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 (60 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)
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 (75 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)
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.
Application guidance for 2021 entry
Applications for 2021 entry will open on 9 November 2020 and close on 26 February 2021.
We strongly advise early application, as our programmes are over subscribed and competition is high.
It is not possible to defer an offer. 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 advised to meet the English language proficiency of their offer no later than the end of June, 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 £1,000 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
- 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
- Kostas Grigoriadis
- Advanced Architectural Studies (History and Theory)
- Dr Tania Sengupta (Module coordinator)
- Design Realisation (Technology and Professional Studies)
- 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.
- Programme Directors: Julia Backhaus and Marjan Colletti
- Postgraduate admissions: Ian Lewis
- Programme administrators: Zoe Lau and Kelly Van Hecke
Please find summaries of the briefs our design units will be working to in 2020-21 below, alongside links to unit blogs and social channels.
Current Architecture MArch students will receive full briefs at the start of term via Moodle.
- Architecture: Acts of Kindness
In the age of pandemic, protests and politics, we need to nurture kindness and compassion in the multi-engagements and practices of the built environment. Kindness is not a cure, but without individual or collective acts of kindness, there is no hope for equity, democracy or diversity. This year, we ask how kindness from different perspective – culture and communities, economies and ecologies, politics and policy – might promote social transformations of cities and buildings, and how networks of compassion and forgiveness might build resilience and address the challenges posed through climate change. Resilience is a metaphor to explore, not only in the romantic imagination of architecture but in the practices of empathy that rehabilitate wounded communities and ecologies.
Whether it is a national campaign, an informal community initiative, or simply an individual act, the heart of our students’ critical thinking and speculative narratives is where we discover the true potential of our human condition.
Image: ‘The Garden of Heavenly Enlightenment’ by Xiaoliang Deng, PG10 graduate, 2020
- Uncommon Ground
In PG11, we act as a laboratory for research, invention and spatial imagination. Over the last 20 years our teaching has focused on the relationship between architecture, dynamic landscapes and a rapidly changing climate. This year’s brief challenges students to rethink the edges and intersections between landscape and the urban realm, hand-in-hand with those between public and private space. This relationship is fluid, volatile and challenges notions that the unit continues to revisit – preservation versus progress, and wilderness versus culture.
We focus on blurring distinctions between cultured and natural landscapes highlighted by the peri-urban agricultural and logistic infrastructures of fulfilment centres, pseudo-public urban commons and the rise of the profit-based concept of ‘Natural Capital’ – the increasing privatisation of nature.
Students will develop personal research interests, based on local ‘common’ and public spaces and the interchange of conditions between them. Our work will go beyond buildings, challenging normative architectural modes, connecting science facts with science fictions and future-facing expansive environments.
Image: ‘A Festa in the Campo del Campo, Siena’, by Vincenzo Rustici, 1597
- Time for Change: Rewilding London
Exceptional architects are exceptional storytellers, and utilise change – whether of climate, ethics, or use. Assembled from materials of diverse ages, from the newly formed to those centuries or millions of years old, and incorporating varied rates of decay, a building is a time machine, curating the past and the present, and imagining the future.
In the last ten years we have witnessed significant changes that will influence the future: our education, our jobs, and even our national identities. The 2008 worldwide financial crash, 2016 Brexit vote, and amended 2008 UK Climate Act targeting net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 2020 is a momentous year and 2021 will be equally profound.
Architects must have the courage to ask awkward questions. Learning from the past in order to reimagine the future, our project this year is Rewilding London, from which new architectures, landscapes, ways of living, and a new city, will emerge.
Image: ‘An Architecture Between Cultures: The Highland Council’ by Isaac Nanabeyin Simpson, PG12 graduate, 2020
- The Living Laboratory
This year, PG13 will continue to explore how we live, how we inhabit spaces and our cities. Our students are empowering communities and inventing new typologies of living.
The most powerful architectures have been created out of a crisis, a rebellion, or a clear break with the past. The strongest pieces of architecture can be traced back to a radical new (creative) vision. This pattern can be traced all across the architectural history, and at times of great uncertainty these radical ideas emerge and flourish. What is needed is a shift in how we operate, a reconsideration of the basic principles of how we live, how we treat each other and our planet. We need to be radical.
Our work will form part of the Seoul Biennale 2021 and we are planning to host a workshop at the Venice Biennale in 2021.
Image: Bat’a Ville, East Tilbury
- Inner Form
At the centre of PG14’s academic exploration lies Buckminster Fuller’s ideal of the ‘the comprehensive designer’, a master builder who follows Renaissance principles and takes a holistic approach. Fuller referred to this ideal of the designer as somebody who is capable of comprehending the ‘integrateable significance’ of specialised findings, who is able to realise and coordinate the potentials of these discoveries, but who does not disappear into a ‘career of expertise’.
‘Inner form’ is the concept of the underlying, non-visible but existing logic of ultimate formalisation that is ‘pure truth’, but only accessible and manipulatable by those who understand the whole system, its relationships and constituents. In PG14 this year we will generate constructional systems that are forged by culture and technology; we will use our in-depth understanding of inner form to generate proposals that impact and master architectural expression.
Image: ‘Scenery in Squares’ by Sparth, 2011
Kate Davies and Susanne Isa
Storytellers in Africa say that if a story is nothing, it belongs to the teller. If it is something it belongs to everyone.
This year, PG15 will investigate the hinterlands and transitions of cities – operating between the real and the imaginary. We are interested in the transdisciplinary fields of architecture, art, museology, anthropology, and geology in order to explore the psychology of places, narratives of history, mythologies, rituals and magic.(1) Students will look at Frederick Kiesler’s theory of ‘correalism’, and The Lea Valley amongst other references.
The year will begin with plotlines where a walk or journey and a film will be the catalyst, toolkit or ‘alphabet’ for an architecture. Students will be asked to make a field guide and a parallel encyclopaedia.
Informed by this research, in Design Realisation, Year 4 students will have the set project ‘The Common Room’, while Year 5 students will devise their own programmes.
(1) According to Ioan Couliano, magic is a ‘science of the imaginary’
Image: PG15 (detail), 2020-21
- A Stationary Body
In PG16, we are focused on the exploration of an architecture that re-emphasises the need for us to have a physical engagement with, and relationship to, the environments we choose to inhabit. This year we continue our interest in explorations of the meaning of matter and seek to emphasise the body as the primary site of architectural experiences and enquiries. This is instigated by two distinct and emerging conditions. Firstly, by the effect of the recent global pandemic on the way we experience the matter, objects, materials and ecologies that frame and formulate our daily experiences. Secondly, by the desire to find architectures that negate a condition of reduced mobility within an increasingly globalised world. Whether sitting on a plane or focused on communicating through the internet, we move without our bodies moving.
Image: ‘Evaporative Buildings’, an installation by Alex Schweder, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, 2009
- Extended Mind
Mind, body and environment is a shared continuum: a complete and integrated reality in which buildings play a transformative role. Experience is this interconnected reality. It is not only a passive representation formed in the brain or merely the image of a body in a building.
In PG17 we have a profound interest in the attributes of the designed environment but also in the experience of the design process itself. We promote a collaborative understanding of architecture and seek to nurture future generations of architects who will influence the world differently, precisely because of the pluralistic underpinning of their practices. Creative autonomy is vital, but how do you engage with collective purpose?
The genre is free, but students are reminded that formal and technical virtuosity is not the solution, and that architecture is not an illustration. As Herman Herzberger recently wrote, ‘the world is tired of all that architecture on steroids.’
Image: ‘The Deluge (Going Forth by Day)’, still from video installation by Bill Viola (2002)
- Neo-Ecological Myths
This year, PG18 will study neo-ecological myths and forest metaphors, setting up projects where architecture and ecology collide. We will concentrate on Europe’s largest green urban land mass. We will focus on the London area due to its cosmopolitan culture in relation to its green urban infrastructure, in order to explore how concepts of nature and nurture are interwoven in the city.
The notion of forest and architecture will be explored by creating architecture as forest artefact. Ideas of inclusive biodiversity, cultural bias and longevity will be guided by each student’s development. Students will investigate environmental questions from political, cultural and material perspectives, and embrace both tradition and innovation in new forms of architectural expression and ‘poetic tectonics’.
Image: ‘The Nocturnal Landscape’ by Christina Grytten, PG18 graduate, 2020
Tok(c)city (the end of)
This year in PG20, we will study metropolitan, super-urban and hyper-dense megalopolises and their huge social, environmental, and spatial problems.
With the majority of the human population living in cities, new paradigms are required to reinvent the rapport between city and nature, to re-examine generous civic and private spaces, to invest in sustainable infrastructure, to reintroduce technological and material advances into the built environment, and to develop objects, buildings and towns that can communicate with each other, and with us.
We will research speculative, experimental and green urbanisation strategies to ‘make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ – as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 11. The architectural projects will be sited in Japan’s capital, Tokyo: originally a small fishing village named Edo, it has grown into Earth’s most populous metropolitan area, an ‘Alpha+’ city with 38 million inhabitants, regarded as the largest urban economy in the world by gross domestic product.
Image ‘People Walking on the Street’, altered version of a photograph by Aleksandar Pasaric
Abigail Ashton, Tom Holberton, Jasmin Sohi and Andrew Porter
“What is not surrounded by uncertainty cannot be the truth.”
We live in uncertain times. Pandemic and political instability have shaken our collective sense of the world as relatively predictable. Truth and knowledge were intended as the foundation for our democratic processes, but we now find ‘alternative facts’, Orwellian doublethink and the digital bubble are creating a chronic sense of uncertainty.
Advancement of knowledge offers a different perspective, where the measurement of uncertainty is a vital tool for critical thinking. It enables us to build, research and teach computers to dream and think.
PG21 is interested in designs that are not determinate or fixed but architecture that is uncertain. This year, we will explore Dungeness, on the edge of the UK, where the rules break down. Proposals might exist in parallel times, in both the physical and the digital, or offer alternate realities of perspective, scale or competing algorithms.
Image: AI-generated versions of Unit 21 work from 2019–2020
- Shaking POPS
Izaskun Chinchilla Moreno and Daniel Ovalle Costal
This year, PG22 will explore how we can make Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) transparent, fair and accessible.
In 1958 the square by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson’s Seagram Building in Park Avenue changed New York planning regulations and gave birth to the phenomenon of POPS. This trend has changed the nature of public space in cities across the world to such an extent that London’s City Hall and the public space around it are now privately owned.
Students will research POPS in London or wherever they are based in the world, analysing the stakeholders involved in their planning, delivery and daily use, interrogating who they benefit and who they exclude. Based on their critical analyses, students will redesign existing POPS and the buildings in their immediacy. Students’ designs will aim to rebalance stakeholder interests with opportunities for local communities, as well as promoting sustainability and increasing biodiversity.
Image: ‘Public Square in Pamplona, Spain’ by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects, 2019
PG24 is a group of architectural storytellers employing film, animation, VR/XR and physical modelling techniques to explore architecture’s relationship with time.
This year we will continue to address issues of climate change, by reconnecting the body with its most basic function: walking. In the wake of the global pandemic which has upended all of our lives, we propose to use walking as a primary method of engaging with and reclaiming the city.
Driven by wanderlust, we will explore walking and its relationship with architecture and film as a methodology for developing our designs, as a hybrid site of body-space-time and finally as a way of bringing us all together in transit, for long peripatetic tutorial/walks.
Between wandering, marching, protesting and rambling, from solitary expeditions, to group pilgrimages, we will build a new dynamic design vocabulary, proposing new ecological modes of occupation that can foresee and withstand the needs of our dramatically changing world.
Image: ‘The Long Now Foundation’ by Nico Czyz (2016)
- Decadent Ecologies: An Inquisitive Practice
In PG25, we are interested in helping students to develop their own design methods and media. We are interested in the parallels between idea and media in representation and ideas and materials and construction processes in architecture. We encourage students to think through their drawings and constructions to develop their own sets of logic.
Last year we took a thematic interest in the expedition – spatially feeling the presence of the distant from here and vice-versa. This year, we will expand this interest into larger and more diverse networks. One of the pleasures of architecture is the way it connects with and gathers so many varied interests and concerns. We will ask how these spatial networks equate to ecological networks.
Architecture typically treats our ecological jeopardy in a reductive and determinist manner and this separation from all the other things architecture discusses is a reason we make little progress. We will ask how ecological responsibility can tie in with the pleasures and practicalities that we care about in architecture. We will try to intertwine students’ individual research interests in a productive way to open up an ecology of ideas.
Image: ‘Shouldering the Imitation Ox’, by Richard Kearton, c.1909