Page 1


The Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Technologies English version

CONTENTS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

The Institutional context The Ph.D experience Scientific context, methods and research tools Professional profiles and social role of the Ph.D graduates Curricula and main topics Ph.D teachers’ board Ph.D Training Program Ph.D admission Final thesis defense European Ph.D Further Information


1. THE INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT Architectural Technologies is a scientific sector of the Ph.D Program in Architecture of the University of Florence. The Ph.D in Architecture was set up, by merging six previous Ph.D Programs, to meet the need to achieve an adequate critical mass to promote an interdisciplinary learning environment. The scientific sectors of the Ph.D Programs are called “Curricula” and now in the Ph.D in Architecture, apart from Architectural Technologies, there are four seven “Curricula”: • Architectural and Urban Design; • History of the City and Architecture; • Industrial Design; • Landscape Design; • Structure and Restoration of Architecture and Cultural Heritage; • Survey and Representation of Architecture and Environment; and • Urban and Regional Planning.


Curriculum in Architectural Technologies Curriculum in Industrial Design Curriculum in Architectural and Urban Design Curriculum in Landscape Design Curriculum in Urban and Regional Planning Curriculum in Survey and Representation of Architecture and Environment Curriculum in History of the City and the Architecture Curriculum in Structure and Restoration of Architecture and Cultural Heritage

Fig. 1 Institutional reference framework of the Ph.D in Architecture of the University of Florence.

Rev. January 2014



The Curriculum in Architectural Technologies participates in the Italian network of the Ph.D Programs of Architectural Technology (OSDOTTA).1

2. THE PH.D EXPERIENCE The Ph.D is the highest level of university education. The third of three cycles of the European system of higher education qualification, as adopted in the Bologna Process, the Ph.D has a particular place. Indeed, if other post-graduate courses (e.g. masters and specialization courses) have as their main purpose professional training, the “core component of doctoral training - according to the Salzburg Principles - is the advancement of knowledge through original research”2. The doctoral candidate status - according to the Bergen Communiquè (2005)3 - is dual: a student and early stage researcher who makes a key contribution to the creation of new knowledge. The leading idea of the educational project of the Ph.D is, therefore, “education through the practice of the research activity.”4 The Qualification of Ph.D - according to the Dublin Descriptors - is awarded to students who: • have demonstrated a systematic understanding of a field of study and mastery of the skills and methods of research associated with that field; • have demonstrated the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial process of research with scholarly integrity; • have made a contribution through original research that extends the frontier of knowledge by  developing a substantial body of work, some of which merits national or international refereed publication; • are capable of critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas;

1 For information about OSDOTTA activities, please visit: www.osdotta.unifi.it 2 See: “Ten basic principles for the third cycle” in Bologna Seminar Doctoral Programmes for the European Knowledge Society, Salzburg, 3-5 February 2005. Available from Internet: www.eua.be/eua/jsp/en/upload/Salzburg_Report_final.1129817011146.pdf [January 15, 2014] See also: European University Association, Doctoral Programme for the European Knowledge Society Report on the EUA Doctoral Programmes Project 2004-2005. Available from Internet: www.eua.be/eua/jsp/en/upload/Doctoral_Programmes_Project_Report.1129278878120.pdf [January 15, 2014] 3 The European Higher Education Area - Achieving the Goals; Communiqué of the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, Bergen, 19-20 May 2005. Available from Internet: www.bologna-bergen2005.no/Docs/00-Main_doc/050520_Bergen_Communique.pdf [January 15, 2014] 4 Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, “Nota di accompagnamento al Decreto Ministeriale di riforma del Dottorato di Ricerca”, 2007. Available from Internet: http://www.miur.it/Miur/UserFiles/Notizie/2007/Nota_DM_dottorato.pdf [January 15, 2015]. See Section 7. “The Ph.D Training Program”.

Rev. January 2014



• can communicate with their peers, the larger scholarly community and with society in general about their areas of expertise; and • can be expected to be able to promote, within academic and professional contexts, technological, social or cultural advancement in a knowledge based society5. These guidelines are integral to the conception and framework of the educational project of the Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Technologies6.

3. SCIENTIFIC CONTEXT, METHODS AND RESEARCH TOOLS The scientific context of the Curriculum in Architectural Technologies is the research applied at the transformation processes of the environment. At different levels, from the building materials to the settlement systems to the landscape, methods and tools of the research proposed are designed to contribute to innovation and scientific and technological development of the architecture. This is accomplished while respecting cultural values and human needs in the living environment and safeguarding environmental resources. The different fields of inquiry are affected by a similar theoretical base: the performance design approach. In our vision of “conducting research”, the design carries out an educative function thanks both to its role as a speculative and interdisciplinary synthesis tool. The educational process that the Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Technologies proposes, develops along three main strategic lines: I. interdisciplinarity; II. internationalization and student mobility; and III. local identity enhancement. Interdisciplinarity is achieved through the promotion of specific educational projects targeting at dialogue among different academic fields designed to strengthen in students specific competencies and skills while developing their ability to carry out research in a synergetic way. In recent years there has been a strong effort to link the Ph.D Program in Architectural Tecnologies to an international network in order to offer students new opportunities for exchange and knowledge. In June 2012 an important agreement of scientific cooperation was signed among the Curriculum in 5 Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks. A framework for qualifications of the European higher education area, Copenhagen: Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, 2005. Available from Internet: http://www.bologna-bergen2005.no/ Docs/00-Main_doc/050218_QF_EHEA.pdf [January 15, 2014] 6 See also Section 7.: “Ph.D Training Program”.

Rev. January 2014



Architectural Technologies, the Ph.D in Architectural Technology of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and the Advanced Construction and Building Technology Research Training of the Technische Universität München (TUM). The ideal aspiration to provide a wider and challenging perspective thanks to the international scientific cooperation is supported by the strength of our local identity: Florence and Tuscany with their civil traditions and their incomparable cultural and landscaping heritage, offer, indeed, the inspiration and the privileged scenario of many doctoral theses.

4.PROFESSIONAL PROFILES AND SOCIAL ROLE OF THE PH.D GRADUATES According to Ministerial Decree no. 98 of 2013, courses for the achievement of the Ph.D provide for compentencies and skills needed to carry out research activities of high quality at universities, public entities or private subjects and in the liberal professions, contributing thus to the creation of the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area7. This educational approach is consistent with the Salzsburg Principles, which states that “doctoral training must increasingly meet the needs of an employment market that is wider than academia”8. The Curriculum in Architectural Technologies is strongly committed to improving and increasing the Ph.D graduates’ employability, forming not only highly qualified researchers, but also innovators able to transfer knowledge to the building industry and to public administration. More specifically, the Curriculum in Architectural Technologies prepares: • researchers for universities and research centers, national or international, in the building sector; • highly qualified designers and project managers for the designing and construction of complex building works and experimental projects; • researchers for consultancy firms; • researchers and consultants of research centers of the manufacturing and service industries for designing and production of innovative products and services for the architecture and environment; • researchers and managers in national and multinational building contractors; • professionals operating in the field of contracting out works, services and management of the complex building projects; and 7 “Regolamento recante modalità di accreditamento e dei corsi di dottorato e criteri per la istituzione dei corsi di dottorato da parte degli enti accreditati.” 8 See note 2.

Rev. January 2014



• high-level professionals in research and planning within public institutions. In relation to the increasing complexity of the building processes of the architectural work and the interconnection of the various actors involved, the Curriculum in Architectural Tecnologies, defines, with public and private subjects, specific research projects to satisfy their needs

5. CURRICULA AND MAIN TOPICS The Curriculum in Architectural Technologies provides a research interdisciplinary vision composed of four study sectors: IV. Living Quality; V. Architectural, Urban and Regional Sustainability; VI. Technologies for Natural and Built Environment; and VII. Architectural Project Management. The main fields of analysis are: urban spaces, landscape, social housing, health care facilities, living facilities, educational buildings, cultural heritage, airports and architecture for emergencies. The main topics for each study sector are indicated in the list below

Rev. January 2014



TOPICS I.1 Human Centered Design I.2 Participatory Design I.3 Metadesign I.4 Typological innovation


I.5 Environmental Accessibility I.6 Flexibility I.7 Safety in Use I.8 Environmental Comfort I.9 Ergonomics II.1 Sustainable Use and Conservation of Natural and Human Resources II.2 Cultural Identity and Local Sustainable Development II.3 Sustainable Architecture in Mediterranean Area II.4 Appropriate Technologies


II.5 Bioclimatic Design II.6 Energy Surving and Integration of the Renewable Energy II.7 Energy Regeneration of Building II.8 Recycling and Reuse of Material Resources II.9 Environment-frinedly Materials and Components II.10 Energy Certification Building II.11 Tools and Techniques for Monitoring and Environmental Control II.12 Life Cycle Design and Evaluation II.13 Tools and Techniques for Architectural, Urban and Landscaping Sustainability Evaluation III.1 History of Technology III.2 Performance Design III.3 Technological Innovation III.4 Incremental innovation III.5 New Materials


III.6 Design Technologies III.7 Production and Construction Technologies III.8 Building Performance III.9 Prefabbrication and Industrialization III.10 Materials and Technologies for Rehabilitaion and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage III.11 Architectural, Urban and Landscaping Regeneration III.12 Temporary Architectures III.13 Architectures in Emergency Situations III.14 Building and Urban Maintenance IV.1 Architectural Project Process Innovation IV.2 Project Communication Process Management IV.3 Integrated Systems Management Methods and Tools IV.4 Project management


IV.5 Strategic Evaluation of Complex Projects IV.6 Construction Management IV.7 Organizational Models for the Building Process IV.8 Economic Evaluation of Project IV.9 Quality Management IV.10 Organization of the Production and of the Construction Site

Fig.2. List of the Study Sectors and main topics.

Rev. January 2014



6. PH.D TEACHERS’ BOARD The Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Technologies is run by a teachers’ board (Collegio del Curriculum), currently under the coordination of Antonio Laurìa. On the Ph.D teachers’ board in Architectural Technologies there are professors and researchers with various scientific interests who belong to different academic fields: Architectural Technology (the majority), Sociology, Evaluation and Environmental Physics. To read short profiles of the members of the teachers’ board, please visit: http://www.dottorato-tda. unifi.it/CMpro-v-p-21.html Many members of the teachers’ board also work in two distinguished Interuniversity Research Centers: • Abita (“Bioecological Architecture and Technological Innovation for Environment”); and • Tesis (“Systems and Technologies for Healthcare Buildings”)9.

7. PH.D TRAINING PROGRAM The educational process that the Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Technologies proposes is characterized by the centrality of the Ph.D student. 9 The Abita Center (among the Universities of Florence, Milan, Genova, Rome “La Sapienza”, Naples, Naples II and Reggio Calabria) is very active in research activity and in post-graduate education: organizing Masters and Specialization Courses. The Tesis Center (between the Universities of Florence and Rome “La Sapienza”) is one of the more well-known research centers of healthcare buildings in Italy.

Rev. January 2014



Over the past years, in addition to traditional technical-objective educational models, innovative educational projects have been tested in order to create a challenging environment that emphasizes previous experiences, motivating factors and promotes the creation of a group identity. The Ph.D Curriculum has, as a rule, the duration of three years10. The Ph.D Curriculum consists of 180 credits11 (between teaching activities and research activities) which are organized in three years, 60 credits each. In the doctoral triennium, 60 credits are devoted to teaching activities and 120 credits to research activities. In addition to the educational opportunity directly offered by the Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Technologies, the student, to reach the credits needed, may propose to follow further activities chosen according to its specific interests. At the beginning of each year the student formulates the Personal Work Plan and at the end of the year makes an adequately documented report - the Activity Report - of the activities actually carried out (specifying the credits provided by every activity). The courses are in Italian and, although an official document on language proficiency will not be required, overseas students are expected to have an adequate knowledge of this language. YEAR 1ST 2ND 3RD


TOTAL 60 60 60

Fig. 3 Credits in each of three year of the Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Technologies.

Below is illustrated the structure of the Training Program during the three years of the doctorate and its activities12. 7.1 FIRST YEAR In the first year of the Ph.D Program, the student acquires information in order to complete his background in Architectural Technology (and in other disciplines included in the Curriculum) and knowledge concerning the ways to conduct the scientific research in its different phases, in addition to

10 For justified reasons, the duration of Curriculum can be extended to four years. 11 CFU (Credits Educational Universitary) or ECTS (European Credits Transfer and Accumulation System). One credit corresponds, approximately, to 25 hours of time of work for student, including individual work. 12 Tasks and deadlines are accurately specified at the beginning of each year in the Ph.D Training Program document.

Rev. January 2014



internships at departmental research groups. The educational process is collective in form, since the student has not yet identified the subject of doctoral research. The coordinator carries out, in the first year, the role of “educational mentor”. The student, in the first year of the Ph.D Program should acquire at least 30 credits in teaching activities and at least 30 credits in research activities. Specifically, in the field of the teaching activities there are provided: • required courses, including basic teachings; certified foreign language courses; interdisciplinary seminars; and • elective courses, including advanced courses; participation, in Italy and abroad, at scientific congresses; seminars and workshops; drafting of the Research Bulletin of the Architecture Department. The activities directly organized by the Curriculum in Architectural Technologies are aimed at improving, in the students, knowledge of the more important departmental research areas; these activities include meetings and training workshops on relevant issues. At the end of the first year of the Program, the student chooses a Mentor from among the professors of the Ph.D teachers’ board. The Student, for admission to the next year, must submit to the Ph.D board: • a research project on a specific issue, shared with the mentor (Preliminary Research Project) and approved by the Ph.D coordinator; and • the First Year Activity Report. 7.2 SECOND YEAR In the second year of the Ph.D Program, the student, led by the mentor, begins work on the doctoral thesis. This activity is oriented at acquiring and organizing the information for more precisely defining the research program. The educational activity is designed according to the student’s needs and related to the specific research theme. The training program provides for the organization of seminars on issues suggested by one student or by more than one (in the case of similar research themes). Through these educational projects, thanks to the presence of two or more ‘external’ experts generally of academic fields different from

Rev. January 2014



the disciplines included in the Curriculum in Architectural Technologies, students can acquire important information for their doctoral thesis and to heighten their knowledge. In the second year of the Ph.D Program, the student will carry out an internship with a research centre for the length of at least three months. Training in research centres abroad is particularly encouraged and is mandatory for scholarship holders. The student, in the second year of the Ph.D Program should acquire at least 20 credits in teaching activities and at least 40 credits in research activities (20 for activities tied to the doctoral thesis). During the year, according to the defined deadlines, the student, for admission to the next year, must submit to the Ph.D board’s judgment: • an update of the research project (Intermediary Research Project), as approved by the mentor; • the first draft of the Annotated Index of the Doctoral Thesis, with Thematic Bibliography; and • the Second Year Activity Report. 7.3 THIRD YEAR During the third year of the Ph.D Program, the student continues the writing of the doctoral thesis, developing the research hypothesis for achieving expected outcomes. In this year, the referees for the educational activity are the mentor and experts (internal or external to the Ph.D teachers’ board) with specific competencies on the issue of the doctoral thesis. In the third year of the Ph.D Program, the student should earn at least 10 credits in teaching activities and at least 50 credits in research activities. The final outcome is the doctoral thesis. At the beginning of the year the student must present, to the teachers’s board and other Ph.D students for discussion, the progress report concerning his Ph.D work. (Intermediate Thesis Defense) For following and monitoring research development during the year, regular dialogue with the members of the teachers’ board and checkpoints are provided for. The aim of the Intermediate Thesis Defense is to permit the Ph.D teachers’ board to evaluate the work plan presented with the thesis proposal and, if needed, suggest modifications. During the year, according to the defined deadlines, the student, for admission to the Final Thesis Defense (see Section 9.), must submit to the Ph.D board: • the Final Research Program, as approved by the mentor; • the draft of the thesis, as approved by the mentor; and • the Third Year Activity Report.

Rev. January 2014



For each student admitted, the Ph.D teacher’s board prepares a judgement on the competencies and skills acquired in the doctoral triennium, taking into account the Dublin Descriptors (see Section 2.) and on the thesis (1. originality, scientific significance and usefulness; 2. methodological rigor, 3. future developments).

8. PH.D ADMISSION For Italian and European Union candidates access to the Ph.D Programs is through a public competition. The call for applications is published annually in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Italy and on this site, on the page of the competition. To participate in the admission exam for Ph.D Program, the candidate must be in possession of a second level academic title, according to the Bologna Process. The recognition of educational qualifications obtained abroad is established by the Ph.D teachers’ board. The admission exam consists of a written test and an oral test; a test of knowledge of English is also required. Research fellows may be admitted, in addition to the number of openings specified in the competition annually, if they are qualified through the admission exam. Non European Union candidates, in possession of a degree considered equivalent to the admission of the Doctorate by the Ph.D teachers’ board and scholarship holders of the Italian, European or other International Institutions, may be admitted to the Ph.D Program without taking an admission exam. Non European Union candidates, without scholarships, are admitted to the Doctorate with the same access mode of the communitary candidates. The Ph.D Program provides at least one scholarship per year financed by the University of Florence. More scholarships are possible through external funds (from public and private sources) on a specific theme in one of the curricula of the Ph.D Program. Students who are not scholarship holders must pay annual enrollment fees13.

9. FINAL THESIS DEFENSE The final thesis defense for the Ph.D is in spring (usually, in April), of the year following the doctoral triennium. 13 For more detailed information, please see art. 11 (“Admission to the Ph.D Programs”) of the Regolamento per l’accreditamento, l’istituzione e il funzionamento dei Corsi di Dottorato di Ricerca dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze.

Rev. January 2014



The final thesis defense consists of the public discussion of the research carried out and its assessment by a panel composed of three members chosen among the professors and university researchers, and experts of the disciplines included in the Curriculum in Architectural Technologies. Normally, the committee is composed of one member of the Ph.D teachers’ board in Architectural Technologies and of two external members from two different Italian universities14. The main criteria of assessment are: • originality, scientific relevance and usefulness of the research; • methodological rigor with which the research has been conducted; and • communication skills of the candidate.

10. EUROPEAN PH.D Subject to the favorable opinion of Ph.D teachers’ board, the University of Florence may issue the additional certificate of European Ph.D at the Italian Ph.D qualification if the requirements indicated below are met: • positive evaluation of the doctoral thesis by at least two professors of European Union Universities, other than Italy; • period of study and research, dedicated to the thesis, of at least three months, in another Member State of the EU; • at least one member of the Jury must be a professor in a University of another Member State of the EU; and • in part, the defence of the thesis must be supported in an European language other than Italian.

14 The Jury can be integrated by no more than two well-known experts, also non Italians, who belong to public or private research centers.

Rev. January 2014



11. FURTHER INFORMATION For more information about the Ph.D Curriculum in Architectural Tecnologies, please visit: www.dottorato-tda.unifi.it To know more about the Ph.D Programs and Regulations of the University of Florence, please visit: www.unifi.it/vp-385-dottorati-di-ricerca.html To ask questions about Ph.D Program, please send an email to: antonio.lauria@unifi.it To ask questions about administrative issues, please send an email to: dottorato@polobiotec.unifi.it

Credits: Text: Antonio LaurĂŹa; Drawings: Antonio Andreucci; Layout and Graphics: Luigi Vessella Rev. January 2014


Stampa a cura di:

Profile for DIDA

Ph.D. Curriculum in Architectural Technologies  

Ph.D. Curriculum in Architectural Technologies