MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation
Dr Melanie Dodd
King’s Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023
|Study Level||Level 7|
|Study Mode||Extended full time|
|Course Length||60 weeks|
Tuition fees for 2013/14: £4,250 per year. Please note that fees for 2nd year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.
Tuition fees for 2013/14: £10,300 per year
|Start Date||October 2013|
|Autumn Term Dates||24 Sep - 7 Dec 2013|
|Spring Term Dates||7 Jan - 15 March 2014|
|Summer Term Dates||15 April - 21 June 2014|
Applications can be submitted throughout the academic year.
In a world where established customs, systems and structures are increasingly under scrutiny, there is a need for a different type of architectural thinking – one that identifies and exploits opportunities and addresses the challenges of the 21st century.
MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation is uniquely positioned at Central Saint Martins to draw on dynamic design thinking from a range of practices from fashion through performance design to product design. Research, analysis, proposition and intervention will enable you to develop new insights, solutions and methodologies for exploring the challenges of new forms of architecture within a rapidly changing environment.
The course capitalises on London's central position within both local and global networks. We see London as a ‘world laboratory’ - an ideal test bed for urban innovation in response to social, cultural and political change, where you can develop strategies and methodologies to expand and enable localised change and drive effective and sustainable development strategies.
High on our agenda are the needs of a broad range of participants in the human environment. You can play a crucial role in supporting communities and individuals to attain the benefits associated with development and physical change in the urban environment, but this requires a new approach. Through closer, collaborative engagement with local groups, you can empower communities to become active participants in the process of development; enabling and building cultural and social, as well as economic, capital.
The increasing complexity of global change, and the related socio-economic, cultural and environmental issues require that architects develop a broad skill set that can be described as ’context-led’ architecture; seeking solutions that address local issues which arise from global agendas.
The skills that will allow you to engage with and guide innovation will be of greatest value. Whether in driving small scale transformations or enabling effective large-scale development, graduates of MA Architecture for Urban Innovation will have the knowledge and awareness to recognise the potential of architecture and the skills to create sustainable transformations in the urban environment.
This 60 week course is structured over two consecutive academic years each of 30 weeks in its 'extended full-time mode'.
MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises 2 units. Unit 1 (60 credits) lasts 20 weeks. Unit 2 (120 credits) runs for 10 weeks in the first year and 30 weeks in the second year.
Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of your MA award derives from your mark for Unit 2 only.
You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies, within which your taught input will normally be scheduled over three days. The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or caring responsibilities.
Unit 1 – Methodologies for Architectural Engagement
Throughout this unit, there is an emphasis on the use of innovative approaches to design problem solving and architectural practice. You will therefore explore the subject of innovation as a means of developing your methodologies through workshops, seminars, readings and lectures..
Using London as a ‘laboratory’ you will engage in a series of projects intended to help you to identify and respond to opportunities for engagement and intervention. Each project will require you to work collaboratively with fellow students and external groups and the outcomes will be critically analysed to develop clear methodologies for future engagements.
You will explore existing practice in order to propose new ways in which architecture can engage with stakeholders. Key questions in the process will be:
- What are the key issues for the development of communities?
- How can the public be a part of the design process?
- What is the ‘outcome’ of an architect’s engagement?
As a part of your investigation into existing practice, you will research and plan your Industry Placement (part of Unit 2). Working with staff and mentors in seminars and workshops, you will develop a clear programme of what you wish to achieve during your placement and prepare the necessary material to secure it.
Unit 2 – Innovating in Architectural Practice
Unit 2 begins with an industry placement which you will spend working within the industry to familiarise yourself with the issues and challenges associated with the profession today. You are responsible for identifying and arranging this placement. We encourage you to consider a broad range of different forms of practice when considering where to undertake your placement. Working with a Mentor, drawn from among leading practitioners and members of the Course Team, you will seek to use your placement to develop further your understanding of the ways in which architects engage with the users and clients. By the end of your placement, you will have prepared a review report, reflecting on your experiences and relating them to contemporary theories of architecture and design.
Following your placement, you will begin your Major Project, which lasts throughout your final year of study.
You will begin by identifying a research question and site which enable you to explore issues relevant to the contemporary urban environment and social conditions.
Utilising the methodologies developed and explored in Unit 1 and in your placement experience, you will propose an urban architectural intervention intended to create positive, long-term, large-scale impact. You should seek to engage the community and stakeholders in both the process and the outcome so that it has a sustainable future.
You should make use of both the ‘traditional’ means of architectural communication (drawings, models, 3D visualisation) and more contemporary, individual methods of communication. You will develop a written project report enabling you to contextualise your work with historical and contemporary theories of architecture and urbanism as well as documenting the way in which the project progresses. Input and feedback from the communities and collaborators with whom you have worked will be crucial.
MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation prepares graduates for employment in architectural practice, urban design, planning, development, and public consultation. In addition, the course provides a solid grounding for continued academic development toward research and PhD study.
Drawing upon extensive industry links within the Spatial Practices Programme, the Course seeks to offer students a unique learning opportunity to engage with live projects and real clients, developing innovative approaches to public engagement and a radical reconsideration of architectural practice.
"In 10 years we probably will not call ourselves an architecture practice, it will be something else entirely"
(Architect, Small London-based practice)†
Change is inevitable and being prepared for change is a challenge. MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation encourages students to take a radical approach to architectural practice; seeking ways in which the architect of the future can work across the industry and beyond. The course is predicated on the reality that the practice of architecture is changing. There are increasing pressures on the profession from shifts in the way that projects are developed, as well as the changes to the global economy. How will we practice in the future?
"The invasion of the architect's role shouldn't be seen as a threat but as a natural change that can be exploited - we must find our new opportunities and education should shift to accommodate that."
(Architect, Large global practice)†
† From "The Future for Architects", Building Futures, RIBA, 2010.
For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit our Careers Support page.
Applicants should have an Upper First Class (2.1) Honours Degree, or equivalent, from an ARB Prescribed course in architecture (or equivalent),and normally at least one year of relevant professional experience.
Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate their competence in English to IELTS Level 6.5 by the production of an IELTS Certificate or evidence of an equivalent level of achievement.
Applications are welcomed from candidates from all cultures, life experiences and educational backgrounds.
MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation at Central Saint Martins is open only to candidates with a first degree in architecture, prescribed by the Architects Registration Board, or equivalent.
When making an application, you are asked to submit an accompanying portfolio. We welcome applications in digital format or online.
Selection will be on the basis of the following criteria:
- that you have a clear research agenda, related to the aims of the MA course;
- that you can generate and communicate a range of ideas;
- you can analyse a design problem from a number of perspectives and generate a range of design responses to a particular problem;
- that you can show an understanding of technology, environment and professional practice and how they relate to architectural designs;
- that you can show that your personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims and objectives of the MA course;
- that you can demonstrate the necessary fluency in your design process to be able to benefit from the MA course.
Selection and portfolio review teams normally consist of two people. For overseas applicants, a decision regarding the offer of a place on the course will be made on the basis of a portfolio review, undertaken by the MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation selection team.
All applicants will be required to provide referees, who will in turn be asked to complete a referee questionnaire.
Home/EU and International applicants
Download your MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation application form:
Each form contains detailed information about the application process.
Your application must include:
- A completed application form
- A statement explaining what role the course would play in your personal and professional development and where you aim to locate yourself within the cultural and commercial industries
- Copies of your latest examination results where applicable
- Two references at least one should be an academic or professional reference
- Documentation of your work, where applicable
Please ensure you send all these items at the same time - we need all the information to consider your application. We recommend you send your application by recorded mail. Due to the large number of applications we get, we're unable to send confirmation that your application has been received. Although we treat all work with the greatest care and respect, we cannot accept any responsibility for loss of or damage to any of the work you submit.
Further information for Home / EU applicants
Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please contact us. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information for International applicants
Further information for International applicants
The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.
The Language Centre offers international students high quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre section.
We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.
Home/EU applicants please send your completed application to: Student Administration, MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA
International applicants please send your completed application to: International Office, MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA
When to apply
Applications can be submitted throughout the academic year.
Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.
What happens next?
We read and consider all application forms and personal references. Please note we give particular attention to your study statement and references.
Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your study proposal, documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview. You'll be asked to bring a portfolio of your latest work. For candidates applying for external funding, interviews will be scheduled prior to funding body deadlines.
Can't attend the interview?
If you're a home/EU or international applicant unable to attend for interview, the MA Architecture: Cities and Innovation Course Leader would hope to discuss your application by telephone.
In the case of applicants unable to attend for interview and unable to discuss their application by telephone, a decision regarding the offer of a place on the course will be made on the basis of a review of the application materials. We keep notes about decisions made following the initial application review and the interview process.
Selection is by two members of staff (normally the Course Leader and one other), and offers of places are made on the basis of our selection criteria. Applicants are informed of the decision via either the Student Administration or the International Office.
Open days are a great opportunity to meet staff and students and to find out at first hand about courses, teaching and student life. Visit the open day section for dates to book your session. Bookings can only be made online, not by phone or email.