We ask Rene Tan (rightmost, together with SUTD students), co-founder of RT + Q Architects and Adjunct Associate Professor at SUTD, about Singapore’s architectural scene, as well as his thoughts on SUTD students.
What are the opportunities in your industry, and particularly in RT + Q Architects?
The opportunities are plentiful. Locally and globally, there is a broad range of professional jobs that graduates can tap on and pursue – from designing small scale architecture like houses to large scale ones like airports and schools. There are even larger roles like town planning and master planning.
At RT + Q Architects (RTNQ), the office designs a variety of projects of various scales, with a focus on housing projects. There is a lot of opportunities for graduates to expose themselves to the various design challenges and learn from these experiences. At this day and age, these challenges are never predictable.
Why is architecture important to Singapore’s future?
It is important because Singapore’s success, like many other nations’, is built upon a good environment that provides a comfortable physical shelter that improves the overall quality of life. For instance, a state-of-the-art campus like SUTD fosters communal learning, facilitates academic interaction, and supports a productive living and working community.
What are the qualities you look for when hiring architects?
In one phrase, good attitude! Attitude is most important because it will help overcome any challenge – whether aesthetic, moral or professional. In my experience, SUTD students have good attitude, are inspired by the school’s high educational aspirations, and are taught by a faculty of the highest international standards.
What are the significant or special attributes of SUTD graduates that are different from other universities? Could you provide examples?
SUTD graduates are different because they are products of a relatively young school. The Head of Pillar for Architecture and Sustainable Design, Professor Erwin Viray, is very experienced and capable. He is also a globally-recognised leading pedagogue. The students are taught a broad range of academic curriculum, from history, practical sciences, to theoretical philosophies and vocational hands-on experiences. In this design curriculum (which I am part of, as Adjunct Associate Professor), students are exposed to a wide variety of tasks ranging from designing environmentally-friendly habitats for animals, mapping the terrain of the South China Sea, to exploring waste management of power plants and getting acquainted with history and travel.
What advice would you give to potential students trying to decide which university and course to choose?
I would encourage them to consider SUTD for four reasons. First, its excellent facilities and resources. Second – it has a diverse student body that generates a rich academic interaction and social environment. Third, it has an excellent, world-class faculty and leadership which ensures relevant academic instruction. Lastly, SUTD graduates will enjoy being part of an academic elite and will benefit from being a pedigreed member of the profession and society.