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Course content

The design of low and medium-rise buildings has, for some time, taken climatic variations and sustainability into account. However, despite the increase in the number of large-scale buildings worldwide during the last few decades, high-rise buildings are still seen as mega-scale energy consumers with little regard for sustainable design and performance. The current environmental agenda and interest in sustainability across the globe raises the significance of mega-buildings.

On this interdisciplinary course, we focus on the principles of sustainable planning and design of mega-buildings and prepare students to specialise professionally in this field.

You will be based in the School of Architecture’s new studio for graduate students at Friary House, in Cardiff city centre. This is within 5-10 minutes’ walk of our other site, Bute Building.

Distinctive features

• Accredited by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), meeting the academic requirements for CEng professional registration.

• Available on a 1 year full-time or 2 year part-time basis.

• See sustainable mega-building design in practice on a variety of national and international field trips.

• Study in one of the top schools of architecture in the UK, and benefit from exceptional facilities, such as the School’s artificial sky dome.

Structure

You can study this course on a one year full-time or two year part-time basis.

There are two stages to the course; stage one comprises taught and specialist modules totalling 120 credits, stage two will be your dissertation (60 credits).

The taught modules on this course will provide a grounding in architectural science within the context of sustainable mega-buildings. On several of these modules, you will be taught alongside students on our other architectural science master’s courses, which is a good opportunity to exchange ideas from different perspectives and broaden your group of friends and contacts.

Our taught modules will help you to explore the interdependence and relationship between social, technological and environmental issues. You will also learn how to relate these issues to the economic, political and legal contexts of planning and designing mega-buildings. We will introduce and review the latest design methods for sustainable mega-buildings in architectural, engineering and building contractor fields.

On the course, we encourage you to articulate your perspectives on sustainable design, which should enable you to become well-versed and experienced in promoting the benefits of sustainable mega-buildings.

Core modules:

Earth and Society
Low Carbon Footprint
Climate Comfort & Energy
Investigation of the Built Environment
Architectural Science Research
Sustainable Mega-Buildings Overview (Climate, Context and Culture)
Sustainable Service Systems for Mega- Buildings
Sustainable Mega-Buildings Design (Project Module)
Dissertation

Teaching

The methods of teaching we employ will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment. We teach using a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, study visits, project work, and group tutorials.

In lectures and workshops we aim to make appropriate use of audio-visual support to aid learning and development of subject-specific skills. You will be given access to relevant teaching materials through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central.

The specialist modules on the course include project work, where you will use mega-building case studies to build 3D physical models in the School’s workshop and Digital Fabrication Lab and can test them in the School’s artificial sky dome.

You will also be taught to use various environmental simulation software programmes, some of which have been developed in the Welsh School of Architecture.

Finally, you will research an area of sustainable mega-building design and planning of interest to you and submit a dissertation based on this research. Your dissertation will be conducted independently with supervision by a member of staff.

Assessment

Taught and project-based modules are assessed in a variety of different ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use class tests, course work (both written assignments and oral presentations or critical assessments/crits), and project work, or a combination of these to assess your progress on the module.

In the dissertation stage, your dissertation is the sole object of assessment. The dissertation is a written report on a piece of research which you have carried out in an agreed subject area under supervision.

Career Prospects

There is currently a worldwide shortage of architects and built environment professionals specialising in the field of planning and designing mega-buildings which perform sustainably. Therefore there is a rising demand for graduates from this type of course.

Typically, graduates from this course will gain employment in large-scale building design or planning companies and practices, environmental design consultancies, research and development centres, or may even set up their own companies/ practices.

Given the current intense public, governmental and professional interest in this area, employment opportunities for graduates who specialise in this field are only likely to grow and become even more attractive both in the UK and globally.

Fieldwork

During the course we go on a range of study trips in the UK, Europe, or further afield. On these trips we will organise guided visits to buildings that demonstrate how principles taught in the programme are applied in revolutionary large-scale eco-buildings. You will also have the opportunity to meet architects and built environment professionals who collaborate with the School.

Visit the Sustainable Mega-Buildings MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

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