“I want to study Architecture but …” @ Limkokwing University of Creative Technology

“I want to study Architecture but …”

9 June 2023

When our university undertakes promotional campaigns across Cambodia, we meet hundreds of ambitious grade 12 pupils wondering about their career choice. Beyond the quest for comfortable salaries, most of them want to engage themselves in vocations related to their own aspirations.

Nothing is better than direct contact with pupils to inform and help them form their opinions.  When it comes to architecture, the four most recurring concerns of the pupils are about the absolute prerequisites to architectural studies. I realize that some clichés die hard.

“I want to study Architecture but my level in Maths is too low.”

A medium level in maths can be enough to enter our Faculty of Architecture and Design. In the building industry, when it comes to complex calculation of structures, architects usually call on engineers. Nevertheless, our university still helps the students to gain basic competences in maths and science - useful to communicate with varied construction trades.

“I want to study Architecture but I am weak at sketching.”

In Cambodia, fine arts are rarely if ever taught in secondary schools. Sketching is the first graphical way to express an idea. Since it is fundamental in Architecture, drawing classes will help bridge this knowledge gap. Through sketches, drawings, paintings and collages, whether abstract or figurative, students learn harmony, balance, composition and representation. After one year in the foundation program, most of the students reach a very acceptable level. Some of them even discover their real talent in fine arts.

“I want to study Architecture but I am a girl.”

The time when architects had to raise their voice to be respected by macho workers on building sites is over. Female architects such as Zaha Hadid, Gabriela Carillo, and Farshid Moussavi (out of many others) have understood that good skills and talent were enough to generate respect and admiration. For a long time, females were clearly underrepresented in the field of architecture but times have changed. At our last graduation ceremony, 42% of the Bachelors in Architecture and Interior Architecture were females. This number is growing from year to year. 

“I want to study Architecture in Limkokwing but my English is poor.”

Grade 12 pupils often underestimate their level in English, even though it is quite acceptable. During four years with foreigner lecturers, students do not only improve their conversational English but they are taught technical English (related to Architecture). The good mastery of this international language is essential for research and allows our students to practise for their future jobs worldwide.

On campus, it happens that I meet students who I used to talk with, months before during high school visits. What drives them is to be empowered to express their ideas through architectural projects. It never takes long before our students are aware that motivation and creativity are the two main prerequisites that count to study Architecture.

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