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Landscape Architecture MA/MLA

These two creative and reflective Master's degrees consider interventions in the landscape through imaginative design, strategic thinking and technical knowledge.

About

With design-led teaching and learning, these two Master's programmes allow students to progress towards a career as a landscape architect. Students work to put their theories into practice from week one, researching through speculative design.

In both programmes, Design Studios form a core component, giving students the opportunity to work independently or in groups to develop their own approach to landscape architecture. Within the Design Studios, tutors present unique, rigorous, challenging and even radical intellectual positions, providing a strong identity for studesidents to use as the basis for developing their own approach to the contemporary study of landscape architecture.

Students refine their communication skills during seminar presentations, wkeyritten work, crits and exhibitions and a series of workshops and classes are available to students to help them gain integral skills, from planting and horticulture to VR and mixed reality modelling. 

Landscape architecture design teaching, for both MLA and MA students, is complemented with history and theory lectures, seminars and readings, examining the interdependence of thought, action and form in history, society, culture and geography. 

Landscape architecture is available to study in two degrees at The Bartlett, taught over either one or two years:

  • Our Landscape Architecture MLA is taught full-time over two years, acting as a conversion programme for students without a landscape architecture undergraduate degree;
  • Whereas, our Landscape Architecture MA is taught full-time over one year, for students who already have a UK landscape architecture undergraduate degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

Apply now – MLA

Apply now – MA 


Highlights

  • Work with a team of landscape architects, researchers and built environment professionals to inform your creative design practice 
  • Develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the potential of the landscape architecture profession 
  • Learn in The Bartlett’s unique studio culture, enjoying interdisciplinary opportunities across the faculty and UCL 

Landscape Architecture MLA

This is a two-year Master's degree which empowers students without a landscape architecture undergraduate degree or background to pursue a career as a landscape architect.

The first year is a preparatory year, as students entering the programme will typically be new to the discipline of landscape architecture. The second year has a strong design research focus, with a major design studio project and research project complementing each other and giving students the platform to develop highly developed portfolios upon graduation. 

Modules 

Year 1

History and Theory of Landscape Architecture (30 credits)

A wide-reaching module that introduces and locates the discipline and addresses the history of landscape architecture practice and its evolution in the UK and internationally. Site visits to a range of seminal projects encourage students to think reflectively and critically about the nature of these projects and their historical and geographical contexts. 

Landscape, Inhabitation and Environmental Systems (30 credits)

This module sets out the discipline of landscape architecture in relation to physical and natural processes and anthropogenic impacts, looking at its relationship to resource systems, ecology and climates, hydrology and geology and topography.

Students explore case studies to examine key aspects of landscape appraisal and environmental assessment, planning and design strategy, and the integration of these matters into coherent landscape architecture projects. Landscape architecture detail is addressed, relating seasonality to materials, horticulture, soft and hard landscaping.

Landscape Design 1 (15 credits)

The first of three Design Studio-based modules providing students with an introduction into: landscape and site appraisal via site visits; processes of making and forming natural and constructed landscapes via introductory lectures and design projects; techniques of landscape representation and design processes. 

Landscape Design 2 (15 credits)

This design studio module builds on the work undertaken in Landscape Design 1, developing use of precedent studies, landscape appraisals and evaluations for a specific site.

Landscape Design 3 (30 credits)

This third and major design module builds on the work undertaken in Landscape Design 1 & 2, particularly studies of site and the aims, ambitions and processes of design strategies. Students envisage and develop a landscape design for a specific site using multiple design scales, drawing and modelling it in ways appropriate to the chosen proposal. The module explores many landscape architecture dimensions in depth to reach high-level design inspiration, strategic thinking and technical resolution.  

Year 2

Landscape Architecture Practice and Theory (15 credits)

This module undertakes a critical review of contemporary landscape architecture and the ideas and interests that underlie it. It locates the discipline of landscape architecture within the broader professional realm, both in the UK and internationally. Conventional and innovative modes of practice are explored and students develop critical work on the status of landscape architectural practice and the profession, with reference to selected case study organisations and projects. 

Landscape, Ecology and Urban Environments (30 credits)

This module addresses the role that landscape architecture can play in synthesis of urban environments to help tune and fundamentally change the nature of the ‘urban metabolism’. Innovative historical and current case studies are interrogated in detail to reveal key aspects of their urban landscape context, design strategies and implementation. 

Landscape Thesis (45 credits)

Following initial workshop sessions on research methods and research methods submission, students write a thesis on an area of particular area of interest to them within the field. each student's thesis is expected to use critical reasoning skills to create an argument, supported by graphic evidence and appropritate research. 

Advanced Landscape Design 1 (30 credits)

This is a preparatory module that establishes a site context and areas of interest that each student intends to advance further in the Landscape Design Thesis module. A range of Design Studios are offered to students, each of which has its own pedagogical stance with regard to landscape design and formulates a project brief within the aims and outcomes of the module including:    

  • Landscape appraisal
  • Processes of making and forming natural and constructed landscapes
  • Development of aims and ambitions, intentions and targets, and design strategies
  • Detailed design proposals
  • Techniques of landscape representation 
Advanced Landscape Design 2 (60 credits)

In this module, students use their previous studies and knowledge from field trips to develop a project for a site. They address areas of interest and undertake appropriate research whilst developing a complex, contextual landscape design to a level appropriate to a graduating masters project. Students are expected to demonstrate an advanced level of skill and expertise, further developing selected areas of knowledge particular to the individual brief and site.


Landscape Architecture MA

This is a one-year Master's degree for students looking to pursue a career in landscape architecture who already have UK Landscape Architecture degree, or overseas equivalent. 

Landscape Architecture MA has a strong design research focus, with a major design studio project and research project complementing each other and giving students the platform to develop impressive portfolios upon graduation. 

Modules 

Landscape Architecture Practice and Theory (15 credits)

This module undertakes a critical review of contemporary landscape architecture and the ideas and interests that underlie it. It locates the discipline of landscape architecture within the broader professional realm, both in the UK and internationally. Conventional and innovative modes of practice are explored and students develop critical work on the status of landscape architectural practice and the profession, with reference to selected case study organisations and projects. 

Landscape, Ecology and Urban Environments (30 credits)

This module addresses the role that landscape architecture can play in synthesis of urban environments to help tune and fundamentally change the nature of the ‘urban metabolism’. Innovative historical and current case studies are interrogated in detail to reveal key aspects of their urban landscape context, design strategies and implementation. 

Landscape Thesis (45 credits)

Following initial workshop sessions on research methods and research methods submission, students write a thesis on an area of particular area of interest to them within the field. each student's thesis is expected to use critical reasoning skills to create an argument, supported by graphic evidence and appropriate research. 

Advanced Landscape Design 1 (30 credits)

This is a preparatory module that establishes a site context and areas of interest that each student intends to advance further in the Landscape Design Thesis module. A range of Design Studios are offered to students, each of which has its own pedagogical stance with regard to landscape design and formulates a project brief within the aims and outcomes of the module including:    

  • Landscape appraisal
  • Processes of making and forming natural and constructed landscapes
  • Development of aims and ambitions, intentions and targets, and design strategies
  • Detailed design proposals
  • Techniques of landscape representation 
Advanced Landscape Design 2 (60 credits)

In this module, students use their previous studies and knowledge from field trips to develop a project for a site. They address areas of interest and undertake appropriate research whilst developing a complex, contextual landscape design to a level appropriate to a graduating masters project. Students are expected to demonstrate an advanced level of skill and expertise, further developing selected areas of knowledge particular to the individual brief and site.


Key information

Modes/duration

MLA
Full-time, two years
MA
Full-time, one year

Entry requirements 

MLA

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

Applicants with no prior degree in Landscape Architecture should apply for the MLA programme. We welcome applicants from a variety of design-related or relevant backgrounds, including Architecture and Environmental Design.

A design/creative portfolio is also expected. The portfolio is used to assess applicants’ aptitude for visual and creative thinking and design, and to gauge previous relevant experience. Applicants will be asked to provide a link to an online portfolio of their design work once their completed application has been received and should not send or upload work until it has been requested by the department.

MA

A minimum of a second-class UK degree in landscape architecture or an accredited overseas qualification in landscape architecture of an equivalent standard. On occasion, graduates from other degrees who can demonstrate comparable abilities will also be considered. 

Students must have also completed their previous degree and be undertaking a year in a professional practice placement or internship to be eligible to apply for the MA programme. If you have not yet graduated, you must apply for the MLA programme.

A design/creative portfolio is also expected. The portfolio is used to assess applicants’ aptitude for visual and creative thinking and design, and to gauge previous relevant experience, both academic and practice based. Applicants will be asked to provide a link to an online portfolio of their design work once their completed application has been received and should not send or upload work until it has been requested by the department.

Application guidance for 2022 entry

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

Application deadline

Applications for 2022 entry will open on 18 October 2021 and close on 31 March 2022. 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 before Friday 24 June 2022, in order to allow sufficient time to obtain a CAS number and visa.

Accepting your offer

To accept your offer, you must pay the non-refundable fee deposit of £2,000 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


Staff

Laura Allen and Mark Smout, Programme Directors

Laura Allen, Professor of Architecture and Augmented Landscapes and Mark Smout, Professor of Architecture and Landscape Futures – known collectively as Smout Allen – co-direct the Landscape Architecture programmes and teach Architecture MArch Unit 11 at The Bartlett. 

Smout Allen teach, lecture and exhibit internationally, with recent venues including the Architectural Association, the RIBA, SCI-Arc Los Angeles and the Nevada Museum of Art. They have been selected for both the Venice Biennale and the inaugural Chicago Biennial. ln 2012 they won a commission from the Mayor of London and the Olympic Delivery Authority for the design of the ‘Universal Tea Machine’ —a giant, tea-making, binary adding calculator.

Smout Allen’s most recent projects ‘Infractus: The Taking of Robin Hood Gardens’, ‘L.A.T.B.D’ (in collaboration with Geoff Manaugh) and ‘Liquid Kingdom’ investigate near and distant future scenarios for cities and landscapes, public engagement, science facts and fictions, art and the environment, agriculture, cartography, model making, model villages and games. 

Henrietta Williams, Departmental Tutor

Henrietta Williams is an artist and urban researcher. Her practice explores urbanist theories; particularly considering ideas around fortress urbanism, security, and surveillance. She is a Lecturer (teaching) at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and tutors across a number of programs with a particular focus on critical film making methodologies. Her projects have been widely screened, exhibited and published in the UK and internationally, most notably at the V&A Museum in London and on the front page of the Guardian.

Henri is currently working towards an LAHP funded PhD by design The Bartlett that critiques drone surveillance technologies and the history of the aerial viewpoint. She established and curates The Bartlett Screening Room, a digital forum to screen short films and artist moving image works.

Aisling O'Carroll, Landscape Architecture Year Co-ordinator

Aisling O'Carroll is a landscape architect, trained in both architecture and landscape architecture. Her research and design practice addresses the relations between history, narrative, and representation in architecture, landscape, geology, and hybrids of the three—examining, in particular, critical approaches to reconstruction as design. She is currently completing her PhD by design at The Bartlett, funded by UCL’s Graduate Research Scholarship.

Aisling has taught graduate design studios in architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture at The Bartlett, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the University of Toronto. She has practiced internationally for several years with design firms and research platforms, including Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates,and P-Rex Lab at MIT. She is co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Site Magazine.

Tim Waterman, Landscape History and Theory and Landscape Thesis Module Coordinator

Tim Waterman, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture History and Theory, is a landscape architect and theorist whose research explores the interconnections between food, taste, place, and democratic civil society. He also writes about landscape imaginaries from the perspective of utopian studies, and is deeply involved in the ongoing discourse in the emerging subjects of landscape justice, landscape democracy, and landscape citizenships.

Tim is the Vice President of the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS) and a Non-Executive Director of the digital arts collective Furtherfield. 

Tim is the author of Fundamentals of Landscape Architecture, now in its second edition and translated into several languages, and, with Ed Wall, Basics Landscape Architecture: Urban Design. He has co-edited two recent volumes from Routledge: Landscape and Agency: Critical Essays, with Ed Wall, and the Routledge Handbook of Landscape and Food, with Joshua Zeunert. 

Ana Abram, Landscape Inhabitation and Environmental Systems and Landscape, Ecology and Urban Environments Modules Coordinator

Ana Abram is a licensed landscape architect and urbanist, whose work bridges academia, research and practice. Ana’s research addresses the relationships between dynamic landscape systems, urbanism, and ecological contexts through design syntheses, while engaging with multi-scale processes, from anthropogenic territorial to human scale interventions. 

Ana is a co-founder of the practice Amphibious Lab, which focuses on dynamic landscapes and their interfaces with anthropogenic environments. Ana has lead design and research teams, winning design concepts at numerous international competitions while working with notable landscape architecture practices, including Gustafson Porter + Bowman and Turenscape. 

Ana has experience in delivering projects through all stages, from concept to completion, including prestigious Chelsea Barracks masterplan, and post-Olympic development International Quarter London.

Sandra Youkhana, Admissions

Sandra Youkhana is an Architect and Lecturer in teaching at The Bartlett. She has taught at The Bartlett since 2015 across various postgraduate programmes including Urban Design, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture. She is co-founder of experimental design studio You+Pea and Videogame Urbanism (RC12 MArch Urban Design).

Her work operates between the design of architectural interventions and speculative virtual worlds, developing critical theory that underpins their connection. She has a particular interest in the architecture of world-building. Spanning across academia, cultural, and gaming industries, she has taught, exhibited and lectured on the subject worldwide, featuring in a variety of publications and press.


Accreditation

These programmes are professionally accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI). Find out more about the Landscape Institute.

Landscape Institute logo

Careers

The Bartlett School of Architecture is one of the world's top-ranked architecture schools and our graduates enjoy excellent employment opportunities.


Contacts 

Programme Directors: Laura Allen and Mark Smout
Admissions Tutor: Sandra Youkhana
Programme Administrator: Zoe Lau


Design Studios

Both Landscape Architecture MA and Landscape Architecture MLA are taught partly through Design Studios. Ten Design Studios are currently running in the 2020-21 academic year. Please find briefs for each Studio below. 

Design Studio 1

Design Studio 1
Deep Ground
Ana Abram and Maj Plemenitas

‘When we only visually perceive the land¬scape, different planes form a perspective in our visual field, and foreground and background are identified. With a notion of “Deep Ground”, we aim to challenge visual perception of the landscape, with a context of geomorphological processes and thick atmospheric layers, to simulate future scenarios of landscape design with a thick ground.’

Deep Ground refers to the understanding of landscape as a multi-scale territory where coexistent dynamic processes of creation, for¬mation, reconfiguration, and destruction lead to the new cycles of creation. Outputs of these natural processes are closely linked to the resilience of natural systems due to their adaptive, developmental and evolutionary capacities.

This year, Studio 1 will focus on experimental design investigations into dynamic landscapes, which are under the continuous influence of ever-changing ecosystem dynamics.

Design Studio 2

Design Studio 2
Experimental Disruptions in the Terrain Vague
Cannon Ivers and Alexandru Malaescu

Critiquing the Downsview Park competition of 1999, Julia Czerniak asked the simple question, ‘How much design is enough?’, raising important social, cultural, environmental and ecological concerns. This year, Studio 2 will endeavour to answer Czerniak’s question, using ‘Terrain Vague’ sites as the platforms for design exploration and experimentation. The challenge, as identified by Sergio Lopez-Pineiro in his 2020 book The Glossary of Urban Voids, is how to design these types of spaces: ‘Despite their apparent emptiness, urban voids can have as much presence as built forms. Obviously, then, the question that comes up is: how to design them?’

In addressing these challenges, the studio will design disruptions and experiments in the urban landscapes. It will focus on investigating not only the physical relationships of territories and voids, but also on the ephemerality and temporality of landscapes and the unseen, with the aim of understanding the operational nature of landscapes and projecting speculative scenarios. 

Image: ‘Wanderers’ by Cannon Ivers, Devin Dobrowolski, Mary Catherine Miller

Design Studio 3

Design Studio 3
Human: Non-Human
Richard Beckett and Kyrstyn Oberholster

The American naturalist and writer E. O. Wilson stated that man is ‘storyteller, mythmaker, and destroyer of the living world. Thinking with a gabble of reason, emotion, and religion. Lucky accident of primate evolution during the late Pleistocene. Mind of the biosphere. Magnificent in imaginative power and exploratory drive, yet yearning to be more master than steward of a declining planet.’ 

Modern humans evolved during a time of dramatic climatic change. Survival meant responding to the challenges of uncertainty and adapting to an unstable environment. 2.5 million years ago our species’ existence began as an intrinsic part of a complex and dynamic ecosystem: hunting and gathering, and modestly doing our part. Around 12,000 years ago, our physical and cognitive development enabled us to domesticate plants and animals. We created permanent settlements and with subsequent scientific and industrial revolutions, acquired unprecedented single-species dominance on our planet. We are nature’s ultimate ecosystem engineer.

Design Studio 4

Design Studio 4
Ruin Futures
Katya Larina and Doug John Miller
Our collective experience of the worldwide pandemic has challenged long-held assumptions that define much of modern urban and landscape design. One of these is the belief of the expansion of the city will in some way subsume the natural landscape. However, the mass decentralisation of the workplace has led to a recalibration of this assumption. What happens when once intensely populated cities retract, when infrastructure disappears or when disaster tears holes in the fabric of our urban environments? This year Studio 4 investigates the concept of ‘ruin as a medium’, a device for recording and sharing with us the stories of the past and present landscapes.

Image: The Mammoth Trees (Sequoia gigantea), California (Calaveras County), Middleton, Strobridge & Co, c.1860

Design Studio 5

Design Studio 5
No-Man’s Land
Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange, Johanna Just and Agostino Nickl

Studio 5 encourages participants to take a radical and speculative approach to the lived environment: seeking new design approaches towards sustainability, carbon sequestration and multispecies coexistence. 

This year’s brief explores the potential of so-called ‘wastelands’ as incubators for regenerative and integrative landscapes for human as well as non-human users. We will approach this complex journey in a creative and playful manner, using methodologies from strategic and speculative design, but also borrowing from scientific research, the social sciences and the arts to establish innovative landscape design practices. In Studio 5, students are encouraged to follow their own curiosities, to invent and experiment with their own design methodologies, tools and processes for approaching ‘wicked problems’ and ‘staying with trouble’ in a playful and imaginative way. Despite being physically distant, we will collectively nurture a lively studio culture and community, teeming with dialogue and exchange.

Image: The Garden of Earthly Delights (Left Panel, Detail), Hieronymus Bosch, 1490-1510.

Design Studio 6

Design Studio 6
Extractive Topographies 
Matthew Butcher and Tiffany Kaewen Dang

The focus in Studio 6 this year will be an investigation into the ongoing effects that the extraction of natural resources and fossil fuels are having on the rural, urban, and suburban landscapes we choose to inhabit. Specifically, we will investigate how processes of mining have influence on ecological systems, social life, and political institutions. 

Through in-depth spatial and temporal analyses of multiple sites in the Nordic Arctic Region, students will gain an understanding of the complex and layered systems which define the economies of extraction and the politics of land use and ownership unique to processes of mining. Central to our investigation, manifest in students’ individual research and design proposals, will be exploration of methods for highlighting, preventing, or protesting against the ongoing damage that processes of extraction frequently produce.

Image: A Retreat for the Protagonists of the Swedish Forest Taskscape, Digital Collage, Alex Kitching, 2019. 

Design Studio 7

Design Studio 7
The Great Escape: Landscapes of Longing
Günther Galligioni and Ness Lafoy

In 2010, trend forecasters around the world announced the decade of the city. As this era comes to a dramatic and unpredictable climax in 2020, Studio 7 asks, what’s next? Most city dwellers confined to small spaces during the pandemic have begun to dream of inhabiting expansive landscapes and to rediscover a Romantic, ‘sublime’ vision of the outdoors. To quote Reyner Banham: ‘most citizens are determined to have the best of both worlds...expansiveness, and urban compactness, ancient monuments and tomorrow’s mechanical aids both in the same place.’ 

At the same time, global remote-working patterns have led to an informal wilding as new ecosystems start to take hold in previously manicured, dense urban areas. Studio 7 wants to know: where are city dwellers escaping to? And what type of urban landscape is left behind for those who cannot leave or choose to stay? In asking these questions, new speculative scenarios start to emerge.

Image: A Postcard from The Bowder Stone, Lake District 

Design Studio 8

Design Studio 8
The Matter of the Weather
Kirsty Badenoch and Tom Budd

Studio 8 advances an ongoing experimental practice through the ‘making’ of transitional landscapes. We look to learn from the complex, unpredictable and perfect systems of nature; working materially, expressively and obsessively. 

This year we explore the ‘matter’ of the weather and the endurance of the temporary. Weather is a fleeting occurrence that exists within a particular place and time. However, the continuous effects of the atmosphere on an environment are profound and enduring. We work simultaneously with the moment as experienced by us (the weather) alongside its material impacts that reach long beyond our own human lives (the environment).

In the Anthropocene era, where most of our actions and designs are tailored to serve the needs and desires of the human population, Studio 8 strives to consider the relational ecologies of our non-human environment, and in doing so, to work alongside unpredictabilities and forces outside our control.

Image: Enduring Temporality: Suspension casting of moss and mycelium, Kirsty Badenoch.

Design Studio 9 

Design Studio 9
Unstable Ground: How Mountains Move
Nico Alexandroff and Elise Hunchuck

Studio 9 is about ‘how the future is lived and imagined in the present, how it is a fullness in the present, appears and disappears, is unevenly distributed, and how there is always, everywhere, more than one future.’ (1) The earthquake-prone landscapes of Abruzzi, Italy, tell us about how we form knowledge of the past and present, and how we forecast the future; and they tell us how the present shapes the future. 

In the first term, Studio 9 will examine selected sites within the region, developing a collaborative research practice through familiar – and unfamiliar – tools of measurement, representation, and communication. Together we will site, map, situate and unpack the soft and hard infrastructures of human and non-human life in Abruzzi. Can we augment more traditional visual representations deployed by landscape architecture? The studio aims to capture the complexity of the systems and relations present onsite, exploring landscape architecture’s role in understanding, mapping, and communicating risk.

(1) Adam Bobbette, Cultures of Forecasting: Volatile and Vulnerable Nature, Knowledge, and the Future of Uncertainty, PhD thesis dissertation, Cambridge University, 2018.

Design Studio 10

Design Studio 10

Scripted Landscapes: Hidden Logics of an Open World
Katie Kasabalis and Sandra Youkhana

When landscapes appear to evolve naturally, they have often already been subject to a vast network of rules, logics, and systems that have defined their construction. In Studio 10 we will interrogate the ‘scripting of a landscape’ as a subjective process, a series of predefined logics that are applied to a landscape over time. This unique language of control – a constant flow of monitoring, checking, and ‘processing’ will be broken down and analysed in response to its effect on the physical landscape. We will familiarise ourselves with landscapes that employ scripting for smartness, efficiency, and greening. We will investigate the virtual networks that encapsulate our surroundings, unseen data, mapped uses and zones. ‘Scripting’ also plays a crucial part in creating ecosystems, lifecycles, and seasonal change. 

Studio 10 responds to these challenges by creating new definitions of ‘scripted landscapes’. The interplay between nature, cultural norms, social relations and human subjectivity will set the basis for our collective investigation.

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