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MRes Adaptive Architecture and Computation


Our Adaptive Architecture and Computation programme (MSc/MRes AAC) offers a unique perspective on the application of technology to the built environment. Technology is seen not only as a way to create emergent form, but as a means to create an architecture that adapts to its occupation; one in which design is embodied within our experience of place, and the components of design are transparently embedded within the environment; one in which society and space are combined as a unitary entity, brought together through a knowledge and understanding of computation as applied to our presence in the world.

To achieve this synergy, our course aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the practical skills required to create generative, emergent and responsive form, through exposure to real programming environments, alongside a solid grounding in analytic and synthetic techniques and the creation of physical systems engendering interaction and adaptation. You will also have access to a set of complementary modules providing you with a more cohesive experience, with a clear focus on the skills learnt within each module.

Programme Objectives

Our two courses - the MSc Adaptive Architecture and Computation and the MRes Adaptive Architecture and Computation - offer tailored experiences depending on your needs:

  • our MSc provides a full learning experience with set projects and structured learning. It can be taken by those without any computational experience or those looking for industry-applicable skills
  • our MRes, concentrates on your research skills, offering a self-directed route if you are intending to take a doctoral degree or are looking to take your existing architecture and computing experience to a higher level.

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The MRes AAC is a research masters in which a programme of research is developed by the student and supported by taught modules. It is intended for those with either intermediate or advanced programming skills who would like to specialise in research into parametric design, emergent architecture or interactive systems. The course gives a broad research introduction to adaptive architecture, and can be taken alone or as the first year of the EngD VEIV.

Term One Term Two Stream
Computational Analysis Computational Synthesis Theory
Research Skills (A) Research Skills (B) Skills
Computational Research Project   Practice

Students take 30 credits of tailored taught material, 30 credits to build research skills and 120 credits dedicated to research projects over an intensive year-long course running from September to September.

View the course structure of the MSc Adaptive Architecture and Computation.

Compulsory Modules

BENVGACB Computational Analysis
Credits: 15 credits
Assessment: two-hour exam
Term 1

BENVGACC Computational Synthesis
Credits: 15
Assessment: 3,000 word term paper
Term 2

BENVGAR1 Computational Research Project
Credits: 30 credits
Terms 1 and 2

Transferrable Skills Modules
Credits: 30


BENVGACB Computational Analysis of space, structure and other aspects of architecture facilitates an understanding of the complexities of the built environment. A number of methods are introduced in this module, including the simulation of natural vision, machine learning algorithms and intelligent systems, with emphasis on their application in design-related domains, from agent simulation to structural engineering. This content is presented in the context of its implications in the creative process, emergent behaviour and relevance to design. The module is an important theoretical basis for the creation of architecture via the generative methods presented within the Computational Synthesis module.

BENVGACC Computational Synthesis introduces a range of algorithmic techniques used for generating architecture, from parametric modelling to generative methods based on procedural rules. These are presented first as independent techniques, but also in the context of optimisation, which requires the framing of explicit design objectives and computational methods for evaluation of designs. Each session describes the theory and implementation of a particular algorithm or computational method. It exposes students to the potential for computation to be used to enhance architectural process, and gives an appreciation of the cutting-edge techniques currently being developed, so that they form a basis for onward research by the student.

BENVGAR1 Computational Research Project several small projects serve to introduce the student to methods of research with computational systems. Relevant modules in relevant computational domains will normally be audited to supply background and a forum for discussion. Selection of these, along with research questions and project assessment, will be on an individual basis and will be planned in relation to the student's interests, in discussion with the supervisor. When appropriate, the projects may be carried out in the context of other project based modules on the MSc AAC.

Transferrable Skills Modules teach skills that apply beyond a single discipline. Course content variously includes professional development, investigating the nature of academic research and related issues. Research students choose two offered by the Bartlett, UCLs Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, or by other faculties.


The course team, drawn from the world-leading SPACE research group, comprises both architects and experts in artificial intelligence. Programming is taught through the processing language, which was created to teach computation to designers with no prior experience of computing. Time is dedicated to studio sessions with experienced tutors who have a track record of research into architecture and computation.

Course Director

Sean Hanna
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Staff teaching on the programme currently include:

Ava Fatah
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Ruairi Glynn
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Sam Griffiths
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Martin Zaltz-Austwick
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AAC Tutors*

Daniel Hirshmann; Iris Asaf; Kinda al Sayed; Kaiti Papapavlou; Marilena Skavara; Martha Tsigkari; Michal Piasecki; Przemek Jaworski; Tasos Varoudis; Vlad Tenu; Angelos Chronis

Invited Speakers*

Yasmine Abbas; Robert Aish; Assa Ashuach; Timo Arnall; Philip Ball; Mike Batty; Peter Bentley; Andreas Broeckmann; Jason Bruges; Mark Burry; Tom Carden; Cristiano Ceccato; Ben Croxford; Christian Derix; Tim Greatrix; Antony Gormley; Usman Haque; Martin Hemberg; Daniel Hirschmann; Ludger Hovestadt; John Jordan; Iestyn Jowers; Vassilis Kostakos; Stefan Kueppers; Irene Lopez de Vallejo; Armando Menicacci; Eyal Nir; Miquel Prats; Roo Reynolds; Kerstin Sailer; Holger Schnadelbach; Anthony Steed; Sean Varney; Charles Walker; Hugh Whitehead; Chris Williams; Michael Yorke

Workshop and Specialist Tutors*

Francis Aish; Massimo Banzi; Matt Biddulph; Carolina Briones; Guillem Baraut; Jeroen Coenders; Ben Doherty; Nancy Diniz; Steven Downing; Mattia Gambardella; Michael Georgiou; Ben Gimpert; Richard Grimes; Pavel Hladik; Lars Hesselgren; Roly Hudson; Martin Kaftan; Yiannis Kanakakis; Judit Kimpian; Karen Martin; Magda Mavridou; Christian Nold; Bob Sheil; Tristan Simmonds; Bengt Sjölén; Adam Somlai-Fischer; Nick Weldin

* Teaching assistants, speakers and tutors vary from year to year


As part of the application process for this course, applicants may be requested to submit a portfolio and/or write a short essay on a relevant topic while their application is under consideration by the course director. Applicants from a design background are encouraged to send a portfolio of work when applying. Online applicants may include this with their digital submission as a .pdf file attachment no larger than 2Mb in size.

Please click through to the UCL graduate prospectus page for this course, from where you can find information on application fees, eligibility, tuition fees, scholarships, and then complete the online application process.

Applicants should also review the faculty specific admissions information and the FAQ on admissions.


After completing the MSc and MRes AAC programmes at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, many graduates go on to join leading architectural and engineering practices, either directly with design teams or with specialist modelling groups. In the past three years, AAC graduates have joined Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, KPF Associates, Aedas, Arup and Mott MacDonald. Alumni have also joined (or founded) cutting-edge emerging digital design practices such as United Visual Artists or Moving Brands.

The MSc and MRes AAC programmes provide students with both the critical and technical skills to undertake academic research, and a number of graduates have moved into careers in academia. Further opportunities for continuing research in similar topics are available via the Bartlett's PhD programme, and the EngD Centre for Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation, run jointly with Computer Science.


A selection of student project work, along with academic publications arising from AAC research can be found in the publications section of the AAC micro-site.

Direct links are here to student thesis reports, papers and books.