MArch in English


The curriculum is based on a combination of mandatory intensive, 8-week design studios, and supportive theory courses. Together they provide a comprehensive base for architecture as an integrated discipline that can critically address architecture within contemporary topics of urbanization in China and abroad.
The thesis year then provides the possibility to address a personal fascination within this framework.
In addition to the listed courses below, students are also able to choose any other available graduate level course at Tsinghua University to complement their personal learning objectives, free of charge. We encourage cross-disciplinary exchange to other top-level departments, such as the School of Environment or the School of Management. Courses in English and/or Chinese can be chosen, and this also goes for additional courses within the department of Architecture, including the schools of Landscape, Urban Design and Building Science.
1st Semester (Fall)
3 credits in Design Studio 1 Topic: Building Design and Design Methodology
3 credits in Design Studio 2 Topic: Site Architectural Design and Site Development
2 credits in Design Theory Theory & Practice of Regional Architecture
2 credits in Architecture History History & Theory of Chinese Architecture
+ 2 credits in Mandatory Public Courses (include Chinese Language + Chinese Culture program)
2nd Semester (Spring)
3 credits in Design Studio 3 Topic: City Integrated Design/ Eco Cities
3 credits in Design Studio 4 Topic: Systems Design/ Green Building
2 credits in Urban Theory Contemporary Urban Planning in China
2 credits in Green Building Green and Sustainable Building Methods
Summer 1 credit in Architecture and City Visiting Study
3rd Semester (Fall)
6 Credits in Final Thesis Project, of which: 4 credits in the Thesis Project 2 credits in the Thesis Writing
NB: The Mandatory public courses are not hosted in the School of Architecture, but provided by Tsinghua University's School of Humanities, and are mandatory for all international students, offering a selection of trainings in Chinese language and learning in Chinese history and culture, making a total of 4 credits.



The curriculum is based on a combination of intensive, 8-week design studios and supportive theory courses. Each studio is based on a design exercise, that moves up in scale as we progress through the year. It starts at the 'Building' level, then focuses on how to address and find specific 'Sites' for development in the second studio, then moves to the scale of the City with a studio on urban design, finishing off with an exercise on the systems that enable the working of these cities and buildings into a Green Building Design.

Together these studios provide a comprehensive base for architecture as an integrated discipline that can critically address architecture within contemporary topics of urbanization in China and abroad.

Given the fact that Tsinghua aims to attract a variety of renowned international scholars each year, in addition to its residing faculty, the professors involved in the design studios might change from year to year. However, the topics and leading Chinese faculty are a stable part of the curriculum.

Design Studio 1:

Building Design & Design Methodology


An introductory, graduate level design studio, that seeks to integrate all aspects of the design process necessary to produce a comprehensive architectural design solution.


Architecture is fundamentally about designing buildings that are to be built. There is no architecture without buildings.


o To create a positive learning environment for the development of design skills and competencies, and the respectful sharing of ideas

o To motivate students to produce high quality design solutions

o To promote a creative, productive, collaborative studio environment

o To emphasize the importance of a comprehensive design solution

o To integrate new EPMA students into the Tsinghua School of Architecture community

o To explore theory and design issues related to Chinese culture

o To explore issues related to architecture design education

o To learn effective design methodologies and methods to facilitate the production of a quality design solution

o To integrate various design tools into the design process

o To discover ones own design voice

o To set a high standard for architecture design

- Recent faculty involved has included:

professors Alexander Tzonis, Amy Lelyveld, Isabelle Cyr, Xu Weiguo, Tom Verebe, Eva Castro & Terrence Curry

Design Studio 2:

Computational Architecture

- Studio description

This studio focusses on locality and specificity of Architecture as routed within a site, and this

site as embedded within an overall framework, analogue to the theories that underly

Acupuncture. (hence the Archi-Puncture).

Architecture - making places

For this studio we use a holistic approach, integrating site conditions, architectural opportunities,

materials, program and the input from you as a designer to create an architectural interventions

that is not just an object in itself, but rather a place embedded within the tissue of the overall

framework. In particular we deal with the definition of space, the creation of participative places

and the investigation of open-ended spatial design that can lead to healthy surroundings in

which quality of region is embedded within a specific architectural intervention, creating unique

sense of place.

“Place implies significant added value to space. Space becomes place by the interpretation

given to it. Place is warmth, the fire. Space is desire, an expectation of opportunities, outward

facing, on the road, dynamic and open. A place is where you come home, to which you


- H Hertzberger


All architecture is rooted within a specific stie. This site creates conditions that influence the

parameters of the architectural design. To understand this influence, it is fundamental to

understand the system they spring from. There are various ways to integrally understand the

conditions of site. The analogy with Acupuncture is fascinating, as this traditional Chinese

understanding defines the body as a balanced system with nodes, flows and pressure points.

That this concept is also applicable to architecture one can see in the writings of Kevin Lynchs

the Image of the City for instance, where he also mentions nodes, regions,

- Recent faculty involved has included:

professors Li Xiaodong, Zhu Wenyi, George Kunihiro, Zhang Li & Ron Henderson

Design Studio 3:

Integrated Design & Eco Cities

- Studio description

A total 16-weeks Holistic Design/ Research Studio, divided in two 8 week parts.

This design studio links a generic problem to a specific proposal. (the exact location and topic differ every year). It enables the student to investigate a generative theoretical position that can define a specific design proposal.

Learning goals:

- to create an integrated design solution

- based on a theoretical positioning

- envision a powerful, creative future scenario based on precedent analysis and site


- in this scenario, be able to implement a sustainable architectural intervention

- understand and apply holistic design and green building strategies (active and passive)

- Recent faculty involved has included:

professors Zhang Yue, Li Xiaodong, George Kunihiro, Huang He & Alfons Soldevila

Design Studio 4:

Holistic Design & Green Building

- Studio description

Part 2 of the 16 week studio deals with the building scale. The first two weeks concern the understanding of the Long Life Strategy, in which

we aim at proposals that have a lasting positive contribution to their site and functions. This creates a design strategy in which sustainability, smart building strategies and climate adaptive design are employed throughout different scales of the project. From the urban framework through to the building site and the use of installations, all contributing to the lasting expression of the intended architectural concept.

In the second phase, the architectural concept is further developed into a full schematic proposal, that considers choice of main building elements and materials, the integration of HVAC systems, and so forth.

For the final stage, the design proposal considers the full process as a logical,

considerate design development. We will re-asses the steps on various scales, in the end

defining how your proposal fits in the ambitions that you set at the start of the studio.

- Recent faculty involved has included:

professors Thomas Herzog, Lin Borong, George Kunihiro, Terrence Curry & Song Yehao




Design Theory 1:

Regional Architecture

- Course description

Globalization assumes the morphing of individual cultural aspects into a global collective context frame. But, global unity is far from being a possible reality. Boundaries might merge as economies connect, people however still need specific identity to enable regional attachment and to function within a social system. How can we as architects contribute to establish an environment that brings place, identity and social constituents in a profound experience to define locality?

Specific; true; and lasting.

- Teaching Staff

Prof. Li Xiaodong, Prof. George Kunihiro and Prof. Zhang Li

Design Theory 2:

Green Building Strategies

- Course description

The course lasts eight weeks and consists of eight lectures. Requirements for the course include active participation in seminars and the completion of one paper for each student.

The first three lectures will be given by Prof. Thomas Herzog, former dean of the Department of Architecture in TUM. He will concentrate on the use of solar energy in architecture and urban planning and will introduce new trends of green building design and research. The fourth lecture will be given by Prof. Qin Youguo, former dean of School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, who will provide an overview of the development of architecture in Beijing over the last 100 years.

The fifth lecture, by Prof. Zhu Yingxin, will address the recognition of the built environment.

The sixth lecture, by Prof. Song Yehao, will concentrate on green building design for farmers in the rural area in China. The seventh lecture, by Assoc. Prof. Lin Borong, will concentrate on the green building practice in China.

- Teaching Staff

Headed by Prof. Thomas Herzog with prof. Qin Youguo, prof. Song Yehao and prof. Lin Borong. g and Prof. Lin Borong

History 1:

Traditional Chinese Architecture

- Course description

Instead of an introduction from macro- to micro order, this course, consisting of 6 lectures, dissects the highest achievement in traditional Chinese architecture which is timber structure by starting from carpenter’s “playgame”, i.e. wood puzzles. The course will cover the making of Dougong, the key component in Chinese building, the making of individual structures and the formation of building complexes steered by ritual and mysticism. The course will include a series of fundamental introduction of historically significant buildings/complexes in China under the titles of the Grand Tour, the Bumpy Tour and the Palace Tour.

As explaining a culture beyond the students’ easy reach, the professor plans to basically let them get acquaintance with the forms, terminology, books and people, by providing some firsthand materials including pictures, measurements and 3D scan data. Based upon these materials, students are required to write a final report.

- Teaching Staff

Headed by Prof. Wang Guixiang.

Includes Prof. Wang Quixiang, Prof. Liu Chang and Prof. Lu Zhou.

History 2:

Urban Planning in China

- Course description

An introduction to the contemporary urbanization process, and the theory and practice of urban development in China. Includes a comprehensive lecture series that includes urban and regional development cases, including the Beijing and Shanghai metropolitan areas, the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta urbanizing regions, the development of urban agglomerations in the Shandong peninsula and the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, strategies of under-development urbanization, as well as new town development in the special economic zones.

- Teaching Staff

Headed by Prof. Mao Qizhi, with prof. Liu Jian and others.

Site Visiting:

Urbanization in China

- Course description

This course lasts a week (5 days). It is composed of two parts, a sponsored visit and academic discussion.

The visiting part covers trip to the typical contemporary architecture or urban projects in China, like the Olympic projects, a series of projects by the Great Wall, the National Center for the Performing Arts, the CCTV, Jianwai SOHO,MOMA and so on, plus famous architecture ateliers active in nowadays China.

The discussing part is mainly combined with the visiting part, including Chinese professional architect system, development of Chinese architecture, contemporary design thoughts, regionalism and internationalism and so on.

The evaluation is based on course essay.




“The Chinese belief of the subject-object unification gives alternative possibilities to the architecture and urbanism today, which are both intriguing and adventurous. By seeking in the ‘nothingness’’ of the current terrain of architecture and by connecting creatively what have been thought to be irreconcilable, new solution can be found to our contemporary issues.’’

Prof. Zhang Li

Deputy Dean School of Architecture

Tsinghua University

Final Thesis

Thesis Project + Writings

- Thesis Project

Through this course, students are encouraged to research the chances and problems that big cities in China are confronted with during the time period of rapid urbanization, based on surveys and studies. Students will analyze it from perspectives of society, economy, culture, city and sustainable development, but carry out in the scope of architecture. With the process of raising up, analyzing and solving the problems, students will improve their comprehensive design ability and theory understanding.

- research with design project;

- personal design tutorial, discussing and reviewing together.

- Studying and analyzing different issues based on the chosen architecture project.

Evaluation: Final design project

- Thesis Writing

Based on the previous research and design project, this course focus on the related thesis.

- thesis writing practice combined with design project;

- thesis tutorial based on design project;

Evaluation: Final thesis

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