By Cassandra Mascarenhas
The renowned City School of Architecture (CSA), one of the two institutions in the country to offer complete courses in architecture reached a milestone achievement by being bestowed the accreditation of the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in January 2011 which in turn presents its students with internationally recognized qualifications.
Established in the year 1986 as an initiative of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA), the school has quickly risen amongst the ranks and has already had over 700 students registered with it in its 25 year history. Chairman of the City School of Architecture, Chandana Edirisuriya expressed great pride in obtaining this accreditation, stating that it could very well be the most significant achievement attained by the school.
“The school has always complied with the globally accepted architectural study programme which has evolved over a period of time. Architectural education is unique, it’s much more than attending a course of study and passing exams, it needs design aptitude and creativity. The profession is not merely a job, it’s a way of life and that’s the message we would like to give students who wish to pursue this course,” he said while addressing the gathering at a media briefing.
The school which takes an annual intake of 35 students is striving to be one of the leading institutions in the South Asian region. Sri Lanka is now home to two schools with the prestigious RIBA accreditation and therefore already stands out amongst the other countries in the South Asian region, as India too has just two schools that have received the accreditation out of their 170 architecture institutes and Pakistan, Hong Kong and even Singapore currently have just one school each.
“Many schools endeavour to get this accreditation and it usually takes institutions decades to reach this maturity which we have reached in just 25 years. This globally recognized certification gives our architects more mobility in terms of higher education and job opportunities overseas,” stated the Head and Founder of the City School of Architecture Jayantha Perera.
The CSA offers a very unique course, referred to as a sandwich course which allows students to work while they learn thereby allowing them to form direct partnerships with established architects and the construction industry and assists them with their academic work. Part One includes four years of study at the end of which graduates receive a Diploma in Architectural Studies and those who successfully complete Part One automatically receive entrance into Part Two, a three year course of study through which graduates then receive a Higher Diploma in Architecture. Both courses cost approximately Rs.200, 000 annually and registrations for both are scheduled for September and commences in October.
Aiming to provide school leavers and mature students with a pathway for formal education and training, the CSA is looking to diversify and enhance its educational programmes in the future. The school plans to introduce courses in varied fields of architecture – tropical architecture, community architecture and sustainable design and design and architecture while creating links with other universities at the same time, to gain affiliations so that the course will appeal to both local and foreign students in the future.