Architecture MArch at The Bartlett has an international reputation for encouraging a rigorous professional approach to architecture within a highly creative context.
One of the leading Part 2 architecture programmes in the UK, this degree allows students to develop a position of deep understanding about what architecture is and what it could be. Students strengthen their core skills in design, technology, history and theory, and professional studies, working closely with world-class tutors, academics and practitioners.
Unique to The Bartlett School of Architecture, half of the programme is delivered through design modules or groups, known as design units, which run throughout both years. Although distinct from one another, our units deliver a common set of principles with the support of a dedicated practice-based tutor.
Architecture MArch students benefit not only from the unique teaching style and structure at The Bartlett, but also from unrivalled industry networking opportunities, including the largest architecture graduate showcase in the UK, The Bartlett Summer Show.
- Work with world-class tutors, both academic experts and practising architects
- Take speculative risks with your projects and test the boundaries of how architecture is defined
- Learn, practise and research within a design unit, with the dedicated support and expertise of a practice-based tutor
- Enjoy the school’s unrivalled reputation and networking opportunities and exhibit in the annual Bartlett Summer Show
“The unit system allows close connections to form whilst still maintaining an open and friendly feeling within the programme.
Sam Coulton, Architecture MArch graduate, 2018
I wanted to study Architecture at The Bartlett, because their programmes seemed to open doors to more than one profession. The school is extremely good at supporting and developing the wildest interests of its students, which makes the environment exciting and stimulating.
“This programme at The Bartlett encouraged me to be explorative and define my own intellectual position in relation to my work. I intend to take these ideas forward in the future when I begin to practice architecture professionally.
Sonia Magdziarz, Architecture MArch graduate, 2018
- Advanced Architectural Design 1 (90 credits)
Working within a Design Unit, students experiment with different approaches to design and representation and develop a conceptual and critical approach towards the aesthetic, functional and programmatic dimensions of their projects. Students build on the momentum they have gained from practice on their year (or two years) out.
They develop and resolve an inventive and authoritative architectural proposition, leading to a sophisticated building design, which responds to site, content and brief and critically examines the project’s historic, urban and social context.
Whilst developing their proposals, students are encouraged to identify areas of research that they will develop further in their final year 5.
- History and Theory of Architecture (30 credits)
Coordinator: Tania Sengupta
Guided by thematic seminar groups and their tutor’s research expertise, students develop critical awareness of the role of history, theory and criticism in architectural discourse. Students use independent learning and research to complete a substantial essay on a topic of their choice.
- Design Realisation (30 credits)
Coordinators: Pedro Gil and Stefan Lengen
This module encourages students to consider how buildings are designed, constructed and delivered. Students reflect on the relationship between building design and technology, the environment and the profession through an iterative critical examination of their major building design project developed within their Design Unit. Each unit has a dedicated practiced-based tutor, whose support is fully integrated in the operations of the unit for the majority of the year.
- Advanced Architectural Design 2 (105 credits)
Year 5 is understood as the school's pinnacle in research based architectural education. Underpinned by the comprehensiveness of year 4, this module offers students an entire academic year to develop a complex spatial design proposition in synthesis with their Thesis dissertation.
Working within their Design Unit, students develop an advanced architectural proposition that is driven by rigour, freedom and excellence. Students are encouraged to take speculative risks with their projects in order to test the boundaries of how architecture is defined, understood, practiced and researched. Final projects take many forms, including drawings, models, films, prototypes, digital artefacts or systems, performances or interdisciplinary collaborations.
- Thesis (45 credits)
Coordinator: Oliver Wilton
Students research a specific area of architectural interest that informs their design research, resulting in a thesis. This module supports the development of different research approaches through which students undertake their study, including: humanities-based critical and historical analysis, empirical data collection and analysis, social science methodologies, iterative design research, and technical/scientific applications.
This programme is taught full-time over a period of two academic years.
A minimum of a second-class degree in architecture from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Corporate membership of the following UK professional institutions: Architects Registration Board (ARB); the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) would also meet the requirement.
Once your application has been received, you will be asked to submit a portfolio of your design work. Please do not send or upload your work until it has been requested. Although it is not a requirement, professional work experience taken after completing your undergraduate degree is also expected.
Applications open for this programme on 01 November 2019 and close on 24 February 2020.
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.
- Programme Directors
- Departmental tutor
- Advanced Architectural Studies (History and Theory)
- Design Realisation (Technology and Professional Studies)
Pedro Gil (Module coordinator)
- Thesis tutors
Architecture MArch is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Students who successfully complete it are exempted from Part 2 of the ARB/RIBA examinations.
The school’s graduates have an excellent record of employment and destinations vary from internationally renowned offices to small-scale specialist practices. Other career destinations include film-making, website design and furniture design.
Please find summaries of the briefs our design units will be working to in 2019-20 below, alongside links to unit blogs and social channels.
Current Architecture MArch students will receive full briefs at the start of term via Moodle.
- WHAT IF?: An alternative urbanism history
‘Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion, too. Imagine all the people. Living life in peace…’ – John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Imagine, 1971
What if Christopher Wren’s plan for London was implemented after the Great Fire of 1666? Or San Francisco rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake with a Japanese motif and renamed Sansokyo, as featured in Chris Williams and Don Hall’s ‘Big Hero 6’ (2014)? In Frank Capra’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ (1946), a desperately frustrated man is shown by an angel what life would have been like if he had never existed.
Through the study of alternative histories, PG10 will explore how to address a world in crisis with resilient architecture and planning, tailored for the determining factors of climate, resources and the idiosyncrasies of humanity.
Image: ‘Disneyland in Las Vegas', by CJ Lim, 2012
This year, PG11 will continue to speculate on unknown or as-yet unimagined worlds. We will investigate themes of incompleteness that (whether intentional or accidental) bring opportunities for reinvention. We will reboot stories of change and adaptation and of bold ideas and incomplete visions. The intriguing qualities of the incomplete invite alternative futures, and unresolved stories lead inevitably to new endings with untold or substitute narratives.
In the worlds of architecture, music and art, incompletion carries with it the tantalising indication of the creative process. Unbuilt and incomplete buildings are as numerous as the ruins of obsolete architecture. Drawing on this back catalogue of defunct imaginings we will create adaptations, reimagine alternative futures and future pasts and design new relationships with contemporary contexts.
Our field trip to Sicily will provide inspiration for projects in the form of four stories, which demonstrate architecture’s responsive and fluctuating relationship with landscape, politics, culture and environment.
Image: 'Portrait of Mariana de Silva y Sarmiento, Duquesa de Huescar', by Anton Raphael Mengs, 1775.
- Cultivating the Future and the Past
How long should a building last? 100 years? 200 years? 1000 years? How can a building adjust and transform during this time, so that construction, maintenance and ruination are simultaneous and ongoing processes? The inevitability of change – whether of use, climate or governance – can be partially anticipated when the act of design is creatively applied to questions that address the future as well as the present and the past. We need to build with an appreciation of longevity not as a linear, static concept, but one in which a building is in an ever-evolving state with no single state being deemed a moment of completion.
This year, as a stimulus to architectural imagination in a changing world of limited resources, PG12 will propose that buildings should be designed to endure and adapt, emphasising longevity, not obsolescence.
Image: 'John Evelyn Institute of Arboreal Science', by Tom Noonan
In 1919, the Addison Act was passed, legislating the provision of public housing due to the shortage after the First World War. This triggered a tradition of modern and forward-looking state-owned housing in planned council estates, designed for the society of a brave new world.
One hundred years later, on the centenary of the Addison Act, PG13 will investigate a range of these housing developments and design a new model paradigm that echoes the shifts in society, culture, community and environment. Students will dream up their own Utopias and bring them to life in a multitude of inhabitable spaces ranging from domestic environments to city-scale landscapes.
Image: 'The Robin Hood Gardens, demolition'. Photo by Dezeen.
- Systemic Impact
This year, PG14 will explore Buckminster Fuller’s ideal of the ‘Comprehensive Designer’, a master-builder who follows Renaissance principles and takes a holistic approach. The Comprehensive Designer is capable of comprehending the ‘integrateable significance’ of specialised findings and coordinating the potentials of these discoveries without disappearing into a career of expertise.
Like Fuller, PG14 will be searching for new ideas and their benefits via architectural synthesis. This year, students will focus on the awareness that architecture can affect at a deep systemic level, considering that the architectural proposition is in itself a system of interrelated constituents, where the findings of interdisciplinary systems theory can be applied. This awareness will allow students to take a method-driven approach, proposing architecture of great performance and considered expression, while driving architectural authorship and novelty.
Image: 'Futuristic Port' by Sparth
Parallel Presents / Parallel Presence
This year, PG15 will explore the interrelated modes of temporality in the context of our relationship to the umwelt (self-centred world or world as it is experienced), deep history, and investigations into ‘managed retreats’ in the UK. Students will develop transdisciplinary methods to design and communicate their architecture, looking at art, film, manufacturing, anthropology, book design and curation.
While Year 4 students investigate Goole, a town and port in the north of England, its masterplan for thousands of new homes and a major new factory, Year 5 students will be encouraged to develop their own polemic agenda.
- What Matters and the Capability to be Sensed
This year, PG16 explore architecture that re-emphasises our physical engagement with – and relationship to – the environments we choose to inhabit. Students will focus their studies on the realm of the physical, mediated by the realm of data, and investigate the ways in which both are sensed.
The site of the unit’s enquiries will be the automated, agricultural landscapes of Southern California, where students will contrast our observations of the controlled and data-mediated worlds with experimental ideas of collective living and notions of ‘arcology’. Students will explore how the shift to automated ‘taskscapes’ acts as a model for the manifestation of a post-work economy, as well as a re-balance of the relationship between time spent on leisure and work.
Image: Professor Henrik Spohler, image from the series ‘The Third Day’. Date Palm Plantation near Palm Springs, California, USA
- Prompt, Score, Ensemble
Economic, social and environmental questions are multiplying and no single governing author, idea or technology can handle the complex conditions our societies face. Accepting that architecture is a composing act, able to synthesise numerous considerations, PG17 proposes to turn its core practice of design into an action of performance that requires dialogic imagination and can be openly scored and directed by architects.
Scores aim to describe a process—they are works in themselves but also preparatory pieces for influencing further work. Scoring can unlock new modes of communication, production and inhabitation in the architectural process, encouraging much needed slippages between tools, cultures, authors and users. It can mix in unexpected ways times past with times future, and human skill with other forms of intelligence.
Through open scoring, students will associate and disassociate the parts of an ensemble to create buildings that while they will evoke oneness and inclusivity, they may also be contradictory and thought-provoking.
Image: 'Island', by students from PG17, 2018
PG18 believe that architecture has the capacity to stimulate innovation by embracing culture and technology simultaneously. The unit investigates environmental questions from a political, cultural and material understanding in order to generate poetic tectonics.
This year, PG18 will explore the dynamic nature of culture. We will look at the Colombian culture industry and its need to market itself for the growing tourism industry, asking: can we market culture in more innovative and sustainable ways?
We will examine how innovation and culture interact, looking at the design of cultural research centres. Students will investigate how culture is perceived, encrypted, performed and manifested in well-crafted architecture, inspired by themes such as magical realism, myth art and technological innovation.
Image: 'Outposts at the Worlds' Conjunction', by Tul Srisompun, PG18, 2019.
- Architecture Out Of
This year, PG20 will explore multiple definitions of ‘out of’* to develop an understanding of the relationships between landscape, data, nature and architecture.
Using the Canary Islands as a testbed, students will look at how climate, geology and natural and made-made ecosystems have evolved in a volcanic archipelago off the Atlantic Coast of north west Africa. Students will explore how locals, tourists, machines and automated systems could develop and adapt in this environment, designing ‘out of’ architectures for the future, which facilitate a new hi-complexity symbiosis between natural life and artificial life.
*Architecture ‘out of’ means:
- No longer in a stated place or condition – architecture is no longer considered a static, stand-alone discipline
- Shows what something is made from – it is a form of material alchemy
- Used to show the reason why someone does something – it must have a purpose, greater than narratives and pretty illustrations
- From among an amount or number – it approximates variables among multiple possibilities, not only ‘the one’
- Used to describe where something came from or began – it has an origin and is intrinsic to human culture
- No longer involved in – it supersedes its own dogmas and doctrines (the real challenges are of a different nature).
Image by Javier Ruiz
'It is the city of mirrors, the city of mirages, at once solid and liquid, at once air and stone.' – Erica Jong
Facebook, Google and Instagram now render a highly distorted digital universe where no two people see the same. Algorithms understand our desires and dreams and present to us an echo chamber, whilst smart devices and AI increasingly manipulate our physical environment and our behaviour. In a world of deep fakes, multiple realities are often defined by what people will believe in, and not just what happened.
This year, PG21 will question how architecture should offer multiple realities. How can it exist across different states, different scales or different perspectives? And in this fluidity, what aspects need to remain constant and grounded?
Image: 'Dream of Venice in Black and White’, by Tiziano Scarpa
- The Caring City
Izaskun Chinchilla Moreno and Daniel Ovalle Costal
After decades of industrialisation, our cities are geared towards productivity but yet have become hostile environments for non-productive activities.
Woman have historically performed jobs that are not given a market value, attending to others without financial gain or institutional support. This has generated a unique capital, the heritage of care, whilst simultaneously creating a hidden dimension in cities, where biological and subjective aspects are fundamental.
This year, PG22 will develop a live and active definition of care, addressing its complexity and diversity and questioning the formal and legal devices that prevent, neglect, marginalise and exclude care. Students will be investigating projects which allow rest, introduce play and games, increase biodiversity, facilitate sharing, help maintain physical and mental health, promote affection and pleasure, socialise childcare and intensify social gathering.
Image: ‘Utopicus Clementina’ in Barcelona Spain – coworking office, balustrade detail. By Izaskun Chinchilla Architects, 2019.
PG24 is a group of architectural storytellers employing film, animation, VR/AR and physical modelling techniques to explore architecture’s relationship with time. As a direct response to the Architecture Education Declares open letter, this year PG24 will engage with a deep study of the cultural and geo-scientific parameters of climate change.
We will look beyond the male-dominated, white, proto-religious conversations of wild panic, indifference or denial by questioning issues of identity, rethinking materiality, harnessing digital technology, and employing fiction and allegory as a design method. We will ask: can the looming catastrophe of climate change be switched into a positive, creative force in architectural design? Can a critical use of technology really save us? Can we design guilt-free? Our London testbed will be the Thames Estuary and we will travel to New Orleans to study the role of American cities as both the villain and the victim.
Image: 'Unnatural History Museum', Pascal Loschetter, 2019
- … On Expedition
PG25 are fascinated by experimental processes of designing and making architecture, both as a form of practice and as an educational method.
This year, our work will be fuelled by the idea of the expedition, implying a consciousness of other places and times. Students will be encouraged to speculate on and test ideas for ways in which the city and architecture can facilitate discovery, expedition and adventure, with intense depth and rigour.
Preparing for an expedition is a paradoxical practice, as it requires speculative preparation for things and events of which we have no prior knowledge. Students’ early research work will engage directly with this process, in anticipation of the unknown. The unit will take field trips to Switzerland and France, where we will visit a number of intensely personal buildings, worlds and inventions, including Rudolf Steiner’s Goetheanum and Corbusier’s Ronchamp Chapel.
Image: S.A. Andrée’s 1897 balloon mission to the North Pole. Credit: Tekniska Museet