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Course content

The global environmental and energy challenge facing current and future generations of architects and building professionals calls for a deeper understanding of the principles of environmental design, and their effective application into architectural practice worldwide. Over the last decades Environmental Design as a subject area has developed, responding to new research and experimentation, both in academia and in practice. However, buildings claiming to be environmentally conscious do not perform to the expected standards, still heavily contributing to global CO2 emissions and often providing unsatisfactory comfort conditions to occupants. The same can be said for the existing built environment which is largely outdated and underperforming, requiring urgent implementation of effective retrofit strategies. This is due to a lack of comprehensive performance prediction and feedback protocols, which are still not common practice in architectural design.

Students on this course will take a fresh critical look at this subject. Here you will gain the knowledge and tools to make informed design decisions based on post-occupancy feedback and performance analysis, towards a new paradigm of environmental architecture, which is environmentally and energy conscious, yet sensitive to the contextual and socio-cultural landscape we live in. You will learn environmental design methods which relate to the various stages of architectural design. You will be able to evaluate existing buildings and design new ones following a combined bioclimatic and building occupant focused approach. In the core design modules you will follow an evidence-based design approach where the acquisition of specialised software and analytical tools will be directly applied to an evaluation or design project.

This interdisciplinary and international course will provide you with skills that can be applied to diverse building typologies and global climatic, environmental and contextual issues. On completion of this course you will have a thorough understanding of the principles and methodology of environmental design and will develop critical thinking skills to challenge established practices. You will hold the knowledge and the practical tools to better understand existing buildings for retrofit and to design new ones – positively driving change in this field and moving towards a truly environmentally conscious architecture.

The course covers both the wider contextual and sustainable approach to environmental design, and the more technical aspects of environmentally and energy conscious building design and performance. As well as taught modules, you will take design-based modules where you will apply quantitative and qualitative analysis to the study of existing built environments and to new design projects.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

Career path

This course will give you skills that can be used both in architectural practice and in environmental design consultancy. The research issues explored in your final thesis project could also lead to further research and an academic career through the path of a PhD degree in a number of related fields.


Visit the Architecture and Environmental Design (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

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