Creative Arts and Industries

About the School of Architecture and Planning

Welcome to the School of Architecture and Planning, a highly regarded centre for advanced multidisciplinary study and research.


The Auckland University College School of Architecture was founded in 1917, and recognised by the University of New Zealand in 1919. It began with evening classes taught by two part-time lecturers. Then in 1924 Cyril Roy Knight was appointed as the first Professor of Architecture in New Zealand, and both the School and its syllabus were restructured, introducing full-time courses in architecture and attracting students from all over the country. In 1931 the School received international recognition by the Royal Institute of British Architects, and thereafter graduates could expect their qualification to be accepted throughout the world.

In 1955, the Senate of the University of New Zealand approved the foundation of a Department of Town and Country Planning within the Faculty of Architecture, as it had become. The Department aimed “not only to provide instruction in Town Planning but to act as a centre for planning research and to foster public interest in the subject throughout New Zealand”1. The first Chair, Professor Robert Kennedy, was appointed in 1957 and continued until his retirement in 1969. Between 1969 and 1982, the Department produced 480 graduates – three-quarters of New Zealand’s practising planners2.

Temporary buildings included surplus army huts and wooden sheds

For sixty-five years after its founding, the School of Architecture was housed temporarily in other peoples' often humble buildings. It wasn't until 1982 that the School could claim to be housed in a permanent building designed for the purpose, with a full range of facilities including a library and photographic suite.

In 2006 the School of Architecture and the Department of Planning merged to become the School of Architecture and Planning, located within the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries. Today the School continues to enjoy an international reputation, with around 40 permanent academic staff and many hundreds of students enrolled in our taught, research and professional programmes.

1. University of Auckland: department of Town Planning Prospectus 1958
2. Boileau, I. "Town and Gown", Planning Quarterly 1984, p.5

Links with the professions

  • Strong links with the professional architecture community through the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB).
  • Close links with the professional planning community through the New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) and its Council.
  • Many academic staff are members of the NZIA and NZPI, or equivalent professional bodies.
  • Professional associations are involved in the detailed accreditation of degree programmes in Architecture and Planning.
  • Architecture, Planning and Urban Design have a regular programme of guest speakers from the industry, through both the Fast Forward and the Future Proof lecture series.
  • Professional architects and planners make up a large percentage of the staff teaching our design courses, which provides students direct access to leading practitioners. They also provide critiques of work produced by students in the studio.
  • Through the Open Desk programme, Architecture students can apply to work in selected architectural practices during semester breaks.
  • Architecture students undertake internships with leading architectural practices such as Architectus, Jasmax, Stevens Lawson Architects, Pete Bossley Architects, Pattersons and Peddle Thorp Architects.
  • Planning students undertake internships with organisations like Beca, GHD, Hill Young Copper and the Auckland Council.

International links and exchanges

  • Affiliation with the World Planning Schools Congress, the World Society of Ekistics, UN Habitat and close association with several key schools of Planning in the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • The School is a member of the Association of Australasian Schools of Architecture, and the Washington DC-based Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.
  • The Master of Architecture (Professional) is recognised by the Commonwealth Association of Architects.
  • Graduates from the School find employment in public and private practices throughout New Zealand and in many countries around the world, due to the international recognition given to our qualifications.
  • The School has engaged in a number of international exchange trips to fellow institutions in Vancouver, Portland, Sydney, Barcelona and China. Students often work on projects in a studio environment
  • The 360º Auckland Abroad programme gives students the opportunity to spend a semester or a year of study at one of more than 90 universities in 25 different countries.
  • Other 360º Auckland Abroad options may involve field trips, short courses or internships. The programme is available to both outbound students (Auckland students who wish to attend an overseas university on exchange) and inbound guest exchange students.

Architecture and Planning Library

Facilities and resources

As a student in the School of Architecture and Planning, you will have access to leading edge digital design studios, technical workshops, audio-visual equipment, computer labs, a drawing archive and a digital fabrication laboratory. Make the most of the Architecture and Planning Library, with over 40,000 books and more than 300 architecture and planning periodicals and journals. The library houses the Architecture Archive, featuring a unique collection of original drawings and photographs from some of Auckland’s most prominent architects. The School also provides dedicated facilities and workspaces for postgraduate students.

Visit the Architecture and Planning Library
Course information
Map of Creative Arts and Industries