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Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering

During the rule of the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, resident military architects and engineers were mostly foreigners. There were a number of Maltese “periti”, or experts, who were generally trained under a system of practical apprenticeships, supplemented by some theoretical instruction at the Università, generally in mathematics and surveying. A recent publication  reports evidence of a two-year course, held in the period 1831-33, which included studies of arithmetic, geometry, mensuration, surveying and valuations, and of a three-year course, held in the period 1863-1866, covering subjects such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, descriptive geometry, stereotomy, perspective, architectural design, freehand drawing, calligraphy and surveying. The same publication refers to Giorgio Pullicino as a Professor of Drawing and Architecture at the University in 1803, and of his son, Dr Giovan Battista Pullicino, as the first Master of Geometry, Algebra and Land Surveying at the University, in 1839. In 1905, the School of Architecture was established under the science branch of the Faculty of Literature and Science, established in 1898. Under the Rectorship of Professor E. Magro, (1904-1920), this faculty split into two. Subsequently, in 1915, the Course of Engineering and Architecture was established as an independent Faculty. By 1934, the Faculty was divided into three Departments, that of Architecture, that of Civil Engineering, and that of Municipal Engineering, each led by three new professors. When the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, (Polytechnic), was set up in the late fifties, the trend was set for a separation of civil engineering from architectural design studies, following the anglo-saxon model. The first courses, leading to distinct Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering, were offered by the Polytechnic in the mid-sixties. The Department of Architecture, at the University of Malta, on the other hand, moved to a two-tier degree programme, leading to an Honours Bachelors Degree in Architecture.

In 1972, there was a political decision to revert to a unified degree course, leading to a Bachelors degree in Engineering and Architecture. The late seventies/early eighties were traumatic times for the University, as much as for the Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering. The Faculty was gradually suppressed, and the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering absorbed within the new Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering was re-established in the late eighties, the name continuing to reflect the formal title that had been prescribed for the profession, since the promulgation of the Architects’ Ordnance in 1920, namely that of “Architect and Civil Engineer”, (after a brief period, where the professional title was that of “Architetto ed Agrimensore”, that is, “Architect and Land Surveyor). In 1998, the Architects’ Ordnance was repealed, and the Periti Act was approved in its place, with the professional title changing to the traditional, but more generic, term of “perit”. This change of legislation would gradually enable the profession to embrace the various specializations made necessary by the explosion of skills, and knowledge, required by the modern construction industry, in contrast to the strictures implied by the previous legislation.

After 1988, the response of the Faculty, to the widening range of disciplines relevant to the profession, was to introduce the system of Streams of Study in the final two years of a five-year course, leading, however, to a common degree of Bachelor of Engineering and Architecture, for all Streams of Study. In February 2009, the Faculty changed its name to that of the Faculty for the Built Environment, comprising the two original departments, that of Architecture and Urban Design, and that of Civil and Structural Engineering; the Institute for Masonry and Construction Research, established in 1988, was absorbed into the new Faculty as the Department of the Built Heritage. The change in name was accompanied by the launching of a new course structure. In January of 2011, the University approved the setting up of four new Units within the Faculty - Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, Environmental Design, Construction and Management and Visual Arts, to continue the process of widening the remit of study of the Faculty.

Last Updated: 8 April 2011

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