XJTLU MArch(Des) - Introduction*
Beginning in 2013, XLarch's two-year MArch(Des) Masters programme extends undergraduate architectural education at the graduate level with a continued focus on architectural studio design as well as on humanistic and technical modules in preparation of either professional practice or PhD-level studies. Graduates of this programme will receive a Masters degree certificate from the University of Liverpool.
The MArch(Des) programme takes advantage of XJTLU’s unique position in a country in which the dynamics of rapid urbanisation are felt strongly, and help to articulate the questions with which architects all over the world are confronted. It takes its local context as a driver for developing studio design briefs and frameworks leading to the edge of current debates.
The MArch(Des) programme represents a continuation of the Department of Architecture’s undergraduate BEng Architecture programme. XJTLU is seeking international validation at ARB/RIBA part II level from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the benefit of the first graduating cohort, as well as professional accreditation from the Ministry of Construction in China.
Studio work on the programme is geared towards individual student interest by offering free tutor choice (i.e. the benefit of studying with experts in various subjects) and alternative briefs whenever possible. The programme serves as a progression pathway for graduates of architecture and related undergraduate programmes, including XLarch's own BEng programme. On this programme students engage with a series of substantial, individual design studio projects as well as with range of assessed modules, whose combined challenge reflects the level of further intellectual development appropriate for advanced architectural studies beyond Bachelor-degree level and is an appropriate foundation for employment in the architectural profession at an advanced level and for enrolment in a PhD research degree. Requirements for admission to the programme are an internationally recognised degree in architecture or in a closely related field (such as Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, Industrial Design or Interior Design) as well as an admission test, typically consisting of an interview and a portfolio review.
The programme balances practice and academically oriented elements with modules focused on research and writing with a 10-week long summer practice placement module and an advanced professional practice module. The core of the programme lies studio design project work, which develops competencies in architectural design, communication, and individual and group design beyond first degree level. MArch(Des) graduates are required to demonstrate ability in the planning and design of achievable buildings, as well as knowledge and understanding of a wide range of related issues. Modules introduce methods and scope of research activities in architectural theory and practice. Advanced technology, architectural theory, professional practice, history, academic writing and practice based research modules are closely integrated with the design modules, and students are required in their design project work to ensure that a variety of social, urban and wider cultural issues are considered at appropriate levels. Graduates will be able to utilise acquired competencies to adapt, respond to and foster architectural innovations and developments and pursue personal research for continued professional development. Students will be well experienced at individual work, but also at team work which is an essential skill for the architectural profession. The four studio modules of the programme (one per semester) build upon each other as follows:
Studio 1 (Semester 1) - Introduction: This design project aims at introducing students of various backgrounds to architectural studio design at the Masters level, with a focus on creative, social, cultural, environmental, and academic thinking and awareness. The studio addresses a design brief within the scope of one semester. The outcome is a self-contained studio project presentation.
Studio 2 (Semester 2) - Consolidation: This design project aims at further strengthening and developing studio design skills, with a view towards students acquiring a well-rounded set of abilities. The studio addresses a design brief within the scope of one semester. The outcome is a self-contained studio project presentation.
Studio 3 (Semester 3) - Proposition: This design studio offers students an opportunity to work towards their Studio 4 capstone project by identifying, formulating and exploring a worthwhile-to-investigate, unresolved proposition and by taking initial steps to investigate the chosen issue/question. The studio addresses a design brief within the scope of one semester. The outcome is a self-contained studio project presentation which invites further and deeper investigation and/or design development.
Studio 4 (Semester 4) - Resolution: This design studio requires students to resolve design challenges identified in the previous studio 3. The studio addresses a design brief within the scope of one semester. The outcome is a self-contained studio project presentation which further investigation, and resolves the previously proposed design challenge. It is recommended but not required for individual students' Studio 4 project and thesis (parallel module) topics to be related and/or to directly inform each other.
*) subject to change