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Bio-Integrated Design (Bio-ID) MArch/MSc

Our two bio-design Master's degrees integrate biotechnology, advanced computation and fabrication to create a radically new and sustainable built environment.

About

Our urban habitat today is being fundamentally influenced by revolutions in biotechnology, computation and our exposure to the long-lasting effects of climate change. Bio-Integrated Design takes these life-changing phenomena as the foundation to explore radical, sophisticated, yet also critical, design solutions that will shape our future society. Nature plays a central role in the programme, beyond that of a model or inspiration, it is the medium of a new multi-layered design approach that is biologically, materially and socially integrated. 

Taught jointly by UCL's The Bartlett School of Architecture and Biochemical Engineering Department, Bio-Integrated Design brings together a spectrum of multi-disciplinary academics, practitioners and students, combining design experimentation with scientific methods, seeking new modes of simulation and production, and exploring how advances in the fields of synthetic biology, material science and digital fabrication are changing future design practices. 

The programme is taught in UCL's cutting-edge facilities at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - a space renowned as a hotbed for technological innovation and home to some of the UK's leading performance and design companies. These world-class facilities provide an ideal space for the large-scale construction of installations, as well as for public events.

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Apply now – MArch

Apply now – MSc


Highlights 

  • Explore biologically integrated design, including digital simulations, synthetic biology and biotechnology and digital fabrication with experienced, interdisciplinary experts
  • Work within state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Biochemical Engineering Labs and architectural fabrication facilities offered by The Bartlett Manufacturing and Design Exchange
  • Study at a world-leading architecture school, with unrivalled connections to industry and research in London.

Modules

MArch

This programme consists of six modules in the first year (worth 180 credits) and two modules in second year (worth 120 credits).

Year 1

Introduction to Scientific Methods, Laboratory and Environmental Practices (15 credits)

Module coordinator: Anete Salmane

Students are introduced to the procedures and protocols necessary for laboratory work within a bio-integrated design context, including essential biological knowledge, basic scientific investigation skills, environmental simulations, data collection and data recording. Working closely with the laboratory coordinator, students conduct an enquiry-led investigation through collecting, observing and analysing biological and ecological systems in our surroundings.

Computational Skills (15 credits)

Module coordinator: Javier Ruiz

Students are introduced to the computational skills needed to design individual projects, including how to generate complex morphological systems and simulate growth protocols that can be applied to nature. Students work with advanced software for animation and simulation and develop basic programming skills. 

Literature Review (15 credits)

Module coordinator: Dr Brenda Parker

In this module, students are taught the research methodologies and strategies to define a preliminary independent literature review for their Final Design Project and Fabrication. They engage with bibliographic references that underpin conceptual, technical and theoretical work in bio-integrated design and synthesise literature from a wide range of architecture, ecology, engineering and scientific sources.

Preliminary Design (30 credits)

Module coordinator: Professor Marcos Cruz

Students are immersed in the programme’s experimental design culture through a series of short design projects, engaging individually and in groups with new research agendas, such as bioreceptivity, environmental design, water-based systems and synthetic biology. In addition to regular tutorials and crits, students receive input via a variety of seminars and workshops with invited experts in architecture, design, material science and biology.

Year 1 Design Project and Fabrication (75 credits)

Module coordinator: Professor Marcos Cruz

Informed by their work and discussions in the Preliminary Designs module, students develop a speculative Design Project and Fabrication for the built environment. Projects aim to demonstrate an advanced and specialist knowledge of materialisation and fabrication, as well as experimental design skills and the ability to take an original approach to bio-integrated design. 

Year 1 Thesis Report (30 credits)

Module coordinator: Dr Brenda Parker

Working with an expert thesis supervisor who is selected to match each individual’s research agenda, students develop a rigorous piece of research. The research aims to be both theoretical and practical, investigating a technical aspect of the students Final Design Project and Fabrication, such as the characterisation of materials, evaluating environmental performances or analysing growth parameters. 

Year 2

Design Specialisation and Interdisciplinary Context (30 credits)

Module coordinators: Professor Marcos Cruz and Dr Brenda Parker

Following the broad range of skills and topics discussed in Year 1, students have the opportunity to focus and specialise in a particular area of design research. Working in small tutor-led groups, students test their design concepts, developing their knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, including: biotechnology, materials and responsive systems; advanced computational processes and visualisation; digital fabrication and assembly; and building typologies and environmental activation. 

Comprehensive Project Thesis (90 credits)

Module coordinator: Professor Marcos Cruz

This module prepares students for a future career in professional practice or academic research. Through explorative tutorials, seminars and critique sessions, students develop an in-depth and original project thesis demonstrating advanced design and material understanding, alongside extensive environmental analysis and computation simulations. Students may work either individually or in small groups, focusing on a comprehensive design project that includes advanced fabrication and scaled-up prototyping. 

MSc

This programme consists of six modules during the first year (worth 180 credits) and two modules in second year (worth 120 credits).

Year 1

Scientific Methods, Laboratory and Environmental Practices (15 credits)

Module coordinator: Anete Salmane

Students are introduced to the procedures and protocols necessary for laboratory work within a bio-integrated design context, including essential biological knowledge, basic scientific investigation skills, environmental simulations, data collection and data recording. Working closely with the laboratory coordinator, students conduct an enquiry-led investigation through collecting, observing and analysing biological and ecological systems in our surroundings.

Computational Skills (15 credits)

Module coordinator: Javier Ruiz

Students are introduced to the computational skills needed to design individual projects, including how to generate complex morphological systems and simulate growth protocols that can be applied to nature. Students work with advanced software for animation and simulation and develop basic programming skills. 

Literature Review (15 credits)

Module coordinator: Dr Brenda Parker

In this module, students are taught the research methodologies and strategies to define a preliminary independent literature review for their Final Design Project and Fabrication. They engage with bibliographic references that underpin conceptual, technical and theoretical work in bio-integrated design and synthesise literature from a wide range of architecture, ecology, engineering and scientific sources.

Introductory Design Practice (30 credits)

Module coordinator: Professor Marcos Cruz

Students are immersed in the programme’s experimental design culture through a series of short design projects, engaging individually and in groups with new research agendas, such as bioreceptivity, environmental design, water-based systems and synthetic biology. In addition to regular tutorials and crits, students receive input via a variety of seminars and workshops with invited experts in architecture, design, material science and biology.

Year 1 Applied Interdisciplinary Project (75 credits)

Module coordinator: Professor Marcos Cruz

Working in groups, students complete a project that materialises previously developed concepts through basic fabrication and advanced growth systems. Students design explorations are supported by a series of workshops with invited experts in the fields of biotechnology, synthetic biology and ecology, providing them with the knowledge and skills to develop a series of prototypes.

Year 1 Thesis Report (30 credits)

Module coordinator: Dr Brenda Parker

Working with an expert thesis supervisor who is selected to match each individual’s research agenda, students develop a rigorous piece of research. This is both theoretical and practical, investigating a technical aspect of their Applied Interdisciplinary Project, for example the characterisation of materials, evaluating environmental performances or analysing growth parameters. 

Year 2

Scientific Specialisation and Design (30 credits)

Module coordinators: Professor Marcos Cruz and Dr Brenda Parker

Following the broad range of skills and topics discussed in Year 1, students have the opportunity to focus and specialise in a particular area of scientific research. Working in small tutor-led groups, students test their scientific concepts, developing their knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, including: biotechnology, materials and responsive systems; advanced computational processes and visualisation; digital fabrication and assembly; and building typologies and environmental activation.

Integrated Research Project (90 credits)

Module coordinator: Dr Brenda Parker

This module prepares students for a future career in professional practice or academic research. Working individually or in small groups, students develop a specialised project with an accompanying research thesis, which focusses on growth, design and fabrication. Projects include a substantial quantitative research component, complex materiality and biochemical elements, and demonstrate advanced environmental analysis and computational simulations. 


Key information

Two distinct Bio-Integrated Design programmes are available: an MArch degree and an MSc degree. Applicants should choose which to apply depending on their background and whether they seek to specialise in more exclusively design or more science-driven outputs.

Bio-Integrated Design is part of B-Pro, a group of five programmes at The Bartlett with a unique shared philosophy. 

Modes/duration

Full-time: two years 
Flexible: three to five years

Entry requirements

MArch

A minimum of a second-class UK undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. 

A design/creative portfolio is also expected. Applicants will be asked to submit a portfolio of their design work along with a short piece of writing once their completed application has been received, and should not send or upload work until it has been requested.

MSc

A minimum of a second-class UK undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants will also be asked to submit two short pieces of writing. Details on this will be provided once the completed application has been received by the department.

All applicants to Bio-Integrated Design will be invited to an interview (in person or online).

Read the full entry requirements in the UCL Graduate Prospectus for:

Application guidance for 2023 entry

Applicants can only apply for a maximum of two postgraduate degree programmes at The Bartlett School of Architecture. 

Application deadline

Applications for 2023 entry will open on 17 October 2022 and close on 31 March 2023. We strongly advise early application, as our programmes are over subscribed and competition is high. 

Deferral

It is not possible to defer an offer at The Bartlett School of Architecture. If you wish to be considered for the following year then you must reapply in the next admissions cycle.

Tier 4 Student visa holders

Tier 4 Student visa holders are required to meet the English language proficiency of their offer with sufficient time to obtain a CAS number and visa.

Accepting your offer

To accept your offer, you must pay the non-refundable fee deposit and decline any other offers for programmes at The Bartlett School of Architecture. If you do not respond within the given time indicated on your UCL offer letter, then your offer will be withdrawn.

Fees and funding

  • Tuition fee information can be found on the UCL Graduate Prospectus pages for the MArch and the MSc.
  • For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding section of the UCL website.

Staff

Professor Marcos Cruz, Programme Director

Programme Director of Bio-Integrated Design MArch and Design Tutor

Marcos Cruz is a registered architect and Professor of Innovative Environments at The Bartlett, investigating design that is driven by advances in bio-technology and computation. His recent research projects focus on poikilohydric design and bioreceptive materials, which have been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian NY, CUBE Netherlands and more. Marcos' previous work on Neoplasmatic Architecture was awarded the international RIBA prize for research in 2008. His 15-year practice work collaboration with Marjan Colletti led to over 30 projects, which were exhibited and published in over 300 publications and exhibitions, including the Venice and São Paulo Biennale, the Royal Academy of Arts, SCI-arc and TADA Centre Taiwan, amongst many others.

Visit Marcos' website

Dr Brenda Parker, Programme Director 

Programme Director of Bio-Integrated Design MSc and Science Tutor

Brenda Parker is a biochemical engineer and Associate Professor of Sustainable Bioprocess Design at the UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering. Her research focuses on industrial biotechnology, in particular the use of photosynthetic organisms for sustainable chemical production which she previously developed as a postdoctoral researcher in the Algal Biotechnology Consortium at the University of Cambridge. Her approach is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together the fields of engineering, molecular biology and synthetic biology. Brenda’s research into scale up of microalgal processes for recombinant protein production, bioremediation and nutrient recycling has resulted in numerous scientific publications. Her most recent collaborative work was internationally exhibited at The Centre Pompidou, London Design Festival, A/D/O in New York and the Firstsite Gallery. 

Anete Salmane, Biology and Lab Coordinator

Bio-ID Biology and Lab Coordinator; Module Leader of Scientific Methods, Laboratory and Environmental Practices

Anete Salmane is a biologist and a Teaching Fellow at The Bartlett. Throughout her studies in Latvia and the Netherlands, she learned to apply biological knowledge across a range of disciplines. She joined the Bio-ID team to develop and support the use of scientific tools and methods as essential skills for bio-integrated designers. Specific areas of Anete’s research interests include fungal microbiology and development of biomaterials.

Javier Ruiz Rodriguez, Computing and Design Tutor

Bio-ID Computing and Design; Tutor of Design Projects and Specialisation; Coordinator of Computational Skills module

Javier Ruiz is an architectural designer and Senior Teaching Fellow at The Bartlett. He is the founder and design director of Softbiome, an online platform for the development of computational design techniques and teaching methodologies. Javier's work focuses on rigorous geometric design for cinematic virtual environments. Previously, Javier worked at Foster + Partners, Grimshaw Architects and Crab Studio. He has also led various design computing workshops around the world in Florence, Dubai and Amsterdam.

Nina Jotanovic, Interdisciplinary Design Tutor

Bio-ID Interdisciplinary Design; Tutor of Year 1 Design projects

Nina Jotanovic is an architectural designer who works at the intersection of design, chemical and biochemical engineering, with an expertise in biomineralisation and the perceptual effects of materials that can be grown. Nina is currently an EPSRC-funded PhD candidate at The Bartlett School of Architecture and The Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering at UCL, investigating the growth of microscopically thin, yet three-dimensional, lustrous materials of biogenic origin. Her work has been published in Paisajes and exhibited at Construmat Barcelona, Biofabricate New York, and Open Cell London. 

Shneel Malik, Interdisciplinary Design Tutor

Bio-ID Interdisciplinary Design; Tutor of Year 1 Design projects

Shneel Malik is an architectural designer originally from India, who investigates the design of photosynthetic membranes from water-based biological materials. Her explorations aim to develop large-scale fabrication techniques of 3D printing and robotic fabrication to create biological scaffolds with a range of applications in the built environment. Shneel's work has been widely disseminated, including at the London Design Festival, Centre Pompidou and Tallinn Architecture Biennale, as well as in her TEDx Gateway talk in Mumbai. Shneel is also the leader of INDUS, a tile-based wall system designed to clean wastewater through bioremediation, which won the International Design Competition, Water Futures organised by A/D/O in New York. 

Visit the INDUS website

Harry Watkins, Ecology and Ecosystems Tutor

Bio-ID Ecology and Ecosystems; Leader of the Year 1 Literature Review Module; Thesis Report Supervisor 

Harry Watkins is a landscape designer, Senior Teaching Fellow at The Bartlett and also the Director of the St Andrews Botanic Garden in Scotland. His broad expertise ranges from landscape architecture, urban ecologies, novel ecosystems, plant physiology, trees, machine learning, biosafety and bio-security, restoration ecology and climate. In his research Harry uses ecological forecasting techniques to improve decision-making as well as functional biogeography techniques to study species responses to climate change and bio-security threats. Harry's role within Bio-ID is focused on the application of plant ecology research to new forms of technology. 

Andreas Körner, Environmental Design Tutor

Bio-ID Environmental Design; Tutor of Year 2 Design Specialisation; Thesis Report Supervisor

Andreas Körner is an architectural designer and Assistant Professor at Innsbruck University in Austria. His work focuses on building typologies and surface articulations driven by environmental design, mostly through the use of computational fluid dynamics simulations. Andreas is currently developing a doctoral thesis at Innsbruck University, focussed on disclosing climate in the Department for Experimental Architecture. He is also a scientific associate of the science collective BIOTOP*. Andreas' work has been published and exhibited internationally, including in ACADIA, Faces - Journal d’Architecture, Tallinn Architecture Biennale, London Festival of Architecture, and London Design Week.

Visit Andreas' website

Prantar Tamuli, Interdisciplinary Design Tutor

Prantar is an architect and tutor in Bio-Id Design Year 1. He is pursuing an EPSRC-funded PhD in the Department of Biochemical Engineering and The Bartlett at UCL. His research interests and expertise revolve around cyanobacteria, biomineralization and developing engineered living materials for architectural applications. He holds a collaborative patent for this research and was awarded the Manton prize by the British Phycological Society. He most recently won the Conception-X prize for his entrepreneurial ideas to transform the built environment. Prior to moving to London, he has 8 years of cumulative experience in the design and architecture industry and has worked on several large-scale ecological redevelopment projects.

Pradeep Devadass, Robotic Fabrication Tutor

Pradeep is an architect and roboteer. He teaches in Bio-ID Design Year 1 and also in the 15-month programme Design for Manufacture at The Bartlett. He has previously taught at the RWTH Aachen (Germany) and the Architectural Association (UK) where he played a key role in developing the school’s first robotic lab. Prior to teaching, he worked with Archi-Union (China) & RSP (India) as an architect. He is one of few recipients to receive the prestigious MAK-Schindler Residency Program Award (USA) awarded to emerging artists and architects, internationally. He has been certified by Knowledge Transfer Partnership (Innovate UK) as a global leader in computational design, construction, innovation and teaching.

Paolo Bombelli, Applied Biotechnology Tutor

Paolo is a Research Scientist in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge (UK) and Lecturer (Teaching) at The Bartlett where he teaches in Bio-ID Year 1. He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2012 for work on the fundamental principles of photo-bio-electrochemistry. Since then, he has built projects with collaborators from several leading research groups, industrial partners, designers and non-profit organizations. His moss-powered table was a pivotal landmark in the field of biodesign. Paolo’s research on biophotovoltaics has been published extensively in world-leading scientific journals and widely featured in the media.

Kostas Grigoriadis, Multimaterial and Design Tutor

Kostas is a registered architect and Associate Professor in Architecture and Co-Programme Director of the MArch Architecture programme / Part 2 at The Bartlett. He is also a design tutor in Bio-ID Year 2. His main research field is multi-material design and the implications of functionally-graded material use in architecture and construction. His practice, Continuum Design and Architecture, recently completed the construction of a tourist information centre in rural China. He was awarded the RIBA President’s Award for Design and Technical Research in 2018, and the first Google R+D in the Built Environment Fellowship in 2019.

Tony Le, Computing and Design Tutor

Tony is an architectural designer and Lecturer (Teaching) in Skills and Technology as well as a computational tutor in Bio-ID Year 1 and 2. He is also a research assistant at CityX Venice. His research interests lie in programming Complex systems: Evolutionary algorithms, collective behaviour, and self-organisation/emergence. Tony’s design research focuses on computational design through procedural modelling, material simulations and programming. Previously, Tony has worked on urban masterplans, stadia, and large-scale commercial projects across different London practices.

Ian Robinson, Interdisciplinary Design Tutor

Ian is a fine artist and bio-integrated designer teaching on Bio-ID Year 1. He is currently pursuing an EPSRC-funded PhD in the Department of Biochemical Engineering and The Bartlett. Ian’s research investigates the biofabrication of biologically grown living artefacts from plant tissue culture, exploring the interactions between biomaterial scaffolds, hormone and nutrient flow and their effects on plant cell growth and development. He originally studied Fine Art at University of the Arts London and obtained a MArch degree in Bio-Integrated Design from The Bartlett.

Alexandra Lacatusu, Interdisciplinary Design Tutor

Alexandra is an architectural designer and interdisciplinary researcher who teaches in Bio-ID Year 2. She is also an Associate Lecturer at the Oxford School of Architecture. Alex is pursuing an EPSRC-funded PhD at The Bartlett and the Department of Biochemical Engineering, where she is investigating the complex and highly dynamic interactions between environmental, biological and chemical factors influencing material bioreceptivity. Alexandra’s work was published in Antennae and Igloo magazines and exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the RIBA President Medals Exhibition.

Jingyuan Meng, Digital Fabrication and Design Tutor

Jingyuan is an interdisciplinary designer from China. She is currently a robotic technician at B-made and teaches in Bio-ID Year 2 with a focus on circular design strategies. Jingyuan contributed to the material and fabrication development of the Calcareous Arabesque project which was exhibited at the Design Museum, London. This led to a collaborative research manuscript on the use of sugar-refining waste, which was awarded best mini-Symposia paper at the ICSA 2022 conference in Denmark. Jingyuan studied interior design in the USA and the MArch degree in Bio-Integrated Design from The Bartlett.

This Master’s programme is for students who are equally fascinated by advanced technology and things that grow – architecture and biochemical engineering. We’ll be working together to build and apply interdisciplinary knowledge and develop complex ideas, prototypes, projects and plans, which integrate nature, science and architecture in new ways.

Professor Marcos Cruz, Programme Director, Bio-Integrated Design MArch/MSc 

“Biological design and architecture will only grow in significance in the 21st Century, as we see our world shaped by environmental factors beyond our control and in need of greater scientific and architectural innovation. A Master’s in Bio-integrated Design brings together biologists and designers to create sophisticated solutions for the future of the built environment.Biological design and architecture will only grow in significance in the 21st Century, as we see our world shaped by environmental factors beyond our control and in need of greater scientific and architectural innovation. A Master’s in Bio-integrated Design brings together biologists and designers to create sophisticated solutions for the future of the built environment.Biological design and architecture will only grow in significance in the 21st Century, as we see our world shaped by environmental factors beyond our control and in need of greater scientific and architectural innovation. A Master’s in Bio-integrated Design brings together biologists and designers to create sophisticated solutions for the future of the built environment.Biological design and architecture will only grow in significance in the 21st century, as we see our world shaped by environmental factors beyond our control and in need of greater scientific and architectural innovation. A Master’s in Bio-integrated Design brings together biologists and designers to create sophisticated solutions for the future of the built environment.

Dr Brenda Parker, Programme Director, Bio-Integrated Design MArch/MSc 


Careers

Bio-Integrated Design MArch and MSc prepare graduates for practice – innovating within established architectural practices or establishing their own. As an emerging field, the programmes also equip students for further research at PhD level. 

The Bartlett School of Architecture is one of the world's top-ranked architecture schools and our graduates enjoy excellent employment opportunities. Students on this programme will have the opportunity to disseminate their work by participating in a number of exhibitions and conferences. Students studying the programme in both the full-time and flexible mode often undertake paid work within or related to the field.

International students
Find out more about working in the UK after your studies


Contact 

Programme Director: Marcos Cruz and Brenda Parker 
Departmental Tutor: Bill Hodgson
Programme admissions enquiries: Complete the contact form
Programme Administrator: Zoe Lau