MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation

In a world where established customs, systems and structures are increasingly unstable there is a need for a different kind of architectural thinking - one that identifies and exploits opportunities, and address the challenges of contemporary society. In this Course you'll explore the edges of the disciplinary boundaries of architecture, and test design approaches which respond to the burgeoning need for contemporary city design to focus not only on the traditional ‘hard’ infrastructures of buildings, transport and engineering, but also the softer infrastructures of social networks, organization and human interactions.

This course is part of the: Spatial Practices Programme

Scholarships, Awards and Funding available:

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships: 
Home/EU | International
Jane Rapley Scholarships

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.

Reasons to Apply

  • MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation has been designed to enable you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies; your taught input will normally be scheduled over a maximum of two to three days per week during term time. 
  • Prepare yourself for entry into a changing profession – the practice of architecture continues to go through changes, MA Architecture Cities and Innovation offers you the opportunity to engage with the challenges of the future now.
  • Explore the role of architecture in creating sustainable communities – architecture can be much more than designing new buildings. On this Course you will challenge the traditional role of the architect, and develop new ways of working that engage with real and long-term sustainability.
  • Engage in professional practice as part of your studies – you are required to undertake 10 weeks of industry placement as a part of your studies. Through this, you will have the opportunity to engage with and understand both existing forms of practice and to posit new ways of working.
  • Work closely with communities, clients and social enterprise – projects and opportunities on the Course will bring you into contact with communities, clients and social enterprises which seek to open up new approaches to your role as a future architect.
  • Collaborate with other professions – architectural practice constantly requires that you are able to communicate and collaborate with other professionals. MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation creates opportunities for students to work with other professions, both within the College and outside.

Facts

Course Leader

Dr Melanie Dodd

Course Location

King's Cross, London

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course LengthFull time: 2 years (60 weeks)
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £4,500 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £11,510 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateSeptember 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September 2017 – Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January 2018 – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April 2018– Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route

Direct application


Content and structure

In a world where established customs, systems and structures are increasingly under scrutiny, there is a need for a different type of architectural thinking – one that identifies and exploits opportunities and addresses the challenges of the 21st century.

MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation is part of the Spatial Practices programme. It is uniquely positioned at Central Saint Martins to draw on dynamic design thinking from a range of practices from fashion through performance design to product design. Research, analysis, proposition and intervention will enable you to develop new insights, solutions and methodologies for exploring  the challenges of new forms of architecture  within a rapidly changing environment.

The course capitalises on London's central position within both local and global networks. We see London as a ‘world laboratory’ - an ideal test bed for urban innovation in response to social, cultural and political change, where you can develop strategies and methodologies to expand and enable localised change and drive effective and sustainable development strategies.

High on our agenda are the needs of a broad range of participants in the human environment. You can play a crucial role in supporting communities and individuals to attain the benefits associated with development and physical change in the urban environment, but this requires a new approach. Through closer, collaborative engagement with local groups, you can empower communities to become active participants in the process of development; enabling and building cultural and social, as well as economic, capital.

The increasing complexity of global change, and the related socio-economic, cultural and environmental issues require that architects develop a broad skill set that can be described as 'context-led' architecture; seeking solutions that address local issues which arise from global agendas.

The skills that will allow you to engage with and guide innovation will be of greatest value. Whether in driving small scale transformations or enabling effective large-scale development, graduates of MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation will have the knowledge and awareness to recognise the potential of architecture and the skills to create sustainable transformations in the urban environment.

About this course

  • This 60 week course is structured over two consecutive academic years each of 30 weeks in its 'extended full-time mode'. MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises 2 units. Unit 1 (60 credits) lasts 20 weeks. Unit 2 (120 credits) runs for 10 weeks in the first year and 30 weeks in the second year.
  • Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of your MA award derives from your mark for Unit 2 only.
  • You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies, within which your taught input will normally be scheduled over three days. The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or caring responsibilities.

Unit 1 – Methodologies for Architectural Engagement

Throughout this unit, there is an emphasis on the use of innovative approaches to design problem solving and architectural practice. You will therefore explore the subject of innovation as a means of developing your methodologies through workshops, seminars, readings and lectures..

Using London as a ‘laboratory’ you will engage in a series of projects intended to help you to identify and respond to opportunities for engagement and intervention. Each project will require you to work collaboratively with fellow students and external groups and the outcomes  will be critically analysed to develop clear methodologies for future engagements.

You will explore existing practice in order to propose new ways in which architecture can engage with stakeholders. Key questions in the process will be:

  • What are the key issues for the  development of communities?
  • How can the public be a part of the design process?
  • What is the ‘outcome’ of an architect’s engagement?


As a part of your investigation into existing practice, you will research and plan your Industry Placement (part of Unit 2). Working with staff and mentors in seminars and workshops, you will develop a clear programme of what you wish to achieve during your placement and prepare the necessary material to secure it.

Unit 2 – Innovating in Architectural Practice

Unit 2 begins with an industry placement which you will spend working within the industry to familiarise yourself with the issues and challenges associated with the profession today. You are responsible for identifying and arranging this placement.  We encourage you to consider a broad range of different forms of practice when considering where to undertake your placement. Working with a Mentor, drawn from among leading practitioners and members of the Course Team, you will seek to use your placement to develop further your understanding of the ways in which architects engage with the users and clients. By the end of your placement, you will have prepared a review report, reflecting on your experiences and relating them to contemporary theories of architecture and design.

Following your placement, you will begin your Major Project, which lasts throughout your final year of study.

You will begin by identifying a research question and site which enable you to explore issues relevant to the contemporary urban environment and social conditions.

Utilising the methodologies developed and explored in Unit 1 and in your placement experience, you will propose an urban architectural intervention intended to create positive, long-term, large-scale impact. You should seek to engage the community and stakeholders in both the process and the outcome so that it has a sustainable future.

You should make use of both the ‘traditional’ means of architectural communication (drawings, models, 3D visualisation) and more contemporary, individual methods of communication. You will develop a written project report enabling you to contextualise your work with historical and contemporary theories of architecture and urbanism as well as documenting the way in which the project progresses. Input and feedback from the communities and collaborators with whom you have worked will be crucial.

Find out more about this course:

Staff

Course Leader:Andreas Lang

Professor of Architecture: Jeremy Till

Acting Programme Research Leader:Tricia Austin
Senior Lecturer:Oscar Brito
Professional Practice Coordinator:Greg Ross

Associate Lecturer, Architectural Design and Practice: Sarah Featherstone
Associate Lecturer, Architecture, Participation and Practice:David Chambers
Associate Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Practice: Inigo Minns
Associate Lecturer: Anna Hart
Associate Lecturer: Liza Fior
Associate Lecturer: Tom Holbrook
Associate Lecturer:Maria Lisogorskaya (Assemble Studio)
Associate Lecturer: Takeshi Hayatsu
Associate Lecturer: Julia King
Associate Lecturer: Carlos Villanueva Brandt

Postdoctoral Fellow in Spatial Practices: Rebecca Ross 



Careers

MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation prepares graduates for employment in architectural practice, urban design, planning, development, and public consultation. In addition, the course provides a solid grounding for continued academic development toward research and PhD study.

Drawing upon extensive industry links within the Spatial Practices Programme, the Course seeks to offer students a unique learning opportunity to engage with live projects and real clients, developing innovative approaches to public engagement and a radical reconsideration of architectural practice.

"In 10 years we probably will not call ourselves an architecture practice, it will be something else entirely" (Architect, Small London-based practice)
From "The Future for Architects", Building Futures, RIBA, 2010.


Change is inevitable and  being prepared for change is a challenge. MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation encourages students to take a radical approach to architectural practice; seeking ways in which the architect of the future can work across the industry and beyond.  The course is predicated on the reality that the practice of architecture is changing. There are increasing pressures on the profession from shifts in the way that projects are developed, as well as the changes to the global economy. How will we practice in the future?

"The invasion of the architect's role shouldn't be seen as a threat but as a natural change that can be exploited - we must find our new opportunities and education should shift to accommodate that." (Architect, Large global practice) From "The Future for Architects", Building Futures, RIBA, 2010.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit the Student Jobs And Careers section.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an Upper First Class (2.1) Honours Degree, or equivalent, from an ARB Prescribed course in architecture (or equivalent), and normally at least one year of relevant professional experience.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate their competence in English to IELTS Level 6.5 by the production of an IELTS Certificate or evidence of an equivalent level of achievement.

Applications are welcomed from candidates from all cultures, life experiences and educational backgrounds.

MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation at Central Saint Martins is open only to candidates with a first degree in architecture, prescribed by the Architects Registration Board, or equivalent.

When making an application, you are asked to submit a link to a website containing your portfolio. 

Selection will be on the basis of the following criteria:

  • that you have a clear research agenda, related to the aims of the MA course;
  • that you can generate and communicate a range of ideas;
  • you can analyse a design problem from a number of perspectives and generate a range of design responses to a particular problem;
  • that you can show an understanding of technology, environment and professional practice and how they relate to architectural designs;
  • that you can show that your personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims and objectives of the MA course;
  • that you can demonstrate the necessary fluency in your design process to be able to benefit from the MA course.

Selection and portfolio review teams normally consist of two people. For overseas applicants, a decision regarding the offer of a place on the course will be made on the basis of a portfolio review, undertaken by the MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation selection team.

All applicants will be required to provide referees, who will in turn be asked to complete a referee questionnaire.

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two, at least one should be an academic or professional reference).

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal statement

A statement explaining what role the course would play in your personal and professional development and where you aim to locate yourself within the cultural and commercial industries

Portfolio

You’ll need to submit a digital portfolio of supporting work illustrating your previous experience and practical skills. Selection will be made on the basis of the following criteria:

  • You have a clear research agenda, related to the aims of the MA course;
  • You can generate and communicate a range of ideas;
  • You can analyse a design problem from a number of perspectives and generate a range of design responses to a particular problem;
  • You can show an understanding of technology, environment and professional practice and how they relate to architectural designs;
  • You can show that your personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims and objectives of the MA course;
  • You can demonstrate the necessary fluency in your design process to be able to benefit from the MA course.

Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

Start your application now

Applications can be submitted throughout the academic year.

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

We read and consider all application forms and personal references. Please note we give particular attention to your study statement and references.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview. You'll be asked to bring a portfolio of your latest work. For candidates applying for external funding, interviews will be scheduled prior to funding body deadlines.

Can't attend the interview

If you're a home/EU or international applicant unable to attend for interview, the MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation Course Leader would hope to discuss your application by telephone.

In the case of applicants unable to attend for interview and unable to discuss their application by telephone, a decision regarding the offer of a place on the course will be made on the basis of a review of the application materials. We keep notes about decisions made following the initial application review and the interview process.

Selection is by two members of staff (normally the Course Leader and one other), and offers of places are made on the basis of our selection criteria. Applicants are informed of the decision via either the Student Administration or the International Office.

Open days

Open days are a great opportunity to meet staff and students and to find out at first hand about courses, teaching and student life. Visit the open day section for dates to book your session. Bookings can only be made online, not by phone or email.

Industry collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Recent client projects in the Spatial Practices programme include: London Borough of Camden | National Trust | Arup | Mindfolio | New World Development | Grange Hotels | Oasis | Hot Spots Movement |  Redbridge Council | Southbank Centre. Find out more about the Ochirly client project

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

Make an enquiry