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School of Architecture

Nature of the Program

Architects organize spaces within and about buildings. They determine the shape a total building will take and how it is to be built. They design, at a large scale, with an awareness of the demands of society. They design in detail with attention to the needs and aspirations of individuals and groups. They show understanding of structural technique, construction detail and the sound use of materials. They determine the way in which the building will be built and supervise the construction process.

Architecture is a vast spread of concerns about people and their surroundings, their history, cultures, resources, disciplines and contradictions. The School's primary concern is the development of design skills in architecture, and it stresses awareness of cultural background and existing environment.

The five-year academic program in Architecture is intended to prepare the student to become an architect capable of practice within contemporary professional constraints and capable, too, of adaptation to a changing profession and to the society it serves.

The five years of architectural studies are made up of: a Pre-professional, three-year Bachelor of Environmental Studies program followed by a two-year professional program of study for the Bachelor of Architecture degree. Both programs are on the Co-operative system which consists of alternating periods of academic study and practical work experience.



The Pre-Professional Architecture program comprises six academic terms of study and three four-month Co-operative work terms leading to the degree, Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES Pre-Professional Architecture). This degree, combined with a minimum cumulative average of C- in design theme courses, indicates appropriate preparation for four subsequent academic terms of study and two Co-operative work terms, each of eight months duration, leading to the degree, Bachelor of Architecture (BArch).


Bachelor of Environmental Studies
(Pre-Professional Architecture Program)

The BES program provides the foundation studies in architecture, and forms the basis for the subsequent professional program. It aims to educate future architects to an understanding of the beliefs and needs of the individual and of society, and to a willingness to take an active role in creating and improving the environment; to an understanding of materials and techniques at their disposal, and of the principles of related disciplines; to a comprehension of the many forms of creative expression, and to an understanding of the present as part of an historical process.


Bachelor of Architecture

The BArch program is intended to prepare students to take their place in the professional world of architectural practice and discourse. An increased emphasis is placed on architectural design and theory, with students taking on greater scope, having more flexibility in their topics, and assuming greater independence in their work. There are opportunities to study and work abroad, and to choose from a selection of studios. A special series of courses addresses professional aspects of architecture.


Theme Areas

In both programs studios are focussed into four main areas of endeavour:

  1. The practice of design and the understanding of its theories and methods.
  2. The understanding of cultural forces in the creative world.
  3. The understanding of technological and practical aspects of design and construction.
  4. The understanding of environmental issues in natural and human ecologies.



The design courses are the primary focus of the program and are informed both directly and indirectly by the knowledge and skills developed in the other theme areas. Design courses are conducted in the form of studios in which students undertake a series of directed design projects, aimed to illustrate and engage practical, theoretical and artistic issues of architectural conception, and progressively establish expertise and understanding.

The projects range from fundamental design studies of building elements to large scale complexes, through a sequence which includes individual and multiple habitation, design in natural and built environments, development of building programs, studies of principal building types, and urban design. In the final year, theory and design is integrated into a major individual statement, the design thesis.



Courses in cultural history give the student a critical and imaginative understanding of the basic ingredients of all creative work, recognizing the seemingly unrelated forces for change in the cultural history of man, and comprehending the present as part of the historical past.



The study of the technical aspects of building and design begins with courses in the history and theory of architectural technology, and in mathematical and computer applications in architecture. These establish a basis for the main sequence of courses in building construction, structures and the mechanics of environmental control. In the BArch program, courses address specifications, financial and legal aspects and professional practice and management.



(Pre-Professional Architecture)
Technology Ecology Culture Design Year/Term Theme Area Theme Area Theme Area Theme Area
1A ARCH 112 ARCH 124 ARCH 142 ARCH 192 Fall Mathematics Introduction Cultural Design Studio Sept.-Dec. ARCH 171 to Landscape History 1 (3 term Theories and (2 term courses) TOTAL 8 term Technologies of courses) courses Building
1B ARCH 113 ARCH 143 ARCH 193 Winter Introduction to Cultural Design Studio Jan.-April Computer Usage History 2 (3 term in Architecture (2 term courses) ARCH 163 courses) Statics and Structural Analysis ARCH 172 TOTAL 8 term Building courses Construction 1
Off-Term Students are free to use the off-term as they wish. The Spring Department of Co-operative Education does not provide its May-Aug. normal services to arrange employment for students in this term. (See "Co-operative Education and Career Services".)
2A ARCH 262 FE ARCH 246 ARCH 292 Fall Strength of Cultural Design Studio Sept.-Dec. Materials History 3: (3 term TOTAL ARCH 266 Foundations of courses) 8 term courses Building Europe Construction 2 (2 term courses)
Co-op For all Co-op terms, job interviews are arranged on campus Work Term 1 during the preceding study term by the Department of Winter Co-operative Education, which maintains liaison with Jan.-April prospective employers. The experiences a student may have during this work term might include: the introduction to office procedures, assisting in design presentations and model building, minor drafting assignments.
2B ARCH 276 ARCH 225 ARCH 247 ARCH 293 Spring Timber: Design, The Cultural Design Studio May-Aug. Structure and Architecture of History 4: (3 term Construction the Urban Renaissance to courses) TOTAL 8 term Environment Revolution courses FE (2 term courses)
Co-op The types of experiences a student may have during this work Work Term 2 term might include: assisting in design presentation and model Fall building, assisting in the preparation and corrections to site Sept.-Dec. plans,floor plans and elevations, on-site measurements.
3A ARCH 362 FE ARCH 392 Winter Steel: Design, Design Studio Jan.-April Structure and (4 term Construction courses) TOTAL 7 term ARCH 372 courses Building Services 1
Co-op The types of experiences a student may have during this work Work Term 3 term might include: design research, detailed design Spring developments, design presentation, assisting in the preparation May-Aug. of site plans, floor plans and elevations, building cross-sections.
3B ARCH 363 FE ARCH 393 Fall Concrete: Design, Design Studio Sept.-Dec. Structure and (4 term Construction courses) TOTAL 7 term ARCH 373 courses Building Services 2
TOTAL 46 term courses



Technology Culture Design Year/Term Theme Area Theme Area Theme Area
Co-op After the first degree program (BES) is completed, this period Work Terms of eight months may serve many objectives, including the 4 & 5 choice of travelling and assessing future goals before Winter and returning to the School for the second degree program (BArch). Spring Students might also choose to continue the Co-op work term Jan.-Aug. program and obtain experience in design research (by assisting in the development of conceptual designs and schematics, by preparing site plans and details, floor plans, elevations, cross-sections and standard details) and assisting the site architect or construction superintendent.
4A ARCH 348 ARCH 446 ARCH 492Z (Rome) Fall Italian Renaissance Italian Urban Design Studio Sept.-Dec. Architecture or History (4 term courses) or TOTAL 7 term ARCH 449 ARCH 448 ARCH 492 (Waterloo) courses The Development of Rome and the Design Studio Modern Italian or (4 term courses) Architecture FE (2) or FE
4B ARCH 451 (0.25) FE (2) ARCH 493 Winter The Financial Aspects Design Studio Options Jan.-April of Architecture (4 term courses) ARCH 452 (0.25) or Specifications Spring See Note 4 below May-Aug. TOTAL 7 term ARCH 499 courses ARCH 453 (0.25) Professional Practice ARCH 454 (0.25) Acts and Codes
Co-op This is the last Co-op term of eight months before the final Work Terms year of study. On the basis of previous experience in a 6 & 7 variety of jobs, a student is capable of handling somewhat Winter or advanced work in professional offices. Experiences might Spring, and include: design research, preparation of design schematics and Fall small project design, preparation of site plans and details, development of special details, co-ordinationof consultant's work, assisting the site architect on small projects, and assisting the construction superintendent on large projects.
5A See Note 4 below FE ARCH 592 Winter Design Studio Jan.-April (6 term courses) TOTAL 7 term courses
5B See Note 4 below ARCH 593 Spring Design Studio May-Aug. (6 term courses) TOTAL 7 term courses
TOTAL 28 term courses

Students are permitted to study courses given by the University at large which are in the area of the student's individual interest, with the aim of providing better orientation and more interdisciplinary communications.

(FE) Free Elective courses selected by the student without restrictions as long as the course is approved by Senate.


  1. Department approval is mandatory for a FE.
  2. Students enrolled in 4A in Waterloo are required to take three term courses, approved electives in addition to Architecture studio requirements.
  3. Additional term courses obtained during the BES program may not be transferred or applied towards requirements for the BArch degree at any time.
  4. ARCH 451, 452, 453, 454 are each half-term courses. All four must be completed for graduation. However, they may be taken in any order during the 4B, 5A, 5B terms. These courses are open to BArch students only. Architecture BES students may not enrol.



Architecture has an essential relationship with its context, and can never avoid being part of a larger reality. Understanding these situations, in both the natural and built environment, is a necessary and important part of architectural design. This theme area addresses such questions in courses which range from an introduction to landscape to studies of settlement patterns and the nature of cities.

Students are expected to defray costs of materials in connection with studio projects. There is a $25.00 studio fee for each term.

See Recommended Core Program for course arrangement.


Additional Regulations, Examinations and Promotions

In order to proceed unconditionally from one term* to the next in the BES and BArch programs, the student must satisfy each of the following requirements:

  1. Maintain a minimum cumulative overall average of C- (60.0%) calculated at the end of each term of study.
  2. Pass the studio course.
  3. Not fail** more than one half course or equivalent (excluding studio) in any single term.

* A term of study refers to a particular four-month period of registration including the 1N Fall and Winter terms and all 'A' and 'B' terms. ** A minimum passing grade in any course is D- (50.0%).

While the School reserves the right to make exceptional academic decisions for students who require exceptional consideration, the Promotions Committee will be guided by the following:


  1. Cumulative Average
    Students who fail to maintain the minimum cumulative overall average requirement but who satisfy the other two requirements will receive the academic decision "May not Proceed." At the discretion of the Promotions Committee such students must raise their cumulative average to a minimum of C- (60.0%) by repeating the term or by repeating courses which are detrimental to their average and/or by taking approved elective courses before enrolling in the next higher level core or studio courses. The minimum cumulative average must be attained within the next calendar year. Failing this, the student will be required to withdraw. Failure to maintain the minimum cumulative average of C- (60.0%) by the end of the next higher level term will result in the academic decision "Required to Withdraw."
  2. Studio Courses
    Students who fail a studio course (ARCH 192, 193, 292, 293, 392, 393, 492, 493, 592, 593) but who satisfy the other requirements will receive the academic decision "May not Proceed." Such students must repeat and pass the studio course. Failure to pass the studio in question on the second attempt will result in the academic decision "Required to Withdraw." Students may not register in any higher level studio course or core courses until the failed studio course is passed. Credit will be retained for courses passed in a term in which a studio course is failed. Students who fail the 4B Winter Studio will not be permitted to register in the 4B Spring Studio during the same calendar year.
  3. Elective Courses
    Students who fail more than one term elective course or equivalent in any single term (but who pass studio and maintain the minimum cumulative overall average) will receive the academic decision "Proceed on Probation." Failed elective courses or their equivalents must be repeated and passed by the end of the next term of study. Should the student fail more than one half course or equivalent in the next term, the student will receive the academic decision "Required to Withdraw."
  4. Core Courses
    Students who fail or achieve "Incomplete" status in two or more one-term courses or equivalent in any single term, including the 4A Rome term, and students who accumulate three or more failed or Incomplete courses over a period of time (but who pass studio and maintain the minimum cumulative overall average) will receive the academic decision "May not Proceed." The failed core courses or equivalent must be repeated and passed before the student may register in any higher level studio or core courses. Should the student fail two or more one-term courses or equivalent in the next term, the student will receive the academic decision "Required to Withdraw."
  5. Conditional Status
    Notwithstanding the provisions of Notes 1-4, students who have been granted conditional status in a previous term during the course of the BES (Pre-professional) program will be required to withdraw if at any subsequent time they fail to meet any one or more of the three basic requirements for unconditional promotion as stated in 1, 2, 3 under "Additional Regulations, Examinations and Promotions."

    Similarly, students who have been granted conditional status on one previous occasion during the course of the BArch program will be required to withdraw if at any subsequent time they fail to meet any one or more of the three basic requirements for unconditional promotion stated in 1, 2, 3 under "Additional Regulations, Examinations and Promotions."

  6. Incomplete Courses
    Students who receive the decision INC in any course must clear the incomplete within four months of the decision or the grade will revert to an F-. To obtain credit for a core or elective course, subsequently, the student must retake and register again for the course (or an approved equivalent). For an elective course, an alternative may be taken.
  7. Course Loads
    Normally students of the School are permitted to take only one more or one fewer term courses than that prescribed for the particular year and term in which they are registered. Any further addition or reduction to the student's program must be approved by the Undergraduate Officer of the School of Architecture.
  8. Appeals
    See Faculty procedure.


Co-operative Programs

The Bachelor of Environmental Studies program includes six terms of study, three four-month Co-operative work terms and one "off-term." The subsequent Bachelor of Architecture program consists of four terms of academic study and two Co-operative work terms, of eight months each. The work terms must be pre-approved by the Department of Co-operative Education and Career Services.

The "off-term" in the Bachelor of Environmental Studies Pre-professional program follows the first two terms of study (from September to April) in Year One. Students may use the "off-term" as a vacation period or they may seek temporary employment. Any employment arrangements made for the "off-term" are the student's own responsibility.

The terms are arranged as indicated in "Work/Study Sequence for Architecture".


Objectives of the Work Term

The Co-operative work terms are designed to provide the student with knowledge of present day practice in architecture and to develop within the student practical skills essential for the practicing architect today.

Work opportunities are developed in private architectural departments, and construction and development companies. Drafting abilities, methods of construction, division of sub trades, construction supervision, real problem solving, and the disciplines of time and money will be learned during the work terms.

At the completion of the work terms the student who has taken full advantage of the opportunities offered will have a thorough understanding of the current methods and procedures used in the design and construction of building, sufficient ability and adequate mature judgment to assume responsibility for any medium-sized building project.


Professional Recognition

The Waterloo School of Architecture is the first school to be formally accredited by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board under its new regulations. The program leading to the BArch degree is thereby recognized as fulfilling the academic requirements for entry into the registration process in any Canadian province.

Graduates wishing to proceed to professional registration in Ontario should contact The Registrar, Ontario Association of Architects, 111 Moatfield Drive, Don Mills, Ontario, M3B 3L6 for information regarding the work experience and other requirements.


Non-Architecture Students

Students not enrolled in the School of Architecture may take any architectural course listed in the recommended core program (depending on availability of space) with the exception of courses in the theme area of Design. Prerequisites indicated in the course descriptions are primarily for Architectural students. For Non-Architectural students, prerequisite evaluation must be carried out by the respective instructors.

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