The MArch Urban Design (UD) is a 12-month studio-based programme that brings together a new generation of designers and thinkers from across the world. It is established to provide a rich and challenging environment for long-term research on the challenges of global urbanisation and the creative potential of speculative design.
Urban design is a particular form of enquiry into the nature of the city, its form and function. It seeks to understand the city as a place of human coexistence and to devise strategies and projects to guide its future development and evolution. Throughout the UD course, students are encouraged to innovate and explore new ideas in design and theory. They are introduced to design skills and techniques, critical enquiry and related technologies. They use this experience to shape polemic interventions, and through the design portfolio and thesis, develop speculative projects on a variety of scales. Students are encouraged to explore and understand their host city whilst in residence, a city that arguably is one of the richest and most diverse in the world.
This is first and foremost a design-led course that culminates in a major project and thesis, where cities and regions are usually chosen as the basis for study. The year is underpinned by a lecture-based series in the history and theory of urban design, and a high proportion of time is devoted to studio-based design enquiry, supported through tutorials from designers and experts in associated fields such as computing, drawing, and making. The curriculum introduces students to diverse fields such as archaeology, anthropology, design theory, ecological history, advanced computing, governance, law, media, philosophy, planning and political theory. Environmental and ecological questions are given high priority within a critical structure that embraces the dispersed, often paradoxical nature of contemporary urbanism, and the challenge in resolving complex issues facing populations, public space, land use, and building typologies through innovative design strategies.
The MArch Urban Design Programme and the School’s highly experimental MArch Architectural Design programme sit within the overarching structure of B-Pro, led by Professor Frédéric Migayrou, Chair of the School of Architecture. In addition to dedicated teaching and support, both programmes are supported by complementary resources such as open lectures, classes, project reviews, and publications. Students participate in a joint exhibition in early September each year.
MArch Urban Design Programme Leader: Dr Adrian Lahoud
The course is presently divided into two Labs, offering students the opportunity to choose a distinct field of enquiry:
• Cities, populations and infrastructure, led by Dr Adrian Lahoud
• Bio-urban territories and information systems, led by Claudia Pasquero
Further Labs currently proposed for 2015-16 include:
• Housing and settlement (TBC)
• Urban landscapes (TBC)
Each Lab follows a unique approach with regular inter-lab debate, creative exchange, and vibrant discussion actively encouraged. B-Pro MArch Architectural Design is also organised into Labs (presently three in AD), and all B-Pro Labs are seen as a suite of distinct research entities that set new research agendas in their respective fields. Work from the Labs will feature in a forthcoming B-Pro publication series edited by Professor Frédéric Migayrou.
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
Professor Frédéric Migayrou
Frédéric Migayrou is Chair, Bartlett Professor of Architecture at The Bartlett School of Architecture and Deputy Director of the National Museum of Art, Centre Pompidou in Paris. He was the founder of the Frac Center Collection and of ArchiLab, the international festival of Prospective Architecture in Orléans. Apart from recent publications and exhibitions (De Stijl, Centre Pompidou, 2011; La Tendenza, Centre Pompidou, 2012; Bernard Tschumi, Centre Pompidou, 2013; Frank Gehry, Centre Pompidou 2014), he was the curator of Non Standard Architectures at the Centre Pompidou in 2003, the first exposition devoted to architecture, computation and fabrication. More recently, he co-organised the exhibition Naturalising Architecture (ArchiLab, Orléans 2013), presenting prototypes and commissions by 40 teams of architects working with new generative computational tools, defining new interrelations between materiality, biotechnology and fabrication. In 2012 he founded B-Pro, The Bartlett’s umbrella structure for post-professional architecture programmes.
B-Pro Deputy Director
Andrew Porter studied at The Bartlett School of Architecture and has collaborated in practice with Sir Peter Cook and Christine Hawley CBE. In 1998 he and Abigail Ashton set up ashton porter architects, completing a number of commissions in the UK and prizewinning competitions in the UK and abroad. Andrew is co-leader of The Bartlett’s MArch Architecture Unit 21, and has been a visiting Professor at the Staedel Academy, Frankfurt and guest critic at SCi-Arc, Los Angeles and Parsons New School, New York.
Dr Adrian Lahoud
UD Programme Leader, Lab Leader, RC11 Tutor
Adrian Lahoud is an architect and former Director of the MA Research Architecture at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths. His work sets out a philosophical, scientific and architectural history of scale using case studies of post-war urban planning, territorial governance and climate modeling. He lectures and exhibits internationally and has written extensively on questions of spatial politics and urban conflict with a focus on the Arab world and Africa.
Lab Leader, RC16 Tutor
Claudia Pasquero is an architect, engineer, author and educator. She worked in London as an architect before co-founding ecoLogicStudio with Marco Poletto in 2006. She has lectured and taught internationally, as Unit Master at the AA, London; Hans and Roger Strauch Visiting Critic at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; and Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), Barcelona. Claudia is co-author of Systemic Architecture - Operating manual for the self-organizing city (Routledge, 2012).
Professor Peter Bishop
Professor of Urban Design
Peter Bishop was Director of Design for London, advisor to the Mayor and deputy CEO of the London Development Agency. He has worked on regeneration projects including Kings Cross and the Olympics. He is a director at Allies and Morrison and author of The Bishop Review and The Temporary City, an exploration of temporary urbanism.
Tutors and coordinators
Zachary Fluker is an architect, industrial designer, and cabinet-maker. He graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and the AA. His research into interfacing digital with physical environments and computational fabrication has led him to collaborate with several practices in the UK and Canada including Philip Beesley Architect.
History Theory Tutor
Sara Franceschelli is associate professor in epistemology at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, and a member of the IXXI, Rhône Alpes Complex Systems Institute. She was trained as a physicist at the University of Bologna and holds a PhD in epistemology and history of science on the construction of physical meaning for the transition to turbulence.
RC14 Tutor, History Theory Tutor
Platon Issaias is an architect. He holds an MSc in Advanced Architectural Design from GSAPP, Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft. His doctoral dissertation ‘Beyond the Informal City’ focuses on the history of planning in Athens and the relation between conflict, urban management and architectural form.
RC11 Tutor, History Theory Tutor
Sam Jacoby is a chartered architect with an AA Diploma and a doctorate from the Technische Universität Berlin. He has worked in the UK, USA, and Malaysia and taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, the University of Nottingham and The Bartlett.
Enriqueta Llabres is an architect, social scientist and researcher with an MSc in Local Economic Development from The London School of Economics. In 2009 she founded award-winning practice Relational Urbanism. She is a Design Critic in Landscape Architecture at Harvard and has collaborated with institutions worldwide as a critic and lecturer.
Samaneh Moafi is an Iranian/Australian graduate of architecture and a PhD candidate at the AA. Her research explores the relationship between projects of mass housing and industries. She has worked with a number of art and architecture practices and exhibited work in the United States, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Iran and Australia.
RC15 Tutor, History Theory Module Coordinator
Godofredo Pereira graduated as an architect from FAUP, Porto. He holds an MArch from The Bartlett and is currently completing his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University with a research on Underground Fetishism.
History Theory Tutor
Lorenzo Pezzani is an architect based in London. Since 2011, he has been working on Forensic Oceanography, a project that critically investigates the geography of the Mediterranean Sea as frontier. He is completing his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Maj Plemenitas is an experimental architectural and cross-scale design practitioner, researcher and educator, and founder and director of award-winning design research practice LINKSCALE. He carries out research, exhibits his work and lectures internationally.
Eduardo Rico is a Civil Engineer and MA Landscape Urbanism graduate and a member of design practices including Groundlab and Relational Urbanism. He is currently engaged in strategic advice on infrastructure and transportation for urban masterplanning at Arup. His work is focused on alternative design practices feeding infrastructural inputs into architectural urbanism.
Camila E. Sotomayor
Camila Sotomayor explores ruins as contemporary zones of architectural reanimation. Her PhD in Architectural Design at The Bartlett is investigating time-based design through material decay at the microscopic scale. She is the founder and director of Department of Decay and has been a Unit tutor for the MArch UD programme since 2010.
History Theory Tutor
Emmanouil Zaroukas holds a diploma in Architecture from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, and a postgraduate degree in Digital Architecture Production from the IAAC, Spain. He is a PhD Candidate at the University of East London, where he is researching artificial cognitive processes and neural networks.
Clusters and Showcases
The MArch Urban Design programme offers a large number of research-focused clusters, all of which allow students to pursue a rigorous approach to architecture within a highly speculative and creative context.
MArch Urban Design Cluster 11
Adrian Lahoud, Sam Jacoby - The City, The Territory, The Planetary - Our common character: goodwill, a natural capacity for thought and an inclination for truth. The good ...
MArch Urban Design Cluster 12
This cluster is not running this year
MArch Urban Design Cluster 14
Platon Issaias, Camila Sotomayor - Bodies/Landscapes/Commodities: On Tourism and War - The Mediterranean. A gigantic Petrie dish of political, economic and social flux ...
MArch Urban Design Cluster 15
Godofredo Pereira, Samaneh Moafi - Axiomatic Earth - The Mediterranean’s urban history runs parallel with histories of production and extraction, with histories ...
MArch Urban Design Cluster 16
Claudia Pasquero, Maj Plemenitas - Bio-Urban Design: structuring bio-digital urban landscapes - The research cluster on Bio-Urban Design pursues a non anthropocentric understanding ...
MArch Urban Design Cluster 17
This cluster is not running this year
MArch Urban Design Cluster 18
Eduardo Rico, Enriqueta Llabres, Zachary Fluker - Synthetic Urbanism: A Relational Approach to Territorial Practice - RC18 explores forms of interaction with physical experiments and ...
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.
Full fee bursaries are regularly offered for UK and EU students. Application for bursaries is during the Summer - check back here for details.
The course provides a forum for graduate students from a variety of backgrounds - architectural design, the social sciences, planning, engineering, transportation, landscaping, geography and art history are all examples. However, prospective students should be prepared to engage with a course which has a strong emphasis on the design and visual representation of urban form, and so a background in a related design or visually-orientated field will be an advantage.
Candidates applying to the programme are expected to have excellent design skills; a familiarity with historical and contemporary debates on the city, well developed analytical abilities and a serious work ethic. Entry to the programme is highly competitive, priority admission is granted to students with exceptional portfolios.
As well as this diverse disciplinary background, the student cohort of 50-60 individuals also comprises a dynamic mix of UK, EU and international participants from all parts of the world.
Should you have any query on this programme, please contact the Programme Administrator.
The MArch Urban Design provides the skills required in order to prepare students for further academic studies or for practice.
A student having completed the course will be equipped to undertake research in the field of urban design, and be able to evaluate or develop work in practice. Graduates of the course have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, including:
- Further PhD studies and academia
- Urban design and planning practice
- Politics and policy
- Film-making, photography and creative practices
Graduates of the MArch Urban Design have, for example, gone on to become eminent urban designers in their own right as well as partners and practitioners of renowned architectural and urban design practices.