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Master Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources

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  • Objectives
    This design-based MA is distinctive in offering an opportunity for hands-on participation in live architectural projects in developing countries, including extended field research. The course helps you to acquire the tools, techniques, knowledge and skills necessary to help transform the places and spaces that individuals and communities inhabit, where resources are scarce, and both culture and technology are in a state of rapid change. It offers you a broad understanding of what is involved in the sustainable construction of domestic and community buildings using self-help techniques of construction, adaptation, repair and management. The course also provides you with transferable skills, working methods and the confidence to build a career within either the development or wider built environment sector. The course includes a two-week field trip to a situation of rapid change and scarce resources, and a four-day full-sized making workshop at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales. Recent field trips have been to Delhi, Gujarat and Kosovo.
  • Entry requirements
    Applicants should fit into one of the following categories: (1) Architecture graduates with a good first degree who wish to specialise in this area with a view to working abroad or in UK transitional societies (2) Professionally qualified designers, architects, planners, engineers or a related profession or trade, who have some experience working in situations of transition and who would like to extend and develop their knowledge in this area (3) Those with extensive professional experience in a relevant field
  • Academic Title
    MA Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources
  • Course description
    Course structure

    The course is design-based and consists of a specialist taught module, a research methods module, two double research and design-based modules and a design based thesis.


    All modules are core modules

    -Changing Places - you will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate individuals and communities in the transformation of the places and spaces that they inhabit, in situations of rapid change and scarce resources.
    -Research Methods for Design - you will explore ideas and develop research skills as a propositional process within design. The module establishes the tools and methods that will enable you to operate as a design researcher.
    -Design Research and Techniques - you will establish a critical position within a project-based investigation in the field of rapid change and scarce resources
    -Design Project - you will develop a design proposition that tests and refines your design research by a precise iterative process investigating the context, concepts and details of the proposed project.
    -MA Architecture Thesis - within the Thesis module you synthesise the knowledge, skills and techniques acquired in the taught and research modules. It requires you to extend the critical position developed and tested within the Design Project and provides a starting point for practice or further research.

    Assessment is by a range of methods including precedent studies, written papers, diaries, design manuals and a design portfolio, culminating in a design thesis.

    Career opportunities
    The ability to produce appropriate design ideas in situations of rapid change is increasingly relevant whether in disaster relief (Asian tsunami/Pakistani earthquake) or longer-term development work. Many architecture postgraduates spend a few years after graduation gaining valuable work experience in the developing world, with more responsibility than they would have in the UK. The Department has placed a number of UK students in such work with an NGO (Development Workshop) and with practices in Delhi. Course Leader Maurice Mitchell has worked as the architectural advisor for Voluntary Service Overseas. This course also prepares you for work in alternative (technology/energy) or more hands-on situations than are available in mainstream employment and thus offers a distinct career path within architecture and the built environment. Direct engagement in the field often generates research material for the design elements of the course and leads to opportunities for further study.

    We encourage you to continue your involvement with live programmes after graduation. Following the success of the work previously undertaken within postgraduate architecture Unit 6, funding has been received for the establishment of The Water Trust. This funding is specifically available to enable post-course support for programmes, which have been initiated during the course.

    Attendance & duration
    -Full-time: one year, two days a week
    -Part-time: two years, one day a week

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