The University of Newcastle, Australia

Architecture is about so much more than just designing structures. It stands at the intersection of art, design and culture, and shapes the way we live, work, and experience the world.

Through his final year project ‘Archiculture’, Master of Architecture student Derrick is exploring urban renewal – with a focus on the rejuvenation of Newcastle city through architectural education.

“The project explores the correlation between the gentrification of the city and the movement for advocacy in architecture – combining the two to create a catalyst of change, and relief to the city’s need for diversity and a new sense of culture.”

When asked what attracted him to this particular focus area, Derrick says he began with his two passions – architecture and art – and went from there.

“I started off finding a way to combine these interests together to produce something which was relevant to what the city needed, as well as what the university needed.

“From there I looked at suitable site locations and restrictions, and research of pedagogy styles, as well as a lot of sketches to help communicate and explore my ideas.”

For Derrick, the potential to make a real and meaningful impact on the city he calls home is a key motivation.

“What excites me is the idea that my project may influence a new way of thinking towards the developing city.

“I think that the idea of bringing art and architecture together with the developing city can lead to the reimaging of a city’s culture – and with this project it is not too far from reality.”

Throughout his Architecture degree, Derrick has embraced opportunities to make an impact locally as well as globally. Traveling to Brazil as part of an elective, he worked closely with local residents, other students and University professors to help improve living conditions for local communities.

He says he was drawn to the University of Newcastle for “its comprehensive program, its way of teaching, the passion and dedication of tutors and professors and the work ethic.

“Working with the professors – the way they teach, they inspire through thinking and drawing which plays a huge role in how we learn.

“For me it’s the studio environment coupled with the lush bushlands surrounding us, and the energy and culture which the students bring – it’s something unlike any other university.”

Derrick’s architecture journey might be only just beginning, but with a solid foundation, passion, and drive to make the world better – good things are ahead.

“I chose architecture because of how it can impact those around us.

“Through this program I have gained a new sense of perspective of architecture, with that I have learnt new skills and had the privilege of working with my professors overseas.

“I hope to carry on these teachings and influences in the built environment around me."

Learn more about the work of our Master of Architecture students at the 2018 graduate exhibition.

Master of Architecture 2018 graduate exhibition

Derrick Chu thumbnail

Derrick Chu

Through his final year project ‘Archiculture’, Master of Architecture student Derrick is exploring urban renewal – with a focus on the rejuvenation of Newcastle city through architectural education.

Through this program I have gained a new sense of perspective of architecture, with that I have learnt new skills and had the privilege of working with my professors overseas.