National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
NTUST College of Design: Internationality is our DNA
- Internationality is our DNA!
The Taiwan Tech College of Design, consisting of the Department of Architecture and the Department of Design, is the smallest and youngest of the six NTUST colleges. Founded in 1998 with currently 1050 enrolled students, it has gained an excellent international reputation in the short time of its existence.
Located in the center of Taipei, the Taiwan Tech College of Design certainly benefits from the creative energy of Taiwan’s lively capital that has been emerging as one of the design hubs in Asia. Taipei was selected World Design Capital in 2016 which gave another boost to young designers and architects in the city, and to its design schools. Its motto “Adaptive City – Design in Motion” reflects how design and urban planning in Taipei is influenced by modern, international design thinking: Encouraging citizen participation, considering the needs of different groups in society with the ultimate goal of creating a more livable city.
One way that has helped to build up the international recognition of the College of Design, has been the participation in international design and architecture competitions where Taiwan Tech students have often stood out with their high-quality and creative projects. For sure, behind every award-winning student is a professor-advisor who will guide and support them all the way through the competition process. The profound international experience of the faculty members who have gained their academic qualifications at some the most prestigious design and architecture schools in the US, UK, Australia, Japan, France, Portugal and Switzerland is certainly one reason for the success.
A closer look at the award-winning projects reveals how much Taiwan Tech students have adopted a global perspective – not only in their design language and use of the latest technologies, but also in the issues they are tackling in their projects.
Han-Yu Lai, a Master’s student at the Department of Architecture, was one of the winners of the “Best of the Year Awards” of the iF Design Talent Award 2021 in Germany with his Fireproof Ecological Vertical Tower. Lai got inspired by the news about increasingly disastrous bush fires in Australia, and the damage they cause for wildlife. His ‘fire tower’ would offer shelter for animals during bush fires, and serve as a natural wild-life habitation in normal times. His idea convinced the jurors of the competition, which follows the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in all its categories, and is considered as one most important design contests for students from all over the world.
Another example of Taiwan Tech’s architecture students’ global ecological awareness is the award-winning Photosynthetic Protective Shell created by Hsiao-Yu Sun and Chien-hsun Chen. As the widening hole in the earth’s ozone layer fails to block harming UV radiation, they came up with the idea of a bionic architecture device that’s detects the strength of UV rays, and automatically opens and closes like a flower petal to provide protection. The pair won a gold medal at the 2021 YOUNG ONES STUDENT AWARDS, part of 100th New York Art Directors Club Annual Awards, the oldest continuously running industrial design award.
Of course, winning of prizes at international competition is not what design education at Taiwan Tech is all about. All members of faculty, and respected design professionals who are teaching as adjunct faculty, are dedicated instructors who know to nurture their students’ creativity in intense small group education that is the core of all programs from Bachelor’s to PhD level.
Internationalization is also lived through close co-operations with partner schools in dual degree programs or through educational projects with colleagues from all over the world. One example are the 100 years of Bauhaus workshops which have been touring universities and festivals worldwide throughout the 2019 Bauhaus-year. After Seoul, Isfahan, La Paz, Macau and Gwangju, Taiwan Tech’s College of Design grabbed the opportunity to host the “Manifest of Practice” workshops on the Taiwan Tech campus from 3 to 6 December 2019. A team of instructors from the Faculty of Art and Design of Bauhaus University Weimar joined hands with the Taiwan Tech to conduct a series of experimental workshops, that showed how the innovative spirit of the avant-garde Bauhaus school still serves as a source of inspiration today.
One of the initiators of the Bauhaus workshops was Professor Tsai-Ken Li who was recently invited to serve as judge for the UK D&AD Awards in the category of typography. The D&AD Awards are organized by the British Design and Art Directors Association and are arguably the most prestigious award in the global creative and design industry.
Tsai-Ken Li is the first university faculty member in Taiwan to receive this honor, and one of the very few academics to be invited into the jury which is mostly comprised of creative professionals in multinational advertising agencies. As a university teacher and designer from Taiwan, Li certainly will judge the works from different angles and bring his view of aesthetics and typographic art to the world. And, without any doubt, this is another opportunity for the College of Design at Taiwan Tech to gain recognition and raise its international standing.