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Technical Studies


Technical Studies forms part of the current MA Architecture Programme at the Royal College of Art. The unit is driven by an experimental and interdisciplinary approach, which acknowledges the complex structural and environmental demands/drivers  of architectural design. 

The unit examines how the rapid development of new digital and material technologies – such as BIM technologies, Lidar scanning, robotic fabrication and photogrammetry – have allowed new models of analysis, simulation and forms of manufacturing and construction. The projected impact of climate change is examined through the use of bioclimatic design principles, energy-efficiency design tools and ideas of architectural self-sufficiency. Central to the programme is an understanding of how specific socio-cultural, economic and political factors of context and site can be key drivers in the evolution of the technical design of student projects.

The curriculum is intended to challenge conventional technical strategies in order to foster innovative, speculative and future design applications. Students develop digital and physical strategies for capturing and designing technical performance. Individual 1:1 material explorations provide a means to explore, test and experiment with the technical aspects of an architectural design. Students actively and directly analyse their environment – using tools such as FLIR thermal imaging systems and Karaba structural analysis software – to develop their expertise. Constant experimentation gives students a base on which to gain a comprehensive understanding and working knowledge of technologies and developments in construction, engineering and environmental practices.

Technical Studies in currently undertaken in the first year of the MA Architecture Programme. The knowledge and experience developed within the unit allows students to formulate and materialise the ideas and concepts of their individual ADS design project.