I’m fairly proud of the university I went to – especially the architecture department. Consistently it was rated as one of the best architecture schools in the country by the RIBA and was listed as the one which produced the highest job prospects for its graduates. It’s playing with some of the big boys in the field here – the Bartlett, the Architectural Academy and Cambridge – so this is a big deal.
Furthermore it currently has the only course dedicated to bio-climatic architecture in the country, something that is increasingly important in the field as the need for more environmentally conscious buildings increases. Getting into this part of the college is a big step and something nearly all students attempt to do. Consistently (and with outside accreditation) students in this college place higher than students in other colleges (the school is split into four colleges focusing on different aspects of architecture).
Now, we have a student in our office who managed to get into the unit. He came in this morning and we (as usual) asked how he was getting on. Final year students are usually having a tough time by this stage in the academic year and he is no exception. He’s averaging three-four hours sleep a night maximum at the moment. We began to ask him about the university in general.
He mentioned that the new head of the architecture department had taken the decision to close the bioclimatics college at the end of this academic year because “it is making the rest of the school look bad”. That’s right, they are closing it because it is doing too well. This is the same Head of School who was earlier this year talking about severing links with Manchester University and instead linking the school to Salford.
Words fail me. What can the logic be behind this decision? How can it make sense to close something you’ve drawn praise for because it is doing too well?