BSc in Architectural Studies (Honours & Pass)
Architecture, the design of buildings and spaces, has a significant influence on our lives. Architecture education, practice and research address complex questions and problems across several disciplines. It is integral to both the construction and the creative industries.
The Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde embraces this curriculum which is research-led and student-centred. We value the breadth and multidisciplinarity of an architectural education and strive to create imaginative, critical and industrious people, able to improve the quality of our environment.
The Department is one of the oldest and largest centres of architectural education in Britain. It has consistently been highly rated by the national assessments of teaching quality and has always been among the most research active schools in the UK.
The undergraduate course curriculum relates closely to the ARB’s five thematic headings of:
- Cultural Context
- Technology and Environment
- Management, Practice and Law
The curriculum, by year, is as follows:
A consciousness-raising foundation year, in which each subject of the course is introduced in summary form – the aim is to enthuse and inspire you in all aspects of architecture, from history to construction. In the design studio, you will be introduced to the idea of the body in 3-D space and your own personal space in the world (“myself in the world”). The analogy is that you are “packing your bag”. The verb generates the area of enquiry and in Year 1 you are introduced, in the design studio, to the fundamentals of human need: “to shelter”, “to dwell” and “to settle”.
The multidisciplinary nature of architecture will be introduced in the studio. Lectures, seminars and workshops in Cultural Studies and Technology explore fundamental historical, cultural, social and technical issues.
You will be introduced to the concept of neighbourhood and community (“myself in a local environment”) The analogy is “going on a journey from country to town”. The influence groupings or a collection of buildings can have on the architectural identity of a place is studied. You will investigate particular places and how they influence design decisions for new architectural interventions.
There is detailed investigation of structure and construction in small pavilion-sized projects and the final second-semester design project considers a small multifunctional building designed to a degree that the role of structure, construction, choice of materials and consideration of human comfort is made explicit. The project “verbs” in second year are “to think”, “to gather” and “to learn”.
Lectures, seminars and classes offer more in-depth investigation of Year 1 subjects and relate them to increasingly challenging design briefs. In the studio, the focus is on small-scale architectural interventions in both rural and small town urban locations.
The role of constraints in the design process is introduced in a more explicit way and students are now asked to engage with more “realistic” briefs and issues with the agenda of “myself in a national environment”. Aspects of the city and urbanity are introduced and explored through two studio projects: multi-occupancy housing and a public building. The year concludes with the undergraduate thesis-a single semester design project that allows the student the oportunity to explore their individual architectural identity this runs concurrently with the opportunity to undertake International Exchange. “Realistic” ingredients are also included in briefs such as legislative demands and health and safety (regulations relating to fire escapes and barrier-free access). The analogy in third year is, “arriving in town and settling down”. The third year “verbs” are “to live”, “to work”, and “to play”.
The structure of classes and lectures is similar to Year 2 with the addition of 'Introduction to Practice' to prepare for the year out.
Following the year out in practice, the intellectual and creative demands make this your most challenging year so far. As well as being the first year of PG Dip/M Arch for direct entry students, this is also the Honours year. Studio projects require a considerable degree of resolution and professional competence. Two design projects are considered simultaneously, one large, one small, thematically linked by an 'issue' in an urban context. The Year 4 verb is 'to care'.
You will also develop an area of personal study into a written dissertation, which can be the foundation for further work in the postgraduate fifth year.
Entry Requirements and Admissions
To apply, view the entry requirements for BSc Honours Architectural Studies
Fees: Information on fees
Teaching and Assessment
The core of architecture and architectural education is design, which is taught within the Department through project work in a studio environment that brings together the different disciplines of history and theory, building construction & technology and media & communications. Physical modelling & computing inform and complement the studio work.
Subjects other than design use various teaching methods. Some are formally taught using lectures, tutorials and seminars. Others use a mixture of lectures or seminars and small projects (usually linked directly to the design curriculum). Design itself is taught, learned and assessed in the design studio through individual “crit” sessions at the student’s drawing board, group discussions, and peer evaluation and by formal presentation (interim and final) to staff, visiting tutors and other students.
Common to all the studio projects of the course is the notion of the “verb” as a design generator as opposed to the “noun”, ie “to shelter”, “an office”, etc. Through this approach, you will be introduced to the idea that at a fundamental level, architecture is born of human need and activity.
Architecture is a field that is rich history and geographically wide spread. The course puts great value on field trips and considers them an integral part of your education as there is no substitute, even in an electronic age, for physically experiencing works of architecture and other cities.
The library aims to be the Department’s academic and cultural forum where you will be able to meet other students and staff in an informal, reflective atmosphere. It is primariliy a reference resource developed in direct response to the teaching delivered in the Department. Conveniently located adjacent to the studios, it provides hardware (including books and journals, access to online resources, assistive technology including CCTV, photocopier and light box) to support the development of our student’s key skills. The Librarian provides professional support and guidance on using information resources.
The resources in the Department of Architecture Library are offered in addition to those provided by the main University (Andersonian) Library.
The Department has a large range of computing facilities which reflect the latest developments in computing technology and allow you to take full advantage of the latest technology for text and picture processing, 3-D modelling and computer-aided design and multimedia presentations. Both PCs and Macs are supported on the Strathclyde Network. You will also have direct access to email and the Internet.
The Department has close links with practices across the UK through its studio design tutors who are among the best architects in Scotland. Strathclyde alumni also provide many important links. Career opportunities range from working in large multidisciplinary practices to a wide variety of smaller architectural firms and working in other creative industries.
Many graduates of our Department have found employment in highly respected and prestigious architectural practices throughout the world.
The broad-based nature of the Architectural Studies degree has also allowed recent graduates to explore other career options. Some have become web-page designers, theatre set designers and computer games designers, while others have gone on to work in the film and music industries.
Overview of Course
Studying architecture at Strathclyde means:
- Creative endeavour
- Academic rigour
- Focus on practice and social engagement
- Professional UK recognition by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
You can graduate with a BSc Pass Degree after Year 3, or a BSc Honours degree after Year 4. Year 5, the final year of Architecture study, is a one year Postgraduate Diploma/MArch qualification leading to RIBA Part 2 exemption. Direct entry into Year 4 is possible for those who already have Part 1 exemption. In this case, students enrol on a two-year Postgraduate Diploma stream. A year out in professional training is normally taken after Year 3.
Our courses are professionally accredited by the ARB and RIBA. The Pass and Honours degrees give exemption from RIBA Part 1. The PgDip gives exemption from RIBA Part 2. The title “architect” is protected by law and can only be used by those registered with the ARB. After gaining Part 2 and completing the requistite years in practice you may sit the professional exam that gives exemption from Part 3. On successful completion you become a registered architect.
Our strong international connections give you the opportunity to study abroad, during Year 3 or Year 5. Increasingly, opportunities for architecture graduates are international. Those who can communicate in more than one language, and who are aware of different cultures and ways of working, are well placed to take advantage of such opportunities. In recent years students have studied at a number of schools of architecture in Europe primarily in the Socrates/Erasmus programme as well as Asia, Australasia and the USA. The Socrates/Erasmus programme is well established within the Department, fully intergated with the curriculum and allows our students the opportunity to study at a number of host institutions across Europe. Students from many countries form part of our lively international community, which enriches the Department’s atmosphere.
Students who undertake exchange in Year 3 may convert their degree title to: BSc in Architectural Studies with International Study (Hons).