MSc Computational Architecture *

Entry year
2021/22
Course code
K19A12
Application
University
Level
Postgraduate
Department
Architecture and the Built Environment
Campus
Frenchay
Duration
One year full-time; two years part-time
Delivery
Full-time; part-time
Programme leader
Dr Merate Barakat

* subject to final UWE Bristol approval

This course is open for applications

Page last updated 31 March 2021

Introduction

Study an experimental course that applies computational modelling and digital fabrication. You'll apply your skills to simulations, solving architectural problems in a design studio environment. Benefit from our industry partnerships, learning from experts in practice through workshops and guest

When an architectural problem needs solving, architects use biological and mathematical models to simulate the problem. Applying these algorithms to simulations allows architects to experiment with design solutions in a studio environment.

Modelling is crucial for us to create spaces that support the social and biological systems in society. Explore the natural and built environment, designing spaces to enhance these settings while tackling industry challenges, such as sustainability.

An experimental programme

Designed in collaboration with the Centre for Print Research, MSc Computational Architecture blends architectural design with print and manufacturing. To date, we're one of the only universities in the region to deliver a master's degree in computational architecture.

Challenge your curious, creative mind as you change the way you think about the design process. You'll explore contemporary issues in architectural modelling, from design to fabrication. These issues include clean manufacturing, enabling you to experiment with sustainable materials in design and construction.

An applied approach

This one-year course will introduce you to the latest computational design technologies. Gain core knowledge in computational modelling as you learn to simulate datasets and scripts.

You'll test your project proposals through fabrication and prototyping and apply your skills to real-world simulations. With experience in a design studio environment, you'll be prepared for solving architectural problems in practice.

A relevant and flexible master's route

As the manufacturing sector expands, the demand for professionals with modelling knowledge increases too. You'll address the need for digital modelling skills in this growing industry. Develop the architectural computing expertise you need to become a design and construction professional.

We welcome applicants from a broad range of disciplines, including architectural technology, engineering, art, and product, spatial and landscape design. We also encourage industry professionals seeking career progression to apply.

This course has two routes.  The principal pathway provides you with a linear progression in their development of skills and understanding of computational architecture, the second pathway is offered to applicants that have already completed research-based project work in computational design. If you are seeking access to this second pathway you are required to present a sample of your research work and discuss this at an interview.

Structure

Content

The MSc In Computational Architecture is a design research course, aimed to expand pervasive media designers knowledge on a triaxial modality, namely simulation, and fabrication, both underpinned with theory. These three intertwined domains will be studied and the following areas of study are indicative of the course structure*:

Pathway one

  • Computing Complexity (15 Credits) and Logic to Artefact (15 Credits) - Build your computational and prototyping skills in a series of technical modules design to support theoretical application in the built environment.
  • Urban Sentience (15 Credits) and Crafting Systems (15 Credits) - Implement computational methods, and apply the theoretical concept to the built environment, at different scales, in a series of studio-based models.
  • Digital Charrette (15 Credits) and Make & Build (15 Credits) - Design, develop and build a live project, applying innovative and new technologies to real life artefacts.
  • Design Research (30 credits) - In preparation for the thesis, you will generate your own design research project, experiment and work directly with materials, prototypes or mixed realities.
  • Dissertation (60 credits) - Undertake independent design research on issues and topics relevant to computational architecture and the built environment.

Pathway two

This second pathway provides you with an alternative module in research development and dissemination where you may extend your previous project work. You will have the opportunity to work with others across the department. 

Pathways one and two share six of their eight modules. 

  • Computing Complexity (15 Credits)
  • Urban Sentience (15 Credits) and Crafting Systems (15 Credits)
  • Digital Charrette (15 Credits) and Make & Build (15 Credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

The two alternative modules taken only by students on pathway two are:

  • Interdisciplinary option (15 credits) - Choose to study another aspect of technical and computational methods in architecture and construction from options provided within the Department's Masters courses.  These options may include aspects of Building Information Modelling, design co-ordination, or low/zero impact design.
  • Design Research Development (30 credits) - Take an existing element of computational research work in architecture and design that you have developed in either an academic or a practice setting and develop it as design research - with the aspiration that it is submitted for potential dissemination at a national or international academic forum.

*The final course structure will be available soon.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

This course is delivered through a range of face-to-face methods, with a focus on collaborative thinking and teamwork. Throughout your studies, you'll learn from a blend of lectures, skills-based tutorials and seminars (subject to Covid-19 government guidelines).

The course content is split into three main components: theory, generative design (virtual simulation) and digital fabrication (rapid prototyping). Develop expertise in a broad range of subject areas across architecture and design, from parametric and generative design to physical computing.

Hone your practical skills in our modern, well-equipped facilities, including our award-winning Design Studios. You'll create architectural models using laser cutters, 3D printers, robots, 3D routers and other specialist equipment in our workshops and labs.

Apply the practical skills you've developed in the studio to live projects and briefs and develop the hands-on experience you need. Enhance your learning by applying algorithms and computational design methodologies to simulate problems in the studio.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

Full time students will study alongside those studying part time. All students will enjoy the same level of tutorial support and peer learning in the studio.

We teach most modules through formal 'contact blocks' throughout the year, each one day long. We expect you to undertake reading and other tasks to reinforce your understanding of the issues and complete your coursework and practicals between blocks.

Assessment

Throughout the course, you'll develop the hands-on, practical skills needed to practice as a design or construction professional. Your assessments will ensure you're confident applying these skills to design simulations in the studio.

Assessment is made in a variety of ways, mainly involving project work, such as computational design projects and with an emphasis on collaborative group working. You'll also be assessed through presentations, portfolio submissions, illustrated reports and essays. You won't be assessed via examinations.

You'll complete a 60-credit thesis, designed in teams, to reflect the collaborative nature of architectural work, and deep investigative and innovative research. This ensures you're ready to work on design projects with colleagues in professional practice when you graduate.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Features

Study facilities

You will learn alongside students from across the faculty in our modern, well-equipped facilities which includes our award-winning Design Studios.

  • Access the state-of-the-art digital fabrication lab run by our partners, the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR)
  • Study and collaborate on group assignments in our dedicated studio lab.
  • Develop skills in generative design, digital fabrication, CAD/CAM and modelling on industry-standard software.
  • Test lighting in environmental physics, aerodynamics, and acoustics laboratories.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Careers

Careers / Further study

MSc Computational Architecture equips you with the skills and knowledge to apply modelling to a wide range of architectural issues. This course is designed to create the next generation of leaders in the industry, ready to work with technical professionals on project teams. You'll develop the skills needed to become a practitioner in architecture, engineering or design.

After you graduate, you'll be equipped to work in a range of technical areas, working with architectural, engineering and construction employers. For example, experts in fabrication and computational scripting are sought after by construction management companies and contractors across the UK. Other careers include teaching and research in further and higher education, training, consultancy and entrepreneurship.

Whatever your career aspirations are, you'll benefit from our strong industry partnerships. Get involved in workshops and projects connected into the South West Creative Technology Network. You'll also have the opportunity to attend guest lectures from visiting professionals, enabling you to learn the latest architectural developments from experts in practice.

Throughout your studies, you'll gain further design experience through professional opportunities, such as exhibitions. Showcase your talent by exhibiting your final year project at our annual Plan and Make Degree Show. This enables you to connect with potential employers, building your professional network as you gain exposure in the industry.

Graduates from this course will go on to employment in the architectural sectors, teaching and academia, with many going on to take PhDs in design-related subjects.

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Fees

Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information. 

Entry

Entry requirements

We normally require an honours degree of 2:2 or above in one of the following areas; Architecture, Product Design, Media Design, Digital Media, Civil and Structural Engineering, Engineering, Computer Science, Pervasive Media or Art and Design.

Applicants will study pathway one unless they can present research-based project work in computational design that they have completed previously and that demonstrates their proficiency and understanding of this field.  Applicants with this existing project-work may seek access to pathway two of this course and will be required to present a sample of their research work and discuss this at an interview.  An applicant that has completed a Masters or MArch degree that included assessed work in computational architecture may be considered for pathway two.

Applicants will be required to provide a sample of work.

Applicants may also be invited to an interview (via video conferencing for overseas students) on the basis of the formal application and sample of work.

We can consider applicants who do not meet the normal entry requirement, but who do have relevant professional experience or qualifications. In your application, you should describe in detail your professional experience and qualifications.

English Language Requirement

International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The University accepts a large number of UK and international qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit English Language Requirements.

How to apply

Read more about postgraduate applications. 

For further information