The increasing complexity of contemporary socio-economic, cultural and environmental issues requires architects to develop a broad skill set. This may be described as context-led – seeking relevant and appropriate solutions that address local issues arising from global agendas.
Architects must move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries to find innovative and sustainable design solutions. There is a growing need for contemporary spatial design which focuses not only on “hard”, but also “softer”, infrastructure. That is, not only buildings, construction, transport and engineering, but also systems of social networks, cultural practices, human interaction, and health and well-being.
BA Architecture shifts the focus of design from buildings as objects to the processes that bring them about and their impact upon social, cultural and ecological environments. This provides greater opportunity for holistic learning and the shift towards regenerative practices.
The course provides a rich learning environment and set of experiences for you to develop as a spatial practitioner. It will introduce you to a range of cognitive and practical skills, critical theories, ethical considerations and creative experiences.
Unit 1: Ethics and Care (Professional Studies 1) – Introduction to Study in Higher Education (ISHE)
Unit 2: Sites for Collective Action (Design Studio 1.1)
Unit 3: Materials, Environments and Structures (Technical Studies 1)
Unit 4: Collective Spaces (Design Studio 1.2)
Unit 5: Fundamental Agencies (Contextual Studies 1)
Stage 1 introduces you to core skills and concepts. These will allow you to develop a critical understanding of spatial practice. You will focus on studio-based projects, both independent and co-operative, supported by workshops and lectures. You will approach design for human and non-human environments, exploring and representing different scales and typologies of spaces, buildings and places. You will gain an understanding of climate literacy and consider the role of the architect and their duty of care.
Unit 6: Design Concept and Testing (Design Studio 2.1)
Unit 7: Critical Agencies (Contextual Studies 2)
Unit 8: Design Detail and Resolution (Design Studio 2.2)
Unit 9: Technical and Environmental Integration (Technical Studies 2)
Unit 10: Creative Unions (Professional Studies 2)
Stage 2 provides further development of your conceptual thinking, interpretive and design skills. Material experimentation, technical skills, ethical understanding, legislative knowledge, critical writing and presentation skills will enable greater resolution in your designs. You will engage in a major College-wide collaborative project, understanding how working with other disciplines can transform practice.
Stage 2 also focuses on your personal responses to design issues, the challenges of the climate and bio-diversity crises and the development of your unique voice as a spatial designer within these broader contexts.
Unit 11: Design Thesis (Design Studio 3.1)
Unit 12: Accounts of Agency (Contextual Studies 3 – Dissertation)
Unit 13: Design Synthesis (Design Studio 3.2)
Unit 14: Strategic Experimentation and Resolution (Technical Studies 3)
Unit 15: Ethics and Practice (Professional Studies 3)
Stage 3 brings together your skills, concepts, and knowledge into critically engaged, integrated design projects that synthesise social, cultural, ecological and environmentally sustainable strategies. This stage offers you the opportunity to reflect on your previous experience, develop professional skills and explore potential directions for your future career through a self-directed project and written dissertation.
The Working Week
The College buildings and Spatial Practices studios are vibrant and busy working environments where students learn together by being active and giving time to their studies. The course team will offer structured teaching and informal learning through events and projects. Students learn the best and are most productive when they are fully committed to their practice and to each other. You should expect to spend 40 hours per week on independent and collaborative practice and in teaching events such as workshops and discussions.
Mode of study
BA Architecture runs for 90 weeks in full-time mode. It is divided into three stages over three academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.
Credit and award requirements
The course is credit rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each stage (level).
On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA Hons degree).
Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the stages for a BA are: Stage 1 (Level 4), Stage 2 (Level 5) and Stage 3 (Level 6). In order to progress to the next stage, all units of the preceding stage must normally be passed: 120 credits must be achieved in each stage. The classification of the award will be derived from the marks of units in Stages 2 and 3 or only Stage 3, using a dual algorithm.
If you are unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4 (or 120 credits), or a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) following the successful completion of level 5 (or 240 credits).
Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies
BA Architecture is professionally validated by the RIBA. Successful completion of the course provides RIBA Part 1 qualification, the first of three stages of RIBA professional registration.
Please note that as a result of course specific regulations, unit compensation as detailed in UAL Course Regulations, is not available to students on this course.