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MArch Graduate Architectural Design

Overview

The Masters programme in Graduate Architectural Design (GAD) 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.

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.

GAD 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. GAD 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, GAD hosts a series of public events, which this year includes the ‘Material Matters’ and the ‘n_Salon’ lecture series, and the Plexus Project (a continuation of last year’s Nexus).  Apart from in-house events open to the larger community, the exceptional pool of the GAD 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

GAD Staff and Research Clusters

Alisa Andrasek, GAD Programme Leader

Professor Stephen Gage, Report Co-ordinator


Direct teaching by:

RC1 - Alisa Andrasek, Daghan Cam

RC2 - Isaie Bloch, Moa Carlsson

RC3 - Ruairi Glynn, Ollie Palmer

RC4 - Gilles Retsin, Manuel Jimenez

RC5 - Philippe Morel, Thibault Schwartz, Guan Lee

RC6 - Daniel Widrig, Steffan Bassing, Soomeen Hahn

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.

Structure

MArch Graduate Architectural Design course (GAD) 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 GAD Research Clusters

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

RC1 Cluster 1
Alisa Andrasek, Daghan Cam: Non-trivial Synthesis: Increased Resolution Fabric of Architecture -  At the core of RC1's research is the premise that architecture excels in its ability to… 
RC2 2014 Cluster 2
Isaïe Bloch, Moa Carlsson: Augmented Dexterity - The rise of digital fabrication is a complete game-changer for crafters of all stripes. At present, the enterprise of craft and design is in a state of flux, evolving through...
GAD RC3 Cluster 3
Ruairi Glynn, Ollie Palmer, William Bondin: Flights of Fancy - From the birdlike automaton of 4th Century BC Greek Philosopher Archytas and 3rd Century BC Chinese Inventor Lu Ban, to the daring manned flights of the...
RC4 2014 Cluster 4
Gilles Retsin, Manuel Jimenez: Deep Substances: Computational Multi-Objects  With an exponential increase in the possibilities of computation and computer-controlled fabrication, architecture is now...
RC5 2014 Cluster 5
Philippe Morel, Thibault Schwartz, Guan Lee: Applications of robotics to discrete and continuous spatial lattices - We will challenge the architectural and constructive relevance of novel branches of geometry...
RC8 Cluster 6
Daniel Widrig, Steffan Bassing, Soomeen Hahn

Applying

Application procedures, fees, funding and scholarships

Please visit the UCL Postgraduate Application and Entry page for information on how to apply.

Programme-specific information follows below.

Prior qualifications

The MArch Graduate Architectural Design programme is open to students with a degree in Architecture or a similar cognate discipline.