FHK MA+U, Tilburg, the Netherlands offers the concurrent Master of Architecture (M. Arch). The Master of Architecture is collaborative, topical, creative and practice-based. While firmly rooted in the Dutch architectural tradition, the program has a strong international orientation. Nowadays, spatial challenges to be confronted by architects are global by nature while still requiring context and location-specific solutions. The master program’s objective is to educate architects who are able at effectively combining design intelligence with a reflective attitude and practical and entrepreneurial skills. The curriculum is competency based and geared towards achieving mastery skills in seven crucial competences (Design, Research, Collaboration, Communication, Entrepreneurial skills, Organizing, Professional skills)
The educational concept of this Master program is unique; education in concurrency with employment in a professional practice. This concurrent education offers students experience and education beyond the school curriculum, essential to their professional formation as architectural designers. Additionally, the Academy itself is a laboratory for spatial assignments from real stakeholders. Our tutors are professionals from a variety of disciplines, but all with a strong relation to practice. The Design Studio is the heart of the master program. In the studio, students are trained to apply all kinds of skills and methods towards ever more convincing synthetic design proposals for complex spatial problems. The studio assignments are invariably related to the complexity of contemporary societies and will engage social, cultural, political, economic and technological parameters.
The core of the programme is formed by studio work: project learning. Students tackle individually or in small groups a certain ‘problem’ that is embedded in the assignment. The studio work is accompanied by various theoretical courses.
The philosophy of the Academy is based on the principle of study next to working in the day to day practice of an architect's firm. This concurrent education offers students experience and education beyond the school curriculum, essential to his professional formation as architects or urban designers.
First year: Design Essentials
Students enter the Academy with a bachelor degree obtained from a range of different schools, disciplines and cultural and professional backgrounds. That is the reason for the first year programme to be fully dedicated to developing a designer attitude towards the world around us. The studio programme ‘Design essentials’ is supported by a range of skill-based training and a theory programme on architecture and urban design, economy, sustainable design and art history. Students learning outcomes will be assessed on the basis of portfolios.
Second and third year: Design Practice
During these two years, students will follow a total of 8 studios, workshops and a large number of advanced skill-based training, research, and an intensive theory programme. The studio assessments will confront students with a variety of different assignments, different methodologies and different levels of complexity. Five parameters are used to differentiate the studio projects: Program, Product, Meaning, Context, and Geometry. Students will work on a range of different scales (1:1 to 1:10.000). Every second semester, students will organize an international study trip to visit projects abroad. In their third year, students are eligible to take part in one of Stadslab’s international Master Classes. Stadslab is the international postgraduate programme of the academy. Because of the continuing development of their professional experience in the firms, students in this part of their studies will be expected to reflect more profoundly on the relationship between their work in practice ad their endeavors in the academic programme. Gradually they will develop a grounded position in the field of architecture and relate to the professional (international ) debate. In the third year, students can define the content and outcome of one full studio. Usually, this is the last studio before they enter the graduation studio in the fourth year.
4th-year graduation studio: Design Thinking
The graduation studio covers one full year through two possible formats: individual or team driven. Each student, either in architecture or in urbanism, follows the same process-based planning. Both personal external tutors, as well as project reviews at the Academy, support the process. The team driven graduation format is most popular. Its target is an urgent geography like a city, corridor, enclave or province that is in need of design-based strategies and interventions. The graduation team selects the geography and takes three months for research & analysis. Several specialists of the geography address the urgencies. On the threshold to the nine-month synthesis & design process, all students present their hypothesis and project target. Throughout the year several lectures specifically invited professionals fuel creativity. The studio becomes a cloud of knowledge and awareness. All students in this cloud trigger collective discoveries and mutual insights as they become smart designers. At the finish, all projects are broadcasted to decision makers of the geography and to the Academy. The strategies and designs have common ground, are interrelated and tackle the urgent societal key issues for the upcoming generations.
Minimum admission requirements for the Master degree program:
According to the Code of Conduct regarding International Students, international students seeking admittance to an English-taught Masters program must be able to prove that their command of the English language is at least equal to a score of 6.0 of the IELTS Test.
The following qualify as proof of admission for enrolment in a Master’s program:
A. an academic or higher professional education Bachelor’s degree in architecture; or
B. possession of knowledge, insight, and skills at the level of an academic or higher professional education Bachelor’s degree in this field (Section 7.30(b) of the WHW).
Admission to the study program is subject to the following qualitative admission requirements.
• Motivation letter
• Admission interview
Applicants are required to:
Work a minimum of 20 hours a week in a relevant practice (Architect’s firm or related). The Academy offers alternative practice studio’s for students who are temporarily unable to find a regular job. In these alternative practice studio’s students will work on assignments by real stakeholders and will be supervised by practitioners. There is usually no remuneration for participating students.
Graduates from this program have an integrated, design-led approach to tackle complex issues of the contemporary built environment allowing them to take up a diversity of career prospects in architecture and related fields. The Netherlands has a good global reputation in the fields of architecture and urban planning.
All graduates master of Architecture/master of Urbanism obtain the right to use the title of Architect or Urban Designer after having graduated from the master programs in question.