MArch in Architecture
The MArch course is an experimentally minded design studio.The year's study is divided into three broad areas.
In the first you will collect a storehouse or catalogue of information, both conceptual and material, in a variety of media and techniques. This provides the ingredients to speculate on and question, in the second part of the year, the implications and possibilities of architectural responses to a programme or brief which you have developed on a particular given site. In the final part of the year you will develop, propose and present individually a design project of conceptual clarity realised in considerable depth and detail.
There is an emphasis not only on the materials and techniques of construction but also elements such as air, heat, water, sound, smell and lights as materials too. This will involve visits to factories and workshops where materials are manipulated in a variety of unusual ways.
The Advanced Architectural Design Module (80 credits) represents the core of the learning experience.
Project–based learning is used in a studio environment to individually and collectively explore architectural design problems. The design studio tutors will set the specific design problem and methodology employed. It is envisaged that several parallel studios may be established, numbers permitting, each led by separate studio tutors with different agendas, programmes and methodologies. However, the learning outcomes will be shared in common. Initially, there will be only one studio, The David Greene and Andrew Holmes Studio, which will be organised as follows:
The first semester is structured by reviews, workshops, tutorials and deadlines with students working both individually and in groups. Within this framework students engage in two strands of investigation:
- an in-depth research into the tectonic possibilities of a new material or materials
- the analysis of a real site with the aim of generating a series of questions that demand an architectural response.
By the end of the semester you will be expected to present to a jury of invited critics a catalogue, both conceptual and material, from which you will make a project in a coherent manner using appropriate media. This jury will give you formative feedback.
The first semester design studio is complemented by a series of challenging, group and individual based workshops, Urban Cultures, on drawing, model making and movie making, run by the tutors. You will be expected to engage in questioning and debate with the lecturers and will be required to produce a series of responses in drawn and written forms, which contribute to your design portfolio, around a theme related to the lecture series.
Spread over the second semester there is a further series of lectures on Architecture and the City given by external academics and practitioners. You will be expected to engage in questioning and debate with the lecturers and produce a series of responses in drawn and written forms to exercises set by the visiting lecturer. The results are to be bound into a book, which contributes to and supports your design portfolio, around a theme related to the lecture series.
The second semester design studio focuses on the architectural implications of bringing the two apparently dissimilar strands of the first semester’s investigation into surprising conjunctions. You will be asked to approach the possibilities created by these apparently disconnected procedures in an entirely logical way.
At this stage the studio places emphasis on the importance of developing your ability to demonstrate conceptual clarity, to locate your ideas in the spectrum of current and past architecture and to maintain a strong link between concept and product.
You will also be encouraged to explore a wide range of media and technique and to develop a rationale for selecting appropriate techniques for the representation of particular kinds of architectural ideas. You will present your design projects to a group of invited critics close to the end of the semester. This provides formative feedback.
The final module mark is generated from a portfolio-based assessment held at the end of the second semester involving a panel of internal staff. This system will ensure parity of marking when the module consists of multiple design studios.
You will also undertake a Research Methods in the second semester that prepares you for your dissertation project. A set of generic postgraduate school-wide lectures on research paradigms, methodology and research tools is followed by master's specific seminars in which to develop a synopsis for your dissertation. The module is assessed by means of a review of a relevant past master's dissertation and a synopsis proposal.
The MArch programme concludes with the Dissertation Project in which you work with a supervisor on projects that have developed from the work of the design studio or appropriate Special Route. You will be expected to produce original, relevant and valid projects. The dissertation can take a written or design based form. In the latter case a written commentary is expected as part of the dissertation submission. You submit your dissertation project at the end of the summer vacation and hold an exhibition of your work in the school or elsewhere as agreed.
The course is intended for students who have completed their professional role-orientated education and wish to undertake speculative design-based research. Thus it is expected that applicants from the field of architecture will already possess an accredited graduate diploma or postgraduate degree in architecture (UK), a professional master's in architecture (US), or the international equivalent.
Admission to the course will normally be open to applicants who fulfil one of the following requirements:
- hold a good approved undergraduate honours degree in architecture or in a discipline relevant to architecture
- have an appropriate professional background and experience of designing architecture or designing in a discipline that has a strong relationship or similarities to architecture
- are students in their final year of the MArchD in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, who have demonstrated their proficiency in written and design work.
The course also welcomes applicants from other design fields such as product design, graphic design and interior design, and would expect such applicants to possess an excellent first degree.
Students will be offered places on the course only after a successful interview with the programme staff and/or the submission of a satisfactory design portfolio.
English language requirements
- At least 6.5 in IELTS, with a minimum of 6.0 across all four components of the test