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MArch Architectural Design

This 12-month post-professional programme explores the frontiers of advanced architecture and design, with an emphasis on the latest technological advances, particularly computation and robotics.

About the course

The MArch Architectural Design (AD) is a 12-month post-professional programme invested in the frontiers of advanced architecture and design and its convergence with science and technology. Composed of an international body of experts and students, it is designed to deliver diverse yet focused strands of speculative research, emphasising the key role computation plays within complex design synthesis.

On this course you will:

  • 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, one of the most advanced fabrication workshops in Europe

There are three research labs associated with the programme:

Read about AD Research Clusters and Labs below


Who should apply?

We’re looking for recent graduates in architecture, as well as design professionals, who want to be part of a more speculative design environment.


Key staff

Please email any queries to course administrator Indigo Rohrer: r.rohrer@ucl.ac.uk

All MArch Architectural Design and B-Pro 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, The Bartlett’s umbrella structure for post-professional architecture programmes.

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, they have completed a number of award winning commissions in the UK and prizewinning competitions in the UK and abroad. Andrew is co-leader of The Bartlett’s MArch Architecture 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.

Gilles Retsin
MArch AD Programme Director
Gilles Retsin is the founder of Gilles Retsin Architecture, a young award-winning London-based architecture and design practice. He is a lecturer at The Bartlett School of Architecture and co-directs the UCL Design Computation Lab. His work has been acquired by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and he has exhibited internationally in museums such as 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
BiotA Lab Co-Director, RC7 Tutor
Richard Beckett is Manager of The Bartlett’s 3D printing centre, RC7 Tutor and leader of MArch Unit 20 with Marcos Cruz and Marjan Colletti. He recently co-created Syn.de.Bio with Marcos Cruz. Before studying architecture, Beckett studied physiology and biochemistry and worked as a physical properties scientist. His investigations in to architecture have remained cross-disciplinary, focusing on the impact of biotechnology on architecture and investigations into the use of living or semi-living materials in our built environment.

Dr Marcos Cruz
BiotA Lab Co-Director, RC7 Tutor
Marcos Cruz is an architect and Reader at The Bartlett School of Architecture. He was the Director of the School from 2011-2014. He leads BiotA Lab and co-leads The Bartlett’s MArch Unit 20 with Marjan Colletti and Richard Beckett, and recently co-created Syn.de.Bio, a forum for bio-digital work at the crossroads of design, biology and engineering. Cruz’s research has focused for many years on the design and creation of innovative environments in architecture, particularly the use of living matter, such as algae and bacteria, in buildings. Cruz has written, taught and exhibited internationally. 

Stefan Bassing
RC6 Tutor
Since completing the architecture and design programme at the State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart, 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
RC1 Tutor
Daghan Cam is an architect and a researcher whose work is focused on supercomputing. He holds an MArch degree from the AA. Previously, he worked for Zaha Hadid Architects and taught at AA Visiting Schools and on various other workshops.

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 in Architectural Design at The Bartlett, where she is the BSc Architecture Programme Leader and runs MArch Architecture Unit 19.

Lisa Cumming
Report Tutor
Lisa is currently working with Wilkinson Eyre Architects, London. She graduated from the Architectural Association with a Masters in Architecture and Urbanism. Prior to this, she studied in both New Zealand & Denmark, gaining her BArch from Victoria University Wellington. Lisa has tutored within 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 is a designer and researcher at Studio Natsai Audrey, a London-based Design Futures R&D studio working within the realm of living technology, or biodesign. The studio's research and creative endeavours are driven by a desire to develop, prototype and question resilient systems of manufacturing and design-making through the convergence of life science technologies and design craft processes. In addition to a growing portfolio of R&D projects for industry, she is also deeply passionate about her role as an educator in this field, and is always keen to share new ways of thinking and making with students in Design and Architecture. Natsai holds a degree in Architectural Design from the University of Edinburgh, and a Masters from MA Material Futures, Central Saint Martins.

Manuel Jimenez Garcia
RC4 Tutor
Manuel Jimenez Garcia holds an MArch from the AA (AADRL) and has previously taught at the AA, Universidad Politecnica Madrid and Universidad Europea Madrid. As well as teaching on AD, he is Unit Master of MArch Unit 19; co-curator of the Bartlett Plexus and co-founder of Emeidiem, an architecture practice based in London.

Professor Stephen Gage
Report Module Coordinator
Stephen Gage studied at the AA and has worked in the UK and California. He has taught at The Bartlett since 1993, where he is Professor of Innovative Architecture. He has been an external examiner at The University of the Arts and the University of Liverpool; he is part of the RIBA architectural course validation panel.

Soomeen Hahm
RC1 and RC6 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 Plethora-project.com – where she is Director for China, as well as being Director of the AA Seoul visiting school.

Daniel Koehler
RC8 Tutor

Dr Guan Lee
RC5 Tutor
Guan Lee graduated with a BSc in Architecture from McGill Montreal, and received a Diploma and MA in Landscape Urbanism from the AA. He holds a PhD in Architecture by Design from The Bartlett School of Architecture. His practice, Grymsdyke Farm, is set in the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire.

Dr Christopher Leung
RC3 Tutor
Christopher Leung trained as an architect at The Bartlett and earned a doctorate from UCL for his work on passive thermal actuators applied to environmental control in buildings. His work explores the relationship between machines, occupants and buildings, and has been published in peer-reviewed journal articles, together with his collaborations in the sixteen*(makers) group.

Gilles Retsin
RC4 Tutor
Gilles Retsin’s work investigates new architectural models which engage increased computational power in design and fabrication. He is interested  in the impact of computation on the core principles of architecture – the bones rather than the skin. Prior to founding his own practice, he worked in Switzerland with Christian Kerez, and in London with Kokkugia.

Vicente Soler
RC5 Tutor

Daniel Widrig
RC6 Tutor
Daniel Widrig founded his studio in London in 2009. After graduating from the AA, Daniel worked for several years with Zaha Hadid. He has received international critical acclaim and has been published and exhibited internationally. He is a recipient of the Swiss Arts Award, Feidad Merit Award and the Rome Prize.


Research Clusters and Labs

The MArch Architectural Design programme offers a number of research-focused Clusters and Labs, all of which allow students to pursue a rigorous approach to architecture within a speculative and creative environment.  Browse the sections below to find out more.

Research Clusters

RC1: Soomeen Hahm, Daghan Cam, Andy Lomas 

Wonderlab is invested in the search for and materialisation of the rare, the unseen and the unexplored. It believes that the poetic and aesthetic magic of wonder can be analysed, synthesised, engineered and designed. Architecture’s ‘superpower’ has always been the creative synthesis of a multitude of elements. Historically, the most successful architecture has managed to capture cultural conditions, utilise technological advancements and answer to the pressures and constraints of materials, economics, ecology and politics. Today, this synthesis is increasingly open and accelerated with the introduction of computation and the evolving landscape of production. Design is the crucial agency for uncovering patterns and direct engagement with complexity, and this has never been more important.

RC2: Maj Plemenitas

Our architectural interest is driven by rigorous research, focused on cross-scale design. This novel approach is interested in the development of the expanded design range, with capacity to engage with highly complex conditions and contexts beyond the effective range of traditional design practice. We utilise nonlinear, scale-specific relationships on multiple design and performative levels.

RC3: Ruairi Glynn, Jessica In, Matt Jacob, Yuri Suzuki

Moving to MArch Design for Performance & Interaction (DfPI) for 2017-18.

RC4: Manuel Jimenez, Vicente Soler, Gilles Retsin

Research Cluster 4 is interested in an architecture which is fundamentally digital, both as a design process and as a physical artefact. Thinking about architecture in a digital way means that we have to think about every element, part or particle as a bit of data that can be computed. This year RC4’s main aim is twofold : to scale up discrete fabrication processes to 1:1 building-scale prototypes, and to develop complete architectural proposals. Scaling up discrete assembly processes with an order of magnitude requires highly engineered parts, with a specific materiel organisation and structural behaviour.

Download this year's brief: 

RC5: Adam Holloway, Guan Lee

RC5 and RC6 work together as one research laboratory: Material Architecture Lab.

Material Architecture Lab conducts its research in two distinct areas: material innovation and material application.

Historically, new materials in architecture rarely emerge, but their impact is considerable. The fabric of our cities and landscapes is testament to what prevails and endures. Innovation of materials does not necessarily mean invention of the new. Traditional materials can be refashioned by altering the way they are processed or utilised.

Our method of inquiry is hands-on, set firmly in the realms of empirical tests of matters and fabrication on an architectural scale. Development of material science also goes hand in hand with technological shifts. As a research laboratory, our interest in material is mediated not only through experimentation with the current advancement in computation design and digital fabrication, but also applicability tested in the construction industry through live projects.

We encourage students to be adventurous in questioning established modes of production. The nature of our experimentations is grounded in cyclical processes of making prototypes with rigorous and iterative refinements of products or processes.

RC6: Stefan Bassing, Soomeen Hahm, Daniel Widrig

See RC5 above.

RC7: Richard Beckett, Marcos Cruz, Chris Leung, Javier Ruiz

BiotA Lab is an innovative design research platform that merges architecture, biology and engineering. The lab explores new modes of simulation and production in architecture, as well as advances in the fields of synthetic biology, biotechnology, molecular engineering and material sciences, and looks at how these subjects are shaping an increasingly multidisciplinary approach to environmental design. The result is a new sense of materiality, new hybrid technologies and unprecedented living forms that are redefining not only building design, but our whole built environment.

BiotA Lab work is produced between the design studio and laboratory, where innovative building systems are developed with the help of advanced computation. Modelling and simulation tools are implemented in parallel to material testing and organic growth in real laboratory conditions, providing feedback and data for the fabrication of construction components and prototypes.

Image: Bioreceptive Calcerous Composites (RC7)

RC8: Daniel Koehler

Through digital logistics the city is described, measured and molded into explicit parts of architecture. The digital mode of incorporation and encapsulation of “city” into architectural parts turns common part to whole conditions upside down. The city is articulated as a physical part of a building for the building addressing the city. This phenomenon is here addressed as large parts. Today’s zero marginal cost of digital performance effects the city not through the signification and contrast of territories, but through the sheer massing of its parts. This opens the possibility again to articulate the city with architecture: Large City Architecture.

Download this year's brief: 

PDF icon161003_rc8_course_description_short.pdf 

Labs 

Design Computation Lab

Co-directors

  • Mollie Claypool – Lecturer in Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Manuel Jimenez Garcia – Lecturer in Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Gilles Retsin – Lecturer in Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Vicente Soler – Teaching Fellow, The Bartlett School of Architecture

Design Computation Lab is a new research laboratory at The Bartlett School of Architecture developing design methods for the utilization of computational technologies in architectural design, fabrication and assembly. 

We believe architecture should be wholly digital – from the scale of the micron and particle to the brick, beam and building. This embodies a fundamental shift in architecture and design thinking that is unique to our research and projects. In our work we have demonstrated that an architecture that is digital can close gaps between the way in which we design and the way in which we fabricate and assemble objects, buildings and even infrastructure. This enables us, as architects and designers, to think evocatively and creatively about the way in which we engage with other disciplines, industries and professions, including robotics, construction, computer science, manufacturing, policy-making, and the material sciences.

Research areas of current projects

Modularity, prefabrication, robotics, additive assembly, computational methods, 3D printing, open-source, user interaction and participation. 

BiotA

Director: Professor Marcos Cruz
Co-Director: Richard Beckett

BiotA Lab is an innovative design research platform that merges architecture, biology and engineering. It is based at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, one of the world’s leading research universities. The Lab explores new modes of simulation and production in architecture, as well as advances in the field of synthetic biology, biotechnology, molecular engineering and material sciences, and how these subjects are leading towards an ever-increasing multidisciplinary approach to environmental design. The result is a new sense of materiality, new hybrid technologies and unprecedented living forms that are redefining not only building design, but our whole built environment.

Members / Collaborations

BiotA Lab is run by Professor Marcos Cruz (Director) and Richard Beckett (Co-Director) and an interdisciplinary group of teachers and researchers. Current members include Dr Chris Leung (design and research engineering), DR Guan Lee (design and manufacturing / Grymsdyke Farm), Vicente Soler (design and robotics), and Javier Ruiz (design and simulations); and for the EPSRC-funded research Prof Bill Watts (environmental design and engineering / Max Fordhams) and Dr Sandra Manso (biology and material science / UPC Barcelona).

BiotA Lab also integrates students of RC5 and RC7 in the MArch Architectural Design programme, as well as PhD-by-Design students who form part of an international network of experts in environmentally led design and novel applications of advanced biotechnologies in architecture. Regular critics include leading academics such as Prof Frederic Migayrou (B.Pro Bartlett / Centre Pompidou Paris), Dr Martyn Dade-Robertson (Arch ID University of Newcastle), Andrew Porter (Bartlett / Ashton Porter), Dr Yael Reisner (Yael Reisner architects), Manuel Jimenez (m(a)dM design), amongst many others; while thesis supervision is provided by Professor Mario Carpo (Bartlett), Natsai Audrey Chiesa (Central Saint Martins and UCL), Dr Brenda Parker (UCL Biochemical Engineering), Dr Sean Hanna (Bartlett Space Syntax), Oliver Wilton (Bartlett), and Paul Bavister (APL).

Academic collaborations of BiotA also involve ArchID Lab at the University of Newcastle UK; C-Biom.A at the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia / IaaC Spain; REX Lab at the University of Innsbruck Austria; and Grymsdyke Farm.

Research

BiotA Lab work is produced between the design studio and laboratory where innovative building systems are developed with the help of advanced computation. Modelling and simulation tools are implemented in parallel to material testing and organic growth in real laboratory conditions, providing feedback and data for the fabrication of construction components and prototypes.

Students and researchers design, grow and build bio-digital prototypes that explore a new ecological model for architecture, responding to specific climates based upon the relationship between environmental conditions and the interfacial properties of materials with mircro-organisms. In opposition to the traditional complexities and highly costly ‘green architecture’, BiotA explores an alternative symbiosis between buildings and nature that is more computationally sophisticated, and far less costly for buildings in high-dense cities.

Current research Computational seeding of bioreceptive materials is an EPSRC funded project in the UK done in collaboration with industrial partner Laing O’Rourke. It relies on the advisory support of the British Precast Federation; Multiphase Flow and Porous Media Research Group / University of Manchester; green walls specialists Biotecture; and the UCL Centre for Nature-Inspired Engineering, UCL Institute of Making, UCL Algae and B-Made; along with expertise in landscape architecture, urban planning and environmental design.

Opportunities / Dissemination

Members of the BiotA Lab develop unique skills that bridge innovative computational design, materials, fabrication and laboratory protocols. This makes former students and researchers highly desirable in a wide range of architectural practices and laboratories with a particular focus on computational, ecological and bio-integrated design. The cross-collaborative nature of the work allows BiotA Lab students to work individually as cutting edge designers and as part of greater teams that are exploring new design agendas that respond to the increasing environmental challenges in our cities.

Work produced in the BiotA Lab is also regularly exhibited and presented in international events, including Syn.de.Bio (2014), Biofabricate (2015), Biosalon (2015) and the forthcoming Ecobuild in London (2016). Projects have been disseminated in publications such as The Atlantic, Co-Design / Fast Company Magazine, B.Pro catalogues and the forthcoming edition on architecture as synthetic biology in Architecture Quarterly / Cambridge University Press.

Materials Lab

Director: Daniel Wildrig

More information to follow soon...


More information 

About B-Pro

B-Pro is the School of Architecture’s incubator for new and emerging professional practice, and the overarching structure for its MArch Architectural Design and MArch Urban Design post-professional programmes.

Attracting high-calibre staff from all over the world and led by Chair of School Professor Frédéric Migayrou, B-Pro includes a number of research ‘Labs’ dedicated to advanced experimentation in architectural and urban theory.

B-Pro Director: Professor Frédéric Migayrou
B-Pro Deputy Director: Andrew Porter
MArch AD Programme Director: Gilles Retsin
MArch UD Programme Director: Mark Smout

About The Bartlett School of Architecture

We are:

  • one of the most influential, exciting and innovative architecture schools in the world
  • located within the UK’s largest multidisciplinary faculty of the built environment, in one of the world’s top universities
  • the UK’s highest-rated department for architectural research (REF 2008, 2014), and ranked the best British school of architecture by AJ100 for 13 consecutive years
  • based in a new building at 22 Gordon Street in central London, close to world-leading architectural, engineering and creative practices, many of them partners. From 2017/18 we will also have new high-volume facilities for experimentation, making, and performance at Here East in Hackney Wick, East London
  • host to students from over 40 nations, many of them among the most sought-after in the world for their drive, creativity, and skills
  • the school where students have won a total of 6 Bronze, 3 Dissertation, and 10 Silver RIBA Presidents medal
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