The use of digital technology is now central to architectural design practice and education. But whilst computer modelling and visualisation is now commonplace, technologies such as interactive media, computational design and physical computing continue to provide the scope for exciting new research and innovation. This course offers an opportunity for those already conversant with conventional digital design tools and architectural theory to learn new programming and interactive design techniques, and to form a critical understanding of their role in architecture.
You will require a good first degree in architecture or a related discipline. If your qualifications are in other subject areas related to the course you will be considered on merit, but will be expected to show a committed interest in architectural design. You are likely to be asked to attend an interview, or submit a portfolio of work demonstrating your experience and interests. If you first language is not English you will need an IELTS score of 6.5.
In the context of a vibrant digital design culture (including digital prototyping, animation, parametric design and interactive/responsive environments) you will consider the implications of digital media technology in terms of its impact on architectural theory and design. By addressing a range of different technologies and their application, the course seeks to provide a critical perspective through which you can assess the value and appropriateness of these technologies. Centred primarily in projectbased work, attempts to theorise the use of digital media in architecture also draw on ideas derived from film theory, art history, philosophy and critical theory.
Programming and Computational Design
This module addresses the use of computer programming and computational techniques in architectural design. You will examine the application of scripting, physical computing and parametric modelling techniques to the exploration of form, interactivity, space and ideas. You will be introduced to some of the principles and techniques associated with the computer-controlled manufacture of models/building components, and gain an understanding of the essential elements of physical computing and automation. The module aims both to offer instruction in the use of scripting and programming (as applied to graphic expression/composition and geometric modelling) and also to explore the specific design potential latent in these techniques.
Site and Motion
This module considers the application of two-dimensional animated graphics and the photographic image to architectural research and design. Building on the Programming and Computational Design module in Semester One, you will explore the possibilities afforded by digital technology to extend and develop conventional forms of architectural expression, and to incorporate interactivity and time-based content. The intention is to provide further technical instruction in the use of scripted graphics and associated software applications, and to encourage a critical approach to the use of the photographic image/drawing and its relation to interactive/multimedia design.
This module addresses the application of advanced 3D modelling and animation in architectural design, building on the study of 3D modelling and computational design explored in the preceding Programming and Computational Design module. It capitalises on the potential of contemporary animation software to simulate material qualities and behaviours, including the interaction of physical objects and complex mechanical or composite systems. The module introduces and investigates both the representational and the filmic qualities of animation, with a particular emphasis on the creative opportunities presented by such simulations to generate design content and productively inform the design process.
Theory and Positioning
This module introduces you to key aspects of architectural, critical and cultural theory, relevant to the application of computer technology in design practice. It also encourages awareness of current digital design theory, and locates contemporary developments in architectural design within a wider cultural context (eg film theory, literary criticism and art/architectural history). Through seminar presentations and an individual tutored essay, you will be able to develop your research and communication skills, along with the critical awareness necessary to successfully engage with, and write about, architecture at a conceptual and theoretical level.
Major Thesis Project
The course aims to further the education of professionals working principally in architectural offices, but also in applied arts and media. By developing skills in new media technologies, you will extend your creative abilities, enhancing your employability and performance as design professionals. In addition to architectural practice, past graduates of the course are now employed in a range of different design and media occupations.
The Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster provides a unique context in which to pursue advanced postgraduate research backed by first-class facilities such as state-of-the-art digital design/fabrication equipment. By focussing on the potential for new media technologies both in the design process and in the fabric of architecture itself, the Architecture and Digital Media MA combines high-level investigations into theoretical ideas with innovative design approaches employing digital technology – all within a challenging intellectual environment.
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