Globally, the profession of architecture is all about the creation of human settlements that embody human values and support human activities. Through the design process, architects thrive to address the interrelated environmental, economic, behavioural, and cultural issues that underlie the organization of the built environment. Recent developments show that one of the most intricate challenges confronting us today at local and global levels is how to achieve sustainable human settlements. Consequently, the DesignIntelligence’s 2014 survey report reveals that a majority of the Deans of Schools of Architecture in the US identified sustainability and climate change as one of the architecture’s biggest concerns. In fact, Schools of Architecture all over the world are re-directing their focus on teaching, learning, research and civil engagement to issues related to sustainability and climate change within the context of urban and the built environment. Form examples, top rated Schools of Architecture such as those in Harvard University, California Polytechnic State University and Cambridge University, just to mention these few, are currently engaged in goals and strategies that help them create, transfer and exchange knowledge and ideas, as well as position their staff and students at the forefront of these new challenges and responses in architecture, urban and the built environment.
As a department in a university that desires to be among the top ten universities in the world by 2022 (Vision 10 2022), there is a need for us to be engaged in seeking and providing practical solutions to the challenges confronting our society. This implies that a significant part of teaching, learning and research efforts should seek to provide intellectually robust assessments of some of these issues, identify past and current responses to such challenges and evaluate the efficacy of such responses, and then propose more effective, innovative and targeted solutions that would provide a sort of relief to the society. Apart from contributing to our drive for relevance in the local and global community, these will help to deepen our students’ understanding of the challenges of contemporary society.
In view of our antecedent, internal capabilities and resource base, Covenant University’s overall Vision, Mission and Goals, as well as the global trend in the teaching, learning, research and practice of architecture; the overall our corporate goal of the Department of Architecture for 2015 is “to develop a better understanding of the issues of sustainable human environments among our students, staff and faculty through innovative teaching, learning, research and collaborations.
Our specific objectives are to:
I. Review our current approaches to teaching and learning of sustainability issues as they relate to the design, development and management of human environments
II. Forge a clear direction and identity for our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes by placing more emphasis on sustainable design principles and practices in our teaching and research activities
III. Engage in effective strategies to optimise the existing research strengths in sustainable human settlements for maximum output and impact on our immediate environment
IV. Increase our generation, sharing and dissemination of knowledge by establishing and maintaining a database of research findings and publications in our niche area; and
V. Pursue aggressive collaboration programmes by formalising and strengthening the existing links with other departments in the School of Environmental Sciences in Covenant University, Schools of Architecture and researchers in other Universities/ Institutions, and maintaining constant interactions with the industry and public spheres within and outside Nigeria.
We strongly believe that pursuing this goal can contribute to our drive for relevance locally and visibility globally; and also help us evolve new strategies for achieving our short, medium and long term vision