Architecture is a fascinating subject involving wide-ranging academic, practical and vocational activities. It requires creativity and imagination as well as the inventive employment of environmental and technical knowledge. Architecture is normally studied with a view to becoming a professional architect, however, embracing the fields of art, history and science, it is also an excellent vehicle for further academic study at postgraduate level in different disciplines, and other forms of career development.
At the heart of the course is a rich choice of different design studios in which students are taught in small groups by current practitioners – reflecting London’s dynamic architecture scene. There are also lecture courses in environmental and technical studies, history and theory of architecture, as well as numerous opportunities to engage with the architecture profession through construction site visits, internships, mentoring and a work placement. Field trips are offered in Year 2 and 3 and there are opportunities to study abroad in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and China.
Architectural design is taught twice a week in small groups or studios led by a tutor, with a second tutor and (in Year 1) a post-graduate student in support. In second and third year, students can choose from a broad range of studios, each offering a particular approach to design or engagement in current issues. Studio teaching involves workshops, site and building visits and group research, with individual tutorials and 'crits' in which each student’s work is presented to their fellow students, tutors and guest critics and practitioners.
The projects increase in scale and complexity through the course. In Year 1, students focus on learning fundamental design skills through on-site sketching, building visits, architectural drawing, modelling, photography, digital/CAD and fabrication lab investigation of materials. In Year 2, students’ design projects extend in ambition and detail, and engage with the environmental impact of architecture, and its response to it site and context. In Year 3, students’ studies culminate in a major design project, which is exhibited as part of the annual summer exhibition, and which forms the basis of a graduate’s portfolio for employment in an architectural practice as a 'Part 1 year-out' assistant, as well as further study.
Year 1 students are introduced to structural and environmental principles underpinning architectural design, fabrication processes, building components and assembly techniques. In Year 2, students develop their understanding of environmental issues by applying them in their design studio projects, and examine the application of technology through a series of building case studies. The following subjects are indicative of what you will study on this course. hey also follow progress on a construction site by making regular visits and attending construction team meetings.
Year 3 students investigate an area of particular environmental or technical interest, and integrate the research into their final Major Design Project. As well as design projects, environment & technology teaching includes lectures, seminars and tutorials by professional consultants (typically architects and consulting engineers).
History and Theory
Year 1 students study a range of European and non-western histories of architecture, and undertake walks around London as well as visits to specific buildings. Drawing and photography is as important as writing in the study of these places. Year 2 students explore architectural theory and contemporary issues in architecture and urbanism and identify a subject they would like to investigate further. In Year 3, students are then offered the opportunity to research this through an extended essay. History and Theory teaching includes lectures and guided sketching walks around London, seminars, and tutorials.
Preparation for Professional Practice
Year 2 students are introduced to architectural practice through following the live progress of a construction site (Site Diary module). Year 3 students attend CV workshops, practice lectures and undertake two weeks of supervised work experience in an architect’s practice.