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Architectural Design MArch

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

About the programme

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.

Apply now


Programme 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 2017-18 Architectural Design MArch research clusters and labs below


Key staff

All Architectural Design MArch staff

Gilles Retsin
Programme Director, Research Cluster 4 Tutor
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 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, Research Cluster 7 Tutor
Richard Beckett is Manager of The Bartlett’s 3D printing centre, Research Cluster 7 Tutor and Leader of Architecture 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, Research Cluster 7 Tutor
Marcos Cruz is an architect and Reader at The Bartlett School of Architecture. He was Director of the school from 2011-2014. He leads BiotA Lab and co-leads The Bartlett’s Architecture 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
Research Cluster 6 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
Research Cluster 1 Tutor
Daghan Cam is an architect and a researcher whose work is focused on supercomputing. He holds an Master's degree from the Architectural Association. Previously, he worked for Zaha Hadid Architects and taught at Architectural Association 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 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 is currently working with Wilkinson Eyre Architects, London. She graduated from the Architectural Association with a Master's in Architecture and Urbanism. Prior to this, she studied in both New Zealand and Denmark, gaining her degree 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 research and development 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 Master's in Material Futures from Central Saint Martins.

Manuel Jimenez Garcia
Research Cluster 4 Tutor
Manuel Jimenez Garcia holds a Master's degree from the Architectural Association and has previously taught at the Architectural Association, Universidad Politecnica Madrid and Universidad Europea Madrid. As well as teaching on this programme, he is Unit Master of Architecture MArch Unit 19, co-curator of the Bartlett Plexus and co-founder of Emeidiem, 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. Daniel 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 graduated with a degree in Architecture from McGill Montreal, and received 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. His practice, Grymsdyke Farm, is set in the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire. Guan is a lecturer in Design.

Dr Christopher Leung
Research Cluster 3 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.

Vicente Soler
Research Cluster 5 Tutor
Vicente Soler consults and lectures as a specialist in computational design and digital fabrication. He has worked with several offices, participating in multiple internationally recognised projects. At the University in Madrid, he worked as a researcher in robotics applied to architecture and taught on several postgraduate architectural programmes. Now at The Bartlett, Vicente co-directs Design Computation Lab, coordinates the Architectural Design MArch technical skills module and offers support for computation and robotics. He 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, 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.

Contributing and 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, 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 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.


Modes and duration

Full time - one year, taught over 12 months


Entry requirements

Candidates normally need a minimum of a second-class degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Candidates will be asked to submit a portfolio of their design work once their completed application has been received.

Applications open for this programme on Monday 15 October 2018 and close on Friday 26 July 2019 for 2019 entry.
We strongly advise early application, as our programmes are over subscribed and competition is high. 


Careers

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


Research Clusters and Labs

Architectural Design MArch students work collaboratively within teaching groups called research clusters, which allow students to pursue a rigorous approach to architecture within a speculative and creative environment. Find out more about the 2017-18 Research Clusters below. 

2018-19 Research Clusters

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

Research Cluster 1 2018-19

As the world becomes a more connected, efficient yet complex place – and with the emergence of cyber-physical systems such as industrial robots, 3D printers and scanners and use of machine learning and artificial intelligence – the boundaries between the digital and the physical have started to disappear. Architects are learning how to think and design in collaboration with machines, while automation is becoming inseparable from architectural production. 

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 the industry partner, Robotic 3D printing company Ai-Build, we will challenge the current state of the industry, understanding the 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 – industrial manufacturing technology – material technology – culture and discourse, with the aim to empower the architect to invent new architectural models of production, assembly, economy, habitation and ultimately space. 

Over the course of the year, students will be developing 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 dealing with structural analysis, polygon modelling, class A surface modelling, algorithmic strategies and simulation data inputs will be generated which will be fed to computerised numerically controlled (CNC) industrial machines. In this context the relationship of parts – manufactured through various industrial processes, production sequences and detail solutions – will need to be considered and understood solving the condition of the object first, before moving on to the development of a spatial framework.

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

Research Cluster 3 interrogates the notion of living architecture as a coupling of living systems with the assembly and formation of architecture. Our research focuses on developing experimental design models embedded with the ability to self-organise, self-assess, and self-improve, using machine learning methods. It seeks 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. One thread of the research focuses on physical reconfiguration enabled through autonomous robotic assembly systems that are tuned and trained in digital simulation environments. Another thread focuses on design models that apply artificial intelligence to spatial organisation to improve at solving multi-objective architectural problems. Rather than treating the elements of architecture as layers that are optimised separately, this model improves itself at negotiating between multiple potentially changing objectives through the configuration and assembly of simple parts.

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

If you join Research Cluster 5 or Research Cluster 6, you will be part of Material Architecture Lab. This is a design-led research platform with particular emphasis on materiality. The lab works across disciplines and methodologies: art and science, design and architecture, computational and manual. This year, we have identified ‘synthetic’ as an additional concept alongside our core intertest: development of design aesthetics through material explorations.
‘What isn’t synthetic?’ The root of this inquiry is expensive and convoluted. We would like you to unpack this question as design strategies.

‘What is synthetic evolution?’ Projects within the lab go through iterative processes not only within an academic year but also from one research group to the next. Material experiments evolve from block samples to components that can grow in scale and utility. How can we develop past projects from the lab further and realise their full aesthetic potential? Importantly, why are they architecture?

Instagram: @materialarchitecturelab

Research Cluster 7: Richard Beckett

Research Cluster 7 2018-19

Research Cluster 7 is an innovative design research studio that considers how advances in biotechnology and engineering are affecting architecture. The cluster explores new modes of digital design workflows and novel fabrication methods, as well as advances in the fields of synthetic biology, biotechnology, genetic engineering and material sciences, and how these subjects are leading towards an ever-increasing multidisciplinary approach to 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.

Students will explore new methods of bio-digital fabrication, integrating themes including material and design engineering, bio-augmented design, environmental sustainability, new rules for structures, cell/tissue growth, novel architectural tectonics and large-scale fabrication. This work aim towards an architecture that uses principles of biology combined with the latest computational methods for simulation and digital fabrication to create beautiful, usable, tangible, and economically viable building prototypes.

Research Cluster 8: Kostas Grigoriadis

Research Cluster 8 2018-19

Towards a Non-Discrete Architecture

The assimilation of graded materiality in architecture promises a fundamental shift in how elements come together and points towards a future where tectonic construction will be superseded by the seamless topology of multi-material space. In anticipation of this development, Research Cluster 8 will continue to explore new procedures for designing and building with material gradients, eschewing component-based assembly and the standard paradigm of 20th century mechanical connectivity. 


The first part of this exploration will concern the manufacturing of multi-material samples consisting of two or more fused sub-materials. In parallel, the assimilation of graded information digitally and the simulation of material fusion will feed into, as well as be informed by, the physical material studies. In the subsequent part we will draw from these initial studies and use optimisation routines to design and build large-scale segments of building envelopes, rethinking this quintessentially component-based building element 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 for the near future.

Research Cluster 9: Soomeen Hahm, Alvaro Lopez Rodriguez

Research Cluster 9

We are living in the Age of Augmentation – machines have become an inseparable part of our daily lives. We are immersing ourselves into rapidly developing mixed realities. Research Cluster 9 is interested in exploring the interaction between human, machine and data and their mutual relationships throughout computational design and fabrication processes. We pose the question: what is the most meaningful role for each of these three components in regards to the way we live, the way we build our living environment?

The cluster will look at this issue through the utilisation of technologies of mixed reality and the internet of things. With the current state of computational design discourse and the potential of virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence technologies in mind, we aim to challenge the modes of interaction between designer and virtual model, emphasising intuitive input throughout design and production processes.

Instagram
 

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 that use computational technologies in architectural design, fabrication and assembly. 

Design Computation Lab believes that architecture should be wholly digital on every scale from the particle to the building. The lab's digital architecture work closes the gaps between the way in which architects design and the way in which objects, buildings and even 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

Led by Daniel Wildrig and Guan Lee

Material Architecture Lab

Contact

Admissions enquiries
Thea Heintz 

Course enquiries 
Programme Administrator: Sally Parekh 
Programme Director: Gilles Retsin

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