The MArch Architecture and Sustainable Design is a masters degree level based within the Department of Architecture and Built Environment and offered on a full-time basis over one year (September to September).
This course deals with the application of the theoretical and technological aspects of environmental design and sustainable architecture in equal measures in creative studio design projects. Therefore, architectural design projects are a core part of the course.
This course emphasises problem-solving, where technical and theoretical knowledge is integrated into design projects, a unique learning method in environmental design education.
Studio project briefs are based as much as possible on real-life projects, and participation in national or international competitions will often be encouraged and supported. Students will also be encouraged to present their work in national or international conferences and events.
Dissertation topic choices will be offered by expert staff, but you are also able to choose a topic of your interest in the context that is most relevant to you to further develop your knowledge in integrated environmental design and sustainable architecture.
In the autumn and spring semesters, you will complete 120 credits worth of modules including two design modules. These are studio-based exercises where practical skills and creativity are challenged and examined through an architectural project. Additional lectures and seminar modules provide a parallel knowledge base and intellectual support for the design project and for the final dissertation.
You will spend the summer semester producing a 60-credit supervised dissertation. This will be an in-depth study of an individually determined topic and is an opportunity to conduct a major piece of independent research that reflects individual interests and aspirations. Previous dissertation topics have included:
- comfort in buildings
- light in sacred buildings
- visual delight and luminous environment
- light in museums and exhibition spaces
- designing sustainable and resilient communities
- climate resilient design of energy efficient buildings
- optimising housing design to reduce energy dependency
- the application of the fabric first approach in various climates
- the application of vernacular architecture strategies in modern design
- the application of integrated environmental design approach in various climates
- design for future climate change via the adoption of integrated design approach
Applicants to all MArch programmes in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham are required to submit a portfolio of their design work with their application. The portfolio enables us to see that you have some of the core skills required to be successful on an MArch course and to see the range of skills and types of projects that you have completed in your undergraduate degree.
The portfolio should be submitted with your admissions application and be in PDF format and less than 10Mb (please submit this directly onto the MyNottingham admissions system).
The portfolio should have:
- a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 images
- a letter confirming that this is your own work. The letter should come from a tutor or course teacher who has been responsible for you and should be on institution headed paper
- a front cover of the portfolio which shows your full name
The portfolio should contain:
- examples of a few design projects that you have completed as part of your taught university education. Try to show different presentation techniques that represent your design skills (such as plans, sections, perspectives, physical and computer models, etc). The images can be any from architectural, urban, planning or landscape projects that you have completed in your studies
- you may also include a few sketches, paintings, photographs, still life or life drawings to show your skills (maximum 2 pages)
- as well as the above, it is also acceptable to include an example of a project that you have completed as part of work experience or a professional placement (maximum 2 pages)
Portfolios will be judged on whether you have the visual skills required together with a keen sense of judgement and spatial awareness in your work.
On completion of this course, you will have the knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and benefits that arise from the application of an integrated environmental design approach in sustainable architecture. You will also have developed an ability to use building performance prediction tools to enhance and refine design proposals, and a full understanding of the role of architects in supporting sustainable development.
Students who undertake the MArch Environmental Design course will develop:
- an understanding of the of the role of architects in supporting sustainable development
- an understanding of the importance of microclimate and site context in architectural design
- the ability to exercise original thinking, design experimentation and creativity
- the ability to apply integrated environmental design approach in architectural projects
- the ability to use building performance prediction tools to enhance and refine design proposals
- the ability to communicate ideas effectively in verbal communication and written reports
- interpersonal communication and professional presentation skills
Academic English preparation and support
If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may want to attend a course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK. Find out more by visiting the CELE website.