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Architectural Design MArch

This programme explores the frontiers of architecture and design, with an emphasis on the latest technological advances, particularly computation and robotics.

About

Design is a crucial agency for uncovering complex patterns. This programme belongs to the school's suite of B-Pro programmes and explores the frontiers of advanced architecture and design and their convergence with science and technology.

Spending around two thirds of their time undertaking studio-based design enquiry, students work with internationally renowned researchers and practitioners towards a major speculative design project and thesis. The design modules are structured in groups known as Research Clusters, each with its own research specialism, and all underpinned by shared technical and theoretical resources and expertise.

Architectural Design MArch culminates in the annual B-Pro Show – an exhibition of student work, attracting thousands of visitors to the school’s central London home.

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Highlights

  • Gain an understanding of the role computation plays in complex design synthesis
  • Work with an international body of experts and students 
  • Be introduced to highly advanced coding, fabrication and robotic skills, and the latest approaches to AI, CNC fabrication, 3D printing, supercomputing, simulation and interactivity
  • Have access to B-made workshop facilities and fabrication expertise unrivalled in the UK

Read about the Architectural Design MArch Research Clusters and labs below


Key information 

Modes/duration

Full-time: one year, taught over 12 months

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class UK degree in an appropriate subject or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with extensive experience in the field may also be considered. 

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

Application deadline

Applications open for this programme on 15 October 2018 and close on 26 July 2019 for 2019 entry.

We strongly advise early application, as our programmes are over subscribed and competition is high. 

Fees and funding

  • Tuition fee information can be found on the UCL Graduate Prospectus.
  • 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

Programme staff

Gilles Retsin, Programme Director and Research Cluster 4 Tutor

Gilles Retsin is the founder of Gilles Retsin Architecture, lecturer at The Bartlett School of Architecture and co-director of the Design Computation Lab.

His work has been displayed internationally, including at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Vitra Design Museum in Weil-am-Rhein, Design Exchange Toronto and the Zaha Hadid Gallery in London. He has lectured and acted as a guest critic in numerous universities internationally. 

Richard Beckett, Departmental tutor and Research Cluster 7 Tutor

Richard Beckett is Manager of The Bartlett’s 3D printing centre and Leader of Architecture MArch Unit 20 with Marjan Colletti. He is also co-creator of Syn.de.Bio with Marcos Cruz.

His research focusses on the impact of biotechnology on architecture and investigations into the use of living or semi-living materials in the built environment.

Stefan Bassing, Research Cluster 6 Tutor

Stefan Bassing has been involved in numerous national and international design projects. His work is focused on contemporary design methodologies involving computation and object-orientated research for the capacity to comprehend and respond to architecture at a multiplicity of scales.

Daghan Cam, Research Cluster 1 Tutor

Daghan Cam is an architect and a researcher whose work is focused on supercomputing. He previously worked for Zaha Hadid Architects and taught at Architectural Association Visiting Schools.

Mollie Claypool, Report Tutor

Mollie Claypool is a writer, designer and theorist with research interests in mechanisation, production and fabrication, the philosophy of science and computational methodologies. She is a Teaching Fellow on Architectural Design MArch at The Bartlett, where she is also the Architecture BSc Programme Leader and runs Architecture MArch Unit 19.

Lisa Cumming, Report Tutor

Lisa Cumming is currently working with WilkinsonEyre Architects, London. Prior to this, she studied in both New Zealand and Denmark, gaining her degree from Victoria University Wellington. Lisa has taught architecture in New Zealand and has worked in a number of architectural practices both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. 

Natsai Audrey Chieza, Report Tutor

Natsai Audrey Chieza is a designer and researcher at Studio Natsai Audrey, a London-based Design Futures R&D studio working within the realm of living technology and biodesign.

She holds a degree in Architectural Design from the University of Edinburgh, and a Master's in Material Futures from Central Saint Martins.

Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Research Cluster 4 Tutor

Manuel Jimenez Garcia has taught at the Architectural Association, Universidad Politecnica Madrid and Universidad Europea Madrid. He also runs the Architecture MArch Unit 19, is co-curator of The Bartlett Plexus and co-founder of madMdesign, an architecture practice based in London.

Soomeen Hahm, Research Clusters 1 and 6 Tutor

Soomeen Hahm is a senior designer at Zaha Hadid Architects. Her interests are focused on generative and algorithmic design through the use of computer coding. She is also involved in various educational projects, such as the Plethora Project, where she is Director for China, as well as being Director of the Architectural Association, Seoul Visiting School.

Dr Daniel Koehler, Report Module Coordinator

Dr Daniel Koehler is a design and theory tutor at The Bartlett School of Architecture, a research associate at the University of Innsbruck and a co-founder of the Lab for Environmental Design Strategies. He is the author of The Mereological City (Transcript, 2016), a study on the modes of part-to-whole relations between architecture and its city during modernism. Daniel’s recent research investigates the architectural implications of digital logistics.

Dr Guan Lee, Research Cluster 5 Tutor

Guan Lee is a lecturer in design with a degree in Architecture from McGill Montreal, and a Diploma and Master's in Landscape Urbanism from the Architectural Association. He holds a PhD in Architecture by Design from The Bartlett School of Architecture.

Guan's practice, Grymsdyke Farm, is based in the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire.

Vicente Soler, Research Cluster 5 Tutor

Vicente Soler consults and lectures as a specialist in computational design and digital fabrication. Vicente co-directs The Bartlett's Design Computation Lab, teaches on the Architectural Design MArch technical skills module and offers support for computation and robotics.

Vincente develops software for programming and control of industrial robots that is actively used in multiple architecture schools and other institutions.

Daniel Widrig, Research Cluster 6 Tutor

Daniel Widrig founded his studio in London in 2009, after graduating from the Architectural Association. Prior to this, he worked for several years with Zaha Hadid.

Daniel has been published and exhibited internationally and is a recipient of the Swiss Arts Award, Feidad Merit Award and the Rome Prize.

Affiliated staff 

Professor Frédéric Migayrou, B-Pro Director

Frédéric Migayrou is Chair, Bartlett Professor of Architecture at The Bartlett School of Architecture and Deputy Director of the National Museum of Art, Centre Pompidou in Paris. He was the founder of the Frac Center Collection and of ArchiLab, the international festival of Prospective Architecture in Orléans. Apart from recent publications and exhibitions (De Stijl, Centre Pompidou, 2011; La Tendenza, Centre Pompidou, 2012; Bernard Tschumi, Centre Pompidou, 2013; Frank Gehry, Centre Pompidou 2014), he was the curator of Non Standard Architectures at the Centre Pompidou in 2003, the first exposition devoted to architecture, computation and fabrication.

More recently, he co-organised the exhibition Naturalising Architecture (ArchiLab, Orléans 2013), presenting prototypes and commissions by 40 teams of architects working with new generative computational tools, defining new interrelations between materiality, biotechnology and fabrication. In 2012 he founded B-Pro, a suite of postgraduate programmes at The Bartlett.

Andrew Porter, B-Pro Deputy Director

Andrew Porter studied at The Bartlett School of Architecture and has collaborated in practice with Sir Peter Cook and Christine Hawley CBE. In 1998 he and Abigail Ashton set up ashton porter architects, through which they completed a number of award winning commissions in the UK and prizewinning competitions in the UK and abroad. Andrew is co-leader of Architecture MArch Unit 21, and has been a visiting Professor at the Staedel Academy, Frankfurt and guest critic at SCi-Arc, Los Angeles and Parsons New School, New York.


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 Director: Gilles Retsin
Postgraduate admissions: Thea Heintz 
Programme administrator: Kim Van Poeteren


Research Clusters and Labs

Architectural Design MArch students work collaboratively within teaching groups called Research Clusters, which allow them to pursue a rigorous approach to architecture within a speculative and creative environment. Find out more about this year's Research Clusters below. 

2018-19 Research Clusters

Research Cluster 1: Igor Pantic, Martina Rosati, Davide Quayola

Research Cluster 1 2018-19
This year, Research Cluster 1 will explore automated design and fabrication systems, with a focus on robotic 3D printing technologies and their application at an architectural scale.

In collaboration with industry partner, Robotic 3D printing company Ai-Build, we will challenge the current state of the industry. We will study 3D printed matter not only as the final product, but also as a mould or substrate for a multi-material system. In parallel to this, students will develop highly adaptable design systems, which are linked to fabrication processes and environmental datasets.

Research Cluster 2: Stefan Bassing

Research Cluster 2 2018-19
Architectural Product(ion)

Research Cluster 2 seeks to define the role of the architect as designer, engineer and entrepreneur, establishing dependencies and clear relationships between digital design tools, culture and discourse. Our aim is to empower the architect to invent new architectural models of production, assembly, economy, habitation and ultimately space. 

This year, students will develop a series of artefacts which are to be conceived as architectural types, existing in close proximity to industrial design. Through the utilisation of digital and computational design strategies, data inputs will be generated and fed to computerised numerically controlled industrial machines.

Research Cluster 3: Tyson Hosmer, David Reeves, Octavian Gheorghiu, with Jordi Vivaldi Piera and Panagiotis Tigas

Research Cluster 3 2018-19
Living Architecture: Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Generative Design Systems

Our research focuses on developing experimental design models embedded with the ability to self-organise, self-assess, and self-improve. We seek to embed local adaptability directly into the design process by training our models to learn to adjust and reconfigure to unforeseen and changing needs and conditions.

This year, Research Cluster 3 will interrogate the notion of living architecture as a coupling of living systems with the assembly and formation of architecture. We will focus on physical reconfiguration, enabled through autonomous robotic assembly systems, and design models that apply artificial intelligence to spatial organisation.

Research Cluster 4: Mollie Claypool, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Gilles Retsin, Vicente Soler 

Brief to follow. 

Research Cluster 5: Guan Lee, Daniel Widrig with Stefan Bassing, Adam Holloway, Igor Pantic

Material Architecture Lab 2018-19
On Synthetics

Research Clusters 5 & 6 (Material Architecture Lab) form a design-led research platform with particular emphasis on materiality. Our core interest is the development of design aesthetics through material explorations.

This year, we will attempt to unpack the questions 'what isn't sythetic?' and 'what is synthetic evolution?' through our design strategies. We will also develop past projects from the lab in an attempt to further them and realise their full potetial.

Research Cluster 7: Richard Beckett

Research Cluster 7 2018-19
Research Cluster 7 considers how advances in biotechnology and engineering are affecting architecture. We study new modes of digital design workflows and fabrication methods, as well as advances in the fields of synthetic biology, biotechnology, genetic engineering and material sciences.


This year, students will investigate new methods of bio-digital fabrication, integrating several themes including: material and design engineering, bio-augmented design, environmental sustainability and large-scale fabrication. They will aim towards an architecture that combines principles of biology with the latest methods for simulation and digital fabrication, to create economically viable building prototypes.

Research Cluster 8: Kostas Grigoriadis

Research Cluster 8 2018-19
Towards a Non-Discrete Architecture

This year, Research Cluster 8 will explore new procedures for designing and building with material gradients. We will study the manufacturing of multi-material samples consisting of two or more fused sub-materials. The assimilation of digitally graded information and the simulation of material fusion will feed into the physical material studies.

We will draw from these initial studies and use optimisation routines to design and create large-scale segments of building envelopes, rethinking elements through the use of continuous materiality. The outputs will be prototypes and structures that are more than just a collection of individual parts, initiating a new type of non-discrete architecture.

Research Cluster 9: Soomeen Hahm, Alvaro Lopez Rodriguez

Research Cluster 9
The Age of Augmentation

Research Cluster 9 is interested in exploring the interaction and mutual relationship between humans, machines and data, through the processes of computational design and fabrication. We pose the question: what is the most meaningful role for each of these three components, in regards to the way we live and the way we build our environment?

We will look at this issue through the utilisation of mixed reality and internet technology. Taking into account the current state of computational design discourse and the potential of virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence, we will challenge the modes of interaction between designer and virtual models, emphasising intuitive input throughout design and production processes.

Labs 

Design Computation Lab

Chair created by the Design Computation Lab, part of the MArch AD programme
Co-directors:
Mollie Claypool, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Gilles Retsin and Vicente Soler


Design Computation Lab is a research laboratory that develops design methods which use computational technologies in architectural design, fabrication and assembly. 

We believe that architecture should be wholly digital on every scale from the particle to the building. Our work closes the gaps between the way in which architects design and the way in which objects, buildings and infrastructure are fabricated and assembled.

This enables architects and designers to think creatively about engagement with other disciplines, industries and professions, including robotics, construction, computer science, manufacturing, policy making, and material sciences.

Research areas of current projects:
Modularity; pre-fabrication; robotics; additive assembly; computational methods; 3D printing; open-source; user interaction and participation. 

Material Architecture Lab

Material Architecture Lab
Co-Directors:
Daniel Wildrig and Guan Lee


Material Architecture Lab is a design-led research platform with particular emphasis on materiality. The lab works across several disciplines and methodologies, including: art and science, design and architecture, computational and manual work. Our core intertest is the development of design aesthetics through material explorations, with our most recent focus being on the synthetic.


 

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