UJ Alumni Impumelelo Magazine Edition 8

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Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) builds upon its success , despite COVID-19

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fact that design studio teaching requires a significant amount of face-to-face engagement, UJ’s Graduate School of Architecture not only maintained a high standard of teaching throughout 2021, but hosted and participated in numerous high- level events. Adaptation to the ‘new normal’ included embracing the ‘Unit System Africa’, a unique educational model offered by an independent architectural graduate

school, which is organised around year-long design studios or ‘units’. The Unit System has flourished, with Unit leaders carefully and sensitively managing students who have been directly impacted by the pandemic through loss of family members, general disruption or mental and emotional health issues. Several students who were thinking of de-registering were coached by teaching, academic admin staff and leadership to complete the year, and those who wanted to do

a BArch (Hons) have in fact done so. The moderators for the BArch (Hons) provided excellent and positive feedback on the students work at the end of last year. “We have a large complement of staff all working well together, often way beyond the required levels of service to ensure effective operation of the many activities,” says Prof Mark Raymond, the new Director of GSA who arrived in February 2021, and has successfully integrated himself into the leadership role.



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