This programme is grounded on the belief that architects should be thinking well beyond the constraints of market forces and the traditional disciplinary limits of the profession, towards forms, technology and spaces for a more sustainable future. This is a student-led programme, and you can have very different experiences within it depending on the choices of studios and courses you make.
Why choose this course?
Founded in 1927, the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes has established an international reputation for the quality of both its research and its teaching. As one of the largest architecture schools in the UK, with around 600 students and 70 staff, it plays a leading role in defining the national, and international, agenda in design education and research. The school enjoys an international reputation in research, in areas ranging from sustainable design to modular buildings and from design for well-being to vernacular architecture.
Staff in the school regularly secure research funding from the UK's research councils and the European Union as well as industry, with an annual research grant income averaging £1m in recent years. This programme provides RIBA/ARB Part 2.
Accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB).
This course in detail
Year 1 - Research into design This year has a very strong emphasis on acquiring in-depth knowledge of an architecturally important field of study and utilising that knowledge in design. This is achieved by taking one of the six 'design specialisations'.
You choose which design specialisation is best for you. The specialisations on offer are deliberately highly diverse to cater for the changing nature of the profession in practice. This course produces graduates for the global market and as such requires a high level of commitment from staff and students.
The design specialisations are: -Advanced Architectural Design -International Architectural Regeneration and Development -Development and Emergency Practice -Sustainable Building: Performance and Design -Research-led Design -Urban Design.
Each of the research specialisations offers teaching from experts within that subject area, and links, through teaching focus and staff, to the five research clusters that are an invaluable resource within the School of architecture.
The five research clusters keep the specialisations at the cutting edge in terms of a global agenda. They are, in general terms, environmental design, technology, development and emergency practice, humanities and architectural design.
Each of the design specialisations include a design project or projects, to which you will apply your detailed learning.
In addition to the design specialisation the first year will, through the Research Philosophy for Design module, widen your thinking in terms of what constitutes research, test your critical thinking and improved your analytical abilities. All of these are essential tools and their enhancement will place you in a stronger position to undertake the design studio in the second year.
Your ability to represent your ideas in a coherent and focused manner is the remit for the Representation module. This module will identify your strengths and build up your weaknesses, both in terms of visual and verbal communication methods. You will be able to dedicate time to fine-tuning techniques or building from basics in sketching, model making, 2D and 3D CAD. Your presentation of methods and actual practice will enable you to build confidence in verbal communication skills.
The Management, Practice and Law module in year one looks at the landscapes within which these issues are being informed. This module is taught by practising architects who have first-hand experience of the issues under discussion. Through a series of workshops you will work on topics that are essential to the practice of architecture. Management, practice and law is part of the design delivery of the programme and you will be expected to approach the coursework from a design position. This module asks that you approach this subject with a very different mind-set than the traditional position.
Due to the diverse and preparative basis of this year it is compulsory for all students to pass all compulsory components of the Research into Design year in order to be progress to the Design and Technology year.
Year 2 - Design and technology This year is structured to enable you to synthesise a broad range of complex cultural, aesthetic, research and technical factors, and design-specialisation learning, into your major design project and portfolio.
The year is spent participating in one of six design studios. All studios have control over their own programme of projects, and each has a different view of architectural culture and promotes different design methods. The design studios are taught by some of the brightest designers and tutors in the country and consequently their programmes demand high levels of creative and intellectual endeavour from you, as well as high levels of productivity. Their aim is to raise your design thinking, skills and production to the highest possible standard.
All six units present their projects for the year in the induction session and you are asked to select all six in order of preference. This system is to allow for an even distribution of students across all six units. Most students are allocated to their first choice of studio although there is no guarantee of a particular design unit - normally at worst you are allocated your second choice.
During the design and technology year, your design work must develop into technically ambitious architecture and be the subject of your compulsory Advanced Technology for Design module. This module designs through technology and fully complements and parallels your work in the design studio. There is a very strong emphasis here upon the creative possibilities for architectural technology. We ask for an open and experimental approach to technology, but also a clear understanding of its context and aims.
The staff delivering the teaching in the design studio unit and the Advanced Technology for Design module are made up from academics and practitioners. This energetic mix will challenge you to think about design and technology in a new manner, building confidence in ability, enabling deep thinking, and aiding you to define a personal design spirit.
Sitting alongside the design and technology is the second Management, Practice and Law module. This module builds on the learning and skills from the first year module and prepares you for stepping back into practice. As in the first year module this is learning is delivered by practicing architects. Through focus groups with architectural practices, this module figures in the skills that are seen as highly desirable for the ARB part 2 graduate to have when seeking employment.
Throughout the two years of the programme there will be interim reviews. This offers an opportunity to receive feedback from outside of your design studio or design specialisation. We have strong links with practice and architectural institutions and can attract the most able people to sit on our reviews.
This is a programme that aims to give you the skills for international practice.
As our courses are reviewed regularly, modules may vary from those listed here.
Teaching and learning
The unique nature of the Applied Design in Architecture offers you the opportunity to select an individual pathway that will create a distinctive graduate profile that is unique to you alone.
The ability to choose modules from within design specialisations offers you the prospect of defining your own position. You will find that you are being taught with, in most cases, direct entry master's students from countries around the world.
This aspect is complemented by the Year 2 design studio where you will engage with a distinctive agenda and experience a diversity of design specialisation thinking from students within your unit.
Self-directed learning is highly supported by staff in the School of Architecture. Personal choice engenders motivation and a high level of commitment, and the programme has been designed to embrace this aspect whilst clearly building on skills, thinking, application and design production to achieve a final portfolio of the highest standard.
Careers and professional development
The modules Management Practice, and Law 1 and 2, include guidance on the necessary professional skills that are required both for ARB Part 2 and for preparation in commencing ARB Part 3. The design studio generates a portfolio of work that not only demonstrates the learning for ARB Part 2 but also written, research and visual skills. The design portfolio is intended as the vehicle for students to synthesise all facets of their learning in order to seek practice employment.
In addition the school maintains a jobs wall that advertises vacancies locally, nationally and internationally.
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