• About the Department|Overview

Message from our Chairperson

The 21st century has been marked by a series of unprecedented catastrophes. However, we do not want to forget that architectural activity has always continued even now.

The Department of Architecture and Architectural Engineering at Waseda University has the longest history as a private university architecture department in Japan. Our alumni have worked as excellent experts in architecture-related fields both in Japan and abroad. Since its establishment, the Department of Architecture has always emphasized architectural design education. Furthermore, various new fields are emerging to respond to the demands of the new era.

The courses and faculty members are well-balanced in architectural art and engineering, covering a wide range of architectural studies. Also, many cutting-edge practitioners join our educational curriculum as part-time lecturers to bridge the gap between academia and practice. In the admission process, we accept a diverse range of candidates with different values and backgrounds, not only through the general entrance exam but also through the AO entrance exam, graduates of other universities, as well as through recommendations from affiliated schools and designated schools. Likewise, in the Graduate School of Architecture, we have many students with working experience and international students in English degree programs. We expect that the diverse learning environment will encourage students to hone design skillsets through collaborating and competing with peer students. This philosophy has reflected on the “Graduation Design Project” as the achievement of the 4-years undergraduate program. Therefore, three senior students from different academic specializations work on the “Graduation Design Project” as a group. In the lower division of the undergraduate program, students learn a wide range of subjects in architecture up to the third year. From the fourth year of the undergraduate program to the graduate program, students belong to faculty members’ laboratories, acquire specialized knowledge, and develop research skill that contributes to society. Through participation in each laboratory’s projects and fieldwork, students develop the practical ability to face and solve real-world problems.

We believe that our program transforms our students to be leading figures in various fields of architecture who commit to design a truly rich “life”, “community” and “environment” for human.

Chairperson of the Department of Architecture (September, 2022 ~ )

Professor Dr. Norihito NAKATANI 

Overview of our department

The Department of Architecture at Waseda University has a longest history as a private university architecture department and has graduated many excellent experts in the architecture-related fields. As a result, it enjoys a great reputation inside and outside Japan. The discipline of architecture is divided into the fields of architectural art and architectural engineering, with the former consisting of architectural history, architectural design, and urban planning, and the latter consisting of environmental engineering, architectural structure, and materials and construction management. It is the department’s ideal that the research and education components in each area of study can be largely integrated in architectural practice and theory.
The curriculum includes not only analytical studies but also design work. It is characterized by the comprehensive learning of architectural design in a wider sense of the term ranging from basic design to engineering. With design and planning as its core, together with relevant lectures and exercises, architecture is comprehended by integrating a wide range of knowledge. Since 2007, it has been compliant with the Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education (JABEE) as well as international accreditation standards.
In the Graduate School of Architecture, the field of architectural art consists of architectural history, which provides historical examination of the theory of architectural changes and creation, architectural design and planning whose subject is contemporary creation in architecture itself, and urban planning, which focuses on cities as a collection of architecture. The field of architectural art includes new educational contents that also correspond to the JABEE’s newly created accreditation criteria for master’s degree programs.
The architectural engineering field has its own unique characters. Environmental engineering deals with a method for planning comfortable and healthy environments and building systems in buildings and cities, the theorization of building disasters such as fires and floods and the development of disaster prevention plans and technologies, as well as energy efficient technologies and environmental solutions for the realization of a decarbonized society. In addition, the students work on the development and planning of software technologies for environmental evaluation and consensus building technologies, etc. In the study of architectural structure, a wide range of research and development from basic architectural structure to application in structural calculations is carried out, including structural materials, earthquake-resistant structures, curved surface structures, ground and basic engineering, structural control, seismic control (vibration) structure, and so on. Construction management is directly linked to the practice of construction management including the characteristics and usage of new materials as new technological applications in the field of building materials, the development of construction methods and details corresponding to the purpose of each structural system, the development of construction production systems and construction management technologies, and so on.
The Waseda architecture has the feature of integrating the fields of art and engineering in practice and has made many practical contributions to academia.

Undergraduate school of Creative Science and Engineering

Department of Architecture

We have always believed that architecture is a practical science. Our achievements are the result of an organic combination of research and design. Many faculty members are active in design, research, and education. Their studies in architectural design and engineering have been based upon the rich history and culture of Japan, which have led to copious creation of remarkable buildings.
Since the establishment of our department, many of our faculty members have been practitioners. Their areas of interest cover both architectural design and architectural engineering: architectural design includes design of structural, mechanical/electrical systems, and urban planning, while architectural engineering includes environmental engineering, disaster mitigation, and building construction methods. In addition, conservation of world heritage has been one of the notable activities at Waseda. Our educational programs are designed based upon the above-mentioned traditions of the architecture department.
We have been offering a unique six-year curriculum integrating a four-year undergraduate program and a two-year graduate program since 2000. This six-year curriculum has two stages. The first three-years are for studying the fundamentals of architecture; the students are expected to acquire knowledge about architectural histories of the world, the architectural and urban design in the contemporary society, practical drawing and drafting techniques, global environmental issues, technologies for urban infrastructure and disaster preventions, structural engineering, and building construction and management. In our design studios, the students are encouraged to integrate such fundamental knowledge into their own creative design proposals.
The following three years, from the fourth year of the undergraduate program to the second year of the graduate program, is a stage for the students to study their own specialized architectural topics. The students select either an art or engineering focus and are assigned to a laboratory suitable for their research interests. While the graduate students conduct their own researches, they have opportunities for being exposed to a wide variety of advanced topics in architectural design and engineering through their daily communication with the fellow students and faculties on campus. Our program also offers to the graduate students practical training on international communication skills, problem-solving methods, and effective proposal techniques.
As mentioned above, we firmly believe that integrating the art and engineering aspects of architecture is fundamental to “architectural design” in a broader sense of the term. Hence, the fourth-year students are required to complete both a research thesis and a diploma design project for their bachelor’s degree. Students who wish to continue to study in the graduate program for an advanced degree widen their view of architectural design and engineering through a master thesis or a diploma design project while deepening their knowledge by highly specialized studies at their laboratories.

Graduate school of Creative Science and Engineering

Department of Architecture

Approximately 70% of our undergraduate students go on to the graduate school to pursue a master degree. Some of them embark onto the doctoral program and become faculty members in higher education, researchers at government institutions/private laboratories after successfully completing the advanced program.
The graduate students are assigned to their laboratories based upon their interests and conduct design and research activities with their supervisors. The members of the laboratories are diverse; students from Waseda and other universities, students with professional background, foreign exchange students, collaborators from the public and private sectors work together on research and architectural design projects. Through the networking of people and collaboration at the laboratories, the students can be exposed to a real-world work environment.
The faculty members conduct researches in various fields; architectural design, urban design, protection and repair of cultural heritages, environment engineering, disaster prevention, sustainable engineering, structural mechanisms, construction quality and management, and many other subjects that respond to various problems in our society. While the students hone their knowledge and skills in their specialized areas by attending seminars, our program also offers to the students many advanced lectures in related fields and internship opportunities to integrate their research topics in a larger academic and social context.
All graduate students are required to submit a final thesis or a diploma design project for the completion of the master degree program. Selected theses and diploma design projects will be presented at international conferences and exhibitions.

English Based Graduate Program for Master

The Department of Architecture has started an English based graduate program for Master’s since 2018. We open the door widely to international students and hope to flourish and grow together in a globalized world. Each student belongs to a supervisor’s laboratory. The students partake in coursework and participate in projects in a real-world environment with other members of the laboratory.
The students learn together with the Japanese students in the laboratories, studios and classrooms.
We offer April and September admissions only to students who have completed 16 years of standard school education outside Japan, or those who are expected to complete such education.