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  • Architecture BA (Hons)

Architecture BA (Hons)

Why choose this course?

Kingston University is ranked among Europe's top 50 architecture schools, with a recent graduate awarded the top international portfolio prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Situated in an art school environment, our Department of Architecture & Landscape offers a breadth of built environment expertise and a unique educational experience. 

Professional recognition 

Students often feature in the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President's Medals - considered the world's most prestigious and established awards in architectural education. Our graduate Simon Dean won Bronze for the best degree-level design project in 2014. More recently, Yousuf Khalil was awarded the Architect's Journal Student Prize in 2018. 

In the past few years Domus magazine has consistently featured our school among Europe's top 50 architecture schools. We were one of the eight UK Architecture Schools in the Domus Guide 2017. We were one of the two UK schools invited to present at the 12th Biennale in Venice.

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time K100 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston

This course is validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Graduation gives you RIBA Part 1 exemption - the first step towards becoming an architect.

This course received more than 91 per cent for teaching student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2018).

Kingston University students often feature in prestigious national and international awards, such as the AJ Student Prize and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President's Medals.

What you will study

This degree centres on design, on the creative processes of observation and making, and an ethos of ‘thinking through making'. Architecture is emphasised as a material practice, with particular attention given to how buildings are made and how tectonic components are fundamental to architectural character.

Studio projects form at least 50% of the course, giving you the skills and knowledge to tackle design issues in the built environment. Workshops teach drawing and making skills, such as casting, pencil and charcoal rendering, detailed large-scale model-making, computer-based graphics and CAD drawing. You will also study theoretical, cultural, historical, social, sustainable, material and technical issues.

Modules

Each level is made up of four compulsory modules, each worth 30 credit points. Typically, a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1 is focused on the acquisition and consolidation of architectural representation and drawing skills. The Design Studio work features site-based projects, addressing the principles and context of architectural design. It also includes and real scale-built project. The coursework supporting studies comprise assignments on drawing, model-making, materials, sustainability, professional practice and the history of architecture.

Core modules

The Principles of Reading Architecture

30 credits

Architecture exists at the root of culture: it is shaped by cultural, artistic, social and historical factors and in turn impacts on its wider cultural and physical contexts, transforming them through its physical presence. The reading of history reveals the connections between the past and present: ritual and practical requirements have always been embodied in buildings, disclosing both past world views and the particularities of specific, local conditions. The reading of a site establishes a basis for making an intervention in that site and by doing so, initiates a process of change.

This module provides students with a chronological survey of architectural history, focusing on illustrative case studies. It introduces the study of precedent, exploring the ways in which ideas that emerge from such studies can inform a developing design project. The module establishes methods for analysing sites and their wider contexts, and asks students to begin to acknowledge the fundamental importance of the subject and context of a project, in the development of an appropriate architectural response.

The Principles of Designing Architecture

30 credits

Architecture is a profession. Working within a social and ethical context, architects bring together different factors related to the brief, programme, environment, available resources, codes of professional conduct and legislation. They develop projects towards their resolved conclusions through an iterative process of testing and refining ideas. This module introduces you to the profession of architecture and the professional context within which architecture is made. It offers them the opportunity to begin to understand yourselves as professionals, through the introduction of key skills and practices. You will be asked to explore and demonstrate methods for developing propositional work. You will be encouraged to manage and appraise your work and become independent and reflective learners.

The Principles of Representing Architecture

30 credits

Architecture is an act of interpretation. This might emerge through direct experience or through representation in another form, whether visual, oral or literary. Representations of architecture both construct its meaning and are fundamental to the processes of its design. A completed work of architecture brings together the different concerns, which have informed its development and translates them into a coherent spatial and material whole.

This module provides you with a historical, theoretical and practical introduction to cross-disciplinary techniques and examples of architectural representation. It asks you to complete an architectural design project and introduces the idea that a successful proposition manifests the complex and imaginative inter-relationships between physical, environmental, social and cultural factors. It asks you to consider how some of these interrelationships are interpreted within your own project, through the appropriate employment of a range of techniques of representation, across two and three dimensions.

The Principles of Making Architecture

30 credits

Architecture is a material practice. The act of making a building is described tectonically, in the relationships between the materials it is made from, the methods of its construction and the structures that support and stabilise it. The physical character of a building and the ways in which it is made are fundamental to its architectural quality and atmosphere, its relationship with its environment and the ways in which it is inhabited by its users.  This module introduces you to the consideration of architecture as a material condition, and begins to ask you to consider how a building is made as a fundamental part to a wider architectural conversation. It asks you to investigate materials first-hand, to explore their qualities, and consider how they may be brought together and employed within an architectural project. It begins to explore how a building can offer a comfortable and sustainable environment for its users.

In Years 2 and 3, you will work in independent studio groups, carrying out design projects that may last from a few weeks to a year. In Year 2, you will be encouraged to experiment creatively, typically working on a main design project each semester. You will continue the skills-based learning introduced in Year 1, expanding your knowledge of supporting subjects and applying it to your design projects.

Core modules

The Processes of Reading Architecture

30 credits

Architecture is a cultural construct. Buildings have always engendered personal, cultural and/or political perspectives, the study of which reveals historical developments in philosophy, socioeconomic and environmental drivers and ‘imperatives' and theoretical ideas. An understanding of these developments in relation to precedent study opens you up to broader understandings of both physical and cultural contexts. This module introduces you to some of the theoretical ideas that have influenced and which currently direct the development of architecture, developing your practical and analytical research skills in relation to given design briefs. It develops your ability to analyse sites and their wider contexts and encourages a deeper understanding of the ways in which precedent can inform a developing design project. Through this you will be encouraged to take a position in relation to this research.

The Processes of Designing Architecture

30 credits

Constraints are a creative opportunity. User requirements and legislative frameworks, taken alongside the ‘reading' of a site, inform the iterative development of a design project. This module will address the professional, legislative, ethical concerns which inform the procurement of an architectural project. It will also encourage the exploration of self-reflective and critical working methods within the development of a project.

The Processes of Representing Architecture

30 credits

A work of architecture represents the drawing together of physical, environmental, social and cultural factors: interpreting, conceptualising and integrating them into a body of ideas that can shape a building. Architects employ a diverse range of media, across two and three dimensions in order to both explore these ideas and to communicate them and the resulting project to different audiences.

This module assists you in the refinement of representation skills and techniques and develops their approach to the representation and communication of their design proposal. This enables you to arrive at a formal, spatial, contextual and programmatic resolution of a design project.

The Processes of Making Architecture

30 credits

At both a strategic and a detailed level, the ways in which a building is made are fundamental in defining its architectural character. This module provides the foundations for the knowledge, techniques and skills that a student will need to master in order to construct and structure a holistic architectural proposition. The module will cover an introduction to engineering, building components, building systems and building skins. This knowledge will be mainly taught through lectures. Students will apply the acquired knowledge to both an existing building and their own design proposal.

Year 3 involves the production of a thesis design project. In its presentation, you will show the integration of your professional skills and knowledge.

Your design studio work, the research undertaken for your thesis project, and your written dissertation, all give you the opportunity to develop and express your individual interests. Modules incorporate aspects of sustainability, tectonics and structure, history of architecture and professional practice.

Core modules

The Practice of Reading Architecture

30 credits

Buildings and cities embody attitudes. Architecture strategically engages individuals, communities and society with the issues of place in practical, personal, cultural and political ways. Through a process of primary and secondary research across a broad range of subjects, architects appraise the fundamental conditions of site and context, in order to inform a strategic design approach for a particular place. The detailed study of buildings and places from other times and contexts, develops an architect's ability to critique these complex interacting conditions.

Establishing a foundation for lifelong learning and practice, this module supports you in the practice of reading and interpreting architecture through 2 capstone projects; a final thesis design project and a dissertation.

A thesis design project is a design portfolio with a theoretical foundation that demonstrates a critical and individual line on inquiry that results in a unique architectural proposition. This capstone project is the culmination of learning throughout the course.

The Practice of Designing Architecture

30 credits

An architect synthesises a complex range of issues, design aspirations and inspirations within the design of a project. The successful integration of ethical, social, regulatory, contractual and procedural issues within a developing design process, alongside an awareness of building economy, is fundamental to making a successful work of architecture. This process of synthesis requires discipline, critical self-reflection, iteration and team work.

This module integrates such professional issues within a final thesis design project, a capstone project, and prepares students for their initial period of professional practice.

A thesis design project is a design portfolio with a theoretical foundation that demonstrates a critical and individual line on inquiry that results in a unique architectural proposition. This capstone project is the culmination of learning throughout the course.

The Practice of Representing Architecture

30 credits

Architecture embodies ideas about the world. In its many different forms, architecture interprets and represents the interactions and inter-relationships between a diverse range of physical, environmental, social and cultural factors. A beautiful or compelling project synthesises these into a coherent, spatial and experiential whole.

This module asks you to critique the ways in which an existing building encompasses such concerns, eloquently integrating primary experience with secondary research and visually representing this through an appropriate range of media, as an integral part of a dissertation capstone project. A successful design proposal represents the drawing together of a complex range of issues into a coherent, holistic work of architecture, described within a well presented and communicative portfolio.

A thesis design project is a design portfolio with a theoretical foundation that demonstrates a critical and individual line on inquiry that results in a unique architectural proposition. This capstone project is the culmination of learning throughout the course.

The Practice of Making Architecture

30 credits

The ability to integrate the diverse technological aspects of a building as fundamental aspects of its final character and as part of an ongoing and iterative process of design, is a core skill of an architect.  This module develops your ability to simultaneously consider all aspects of a building's technology in relation to its wider design aims at both a strategic, and a detailed level. This module will facilitate a holistic and ongoing integration of tectonics, technology and sustainable issues throughout the development of the capstone Thesis Design Project.

A thesis design project is a design portfolio with a theoretical foundation that demonstrates a critical and individual line on inquiry that results in a unique architectural proposition. This capstone project is the culmination of learning throughout the course.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

128 tariff points

Typical offer

128 UCAS points from Level 3 qualifications (i.e. minimum of A Levels, BTEC Diploma, Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, Access Diploma, IB Diploma, etc). General Studies and Key Skills points not accepted.

Additional requirements

Entry onto this course may require a digital portfolio as well as an interview as part of the application process. Details are available on the course page on the University's website. A short list of selected applicants are invited for an interview. UK-based applicants will be required to attend an in-person group interview with their physical portfolio. Further details about the interview will be sent with emailed interview invitations. Applicants based outside of the UK may not be required to have an interview but will be required to submit a digital portfolio.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no element below 5.5

Portfolio guidance

Information required to support your application

We are interested in your creative ability as well as your academic achievement. You will be asked to show a portfolio of work during your interview and the following guidance is to help you prepare this:

  • Please make sure that your portfolio is clearly labelled with your name and contact telephone number.
  • Carefully select and edit your portfolio to produce an exciting, creative and representative document, which informs us about your skills, interests and ambitions.
  • Your portfolio should have a maximum of 10 sheets and may be up to A1 in size. You should carefully select these sheets. 
  • If you prefer not to separate your portfolio, you will need to place the 10 selected sheets at the front of your portfolio.
  • Please be prepared to speak about your work during your interview using these 10 selected sheets.
  • We are interested to see a recent sketchbook and this can be included within your portfolio too.
  • We will be looking at the work in your portfolio to provide evidence of your potential as a designer.
  • Your portfolio should demonstrate your creative skills and may include a range of media with sketches, collages, life drawings, paintings, photographs of models or photography all being valid.
  • We would particularly like to see one image, either photographic or drawn, exploring your interest in architecture and urban spaces.
  • Your portfolio should include observational drawings. We prefer these to drawings copied from a magazine or photograph.

If you need help with your portfolio you may be interested in attending our Portfolio Preparation short course.

Teaching and assessment

You'll be taught by a range of staff, many of whom run their own practices or work in practice, which ensures that the practice-led research which is disseminated in the studio, or actually takes place there, is relevant to industry and practice. It also means that design studios are well placed to take advantage of the myriad of professional networks which staff bring with them.

Within each module are a design component and support/contextual component with the intention that knowledge and skills are always introduced and developed in relation to studio projects.

Studio projects form at least 50 per cent of the course, giving you the skills and knowledge to tackle design issues in the built environment. Workshops teach drawing and making skills, such as casting, pencil and charcoal rendering, detailed large-scale model-making, computer-based graphics and CAD drawing. You will also study theoretical, cultural, historical, social, sustainable, material and technical issues.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Workload

Each year you spend circa 300 hours of timetabled learning and teaching activities. These can be lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and group tutorials. Contact hours may vary depending on each module.

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 2
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 3
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study

Assessment

Assessment typically comprises practical (Design Portfolio, e.g. crits, Design Portfolio reviews and submissions) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, dissertation).

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

Type of assessment

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Coursework
  • Practical (Design Portfolio)
  • Exams: 0%
Year 2
  • Coursework
  • Practical (Design Portfolio)
  • Exams: 0%
Year 3
  • Coursework
  • Practical (Design Portfolio)
  • Exams: 0%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9.00am and 6.00pm. For undergraduate students Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally attracts 110 to 120 students a year. Lecture sizes are normally 100 plus students.

In design studio you will be taught in groups of 18 - 20 students. However this can vary by academic year.

Gallery of student work

Facilities

Our department is moving into bespoke new facilities in spring/summer 2019. This will provide a collegiate environment for all students to work and learn whilst being part of an academic community.

Being part of Kingston School of Art, you will benefit from state-of-the-art workshops facilities that are among the best in UK.

Fees for this course

2019/20 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2019/20 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category  Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
Overseas Year 1 (2019/20): £15,300
Year 2 (2020/21): £15,600
Year 3 (2021/22): £15,900
Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) To be confirmed by the Island Authorities

* For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home/EU tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences.

Free WIFI is available on each of the campuses.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

For this course you will be 

  • involved in processes of making, as means of exploration, experimentation, and understanding your practice, by using a diverse range of media and materials
  • required to purchase your own copy of books, for required reading
  • required to produce physical artefacts for assessment 
  • able to participate in optional study visits and/or field trips

However, over and above this you may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for. 

In order to help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees 

  • personal laptops and other personal devices 
  • personal copies of books 
  • optional study visits and field trips (and any associated visa costs)
  • printing costs
  • your own chosen materials and equipment
  • costs of participating at external events, exhibitions, performances etc.

The costs vary every year and with every student, according to the intentions for the type of work they wish to make. Attainment at assessment is not dependent upon the costs of materials chosen.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

EU students starting a programme in the 2019/20 academic year will be charged the same fees as those who began in 2018/19 (subject to any annual increase in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions and the Kingston University fees schedule).

They will also be able to access the same financial support for the duration of their course as students who began in 2018/19, even if their degree concludes after the UK's exit from the EU.

No assurances have yet been made regarding 2020/21 and beyond. Updates will be published here as soon as they become available.

2020/21 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2020/21 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2020/21): £15,600
Year 2 (2021/22): £15,900
Year 3 (2022/23): £16,200

* For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home/EU tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

After you graduate

Graduates find employment in architectural and multidisciplinary built environment practices. Others find work in environmental, planning consultancies, some in the public sector, and in not-for-profit agencies. Students find work locally in London and SE, UK, some in Europe and internationally. Some students go on to develop small businesses or another specialism, and some pursue further study.

Accreditation

The Architecture BA (Hons) course is validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

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