Two Design + Make courses are offered: a 16-month MArch; and a 12-month MSc.
Design + Make is an advanced study Masters programme in which the core aim is to develop advanced critical capacity in the intellectual and material processes of contemporary architecture. This global aim can be divided in two fields: firstly, the accumulation of disciplinary knowledge in the specific theories and practices of architecture that relate to its making, and secondly the development of advanced skills in design, research, analysis, and their communication. The programme explicitly aims to maximise the learning opportunities presented by the actual realisation of design intent.
The MArch and MSc courses are structured around a series of hands-on design-make studio projects of increasing scale and sophistication leading to the student construction contributing to a campus building (MArch) or full-scale timber prototype (MSc). These are complemented by seminar courses and workshops in forestry, woodworking and both traditional and contemporary building crafts, and by lectures and events at Hooke Park and Beford Square.
The MSc and MArch share taught components in the first two terms. After the second term, the programme bifurcates, with the MSc students completing their project and dissertation for submission in September, whilst the MArch students continue with project construction through the summer and then thesis completion for submission the following January.
Term 1's introduction studios establish the technical skill-set and key design methodologies for the programme. This includes taught classes and workshops to build the essential skills toolkit in six areas: (1) analogue making; (2) digital modelling; (3) 3D scanning; (4) CAD/CAM; (5) robotic fabrication; and (6) documentation through film making.
In parallel, studio projects are structured initially as individual workshop-based design-make exercises in which these skills are deployed and developed. These lead into the design, fabrication and construction, in small teams, of 1:1 inhabitable structures within the Hooke Park landscape that introduce the material processes of full-scale experimental construction and enable students to develop design approaches driven by considerations of landscape and material. These projects allow speculative testing of design methodologies and fabrication techniques to develop further in the Main Projects.
The Seminar Courses (Term 1 + 2) are delivered in weekly sessions and focus on the cultural theory of making as design; timber properties and technologies; critical engagement with landscape; and thesis development. Together they provide the theoretical framework for the project work and the intellectual foundation for the written theses/dissertations.
For the MArch students the Main Project work is on a permanent building for the Hooke Park campus. Working in teams, students design, fabricate and build permanent full-scale constructions through which research propositions can be tested by their actual realisation in architecture. The range of research topics within these projects can encompass individual interests in environmental and construction technologies, alternative forms of design practice, or issues relating to Hooke Park’s topographic and cultural landscape. The constructed project is recorded in portfolio documents and also used as primary evidence in the individually written MArch Thesis that makes a propositional argument concerning the practice and realisation of architecture.
For the MSc students the Main Project is an individual research programme of experimentation and prototyping that leads to a full-scale experimental timber prototype designed to test innovative architectural applications of timber. Student are encouraged to radically exploit the woodland and fabrication resources of Hooke Park, with the aim of developing advanced knowledge and critical understanding of emerging fabrication and timber technologies. The MSc Dissertation is a technical report on the research undertaken including speculative analysis of its architectural applicability.