The launch of OpenArchitecture, an alternative tertiary augmentation to the existing full-time study route to becoming an architectural professional in South Africa, took place on 26 October 2012 at the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architecture’s conference, New Paradigms, held at the Docklands Hotel in Durban. Open Architecture was thereafter adopted by the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), under its Transformation Portfolio.

The first University to partner with Open Architecture (OA) was the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). In 2014 the SACAP accredited CPUT BTech: Architectural Technology (Applied Design) course was implemented as a blended part-time programme in collaboration with OA, alongside the current full-time BTech programme offered on the CPUT campus.

The OA-CPUT collaboration on the BTech: Architectural Technology (Applied Design) course has been a great success in terms of SAIA’s transformation agenda to provide an opportunity for architectural technologists to further their qualifications through part time studies, thus enabling them to upgrade their professional registration category with SACAP and, in future, to enter post graduate studies to become Professional Architects. The programme has also been a success in terms of the development of the academic programme, the contribution to the CPUT flexible programme offerings, the increase in the number of graduates, especially in terms of achieving demographic targets, and the academic achievements of the students, some of which have been demonstrated by national and international competition results.

The OA-CPUT blended learning design, that includes an interactive virtual learning interface, has demonstrated that it is possible to successfully enable studio-based learning in an online environment and through the various face to face interactions. This is evidenced by the standard of the work achieved and the positive feedback by external moderators of the final portfolio reviews and other assessments, and employers, as well as, feedback from the students themselves.

CPUT is currently phasing out the BTech degree and planning to implement the new Advanced Diploma in Architectural Technology from 2020, in accordance with the new HEQSF structure. Following the success of the part time OA-CPUT programme, CPUT will offer the new Advanced Diploma in Architectural Technology through its own structures, in a flexible and blended format to accommodate diverse student needs.

The 2018 OA-CPUT BTech intake was therefore be the last intake to be offered through the OA-CPUT BTech collaboration. In future, working practitioners who wish to further their qualifications whilst working, will be able to apply for a flexible and blended Advanced Diploma in Architectural Technology option directly through CPUT.

Open Architecture and SAIA consider this development a successful outcome of the OA-CPUT collaboration since it has enabled the CPUT to expand its academic offering to include a flexible and blended option for architectural technologists to further their qualifications and be eligible for admission to post graduate programmes.

Open Architecture and SAIA will continue to work towards realising a part time post graduate programme.