As the first and only architecture program in Macau, the University of Saint Joseph curriculum adheres to international standards while remaining relevant to our specific location in the world. Grounded on a concern for sustainability and energy efficiency, the curriculum addresses four primary themes: high-density housing; heritage management and conservation; experimental material fabrication; the iconography of casino and resort architecture. Of course, none of these themes are treated uncritically. Our task is not to replicate the existing situation, but to speculate on alternatives, to project other futures for Macau, one of the most exciting and unique urban environments in the word today. Beyond instructing students in the history of the discipline and its accu- mulated techniques, the university provides space and time for reflection and experimentation – a platform from which to postulate alternatives, to develop unprecedented solutions to current problems, and responses to as-yet unknown ones.
Architectural design is based first and foremost on generosity. To design gener- ously means that an architect should always attempt to increase options, open possibilities, acknowledge diversity, and enfranchise the broadest constitu- ency. The architect has a fundamental obligation to society, to the environ- ment, and ultimately to history. Architecture is always made for others, and has a profound role to play in defining existing communities as well as in setting directions for their future. The task of the architect is to understand the multiple demands – legal, economic, cultural, climatic – placed on any project and then synthesize them into a result that is functionally successful, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally responsible. The University of Saint Joseph architecture program emphasizes ethics as well as expertise, requiring students to constantly evaluate the consequences of their work on the existing built environment and on the natural world. Our graduates will be good designers, but also good citizens, possessing the requisite skill and vision to contribute to the future form of the city in which they live.