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B-Pro: MArch Architectural Design

Overview

The Masters programme in Architectural Design is a 12-month full-time post-professional course, leading to a Masters of Architecture (MArch) degree. The programme is structured around six Research Clusters curated to deliver diverse yet focused strands of speculative research, emphasising the importance of advanced design in complexities of acute context.

The MArch AD is part of B-Pro, a new umbrella structure for prospective architecture, urbanism, design and theory at an advanced level.

Design plays a key role in the accelerated convergence of matter and information. While data visualisation exposes the hidden beauty, and complexity of observed systems, data materialisation can produce such beauty and complexity within new synthetic fields. The boundaries of disciplines are increasingly porous, giving architecture and design an expanded agency at the centre of open synthesis applicable to a myriad of complex domains.

AD addresses the adaptation and enrichment of local cultures, complex natural and constructed environments, and active rethinking of design as an extended ecology. The programme recognises the synthetic power of design at the core of complex ecologies, and its ability to bind a plethora of agencies.

Through computational resources, architects have increased access to the physics of materials and structures at different orders of scale. These physics of matter are embedded in the design-search process, incorporating the constraints and inputs of manufacturing and constructability. Research Clusters explore the latest approaches to robotics, computational physics and simulation, generative design, interactivity, advanced algorithms, extensive material experiments and links to material science. AD engages critically with such developments, which are already radically changing the landscape of architecture, its social and economical role and its effectiveness as an active agency particularly within urban ecologies.

The programme is structured so that students are introduced to theoretical concepts through lectures and initial design projects, supported by computational and robotics skill building workshops. During the second stage, students work in small teams or individually, according to the methodology of each Cluster, allowing the student to focus on their individual interests in advanced design research and the development of a design project. There is a continuous evaluation of work via tutorials with regular design reviews organised between Clusters which include external critics.
Alongside cutting edge research, AD hosts a series of public events, which this year includes the ‘Material Matters’ and the ‘n_Salon’ lecture series, and the Plexus Project.  Apart from in-house events open to the larger community, the exceptional pool of the AD faculty includes some of the most prominent young practitioners and researchers in the field and beyond.

Frederic Migayrou
Bartlett Professor of Architecture
Director of B-Pro

B-Pro Directors

Professor Frédéric Migayrou, B-Pro Director

Andrew Porter, B-Pro Deputy Director

AD Staff and Research Clusters

Alisa Andrasek, AD Programme Leader

Professor Stephen Gage, Report Co-ordinator


Direct teaching by:

RC1 - Alisa Andrasek, Daghan Cam

RC3 - Ruairi Glynn, Chris Leung

RC4 - Gilles Retsin, Manuel Jimenez

RC5 - Guan Lee, Vicente Soler

RC6 - Daniel Widrig, Stefan Bassing, Soomeen Hahm

RC7 - Marcos Cruz, Richard Beckett, Javier Ruiz

Different workshops will be initiated during the year for a better access to fabrication, scripting and conception. In addition other seminars and lectures will help the students to increase their understanding of the contextualisation of architecture through historical understanding, aesthetical and critical positioning, socio-political integration and intervention.

B-Pro

Situated within one of the world’s most innovative and advanced schools of design research, B-Pro was established by the Bartlett Professor and Chair of School Frédéric Migayrou in 2011-12, as a new overarching structure for the MArch Architectural Design (AD) and MArch Urban Design (UD) post-professional programmes. ‘B’ stands for ‘Bartlett’; ‘Pro’ stands for ‘Prospective’, meaning ‘to look forward’.

From 2014-15 B-Pro AD and UD will consist of six research ‘Labs’, dedicated to advanced experimentation in architectural and urban theory through computation, geo-morphology, fabrication, interaction, biotechnology, and robotics. Operating in tandem with the School’s renowned professionally accredited programmes (BSc RIBA Part 1, MArch Architecture RIBA Part 2, and RIBA Part 3), B-Pro is the School’s incubator for new and emerging professional practice. It attracts a high calibre of staff and applicants from all over the world, and is developing new and potent links with industry and science.

B-Pro Director: Professor Frédéric Migayrou
B-Pro Deputy Director: Andrew Porter
MArch AD Programme Leader: Alisa Andrasek
MArch UD Programme Leader: Dr Adrian Lahoud
B-Pro & Programmes Administrator: Tom Mole

Structure

MArch Architectural Design course uses a module structure based on a credit system where the total number of credits over one year is 180 credits.

Early in Term 1, after a short workshop, students are allocated to Research Clusters. From this point students start working with their allocated tutors, on the design intensive aspect of the course.

In the second half of Term 1 students start working with a Design Report Tutor, allocated to their Research Cluster, to discuss the Report and it’s relationship with the design work.

Modules

BENVGA01 – Main Design Thesis. (135 Credits)

BENVGA02 – Design Report. (45 Credits)

Content

Difference between AD Research Clusters

The MArch Architectural Design Research Clusters develop their own briefs, each defining its own particular interpretation of the programme and its pedagogical approach.

Main Design Thesis Portfolio
(ENVSGA01)

The programme is structured so that the first term introduces students to the theoretical concepts through lectures and initial design projects. During this period students confirm the subject of their thesis project and report and then work in specialist teaching groups, known as Research Clusters. There is continuous discussion of work via tutorials and reviews. The subject of the thesis is negotiated between the student and their Research Cluster Tutor.

Design Report
(ENVSGA02)

The design report is a 5,000 – 10,000 word illustrated document. It must describe the initial ideas that underpin the design proposal, the design investigation and associated information that has been gathered during the design process. It should include a conclusion that summarises the way that the design work informs the theoretical themes.

Clusters and showcases

The MArch Architectural Design programme offers a number of research-focused clusters, all of which allow students to pursue a rigorous approach to architecture within a highly speculative and creative context.

RC1 2015 Cluster 1
Alisa Andrasek, Daghan Cam: Open Synthesis _ Increased Resolution Fabric of Design// - Recent arrival of extreme volumes of computation, enabling inclusion of simulations into the fabric of design via GPU-run ...
RC2 2014 Cluster 2
Cluster 2 is not running this year
RC3 2015 Cluster 3
Ruairi Glynn, Christopher Leung, William Bondin: Domestic Ecologies - The Interactive Architecture Lab is a multi-disciplinary research cluster interested in the Behaviour and Interaction of Things, Environments ...
RC4 2015 Cluster 4
Gilles Retsin, Manuel Jimenez: Computational Substances: printing Architecture - With an exponential increase in the possibilities of computation and computer-controlled fabrication, architecture is ...
RC5 2015 Cluster 5
Guan Lee, Vicente Soler - Of Part and Whole: a non-materialist approach to materials in Computational Architecture - With the prevalence of digital fabrication tools, such as numeric controlled machineries, 3D...
RC6 2015 Cluster 6
Daniel Widrig, Stefan Bassing, Soomeen Hahn - Impacting on all aspects of creative production digital design and manufacturing technologies enable architects and designers to work in pace and ...
RC7 2014-2015 Cluster 7
Marcos Cruz, Richard Beckett, Javier Ruiz: BiotA Lab/RC7 - New modes of production and simulation in architecture, as well as advances in the field of synthetic biology, biotechnology, molecular ...