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Introduction to mainland China's only English MArch Program, at China's #1 University, Tsinghua University in Beijing. In the School of Architecture, the English Program for Master Architecture (EPMA) provides an accredited post-professional program in integrated architectural design. It combines a global network with local implementation. The program is focused on the construction of the human habitat in China, and the application of advanced building technologies.

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“ Tsinghua University’s School of Architecture (SA), established in 1946 by the renowned architectural scholar Liang Sicheng, is one of the earliest architectural schools in China and has undergone a development of sixty-seven years. Guided by Liang Sicheng’s “theory of the physical environment” and then Wu Liangyong’s “theory on the science of human settlements”, which won the State Science and Technology Top Award, Tsinghua SA has been widely recognized as an academic leader in the field of architecture in China and an institute with a high worldwide reputation as well.”

Prof. Zhuang Weimin

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Architecture is a combination of art, science and humanities. In the school’s development, Tsinghua SA has maintained its distinct characteristics and advantages in professional training, academic research, theoretical development, design practice and international cooperation. These advantages include: - its all-in-one academic framework that incorporates architecture, planning, landscape, and technology; - its explicit educational philosophy and solid educational system; - its strong faculty team led by Academicians of both the CAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the CAE (Chinese Academy of Engineering); - its outstanding student resources; - and its extensive international cooperation and prestigious academic reputation.

As a key discipline in China, the architecture discipline of Tsinghua SA ranked first in all previous state first-level discipline evaluations. According to the discipline structure adjustment promoted by the Ministry of Education since 2011, the architecture discipline was divided into three first-level disciplines: architecture, urban and rural planning and landscape architecture. In the subsequent 2012 national first-level discipline evaluation, Tsinghua SA once again achieved excellent results: ranking first in both Architecture and Urban and Rural Planning, and second in Landscape Architecture. In the 2010 International review on our academic program of architecture, the six-member external review committee, headed by prof. Peter Rowe, the former dean of Harvard’s GSD, gave high appraisal to Tsinghua SA, using the expression “high standing in the world”.

Tsinghua SA initiated its English Program for the Masters in Architecture (EPMA) in the autumn of 2008 for international students of architecture. It is the first, and so far the only, full English program for a Masters in Architecture in China. Up to now, this EPMA has accepted 5 classes for a total of 52 international students from more than 20 countries and has issued 34 master degrees.

As China is undergoing unprecedented large-scale urbanization, architecture is becoming an increasingly important realm, influencing the state’s social, economic and cultural development, Tsinghua SA will bear its responsibility in training high-standard architectural professionals and keep providing a platform for the development of all students. We are willing to work together hard with all of you, for China’s beautiful living environment of the future.

Prof. Zhuang WeiminDean School Of Architecture

Tsinghua University


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How has the school changed since its founding?Like the rest of Tsinghua University, the school of architecture’s ideology has evolved throughout its years alongside the changes in Beijing and the wider Chinese society that it is embedded in. As such, we continue to evolve today, taking into account the needs of contemporary society and the advancement in media and technology, contributing to the critical, positive progress of urbanisation. Secondly, since its inception, the school has also seen a considerable change in facilities, a growth in size of the overall student body and an increase in the amount of international students over the past 5-10 years, as the Chinese Government has been promoting the further development of Tsinghua University into a world leading academic institute.

What is studying at this school all about? We combine the critical academic atmosphere with real-world issues that arise from the current process of rapid urbanisation. In contrast to much of contemporary architecture education, which is either highly formal or highly abstract, our students deal with real issues, real projects and real interventions.

What is your teaching agenda?Ideologically, the school is concerned with contributing to the processes that integrally shape our living environment. We nest architecture into the wider development of cities and their respective regions. Through the opening of our



international M. Arch. track in 2008, we intended to enlarge the reach of these ideals and to further engage in the international dialogue. In this line, I set up the framework for this international program based on my theories of ‘Reflexive Regionalism’; integrating a critical understanding of regional conditions with a global, multi-disciplinary network environment.This international program then works as a bridge between cultures within which various styles can coexist.

Why should students choose this particular school? What is the strength of this school?Our school is strengthening its identity as a pioneer of innovation, advanced research and design excellence. And the international program is fully embedded within the local community, in which top visiting scholars and practitioners are teaching side by side with their Chinese equivalents. In addition, our public lecture series provides a great opportunity for first-hand exchange and interaction with the world’s top practitioners.

Though our international program is relatively new, we can build upon the strength of the school, ranking first in China, to create a unique, stimulating study environment, through its location in the midst of China’s political power base and rapidly changing urban environment.

What is expected from the students? Are there any particular challenges?

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We expect our students to be critical-thinking individuals that want to contribute, to match our pro-active group of students and faculty, whom take into account the needs of contemporary society and set a standard for others to build upon. The biggest challenge lies in the overwhelming scale of the task at hand in the Asian context and the following pressure and expectations from society that need us to address and improve their situation.

What is the most important thing for students to learn during this course?As a master’s program, we expect the students to already have a basic architectural skill set. Therefore, the most important aspect we want to teach our students is to be critical, and think reflective. Thus, analysing the situation, assessing the complexity, considering the context and acting from there, then applying this new set of skills to embed a real architectural intervention. Secondly, we encourage people to learn to create from a specific cultural context. In our program we have a group of selected students from all five continents, thus forming a unique bridge between the world and China for both students and faculty. In this way we educate critical designers that think global, act local and really make an impact.

What is the most important skill to master when one wants to become an architect?To be visionary. Initially, as a student, one should learn to be critical, and reflective. The second step, over time,


as you become skilled as an architect, is to be visionary. Thus, from your critical attitude reflect on the contribution one can make as an architect.

Where or in what kind of jobs do your former architect students mostly end up?Most of our alumni end up actively contributing to the shaping of our living environments, either as designers, planners, developers or administrators. They are well prepared for the real demands, in China and abroad, starting through internships or as part of a particular project team during the graduation year. On top of that, the school has a strong reputation and valuable network, and we see that our architecture students all find suitable jobs easily.

Prof. Li XiaodongDirector of English Program Master of ArchitectureTsinghua University

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Within our international MArch program, we combine the critical academic atmosphere with real-world issues that arise from the current process of China’s rapid urbanisation.

We provide a small, intensive studio environment with a high professor to student ratio (about 4:1) and supportive theoretical lecture series headed by specialists from different fields (urban design, arch history, sustainable building strategies, etc). These various (visiting) professors coming together let our students experience very distinct design strategies, which widens their understanding of contemporary architecture and enables them to then choose a specific topic and

thesis advisor to make a distinct individual path during the Final Thesis year.

Our teaching is based upon a highly individual guidance of students, based on their respective backgrounds and capacities. Our general design conviction starts with a careful analysis of the program, the specific site conditions, and the relation to the local resources that will all play a key role in the overall integration of ideas. The concepts are induced by both a cultural and climatic context and seek to capture the spiritual essence of “place”. Fixed architectural styles are avoided , as they limit potentials to be unique and creative. However, precedents of past experiences and previously obtained knowledge are important to study to provide a solid background to solve new problems in hand.

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“The EPMA program has given me a first hand opportunity to understand and experience contemporary China. Working under Professor Li Xiaodong was a very valuable experience; it has opened my eyes to understand how Chinese architects think and work. By gaining work experience combined with theoretical studies, I also understand the difficulties and problems that China faces with a rapidly growing urbanizing population and the opportunities that architects have to help shape the future here.’’

Sheung-Yi Joseph Ng. EPMA 2013. New Zealand.

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As China’s centre of politics and business for generations, Beijing boasts 3000 years of history, throughout which it suffered dramatic transformations. Today, Chinese society is undergoing unprecedented changes, which derive principally from the rapid urbanisation.Recently illustrated by the hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing strives to be a ‘world city’ and this way sets the standard for other Chinese cities to follow. It aims to embrace the comforts of modernity while retaining the characteristics of an ancient culture and city typology.

Beijing is China’s second largest city by urban population and is the country’s cultural and educational centre. The city is young and ambitious, with a bustling modern nightlife, bars, business districts and art studios as well as being a historic relic. It can be characterised as a fertile, dynamic but fragile environment where contemporary symbols, such as the Bird’s

Nest Olympic stadium by Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas’s CCTV Tower and the National Performance Arts Center by Paul Andreu, co-exist with various UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Great Wall of China, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Ming Tombs.

Tsinghua University itself is located in the northwest of the city, on the grounds of a former Qing Dynasty Imperial Garden, in China’s ‘Silicon Valley’ called Zhong Guan Cun, along with various other academic institutions. As such, the university is well connected to all parts of central Beijing by an extensive network ofmodern public transport. The surrounding mountains and natural landscapes are also within easy reach. Cycling is a great way to movearound the campus and there are several bus and subway stops around the university, making these transports ideal to travel into the city and lots of cheap taxis as a solution for late night journeys.


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“Beijing is a city with past and present, ancient and modernity, fast and slow life. It is a city full of contradictions. The experience in Beijing depends on the mind-set that the international student wants to give. Beijing has opened my mind, learning from another culture is very enriching. In my free time, I have been learning Chinese with a language partner, which I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn or practice Chinese. There are different activities to experience, such as Beijing opera, visiting the Hutongs (districts with traditional houses), Chinese chess, Tai Chi and international dinner during the weekends with your classmates.”

Daniela Hidalgo. EPMA 2013. Ecuador.


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“I have the fortune of being caught between two worlds. I was born in China but grew up in the U.S. As a result of being a 1st generation immigrant, I speak both English and Chinese. Thus there are some interesting possibilities available in this age of new changes. I finished my undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon University where I majored in Architecture. Opportunities here are plentiful; I was even asked to participate in a real project after a juror was impressed by my studio presentation. This culminated in a second job offer due to a subsequent project from another architect who was also a juror of mine. In China you will find something that’s suitable for you as long as you put effort and dedication into all aspects of your work. I have been very satisfied with the opportunities I’ve been given and there is definitely a high level of responsibility ahead if you prove that you can handle it”.

Wang Lingshui. EPMA 2013. United States of America.


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“ Chinese property boom in recent years has encouraged many global firms to expand their practices to China. These firms need people who understand global architecture knowledge as well as local design concepts, which have been offered in EPMA program. Born and raised in Indonesia, I pursued my undergraduate degree and spent most of my early practice in the US. Interested in design and nature, I took architecture major and landscape architecture minor in University of Washington, Seattle, USA, where I obtained my bachelor degree in 2008. After some working experiences in USA, I received a scholarship offer from Tsinghua University for the EPMA program. Upon receiving this EPMA degree in 2011, I have been working in DP Architects Beijing - a Singaporean based firm. I think job opportunities for EPMA graduates are immense.’’

Audrey Juliana. EPMA 2011. Indonesia.


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Located on the site of “Qing Hua Yuan” in Zhong Guan Cun, Haidian District, Beijing, Tsinghua University was founded in 1911, it was formerly known as a royal garden of the Qing Dynasty. The campus is famous for its beautiful surroundings embraced by shady trees and time-honored architectural complexes with different features and styles, in which “Shui Mu Qing Hua” has a long history of reputation. It is listed as one of the 14 world’s most beautiful college campuses by Forbes Magazine in 2010, the only one from Asia.

Tsinghua University was established originally under the name “Tsinghua Xuetang” in 1911 and was initially funded by the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship Program. Tsinghua’s original purpose was to serve as a prep school for students selected by the government to study in the United States. The university section was founded in 1925 and the name “National Tsinghua University” adopted in 1928. With a motto of “Self-Discipline and Social Commitment”. Tsinghua University is dedicated to academic excellence, the well-being of Chinese society, and to global development. Today most national and international rankings place Tsinghua University as the best university in Mainland China.


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‘‘For a large University like Tsinghua, a clear diagram of organization and a continuity of materiality are key to safeguarding their beauty. Besides, to evaluate a campus aesthetics , natural environment plays an important role. From that aspect, Tsinghua Campus which was founded in 1911 and located on Qing Dysnasty Imperial Garden Relic has its distinct advantage.”

Tsinghua Campus : One of World’s Most Beautiful College Campuses by Forbes. March 2010.


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In 2008, the School of Architecture began offering the English Program for Master in Architecture, the first M. Arch taught in English in China. This new program is a witness to the increased level of commitment to international dialogue and exchange of ideas the School of Architecture has made, thus allowing it to play a vital role on the international stage. In the 2010 International Assessment on the Academic Program of Architecture, the school is evaluated as having “High Standing in the World”.

The school is fully committed to engage an international dialogue, bridging academic cultures and providing a hub for contemporary architecture discussions. The EPMA is a bridge between the world and China, where top visiting scholars are teaching side by side with their Chinese equivalents in a small, intensive studio environment.

The EPMA provides foreign students a chance to become part of China’s future and enables our school to be inspired by fresh energy from outside. This underlines the school’s ambition to create a vibrant academic environment. The EPMA works side by side with other initiatives to build a high-level research platform. It joins professor Wu Liangyong’s integrated research Institute For Human Settlements, or, in the field of building energy saving, the Tsinghua-U. Penn Building Energy Saving Centre, well established in the area of building modeling, simulation and BIM, towards a future China. These and the pursuit of accreditation from international professional associations strengthen the school’s position in the field of architecture.



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Tsinghua School of Architecture occupies a leadership position in China. This is amply demonstrated by the number one position taken during the first national ranking of architectural education by China’s Ministry of Education in 2003, and the School’s subsequent leading position in 2008. It also coincides with the number of pedagogic awards that have accrued to faculty members, as reported in the self assessment report, as well as with general opinion held among knowledgeable review committee members”.

“Tsinghua School of Architecture has been active for some time in promoting international exchanges with other programs and schools of architecture, particularly in Europe and in the United States. The School has also been actively involved in pursuing research with overseas institutions and in regularly hosting lectures by international academics, practitioners and public figures. Consequently through these and other exercises the School has become well known internationally, certainly among the top schools of architecture in China.”

P.Rowe, D.Frenchman, L.Jewell, L.Gazzola, A.Penn, J. Rosemann. Accreditation Committee. 2010


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The School of Architecture evolved out of the Department of Architecture founded in 1946 by Chinese architect and educator Liang Sicheng. The school is headed by dean prof. Zhuang Weimin, and is academically routed in prof. Wu Liangyong’s theory of the Human Settlements. Well established architects such as Li Xiaodong, Zhang Li, Eva Castro, Wang Hui and George Kunihoro are part of the solid faculty to develop a high level of education in the English Program Master of Architecture (EPMA).

The school has also invited scholars such as Alexander Tzonis, Thomas Herzog, Joan Busquets and Jan Sundell as distinguished professors through a special program for attracting top scholars and practicing professionals of international renown. Other distinguished members of the faculty come from various academies and national institutions and professional practice. The various design

studios are headed by a Chinese professor, in conjunction with one or two established international faculty members or visiting professors. For presentations and reviews we invite well recognized practitioners as visiting critics. These crits aren’t always just architects but ae also also people from other disciplinese like city planners, government officials, building technology experts, etc.

We are proud to have an engaged faculty with competence, knowledge, expertise and exceptional commitment to teaching; the professors are with you in the studio two times a week. With its creative energy and teamwork approach, the faculty has established a remarkable, critical, problem-solving oriented academic style for the school.


Zhang LiPeter Rowe Jurgen Rosemann

Wang Hui

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“Participating at the EPMA has provided me with an inside view of the state of architecture in China. It has been a privilege for me to get critiques from such experienced faculty. In addition, I believe that among the students, with their implication and contribution, a vibrant interchange of knowledge happens. Therefore, I encourage committed international students to enroll in the EPMA and share their vision for a future architecture.”

Ignacio Choza. EPMA 2012. Spain.

“One of the program’s most valuable features is the chance to meet experts of the field not only from China, but from other countries all over the world. By working with them, sharing opinions and thoughts, we learn about various cultures and theories from different parts of the world.”

Vivien Andryani Halim - EPMA 2014 Indonesia

Li Xiaodong

Wang Hui

George Kunihiro Gary Hack

Thomas Herzog

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Our school aims to create an international platform for architectural discourse. Our students are stimulated to take part in this as much as possible. Our lecture series provide a great setting for exchange and interaction with the world’s top practitioners; creating a stimulating environment parallel to the EPMA curriculum.

Selected lecturers over the past three years include : Tadao Ando, Ben van Berkel, Rem Koolhaas, Ryue Nishizawa, Wolf Prix, Nader Tehrani, Antoine Predock, Gary Hack, Wu Liangyong, Mario Botta, Robert Venturi, Li Xiaodong, Adrian Geuze, Peter Rowe, Alexander Tzonis, Minsuk Cho, Zaha Hadid, Mansilla + Tunon, Benedetta Tagliabue, Charles Waldheim, Manuel Castells, Eva Castro, Ma Yansoong, Mao Daqing and Dominque Perrault.

In addition to these lecture series the school also hosts a range of forum like discussion


events, such as the Harvard-Tsinghua forum on Architecture, the yearly, student organized ‘Vision. Impact.’ forum, or the recent ‘Architects of the Future Forum. For this last event the school attracted five Pritzker Laureats Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Glen Murcutt, Jean Nouvel, and the most recent Laureate Wang Shu to discuss questions with our students in a public forum held in Tsinghua University.

Alexander Tzonis

Wang Shu

Ben van Berkel

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“During my time at Tsinghua I saw a wide range of international lectures. For instance, the Architects of the Future Forum, with five Pritzker Prize Laureates. It was a very inspirational event especially for students and practitioners in China and the Asia context. The unique profile of the most recent Pritzker Laureate, Wang Shu, whose works are influenced by traditional Chinese Architecture values, set a new precedent for contemporary architectural practice in Asia.”

Irwan Soetikno. EPMA 2012. Indonesia.

Frank Gehry

Tadao Ando

Glenn Murcutt

Jean Nouvel

Zaha Hadid


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Every year the EPMA students have the opportunity to join various English based workshops and elective classes. To those who can speak Mandarin, they are also able to choose from the Chinese program.Recent extra curricular workshops include The Finland School+Workshop; a joint course with Harvard’s GSD on ‘Sustainable Buildings: Design and Construction’ and the ‘Asian Lecture Series’.

In the Finland school workshop, a three-day program, the objective was to instigate a discussion – through architectural design – about the present state of and future opportunities for educational environments in China. By combining the Finnish experience in architectural educational design with emerging trends and obstacles related to Chinese schools, the workshop targets to explore a new field of cultural, social and architectural interaction. Another notable extra activity was the elective class on Sustainable Buildings: Design and

Construction coffered with Harvard University. This course included many case studies of historic and contemporary structures exemplifying various sustainability features. The Asian Lecture Series directed by Professor Liu Jian, was an interaction between national and international scholars sharing cases studies, projects, and experience between the east and west. Professors such as Klass Kunzmann referring to slow society with cases studies from Germany, George Kunihoro referring to bicultural architecture between east and west or Peter Rowe and Gary Hack bringing forward the Angel Sachsian perspective.


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“For me it was a good choice to come to Beijing, to Tsinghua. The University created the opportunity for me to sit in some really interesting lectures and to take part in a few very interesting workshops and design studios. Since I can understand most of the oral Chinese, I was also able to sit in some interesting Chinese lectures beside the English courses. After spending my first semester as an exchange student with Chinese students and joined their studio work, I choose to be in the EMPA class and to work with the international students for my second semester. Tsinghua was a great entrance to China for me, to understand the situation in China and also to know the people.”

Yi Feng. Exchange Student 2011. Germany.


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1st Semester (Fall)3 credits in Design Studio 1 Urban Design, Research & Analysis 3 credits in Design Studio 2 Architecture Design2 credits in Design Theory Theory & Practice of Regional Architecture 2 credits in Architecture History History of Chinese Architecture & Theory 2 credits in Optional Public Courses (include Chinese Language + Chinese Culture program) 2nd Semester (Spring)3 credits in Design Studio 3 Integrated Design/ Eco Cities3 credits in Design Studio 4 Integrated Design/ Green Building2 credits in Urban Theory Contemporary Urban Planning in China2 credits in Green Building Green and Sustainable Building Theory Summer1 credit in Architecture and City Visiting Study 3rd Semester (Fall)6 Credits in Final Thesis Project, of which: 4 credits in the Thesis Project 2 credits in the Thesis Writing

Optional public courses are provided by Tsinghua University, offering training in Chinese language and learning in Chinese history and culture, 4 credits in total.


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In principal the program covers 3 semesters, corresponding to 1,5 years. However, depending on the individual background of the admitted students (e.g. does or doesn’t have an undergrad degree in architecture) and the performance of the student in the first year, students have the possibility, and/or the school would advice, to extend for 1 semester, without any additional tuition payments.

Students can also decide to add a 6 months internship in between semester 2 and 3, herewith also extending the program to 2 years.

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Design Studio 1: Parametric Urbanism

- Studio descriptionThis Studio will operate as a Joint Studio with Professor Tom Verebes’s Masters Studio at Hong Kong University. The collaboration comprises joint briefing workshops and reviews and a site visit to Tianjin to be briefed by the Urban Planning Bureau of Tianjin in September. Site: Tianjin

The studio will engage in researching about 100 cities in China, to look for recurrent patterns and tendencies, and also specificities and anomalies. This initial catalogue of cities, and its corresponding set of urban parameters of the conventional design methods and systems used to design the block structure of cities will form the metrics and the “code” for further design work. Each student will select 5 cities from which to capture one contemporary instant. The scales will comprise a patch of 9 blocks (3x3), and one sample patch of one single megablock. Each sample patch of one megablock, should be modelled at the same scale, and will form a catalogue which can be mined for metric information related to its properties.

- Leading facultyprof. Xu Weiguo, Eva Castro

Design Studio 2: Computational Architecture

- Studio descriptionStudent teams will design a singular urban block, as a development of the previous design of a series of blocks, in a comprehensive architectural design project in Tianjin. In this final stage of work, issues such as typological transformations and innovations, and the ramifications for differentiated structures, material organisation and articulation upon the city, as a thesis on non-standard customisa tion, shall be addressed in each design proposal.

Students will define their project’s programmatic brief, its architectural identity, its contextual relations, through a well-articulated thesis argument. As a prototype for Tianjin, this final design proposal should demon strate the broader architectural design repercussions of one singular megablock. The earlier results on BIG-Data and LONG-Data will be carried forward to relativise the spatial organisation of the proposal, but also to enable this large-scale project to be considered as an incremental time-based model of urban growth and change, through scenario plans which chart many possible futures.

- Leading facultyprof. Xu Weiguo, Eva Castro



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Design Studio 3: Integrated Design & Eco Cities

- Studio descriptionA total 16-weeks Holistic Design/ Research Studio, divided in two 8 week parts.This design studio links a generic problem to a specific proposal. (the exact location and topic differ every year). It enables the student to investigate a generative theoretical position that can define a specific design proposal.

Learning goals:- to create an integrated design solution- based on a theoretical positioning- envision a powerful, creative future scenario based on precedent analysis and siteunderstanding- in this scenario, be able to implement a sustainable architectural intervention- understand and apply holistic design and green building strategies (active and passive)

- Teaching StaffHeaded by Prof. Li Xiaodong, prof. Zhang Yue and prof. Huang He

Design Studio 4: Holistic Design & Green Building

- Studio descriptionPart 2 of the 16 week studio deals with the building scale. The first two weeks concern the understanding of the Long Life Strategy, in whichwe aim at proposals that have a lasting positive contribution to their site and functions. This creates a design strategy in which sustainability, smart building strategies and climate adaptive design are employed throughout different scales of the project. From the urban framework through to the building site and the use of installations, all contributing to the lasting expression of the intended architectural concept.In the second phase, the architectural concept is further developed into a full schematic proposal, that considers choice of main building elements and materials, the integration of HVAC systems, and so forth.

For the final stage, the design proposal considers the full process as a logical,considerate design development. We will re-asses the steps on various scales, in the enddefining how your proposal fits in the ambitions that you set at the start of the studio.

- Teaching StaffHeaded by Prof. Thomas Herzog, Prof. Li Xiaodong and Prof. Lin Borong


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History 1: Traditional Chinese Architecture

- Course descriptionInstead of an introduction from macro- to micro order, this course, consisting of 6 lectures, dissects the highest achievement in traditional Chinese architecture which is timber structure by starting from carpenter’s “playgame”, i.e. wood puzzles. The course will cover the making of Dougong, the key component in Chinese building, the making of individual structures and the formation of building complexes steered by ritual and mysticism. The course will include a series of fundamental introduction of historically significant buildings/complexes in China under the titles of the Grand Tour, the Bumpy Tour and the Palace Tour.

As explaining a culture beyond the students’ easy reach, the professor plans to basically let them get acquaintance with the forms, terminology, books and people, by providing some firsthand materials including pictures, measurements and 3D scan data. Based upon these materials, students are required to write a final report.

- Teaching StaffHeaded by Prof. Wang Guixiang. Includes Prof. Wang Quixiang, Prof. Liu Chang and Prof. Lu Zhou.

History 2: Urban Planning in China

- Course descriptionAn introduction to the contemporary urbanization process, and the theory and practice of urban development in China. Includes a comprehensive lecture series that includes urban and regional development cases, including the Beijing and Shanghai metropolitan areas, the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta urbanizing regions, the development of urban agglomerations in the Shandong peninsula and the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, strategies of under-development urbanization, as well as new town development in the special economic zones.

- Teaching StaffHeaded by Prof. Mao Qizhi, with prof. Liu Jian and others.



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Design Theory 1: Regional Architecture

- Course descriptionGlobalization assumes the morphing of individual cultural aspects into a global collective context frame. But, global unity is far from being a possible reality. Boundaries might merge as economies connect, people however still need specific identity to enable regional attachment and to function within a social system. How can we as architects contribute to establish an environment that brings place, identity and social constituents in a profound experience to define locality? Specific; true; and lasting.

- Teaching StaffProf. Li Xiaodong, Prof. George Kunihiro and Prof. Zhang Li

Design Theory 2: Green Building Strategies

- Course descriptionThe course lasts eight weeks and consists of eight lectures. Requirements for the course include active participation in seminars and the completion of one paper for each student. The first three lectures will be given by Prof. Thomas Herzog, former dean of the Department of Architecture in TUM. He will concentrate on the use of solar energy in architecture and urban planning and will introduce new trends of green building design and research. The fourth lecture will be given by Prof. Qin Youguo, former dean of School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, who will provide an overview of the development of architecture in Beijing over the last 100 years.The fifth lecture, by Prof. Zhu Yingxin, will address the recognition of the built environment. The sixth lecture, by Prof. Song Yehao, will concentrate on green building design for farmers in the rural area in China. The seventh lecture, by Assoc. Prof. Lin Borong, will concentrate on the green building practice in China.

- Teaching StaffHeaded by Prof. Thomas Herzog with prof. Qin Youguo, prof. Song Yehao and prof. Lin Borong. g and Prof. Lin Borong


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Final Thesis: Thesis Project + Writings

- Thesis ProjectThrough this course, students are encouraged to research the chances and problems that big cities in China are confronted with during the time period of rapid urbanization, based on surveys and studies. Students will analyze it from perspectives of society, economy, culture, city and sustainable development, but carry out in the scope of architecture. With the process of raising up, analyzing and solving the problems, students will improve their comprehensive design ability and theory understanding.- research with design project;- personal design tutorial, discussing and reviewing together. - Studying and analyzing different issues based on the chosen architecture project.

Evaluation: Final design project

- Thesis WritingBased on the previous research and design project, this course focus on the related thesis.- thesis writing practice combined with design project;- thesis tutorial based on design project;

Evaluation: Final thesis

Site Visiting: Urbanization in China

- Course descriptionThis course lasts a week (5 days). It is composed of two parts, a sponsored visit and academic discussion.

The visiting part covers trip to the typical contemporary architecture or urban projects in China, like the Olympic projects, a series of projects by the Great Wall, the National Center for the Performing Arts, the CCTV, Jianwai SOHO,MOMA and so on, plus famous architecture ateliers active in nowadays China.

The discussing part is mainly combined with the visiting part, including Chinese professional architect system, development of Chinese architecture, contemporary design thoughts, regionalism and internationalism and so on.The evaluation is based on course essay



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“The Chinese belief of the subject-object unification gives alternative possibilities to the architecture and urbanism today, which are both intriguing and adventurous. By seeking in the ‘nothingness’’ of the current terrain of architecture and by connecting creatively what have been thought to be irreconcilable, new solution can be found to our contemporary issues.’’

Prof. Zhang Li Deputy Dean School of Architecture Tsinghua University


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In recent years China has experienced rapid change, including an unprecedented rate of urbanization. The EPMA design studios are focused on topics related to these contemporary urban and architectural developments.

In the first year, students are familiarized with the Chinese context, by addressing issues such as globalization in relation to local identity, history of Chinese architecture and modern city planning and industrial heritage transformation. In addition we highly value the application of modern computer techniques, a comprehensive, integrated design approach and a focus on sustainable building strategies, which are all addressed and taught during these first two semesters.

In the second year, students are set free to choose a topic of their final thesis according to their personal motivation and capacities, under the direction of their chosen Tsinghua professor, and implement the knowledge they obtained in the first year. There are three basic constraints for the chose topic. First, the site has to be in China, secondly, the topic has to relate to current issues of urbanization in China, thirdly, the end result has to include an architectural intervention.

The following pages show a selection of recent student works.

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Studio 1: Parametric Urbanism

This initial catalogue of cities, and the urban parameters from conventional design methods and systems will form the metrics and the “code” for this studio. These are used to design a typical Chinese block structure within a city master plan.

Studio 2: Archi-Puncture

For this studio we use a holistic approach, integrating site conditions, architectural opportunities, materials, program and the input from you as a designer to create an architectural interventions that is not just an object in itself, but rather a place embedded within the tissue of the overall framework. In particular we deal with the definition of space, the creation of participative places and the investigation of open-ended spatial design.

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Studio 4: Green Building Strategies

Using computer simulations, the effects of passive design strategies, such as the form of the buildings, the positioning, the possibility of making use of solar energy for heating purposes, cooling, ventilation and power generation to ensure comfort, are investigated.

Studio 3: Sustainable City Planning

This project aims to revitalize the Shuimo Community Village on the West of Tsinghua University in order to redeem its original value in such a way that it could become one of the active agents and integrations that benefit the university's development into a successful open campus.

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Martijn de Geus the Netherlands 2011 - Er’tong Urban OasisFirst Prize Winner of the open, international ‘Architects In Mission Competition’ 2011 The Project focusses on creating a specific local identity rather than a generic solution. It is based upon the understanding of the regional urban framework and specific Beijing Urban Typologies. that create particular local identities.

Irwan Soetikno Indonesia 2012 - Hybrid Urban Village

This proposal concerns the urban regeneration of an urban village at a post industrialized site close to Suzhou Creek, Shanghai, by exploring a complementary hybrid building typology in addition to the dilapitated local building stock.

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Ilyas Sadybekov Kazachstan 2012 - Social Housing as Identity

This thesis states that social housing in China is no longer a question of shelter or of adaptation of pure economical optimization, but an integral component of the urban structure, an expression of positive continuity, opposed to gentrification, a facilitator of existing and new social relations, an identity giver.

Joseph Ng New Zealand 2013 - City as a Stage

The purpose of this research has elaborated the ‘City As a Stage’ approach to give an opportunity to bring the Chinese Opera art form to contemporary society through architecture.

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The EPMA studio is located on the fifth floor where students take the majority of classes. The studio is an open environment with two projectors and space to develop and discuss on projects. Each studio has an individual work desk and a locker to store personal belongings. The school and studio are open 24/7, each student receives a key of the common studio space.

Most of the lectures and seminars are held in the School’s lecture hall, the multi-purpose hall to the multimedia classroom. Seminars such as the Asian lecture, the MIT seminar and the student Union’s forums were held here.


Ever since the founding of the school, much emphasis has been put on the collection of academic resources. The school has a resource centre and a sub-library affiliated with the Library of Tsinghua University. The library has a current collection of over 100,000 books, including some 50,000 books in Chinese and some 50,000 in foreign languages. The library subscribes to 151 domestic and 152 foreign periodicals. The resource centre has a collection of some 400,000 film-media slides or negatives. The best and most precious part of all the collections are the archive of original documents from several fundamental institutes in Chinese architectural history, including the Imperial Yang-Shi-Lei and Suan-Fang-Gao in the Qing Dynasty, and the Chinese Academy of Construction in the early 20th century. On average, there are about 100 books per student.


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The workshop in the ground floor of the architectural building with a total of 400 m2, it is an efficient place to work on projects. It has a dedicated staff to assist while using big machinery, as well as a material store that sells materials from plastic, illustration boards and wood to metal. There are various working tables, with a considered area to discuss and work. The workshop house state of the art equipment, including 2D laser-cutters, a CNC machine, 3D printing tools, various wood cutting machines, foam cutters, etc. They can all be used for free.

The computer lab is located in the first floor of the School of Architecture, with a total of 70-meter square, with more than 20 computers. Classes such as Parametric Design using Maya, Rhino and Grasshopper are held during winter and summer. In the computer lab is a welcoming environment to develop projects during the semester.


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Tsinghua University has a special facility for housing international students, in various room configurations (from single rooms to dormitory style). It is a great place for students who want to experience a dynamic life between local and international environment. It is located in a comfortable environment, with complete daily facilities such as eastern and western restaurants, banks, post office, fruit and vegetable market, photo studios, barber’s, and laundries.


With a Tsinghua Student ID Card and a small fee, students are able to access the University’s sport facilities at reduced costs. These include outdoor and indoor swimming pool, diving and gymnasium that provides badminton, table tennis, basketball, gymnastic apparatus , tennis court etc. All the sport facilities are located on campus and will serve students who wants to exercise to keep a healthy life. There is a vibrant sports culture, from athletics to tai chi.



International students are encouraged to participate in various extracurricular activities and join the student associations of the University. The University’s Foreign Student Affairs Office also organizes extracurricular activities for international students, including welcome parties for new students, New Year’s party, graduation party, tourist visits to Chinese cultural and historical destinations, sports competitions and performance. The EPMA program every year has students from different continents. It is amusing to experience the exchange amount the classmates. In addition, The Architecture Student Union also organizes activities with local and international students.

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‘‘At first, the program serves the great chance to meet many different people. I was able to learn from professors from different countries and academic backgrounds and i had chances to meet Chinese students for instance by joining extra curricular activities in Tsinghua. Chinese friends are willing to help me whenever I have trouble in China, and always teach me proper Mandarin and useful tips for living as well. The more I opened my mind, the more chances I encountered.”

Yang Seunghee. EPMA 2013. South Korea.

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Martijn de Geus 1986, the NetherlandsResidence Beijing, ChinaYear of graduation 2011Current job Lecturer, architect PhD candidateWebsites

What was the most important thing you learned at Tsinghua? This programme taught me that we cannot always be in full control. China is a very complex environment, in which all issues have an overwhelming scale. You have to be careful when analysing the overall system before knowing where to intervene. I guess we could call that ‘archi-puncture’: a holistic approach coming from the entire body of context.

What subject do you wish you paid more attention to?In the end I didn’t have or make enough time to improve my Chinese language skills as much as I should. Everyone should combine the architecture studies with learning the language during their first year at Tsinghua, your life will be so much richer!

Any challenging aspects about the course?The programme is very flexible and tailored to individual qualities and aspirations, so the challenge is within yourself, to know what you want to focus on.

What was your graduation project?My project was based on an international


competition entry for the Architects In Mission, regarding the transformation of a former steel factory in Beijing. Relating to an issue in China of contemporary urbanisation, I proposed to see this area as a catalyst for creating a new type of urbanity and my proposal won the competition.What do you like most about the city?Beijing is a hard city to get started: it’s huge, crowded, congested and, from time to time, polluted. But it really grows on you, and after a couple of months, you won’t want to leave. The university campus itself is beautiful, green and quiet – a real oasis. The city is becoming a real avant-garde, creative hub, where people from all continents and various professions meet and experiment together. Modern bars and restaurants, art galleries and music festivals are set within an amazing historic context of palaces, temples, courtyard houses and gardens.

What neighbourhood did you live in?I lived around the university campus. This way I enjoyed the proximity of all the school’s facilities (sport, library, supermarkets, etc.) and the campus’s oasis-like atmosphere, but I could also easily take a taxi or subway to go downtown.

Was the transformation from graduation to working life a smooth one?Yes, there’s plenty to do here in any direction. For me, Tsinghua asked me to stay around and I became part of the teaching staff. I combine teaching and PhD research with architectural practice, with independent projects and collaborations.

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Anja Riedinger Germany‘The programme offers the opportunity for multicultural studies; the 20 students in our year came from 5 different continents. This gives us different points of views and ideas, influenced by different cultures.’

Nafise Faghihi Rezaee Iran‘In my spare time, I like visiting famous monuments and parks in Beijing, such as CCTV, Bird’s Nest and Summer Palace.’

Jorge Valcarcel Cavelle Spain‘My advice for future students? Prepare your brain for high-speed design. The design issues you willface while working in China are inversely proportional to the time you will have to find solutions.’ Daniela Hidalgo Ecuador‘The class I found most valuable was one where I learnt about sustainability and new techniques from the different faculties of Harvard and Tsinghua University.’



Joseph Sheung-Yi Ng New Zealand‘Strolling around the old part of the Tsinghua University is also a great way to relax and appreciate what the university campus has to offer. Cycling from campus to the Forbidden City at night is always a good way to see and understand the city. If you want a taste of the student clubbing culture, head to Global Club in Wudaoko.’

Vivien Andryani Halim Indonesia‘One of the programme’s most valuable features is the chance to meet experts of the field not only from China, but from other countries all over the world. By working with them, sharing opinions and thoughts, we learn about various cultures and theories from different parts of the world.’

Arturo Pavani Italy‘Finding good lodging can be tricky to find at first, especially if you don’t know Chinese. During the first year, I lived in the student dorms on campus, after that I moved just outside with some classmates to an apartment we found through an agency.’

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‘‘The experience of the EPMA is unique as classmates from different countriesshare the experience of living in Beijing. During holidays we organized several trips in- and outside China, ranging from Shanghai or Inner Mongolia, to South Korea and Hong Kong. On weekends, the Student Union occasionally organized trips inside Beijing as well, such as snowboarding in winter, in the mountains close by. That was really fun, so after the first trip I went boarding almost every weekend. Then during the winter break I even coached for one month in a snow board camp, that was a very enjoyable experience.”

Ba Yan Aung. EPMA 2013. Myanmar.


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- Step 1: Online ApplicationComplete Online Application on the website of Foreign Student Affairs Office, Tsinghua University (

Print and sign two hard copies of the Application Form produced by the system after the application status changes to “verified”.

Download and complete the Application Form for Tsinghua University Scholarship for future students (if you intend to apply, see

- Step 2: Documents SubmissionSubmit the application documents listed on the right the school’s admission office, at the address listed below, by post mail or in person.

Admission OfficeInternational ProgramSchool of Architecture, Tsinghua UniversityBeijing 100084, P. R. ChinaTel : (+8610) 62785693

APPLICATION SCHEDULEFrom 1st of November to February 28th. Both the Online Application and a complete set of Application documents should be completed and the package should be received no later than February 28.


(1) Completed Foreigner’s Application Form for Admission to Graduate Programs of Tsinghua University (original and duplicated)

(2) Proof of B. Arch diploma: Copy of the official diploma or certificate, and an official academic record. This material should be sealed in a separate envelope with an authorizing seal across the back flap (original and duplicated)

(3) Portfolio: Those materials that demonstrate the applicant’s competence in design and research. In case of a team effort; please indicate your role clearly. All materials must be printed on A4 paper. Please note that portfolios will not be returned to applicants.

(4) CV (Curriculum Vitae)

(5) Personal statement: A brief introduction of the applicant’s personal history and an explanation of why the applicant is interested in the program

(6) Recommendation letters: Three recommendation letters written by people with direct knowledge of the applicant’s professional and academic potentials. All letters must be sealed in separate envelopes with the recommender’s signature across the sealed back flaps (original and duplicated)


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Tuition for the whole program is RMB 120,000.Accidental Injury and Hospitalization Insurance: RMB 600/year.A limited number of scholarships are available.

Tsinghua University and the Chinese government offers scholarship to excellent students. For those who wish to apply for this scholarship, the hardcopy of application documents should be received by Feb. 28th. Due to the limited number of this scholarship, we encourage applicants to apply for other kinds of scholarships at the same time. Please visit our scholarship website for more details at


The EPMA track leads to a worldwide accredited MArch degree (including US, Canada, Common Wealth, China, Mexico, etc) under the 2008 Canberra Accord.

For more information,


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Admission Office, International Program, School of Architecture, Tsinghua UniversityBeijing 100084, P. R. China

Tel (+8610) 62785693Fax (+8610) 62770314

Email [email protected]


EPMA Tsinghua University

Architecture School Tsinghua University

International Office Tsinghua University



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Tsinghua UniversitySchool of Architecture

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Publisher: English Program Master of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China Editor in Chief: Li Xiaodong Deputy Editor in Chief: Martijn De Geus

Editors and Graphic Layout: Daniela Hidalgo, Jessica Natalia Widjaja Cover: Margherita Orisini Contributor: Betty LiuPrinting: Modern Office, Beijing

(c) 2014 All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced or published without the permission in writing of the publisher

Tsinghua UniversitySchool of Architecture