Design + Make explores design at the point of physical production and generates new protocols within the realm of experimental architectural construction. The research we conduct demonstrates a vision for architectural education in which making is central to the act of design itself.
The AA’s satellite campus at Hooke Park serves as our central laboratory for architectural research. The large-scale fabrication facilities provide a unique testing ground in which students can devote time to speculative research through the design and fabrication of architectural constructs and building components. Students inhabit this unique environment that combines forest, studio, workshop and building sites.
Our toolbox contains a diverse array of resources that facilitate the design and fabrication of architectural constructs within the park itself. Contemporary technologies, design and fabrication methods – such as 3D scanning, generative modelling, iterative physical modelling and robotic fabrication – combine to optimise manufacturing strategies and provide opportunities to replicate the feedback between natural geometry, material properties and designed form that had previously connected designer, maker and artefact.
We use a hands-on approach, guided by an in-depth material understanding. The core agenda of Design + Make strives to advance the materialisation of architecture through the synthesis of rigorous design strategies, advanced technologies and craft techniques to develop a deeper understanding of material behaviours. This emphasis on design and fabrication maximises the learning opportunities for participants by facilitating the realisation of design intent, practised as designing through making.
Both programmes (MArch & MSc) are structured around a series of hands-on studio projects of increasing scale and sophistication, leading to the production of a large architectural construct (MArch) or full-size timber prototype (MSc). These studios are complemented by seminar courses and workshops in forestry and woodworking and traditional and contemporary building crafts, as well as by lectures and events at Hooke Park and Bedford Square, providing a foundational understanding of the cultural and technological landscape within which a designer must operate.
The MArch and MSc courses share taught components in the first two terms. After the second term the programme bifurcates, with the MSc students completing their project and dissertations for submission in September. The MArch students also submit their thesis in September, but continue with project construction until January. MArch students use full-scale building constructs at Hooke Park as a vehicle for design research. Formulating individual research interests within a group project, each student develops critical knowledge to underpin the work of their thesis. MSc students have a more explicit focus on technology and the innovative application of timber in architecture, which is developed and tested through full-scale system prototypes using diverse fabrication technologies and strategies.
The teaching team consists of architects, engineers and construction experts, with the support of world-leading consultants who provide technical guidance for the projects. The expert staff work side by side with students to develop knowledge and expertise collaboratively, resulting in fully developed and experimental architectural constructs.
INTRODUCTION STUDIO, Term 1
The Introduction Studio in Term 1 establishes the technical skill-set and key design methodologies required for the programme. This includes taught classes and workshops that aim to establish proficiency in the operation of critical skills and tools employed throughout the work of Design + Make. This covers analogue fabrication techniques, CAD/CAM (formulating information for digital manufacturing), generative design strategies, robotic fabrication and applied scanning techniques.
In parallel, studio projects are structured as workshop-based Design + Make exercises in which key skills are deployed and developed. These lead to the design, fabrication and construction (in small teams) of 1:1, inhabitable structures set in the Hooke Park landscape that introduce students to the material processes of full-scale experimental construction. These projects enable students to develop design approaches driven by considerations of landscape and material, allowing for speculative testing of design methodologies and fabrication techniques that will be further developed in the Main Projects.
SEMINAR COURSES, Terms 1 and 2
Seminar Courses are delivered in weekly sessions and focus on the cultural theory of making as design; timber properties and technologies; engagement with landscape and thesis development. Together, they provide the theoretical framework for the project work and the intellectual foundation for the written Thesis/Dissertation.
MAIN PROJECT, Term 2
In order to innovate in construction, we allow sufficient time in Term 2 for testing and experimentation. To investigate the boundaries of a given methodology or workflow, we encourage risk taking, trial and failure. Attaching a significant value to experimentation and testing supports the fundamental principle of iterative design that sits at the core of the Design + Make ethos and provides the opportunity to apply the findings of initial prototypes to the final construct.
You are required to meet the minimum academic and reference requirements outlined below for your desired programme. Overseas applicants must also meet the English language qualifications requirements outlined below.
Successful applicants who are awaiting the outcome of future examination results will be issued a conditional offer. These conditions must be met by the date outlined on the offer letter in order to be eligible to enter the School.
Applicants who will not complete their degree until after June 2020 are encouraged to contact the Postgraduate Admissions Team prior to applying for the 2020/21 academic year.
Minimum Academic Requirements
MSc Design & Make (12 months): Professional degree or diploma in architecture, engineering or other relevant discipline. Please note this course is held in Hook Park, Dorset.
MArch Design & Make (16 months): Five-year professional architectural degree (BArch/Diploma equivalent). Please note this course is held in Hook Park, Dorset
English Language Requirements (All Applicants)
All applicants must be able to provide evidence of competency in both spoken and written English. The AA reserves the right to make a place in the School conditional on gaining a further English language qualification if deemed necessary.
More info at: https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/APPLY/ADMISSIONS/postgradApp.php