AA Design + Make Masters study at the Architectural Association Hooke Park

Seminar courses

The four Seminar Courses complement the Studio projects with their respective focus on the cultural theory of making as design; ruralism and sustainability theory and practice; and environmental and timber construction technologies. Together they provide a historical and theoretical foundation of the programme, and introduce the various fields of knowledge relevant to the design of experimental sustainable prototype buildings. Each seminar concludes with each student writing an essay in a which a particular argument relating to the seminars is developed.

1. Making as design

This seminar series explores the histories, theories and cultures of architectural design philosophies that prioritise making. It equips students with an understanding of the discourse that argues that embodied interaction with the real-world artefact is fundamental to design. Each session explores an instrumental use of making, building up a typology of mechanisms through which making is used in architectural design. Each mechanism is examined through case-studies and key readings, to determine its place in the culture of making in architecture.

2. Agendas of ruralism

This seminar series enables students to place D&M projects within a critical context informed by the English rural condition. It provides a foundation in the cultural and societal landscape within which a designer at Hooke Park must operate. It equips students with the knowledge and mechanisms to form an intellectual position with respect to contemporary debates surrounding rural architectures and cultural heritage in our specific geographic, historical and environmental context.

3A. Timber Design & Technologies

This course presents, through a series of guest speakers, a survey of applications of timber in architecture and the technologies of its innovative use in design. Through analyses of traditional techniques, study of the underlying material and engineering principles, and explorations of emerging timber fabrication technologies, the course aims to provoke a theoretical and practical attitude towards timber design that embraces inventive application.

3B. Anatomies of Environmental Design

The course presents the principles and practices of contemporary environmental design, and relates them to the construction anatomies of architecture. The aim is to engender in students an understanding of the underlying physical principles of low-energy and other environmental performances and to equip students with the design tools to manifest these within their projects in a design-make context. This includes sessions on design software, environmental legislation, material selection, and on-site measurement.

Students attend both 3A and 3B and complete an essay related to one or other course depending on individual interests.

4. Thesis Development

This 5-session seminar series in the third term equips students with the knowledge and skills to develop a successful Design & Make thesis. It provides information on the conventions, procedures and goals of thesis production, and guides students through the formulation of their thesis topic. Strategies for conducting research, structuring the thesis, writing the thesis and scheduling its production are developed.

For the MSc students the dissertation presents the technical design research that has been carried out in the development of the constructed timber prototype and makes propositions with respect to future application in architecture.

For the MArch students the thesis presents a propositional argument on a topic related to the theory or practice of architectural design within a design-build context using analysis of the design and production of the Hooke Park built project as evidence.

More information about the thesis here.