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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. Eight Studios are currently running in the 2021-22 academic year. Please find briefs for each Studio below. 

Design Studio 2

Studio 2_Lateral Office, This Appearance Is___2021.jpg
Experimental Disruptions
Cannon Ivers and Alexandru Malaescu


The planet is in a state of climate and ecological emergency. The way people produce, operate, and renew the landscape and built environment requires awareness and, most likely, complete transformation. In Reciprocal Landscapes: Stories of Material Movements, Jane Hutton presents the social, political, and ecological complexities of material practice, challenging designers to think of materials not as fixed products but as ‘continually changing matter that takes different forms’, performing beyond the fixed site boundary. 

This year, Design Studio 2 will focus on climate emergency, placing material provenance, biodiversity loss, water capture and social inclusion at the centre of each student’s project. Students will explore unmaking, deconstruction, and material re-use, focusing on designing disruptions and experiments in the urban landscapes.

Image: Lateral Office, "This Appearance Is___(Exhibit Columbus)" (2021)

Design Studio 3

Post-Antibiotic Landscapes 
Richard Beckett and Alberto Campagnoli

The emergence of contemporary pathologies associated with low biodiversity highlights the need for novel landscape approaches for the symbiocene epoch, as an era in which humans re-integrate with the rest of nature. In his book The Probiotic Planet, environmental geographer Jamie Lorimer describes how probiotic, post-Pasteurian or post-antibiotic mentalities have emerged in recent years in opposition to the blowback of contemporary pathologies caused by modern, antibiotic ways of managing life. He describes how landscapes, cities, homes and bodies in the Western world have been defined by efforts to eradicate, control, rationalise and simplify life. Underpinned by political approaches focused on economic growth, food surpluses and disease eradication, these approaches have benefitted the human, but at the expense of the non-human. 
 
Design Studio 3 will explore sites degraded in their biodiversity. Ranging from school playgrounds to agricultural areas, projects will explore sites which demonstrate the need for engagement with non-human agencies to develop landscapes that are driven by proliferation of life. 

Image: The evolution of antibiotic resistance, on a plate - Harvard Medical School 

Design Studio 4

Image: J. R. Mollison, The New Practical Window Gardener, ‘Wardian Case for Ferns and Selaginellas’, 1877 (Linda Hall Library) 
Worlds within Worlds
Katya Larina and Doug John Miller

Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves explores the unchecked colonial expansion of the 18th century in her project ‘Seeds of Change’, a process that allowed alien Ballast Flora to bloom across the world smuggled in the bows of ships. In London, meanwhile, Victorian collector Dr Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward invented new ways of transporting miniaturised ecosystems in Wardian cases to be grown into London gardens or hidden away in private collections forever. From these events emerge a complex cocktail of extracting, displaying, and shielding landscapes. Now, in the time of climate emergency, we can speculate on the future of these landscape conditions. 
 
This year Studio 4 will look at these worlds within worlds to explore, invent and pick apart ecological boundary conditions, and explore methods of ecological collection, curation and distribution in landscapes past, present and future. 

Image: J. R. Mollison, The New Practical Window Gardener, ‘Wardian Case for Ferns and Selaginellas’, 1877 (Linda Hall Library) 

Design Studio 5

Image: Caspar Wolf, Glacier du Breithorn Against the Setting Sun, 1777. 7th plate of the Remarkable Views of the Swiss Mountains.
False Summits
Laurence Blackwell-Thale and Pete Davies


In an increasingly digital world, the ways in which people experience the environment are ever-changing. Platforms like Google Earth have enabled us to virtually travel to places far and wide, from the click of a button. Studio 5 is interested in how analogue and digital technologies can augment the ways in which we explore, experience and understand our environment physically and physiologically. 
  
This year’s brief encourages speculation on the role of elevation in influencing ecological, geological and technological processes, which have contributed to 21st century landscape biomes. Students will become aeronauts of altitude, questioning what benefits height gives us, and at what cost. The studio is interested in putting theories, research and concepts into practice through making. Curiosity, iteration and testing will be encouraged as an important means of developing exciting and rigorous design projects. 

Image: Caspar Wolf, Glacier du Breithorn Against the Setting Sun, 1777. 7th plate of the Remarkable Views of the Swiss Mountains

Design Studio 6

Image: 'Transboundary Scars' by Tienheng Xiong, MLA/MA Landscape Architecture, 2021
Towards and Against a New Landscape of the Nuclear  
Matthew Butcher and Tiffany Kaewen Dang

This year, Studio 6 seeks to explore the role that landscape architecture could have in the ongoing fight to reduce the burning of fossil fuels, in the face of the climate crisis. Specifically, the studio will consider the impacts that the infrastructure and politics of nuclear power generation has had, and will have, on the landscapes which we inhabit. Central to this inquiry are investigations into ways to use landscape design as an integral component in the way we think about the future of the urban and rural environments we choose to inhabit. 

Image: 'Transboundary Scars' by Tienheng Xiong, MLA/MA Landscape Architecture, 2021

Design Studio 7

Image: A postcard from Valley Curtain, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, in Rifle, Colorado, 1972
In Transit: Landscapes of Us, As We Move
Günther Galligioni and Christina Geros

At present, only 1% of the earth is considered unlivable due to the climate; however, by 2070, this figure is expected to rise to 19%, forcing billions of people to seek new lands to call home. According to a New York Times headline of July 2020, this climate-predicated movement, referred to as “The Great Climate Migration”, had already begun. In fact, 2020 had already seen more people displaced by extreme climate than by conflict. With more unpredictable weather patterns and more frequent extreme events, the migration scale will surge exponentially.

As illustrated in Eyal Weizman's Conflict Shoreline (2015), when those patterns change, so too does the capacity of the land to sustain life: not only the availability of resources, but also the cultural, familial relations that hold our physical and intangible ties to our home. This year, Studio 7 asks: how can we weave together traces of our familiar landscapes into the social and ecological fabrics of new grounds, devising new identities? 

Image: A postcard from Valley Curtain, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, in Rifle, Colorado, 1972

Design Studio 8

Image: Formafantasma, Cambio
Into the Woods
Kirsty Badenoch, Tom Budd and Danielle Purkiss

This year, Studio 8 invites students to step out into the woods. Woods contain untold stories and unread secrets, histories and predictions communicated through complex networks in the soil and through the air. Woods are entangled and enchanted - messy, complex, full of mystery and mythology; simultaneously composing and decomposing, constantly on the move. They are places of play and imagination as much as sinks of deep knowledge, wisdom and ritualism. They exist in timescales much bigger than our own lifetime.  Woods offer escape (from work, from technology, from reality...) yet big bad wolves can lurk in their deeper, darker depths.

Studio 8 will embrace the messy and the unpredictable, designing through being and through doing. Students will approach the land and city with an open mind, embracing accidents and flexing to unexpected results. 

Image: Formafantasma, Cambio 

Design Studio 9 

Details of a transdisciplinary study
Forests that Walk: Cartographies of Refusal 
Nico Alexandroff and Elise Hunchuck

Studio 9 is looking to learn how to design with forests and how to think with them. This starts with the belief, as sociology scholar and Cambridge chair Jennifer Gabrys argues, that trees are all too often cast as singular fixes for 'wicked problems' (complex, large scale, planetary problems that are difficult if not impossible to solve). This year, Studio 9 returns to the forest, continuing its multi-year, transdisciplinary investigation into the relationships between research, design, and advocacy.  
 
The studio is founded on the premise that stories about landscapes, represented in ways that most people understand, might generate terms for thinking about the future. Working with external collaborators - artists, designers, researchers, scientists and theorists - the studio has gathered a range of texts, interviews, films and visual material to begin a year-long collaboration. Together, students will work to understand, formulate, ask - and maybe even answer - questions about the role that design can play in translating 'wicked problems' into 'wicked solutions'.

Image: Details of a transdisciplinary study.