MA in International Architectural Regeneration and Development

Oxford Brookes University, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

Program Description

MA in International Architectural Regeneration and Development

Oxford Brookes University, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

MA in International Architectural Regeneration and Development - September 2016

Architectural regeneration is the collective activities of reusing, adapting and evolving existing buildings within an urban or rural context. The activities recognise the impacts these decisions and interventions have on the regeneration of a place, and are underpinned by the principles of environmental, social and cultural sustainability.

This programme promotes an interdisciplinary approach that combines critical thinking and analysis, as well as creative design. It is based on the ethos that the regeneration and development of the inherited built environment, with its social and cultural fabric, is an essential component of sustainable development.

It prepares you for a practical and leading role in organisations involved in architectural regeneration and development. It is international in focus, with an emphasis on field research and design/implementation projects.

Why choose this course?

  • Oxford Brookes has an established international reputation for its excellence in teaching and research related to international vernacular architecture, architectural conservation and regeneration.
  • Staff teaching on the programme, including Dr Aylin Orbasli and Dr Marcel Vellinga, combine different disciplinary backgrounds with academic and practice experience, and active involvement with projects in different parts of the world.
  • We house the Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library.
  • We stimulate students towards more innovative approaches and dynamic ways of thinking that are now essential to secure a viable future for historic urban environments, traditional settlements and the world’s vernacular architecture.
  • The international nature of the programme builds up skills to work in different cultural contexts and will introduce students to a network of international organisations in the field.

This course in detail

The course is offered at three levels: as a postgraduate certificate, a postgraduate diploma and a master's degree. Normally candidates enrol for the master's degree, but it is possible to enrol directly on the PGCert or PGDip, either on recommendation from the admissions tutor or as an exit point from the MA.

In total, 180 credits are required to complete the MA in International Architectural Regeneration and Development. These are divided into two parts: 120 credits must be successfully completed to qualify for the postgraduate diploma. During Semesters 1 and 2 all MA students take taught core modules amounting to 90 credits and choose options amounting to 30 credits. Research methods seminars and the dissertation itself account for a further 60 credits required to achieve the MA. For the postgraduate certificate 60 credits are needed.

The programme is made up of core (compulsory) modules and optional modules that are explained in more detail below.

Core modules:

  • Architecture, Culture and Tradition provides an introduction to the anthropology of architecture and the field of international vernacular architecture studies. Drawing upon examples of vernacular building traditions from around the world, it seeks to analyse the dynamic interaction between architecture, social structure, cultural behaviour and the natural environment.
  • Applications in Regeneration is a lecture and seminar programme that introduces the principles that underlie sustainable regeneration and the key players involved in the process. The practices of conservation and regeneration ranging from small rural settlements to post-industrial areas are examined through case studies considering heritage value and significance, adaptation of the built fabric, community participation and economic forces such as the role of heritage, the arts and tourism in regeneration.
  • Globalisation, Environment and Development provides a critical examination of globalisation processes, global environmental problems and their relationship with the development process. Issues around global systems theory, industrialisation, trade, debt, aid, transport, communications, food, agriculture and the environment are reviewed.
  • Regeneration and Development Project is a studio-based module that builds on the taught modules in developing strategic planning, contextual design and project management skills to solve problems in adapting and revitalising the existing built environment. Through a project set in an international location, students are expected to develop culturally and socially sensitive, environmentally responsible and financially viable strategic plans and design interventions for historic urban quarters, post-industrial sites or rural/vernacular settlements. Master's students may also develop one aspect of the regeneration strategy through a research report in place of a design proposal.

Optional modules include:

  • Vernacular Architecture, Sustainability and Development explores the interrelation of cultural processes and building traditions, and examines how contemporary phenomena such as globalisation, tourism, resources depletion, conservation, population displacement and technology transfer have an impact on the nature and transmission of vernacular building traditions. It also discusses how vernacular knowledge may actively contribute to the development of sustainable built environments.
  • Master Classes consists of master classes delivered by expert scholars providing opportunities for you to learn from, and engage in academic interaction with leading figures in the field through the intensive and detailed exploration of specific and current themes and problems. Subjects covered range from contemporary approaches to field research, designing in context of a historic environment, designing with tradition and creative feasibility.
  • Development and Urbanisation is concerned with the problems of development, and of cities and inter-urban issues. It provides the theoretical and analytical base for studying the subject, and introduces themes, policy issues and processes which you can further examine in more detail, and in different contexts, in other modules.
  • Urban Design Theory is a lecture and seminar based module in which you are introduced to the theoretical concepts underpinning current urban design practice approaches. The module includes the history and theory of urban design, the introduction of design approaches such as responsive environments, and urban morphology. You are made aware of how urban form is produced and experienced, and of the political and economic context of development.
  • Independent Study students with research experience or with substantial practice and field experience may select a research or practice-oriented route to the MA through the Independent Study option by participating in ongoing research activities linked to the programme. Independent study may include literature reviews or be linked to research in practice.

Other compulsory modules for the MA stage are:

  • Research Methods encourages students to develop the skills needed in the research of environmental problems, including the formulation of research problems and methodology, data collection and analysis.
  • Dissertation/Design Project is a dissertation or a major design project, supported by a project report. This component provides the opportunity for in-depth research and analysis and to develop and apply research and design skills in a specific area of architectural regeneration.

The course is international in focus and throughout the course references and visits to international contexts are made. A field trip is organised each year to look at international examples of regeneration projects. The international body of students on the course are encouraged to reflect on and present experiences from their countries.

NB As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

Teaching and learning

The aim of the course is to provide the knowledge and tools that will enable you to recognise the potential of, and contribute creatively to, the appropriate and sustainable regeneration of the inherited built environment in urban or rural contexts, including vernacular architecture.

The course will help you develop a critical awareness of the cultural embodiment of the built environment and associated regeneration and development processes, and attain skills and tools that are necessary to propose and implement innovative yet culturally sensitive and environmentally sustainable strategies and interventions.

Teaching methods include a combination of lectures and seminars, design studios, workshops and group discussions, field study and master classes.

Approach to assessment

You will be assessed on project work and presentations, other seminar presentations, reports, written assignments and coursework. MA students are also assessed on a subject presentation, literature review and 18,000 word dissertation.

Field trips

An international field trip that takes place during the winter break each year is a key component of the programme. The field study encourages you to test field research methods and engage in different cultural contexts as professionals. The field study also forms the basis and location for the second semester regeneration and development project.

Please note that students are required to cover the cost of the field trip.

Field trip locations in the past have included India, Cyprus, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Spain, Croatia, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Sample work

Akçiçek Village Regeneration Project (Cyprus) Walled City of Jaipur: Chowkri Modikhana Project UAE: Urban Identities - Regeneration Projects

Staff profiles

Dr Marcel Vellinga Reader in Anthropology of Architecture, is the Director of the Place, Culture and Identity Research Group and Research Lead for the School of Architecture. Dr Vellinga is co-editor of Vernacular Architecture in the 21st Century: Theory, Education and Practice, co-author of the Atlas of Vernacular Architecture of the World and editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World.

Dr Aylin Orbasli Reader in Architectural Regeneration, is an architect and international consultant with extensive experience in the Mediterranean and Middle East. She is the author of the books Tourism in Historic Towns: Urban Conservation and Heritage Management and Architectural Conservation.

Julia Wedel, an associate lecturer, is an architect with both practice and international researcher experience, with a particular focus on development issues.

In addition, leading scholars in the field will be invited to provide specialist master classes on subjects relating to the programme content. The programme is also supported by the work of Professor Paul Oliver, editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World and recipient of an MBE for his contributions to architectural education.

Attendance pattern

The programme requires a minimum of two days attendance a week during the first and second semesters, with a possible further day depending on how optional modules are scheduled.

Students attending the programme on a full time basis should allow sufficient time to complete course work, undertake reading assignments and to participate in group work.

A week long field study will take place during the winter break, usually towards the end of January.

Although the dissertation module running over the summer is self guided, students are encouraged to spend this time in Oxford to take advantage of the School’s research facilities, the excellent library facilities found in Oxford and to maintain regular contact with their tutors.

Entry requirements

The course attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. Applicants are welcome from any relevant academic discipline, as well as those in work and seeking continuing professional development.

Admission is normally open to those who:

  • hold a good honours degree (2.1 or above) in a related discipline
  • hold a recognised postgraduate diploma or professional qualification in a relevant subject
  • are mature candidates, not satisfying either of the above conditions, who can demonstrate considerable practical experience in a related field.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, you must satisfy our English language requirements by providing us with evidence of a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.

English requirements for visas If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements.Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications Preparation courses for International and EU students We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 28, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
8,670 GBP
Start date Sept. 2017
United Kingdom Oxford, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 12 - 24 months
Price 8,670 GBP
- UK and EU; £12,870 - Non-EU