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Leicester may adopt Vesely's Cambridge course

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Dalibor Vesely’s celebrated but now defunct history and philosophy of architecture course is set to resurface at Leicester’s De Montfort University

The MPhil, with alumni such as Harvard University architecture dean Mohsen Mostafavi and celebrated academic Alberto Pérez-Gómez, was withdrawn by Cambridge in 2005 to focus on subjects such as sustainability, which are more likely to gain research funding.

David Dernie, the recently installed head of Leicester School of Architecture, told the AJ that the course would begin this September, subject to validation by De Montfort. Vesely, who ran the Cambridge MPhil with Peter Carl, has been approached to become an honorary visiting professor.

‘We see it as a fantastic opportunity for a school of architecture in the Midlands, because there aren’t many scenes like that outside of London,’ said Dernie, who left his post as head of Manchester School of Architecture at the end of 2008.

‘Dalibor is one of the most recognisable international figures in architectural history and philosophy,’ he added. ‘The course provides a bigger picture and how that relates to design... It provides a link between architectural thinking and the design studio.’

AJ contributing editor Patrick Lynch, who took the original course at Cambridge, said: ‘Vesely is an amazing teacher. The course gives you the confidence to believe that buildings and landscapes are not the product of ego or power, but the background to our lives.’

Nick Bullock, head of Cambridge’s department of architecture, said the school was actively looking to add similar masters courses to its original history and philosophy of architecture offerings. ‘Having done well in the research assessment examination we want to increase the range of courses we pick up,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Colin Pugh has been appointed acting head of school at Manchester after Dernie’s departure. The position is expected to be advertised after Easter.

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