The Gdansk University of Technology located in the north of Poland is a public university where you can achieve a degree in Architecture. After passing the 5 years course (3.5 of bachelor’s and 1.5 of master’s) students are titled with The Master of Science in Architecture. This university offers architectural education in the field of engineering, artistic and social. As a former student of this university, I want to present how studying looks like there and how it prepares for the profession of an architect.
Every semester at Gdansk University of Technology students have to reach 30 ECTS (The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). Architectural Design is the most intensive and highly scored course of every semester. It starts from the individual design of simple objects as semi-family and multifamily houses, public utility facilities like restaurants or hotels on higher semesters and finally designing in teams bigger assumptions often related to competitions.
Next to this course, there is Urban Planning, where design work focuses on residential complex planning and solving problems of existing urban districts. Those two are the only courses for which you can choose a design department that influences the specific subject.
Studying architecture would be poor in other skills if it would consist only of design classes. Here courses in the form of obligatory exercises and lectures come with support. Starting from mathematics and building mechanics, through one of the most difficult descriptive geometry, and less technical architectural drawing, finishing on the history of general architecture and construction law. If you feel slightly overwhelmed with this intense programme, maybe less formal classes in drawing, painting or sculpture will encourage you.
No matter if you care about good grades, to pass you need to work hard. It often means all the days are spent at the university, after which you go home to finish your projects. Hard work can be rewarded with satisfaction but sometimes also with Chancellor’s Scholarship for assessments and outstanding achievements or some money for winning design competitions.
The Gdansk University of Technology provides cafes and places to have lunch and of course spaces for student individual work, cupboards to keep personal staff, library, restroom, and mock-up room. Although, the campus is open only at 22 o’clock which is often not enough. Students incoming from other cities can get accommodation in Student Dormitory which has competitive prices concerning apartment rental.
From Theory to Practice
University obligates students to do their first practice after a year. It relies on visiting the construction site and documenting the one building process in the form of descriptions and photos. For most of the students, it is the first visit to the construction site. The second practice is a two-week internship in the design office during a bachelor’s degree and the third one is a one-month internship in the design office during the last semester.
Experiencing design independence especially during the preparation of the final diploma project, where I could choose the topic myself and then develop it. In the final semester, I did not have typical courses, but only individual work supported by visits to the university. Having an opportunity to consult the project with architects, landscape architects, civil engineers and installers, I got enough knowledge to feel confident at my first job in a design office.
Studying is not only learning, some scientific clubs and associations wait for you. Next to those connected with designing or developing skills in new technologies like 3D printing, there are some less formal ones such as sports sections, tourist club or academic choir. You can also get involved in the activities of The Student Council that organizes thematic events, sports competitions or parties in the university club. At the Gdansk University of Technology, there is a tradition to organize a celebration ball after earning the title of engineer.
The interesting options available at the Gdansk University of Technology are cooperation programs with foreign universities. The one short time that I took part in, consisted of a one week visit of students from the Delft University of Technology in Gdansk and then our visit to Delft. It was a connection between the workshop and the architectural tour.
The long-term options include one or two-semester student exchanges. The wide list of universities with which contracts are signed includes also those outside Europe. It allowed me to study at Tampere University in Finland which brought me a fresh look at the design process and improvement of my English skills. In Gdansk, there are also incoming international students, mainly on the master programme that offer all the courses in both polish and English language.
To sum up, the college gives you all positive memories from studying architecture at the Gdansk University of Technology. Most importantly, apart from the diploma, I took the knowledge from there that I use today. I wonder how the approach to design may differ at universities on the other side of the world and whether the curriculum usually varies so much.
Krzempek K. Gmach Główny. [Photograph]. Available at: https://pg.edu.pl/dzial-promocji/gmach-glowny-pg [Accessed: 22 May 2021].
Steć E. Studenckie wizje centrum kongresowego na Biskupiej Górce [Photograph].
Available at: https://dom.trojmiasto.pl/Studenckie-wizje-centrum-kongresowego-na-Biskupiej-Gorce-n125128.html [Accessed: 22 May 2021].