Bio Digital Architecture MSc

Location: Canterbury

The programme provides an excellent environment for computational methods in architectural education, with digital workshop and fabrication facilities, computer labs and an open digital architecture lecture series drawing on leaders in the field to present their work providing students a valuable opportunity to interact with academics and practitioners.

Theory and practice are taught in tandem so that students learn theory through application and testing, enabling them to apply this knowledge and understanding in design studio projects.

The programme is primarily intended for graduates and professionals from a range of design backgrounds, including architecture, interior, graphic and urban design, who wish to develop computational techniques in architecture and gain the ability to use digital tools and programming as easily as any other form of communication.

The course, which can be studied full-time or part-time, offers an academically rigorous and intellectually challenging learning environment, which aims to enhance career development within the field for professionals and academics. The aim of the programme is to provide a systematic understanding of core and advanced aspects of digital architectural design and the applicability of biological theory to enhance participants' architectural thinking and perspective of the built environment. This is done through a combination of taught courses, research assignments and project work. Students will be asked to conduct rigorous research and to explore the theoretical and practical application of their new knowledge and understanding in the context of design.

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the principles of CAD software and digital tools, and their use for modelling architecture
  • computer code, enabling investigation of the use of emergent algorithms and their effects in architecture
  • the idea of 'laws of form' and how generative processes can be used to explore architectural design
  • dynamic systems and how to model them
  • the use of computers to explore configurations of form and space
  • the history of design methods using Artificial Intelligence/Artificial Life
  • the status of architectural design with regard to recent history of scientific knowledge of perception and new models of understanding
  • current developments in computational design, digital architecture and contemporary architectural practice and related design industries
  • the historic development of computing and its application to architectural thinking and design, enabling analysis of how digital technology and contemporary theory may be applied to influence spatial, social and formal aspects of architecture in a reflective and critical manner
  • how the theories, practices and technologies of the sciences and arts influence architectural design
  • how to apply such knowledge creatively to design studio projects, in terms of their conceptualisation and representation
  • the relationship between people and buildings, and between buildings and their environment.

Intellectual Skills

You develop intellectual skills to:

  • analyse and interpret Computer-Aided Architectural Design issues
  • relate technological options to practical implementation
  • identify and solve complex problems and issues in the generation of algorithmic design projects
  • grasp techniques and methods from computer science and identify their applicability to architectural problems
  • think in an interdisciplinary manner, to grasp the value of theories and identify their applicability to architectural problems
  • analyse and evaluate the thinking, methodology and quality of design, existing and proposed, of computer-aided architectural design projects, and to present the results of such analysis to both a specialist and lay audience
  • demonstrate independence and creative and critical thinking.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills to:

  • use software tools, techniques and packages to produce and develop computer-aided architectural design proposals
  • think algorithmically
  • use the computer creatively to analyse architectural problems and generate design ideas
  • be competent in design and presentation. Ability to communicate with a variety of media to professional and general audiences
  • gain critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to computational design as it relates to architectural culture, theory and design
  • work in multi-disciplinary design teams.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • prepare and manage well-supported critical analyses based on theory and empirical evidence
  • exercise initiative in either carrying out or commissioning research and analysis
  • independently define and appraise ideas and make reasoned judgements.
  • demonstrate an ability to evaluate assumptions, arguments and research methodologies, to develop critiques of them, and to explore alternative strategies
  • communicate effectively using a variety of media
  • work in multi-disciplinary groups
  • systematically plan, carry through, and manage a project in a given time
  • be self-critical about own work and constructive in how to address and progress it
  • use of digital methods and technology.

This programme aims to:

  • provide students with advanced computer-aided-design (CAD) skills
  • introduce students to the use of CAD as a vehicle for design research
  • introduce ways of thinking about the role of the computer in architectural design beyond typical architectural practice, through the medium of code
  • promote an awareness and understanding of systems-oriented thinking and its application to architectural/design problems
  • encourage observation of natural systems and phenomena and their applicability to architectural design, to develop understanding of how digital techniques and knowledge of natural systems can inform and provide new possibilities for architectural thinking and practice
  • promote and encourage interdisciplinary thinking and how cross-disciplinary knowledge and understanding can benefit architectural thinking and design
  • introduce new ways in which computers can be used to explore and generate designs – understood from a dynamical process oriented perspective, whereby architectural space and form are the result of rules derived from an analysis of the design problem
  • develop and encourage ability to work with advanced software applied to architecture for 3D modelling, parametric, CAD/CAM, scripting and other digital innovations that appear as technology develops
  • promote the capacity to reflect on the principles and methods of scientific research/understanding and its application to architecture; especially through digital tools
  • promote and encourage innovation in the development and application of ideas in the context of research in nature inspired and digital architecture
  • provide teaching informed by research and scholarship
  • promote and support independent research skills
  • enable students to develop skills required for both autonomous practice and team-working. Support students in fulfilling their full potential in the programme.
MSc Award
Full-time Study Mode
12 months Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

A minimum of a second-class UK degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in architecture or related discipline in the built environment, or associated disciplines to the subject of Bio Digital Architecture is required. Some basic computing experience is expected. Applicants must present a portfolio as part of their application. If the applicant has a non-design background, an interview may be required in lieu of a portfolio.

Portfolio Advice

A key part of your application to the MSc Bio Digital Architecture programme is your portfolio. As part of portfolio submissions, we look for the following:

  • conceptual ability
  • 2D and 3D drawing
  • professional or relevant experience in industry
  • evidence of interest in the subject; i.e. architectural design, digital skills, interest in nature and biology, innovation
  • architecture or design projects including proposed orthographic drawings, 3D visuals and perspectives.

Please also see our general entry requirements at:

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