, Welsh School of Architecture. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
  4. ^ "Bute Building". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "The Welsh School of Architecture's Summer Show Hits London", The Architectural Review, 20 June 2013. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
  6. ^ "Cardiff school reaches for the artificial sky". Architects' Journal. 25 March 1999. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  7. ^ Rowan Moore (5 July 2015). "Student architects' annual shows: the shape of things to come?". The Observer. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "Courses". Welsh School of Architecture. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  9. ^ The Architects' Journal Flora Samuel: 'I’m not sure the term architect really describes what we do any more'; 26 February 2010 (viewed 2011-10-07)
  10. ^
  11. ^ The Independent on Sunday Wrapped in Thought: how an architecture professor become the hot new thing on Liberty's books; 20 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-07

External linksEdit