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Critical Practice: Architecture and Professional Experience

Start date
September, December, April, July
Course length
10 hours

We are currently accepting applications for September 2019

This part-time course is designed as a bridge between BA Architecture (RIBA Part I) and M:ARCH Architecture (RIBA Part II).

This part-time course is designed as a bridge between BA Architecture (RIBA Part I) and M:ARCH Architecture (RIBA Part II). The course sits within the pedagogical vision of the CSM Spatial Practices programme, set out in our Manifesto, details of which are available here. The course provides RIBA Part I graduates with a Professional Studies Advisor (PSA) who will validate their Professional Education and Development Records (PEDRs), and 4 evening lectures that will contextualise students’ practical experience in the wider context of practice.

The lectures will help students define their experience expectations and goals for practice; look at the creative and regulatory processes of the architectural profession; examine the circumstances in which architectural projects are created and developed; consider the agency of architects in terms of practical, legal and ethical challenges; discussing the concept of risk in relation to the above. PEDR validation will ensure that students’ professional experience will count toward professional qualification. For more information on PEDRs please click here

Course dates


Course overview

Who should take this course?

This course will be of interest to graduates of the CSM BA Architecture (RIBA Part I) course, those interested in applying to study on the CSM M ARCH:Architecture studies (RIBA Part II) course, and those who wish to get the most out of their practical experience. The course is open to graduates from other BA Architecture (RIBA Part I) courses.

In order to have any Professional Experience and Development Records (PEDRs) validated by a Professional Studies Advisor (PSA), you will need to separately register with the online PEDR service provided by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Please ensure that you carefully read the Student Eligibility section, confirming that your experience complies with the requirements set out by the RIBA.


By combining practical experience with the academic support of a PSA, the course will help students understand, navigate, document and critically reflect upon their practical experience. The PSA will provide mentorship and guidance and will validate students’ PEDRs enabling progression towards professional registration.

The course will give students who have not studied previously at CSM, an insight into our pedagogical approach as well as access to the CSM library and other events such as invitations to the Spatial Practice’s Autumn Term and Spring Term evening lecture series.

Topics Covered

Expectations: introductory discursive session considering types of practice; examination of how students can get the most of their experience; and how to fulfil PEDR requirements.

Processes and Practice: critical examination of RIBA Work Stages, statutory procedures and the role of risk; consideration of alternative forms of practices and different professional approaches.

Procurement: examination of existing, alternative and innovative procurement routes

Responsibility: examination of the meaning and application of ‘Duty of Care’; the social, economic and political spheres in which spatial designers operate; and issues of environmental and ecological sustainability.

Course Outline

The course consists of:

  • Validation of quarterly PEDRs (max. 5) by the Professional Studies Advisor; communication by email
  • 4 evening lectures/workshops; approx. 8 hours contact time

Dates of evening lectures

  • 23 September 2019
  • 9 December 2019
  • 6 April 2020
  • 6 July 2020

Dates of submission deadlines

  • 3 December 2019 (valid experience range: earliest 03/07/2019 - 03/10/2019; latest 03/09/2019 - 03/12/2019)
  • 4 March 2020 (valid experience range: earliest 04/10/2019 - 04/01/2020; latest 04/12/2019 - 04/03/2020)
  • 5 June 2020 (valid experience range: earliest 05/01/2020 - 05/04/2020; latest 05/03/2020 - 05/06/2020)
  • 7 September 2020 (valid experience range: 07/04/2020 - 07/07/2020; latest 07/06/2020 - 07/09/2020)


Stuart McKenzie a practicing Architect and experienced lecturer on the BA Architecture course at Central Saint Martins. He is currently a design tutor and a Professional Practice lecturer, and has developed this course alongside ongoing research into architectural education.

He completed his undergraduate and post graduate degrees at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow, and Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Professional Practice at the University of Westminster, London. He has lectured and led workshops on urban design with students and graduates of international universities, addressing and questioning issues around access to public space. He has been and remain a guest critic at other universities including Kingston University, London; De Montford University, Leicester; and the Sheffield School of Architecture.

Stuart's professional record covers a diverse range of project typologies with a specialism in large infrastructure and transport projects. He is experienced in all stages of project development; a significant knowledge of the legal and planning systems that govern building; and has worked extensively with a wide range of clients and government bodies.

Alex Warnock-Smith is an architect and urbanist, trained at the University of Cambridge and the Architectural Association. He have worked at a number of leading practices in the UK, taught at several academic institutions around the world, and has lectured internationally on issues of architecture and urbanism, social justice and current affairs. Previously he was a Course Master at the Architectural Association Graduate School, a Design Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton.

Alex is the founding Director of Urban Projects Bureau, a multi-disciplinary design and research practice specialising in architecture, urbanism, spatial strategy and design. Recent architectural projects include the design and construction of a Sixth Form Study Centre for Graveney School in London, which was awarded two RIBA Awards and a Wandsworth Design Award, several education, mixed-use, live-work and residential buildings, public realm, town centre strategies and urban design projects. UPB also works with international NGO’s and development agencies on issues of informal settlements, rapid urbanisation and developing cities, including Transparency International and UN Habitat.

UPB features in the Architecture Foundation’s ‘New Architects 3’ publication, showcasing “Britain’s best emerging practices’. Urban Projects Bureau was selected as one of ten team of ‘explorers’ to research and exhibit in the British Pavillion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale 2012, the Ideas To Change British Architecture exhibition at RIBA 2013, and was included in the Guardian’s portrait of key players in British Architecture 2012.

Alex is also a writer who has written for many magazines and journals including the Architectural Review, Guardian Cities, the Times, and Blueprint magazine. Recent publications include Venice Takeaways, and London +10.

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

Making your application

To apply for this course please click on the “Apply” button located at the top of this page, you will be redirect to a course application form which you will need to complete.

We will only review completed applications, which must include:

  • A completed application form
  • Personal Statement, explaining your interest in the course (no more than 350 words)
  • In support of your application, please upload a copy of your BA Architecture (RIBA Part I), or equivalent, degree certificate
  • In order to have any Professional Experience and Development Records (PEDRs) validated by a Professional Studies Advisor (PSA), you will need to separately register with the online PEDR service provided by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Please ensure that you carefully read the Student Eligibility section, confirming that your experience complies with the requirements set out by the RIBA.
  • CV (optional)

Recommended reading and publications that students will find useful

  • Awan, N., Schneider, T. and Till, J. (2011). Spatial agency. London: Routledge.
  • Bailey, T. (2015). Design: A Practical Guide to RIBA Plan of Work 2013 Stages 2 and 3 (RIBA Stage Guide). 1st ed. London: RIBA.
  • Hyde, R. (2013). Future Practice. New York: Routledge.
  • Lupton, S. (2017). Guide to the JCT Standard Building Contract 2016. 1st ed. London: RIBA.
  • Till, J. (2013). Architecture Depends. London: MIT.

VISA Information

Due to the length of this course International Students who hold a passport from a country that is outside the EEA or Switzerland must already have immigration permission to stay in the UK which covers the full length of the course and has no restrictions on studying.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£323 per course (2019)

International fee

£323 per course (2019)

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials, for more details please visit the UAL’s Additional Costs webpage.


Please visit the Accommodation webpage to see the options available to you and to find out how much they will cost.

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