The Advanced Architectural Design Modules (50+30 credits) represent the core of the learning experience. Project–based learning is used in a studio environment to individually and collectively explore architectural design problems. The design studio tutors will set the specific design problem and methodology employed. It is envisaged that several parallel studios may be established, numbers permitting, each led by separate studio tutors with different agendas, programmes and methodologies. However, the learning outcomes will be common. Initially, there will be only one studio which will be organised as follows:
The first semester is always a rigid organised fabric of reviews, workshops, tutorials and deadlines with students working both individually and in groups. Within this framework students engage in two strands of investigation: A. an in-depth research into the tectonic possibilities of a new material/s and B. the analysis of a real site with the aim of generating a series of questions that demand an architectural response. By the end of the semester each student is expected to present to a jury of invited critics a catalogue both conceptual and material, from which they will make a project, in a coherent manner using appropriate media. This jury provides formative feedback for students on their learning.
The first semester design studio is complimented by a series of challenging, group and individual based workshops, Urban Cultures, on drawing, model making and movie making, run by the tutors. Students are expected to engage in questioning and debate with the lecturers and are required to produce a series of responses in drawn and written forms, which contribute to their design portfolio, around a theme related to the lecture series.
Spread over the second semester there is a further series of lectures on Architecture and the City given by external academics and practitioners. Students are expected to engage in questioning and debate with the lecturers and are required to produce a series of responses in drawn and written forms to exercises set by the visiting lecturer. The results are to be bound into a book, which contributes to and supports their design portfolio, around a theme related to the lecture series.
The second semester design studio focuses on the architectural implications of bringing the two apparently dissimilar strands of the first semester’s investigation into surprising conjunctions. Students are asked to approach the possibilities created by these apparently disconnected procedures in an entirely logical way.
At this stage the studio places emphasis on the importance of developing students’ ability to demonstrate conceptual clarity, to locate their ideas in the spectrum of current and past architecture and to maintain a strong link between concept and product.
Students are also encouraged to explore a wide range of media and technique and to develop a rationale for selecting appropriate techniques for the representation of particular kinds of architectural ideas. Students are required to present their design projects to an invited group of invited critics close to the end of the semester.
This proves formative feedback for students. The final Module mark is generated from a portfolio-based assessment held at the end of the second semester involving a panel internal staff. This system will ensure a parity of marking when the module consists of multiple design studios.
Students also undertake a Research Methods Module in the second semester that prepares them for their dissertation project. A set of generic postgraduate school-wide lectures on research paradigms, methodology and research tools is followed by Masters specific seminars in which students develop a synopsis for their dissertation’. The module is assessed by means of a review of a relevant past Masters dissertation and a synopsis proposal.
The MArch programme concludes with the Dissertation Project in which individual students work with a supervisor on projects that have developed from the work of the design studio. Students are expected to produce original, relevant and valid projects. The dissertation can take a written or design based form. In the latter case a written commentary is expected as part of the dissertation submission. Students submit their dissertation projects at the end of the summer vacation and are expected to hold an exhibition of their work in the Department or elsewhere as agreed.
Students who have qualified for the award of MA are encouraged to apply to continue to the PhD degree programme in the School if they so wish.
A Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Architectural Design can be gained by students who complete 120 credits but do not complete the full master's programme.
Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, course content and module choices may change from the details given here.
Teaching and learning
Studio research is complemented by a series of challenging talks by visiting academics and practitioners at every stage of the process as well as a consistent programme of individual discussions and workshops with your tutors.
You will work both in groups and individually, exploring a new kind of architecture. The methods of exploration include techniques primarily associated with the movie industry, such as the making of collages, optical composites, physical models and drawings both by hand and computer. The tutors act as guides to reveal areas of interest so that you develop an individual approach to the brief, the programme and the realisation of a project.
Teaching is heavily design-studio based, with project-based learning in a studio environment. Several parallel studies may operate, offering different methodologies but with common learning outcomes. The design studio will be complemented by a series of lectures, reviews, tutorials and site visits.
Approach to assessment
The assessment on the taught modules is 100% coursework, comprising design presentations, seminar papers and essays.
The studio critiques by an invited jury provide formative feedback.
The dissertation element can comprise a project, artefact or portfolio in a variety of media, or written work.
Specialist facilities Videography, photography and digital:
Exploring and understanding the environment through video and photography is an important part of the programme - equipment is available to borrow for free from the School of Architecture. Although a home PC or laptop is often a requisite for an architectural course, the School provides well specified computers in its design studios that are equipped with all the software you might need.
Additional costs Materials:
An emphasis on physical experimentation means that you may incur costs to purchase materials. Although access to our workshops is free, you need to source your own materials. While it is possible to scavenge for materials or use naturally occurring resources, it is wise to budget £100-200 for build materials for model making. this figure should be seen as a guide as the actual cost can vary depending on your area of interest.
Printing and binding:
Although there is provision to show work digitally, the portfolio elements of the course generally do require high quality printing, so you should budget £100-200 for printing costs over the year. Generally students submit their physical work as an A3 printed portfolio in a black box - you should budget approximately £15 for this box.
Whilst there is no official international field trip, you are encouraged to visit areas of interest that are relevant to your thesis, and to visit exhibitions and galleries. You should budget in the region of £100 for trips such as these.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes