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Alternative forms of co-existence

Key details

  • 240 credits
  • 15 month programme
  • Full-time study

Career opportunities

  • Environmental Architecture graduates are expected to go on to work in a range of fields, from further academic study to roles in environmentalist NGOs, urban planning agencies and design agencies including architecture, landscape architecture and environmental design.

Explore the future of landscapes, environments and ecosystems.

Environmental Architecture focuses on the co-dependence of life forms and earth systems as well as the co-existence of alternative concepts of landscapes, environments and territories as they are expressed by different societies.

If the planet has a design problem, what do the terms ‘design’ or ‘architecture’ mean when they are applied to phenomena as varied as oceans and atmospheres, or to farmlands and deserts? The intensity of environmental change calls for new forms of knowledge production based in propositional thinking, especially design-based methods.

We offer an intensive series of seminars, lectures, workshops and symposia that cultivate new and experimental approaches to the discipline. You’ll have access to a rich culture of radical and experimental interdisciplinary work at the RCA, and the chance to establish a network of colleagues and mentors in London.


  • Chen Hsiang RS1, 2018-19, Site Analysis

    Site Analysis

    Chen Hsiang

  • Vanessa Lastrucci_RS1_2018-19_Autonomous Region

    Autonomous Region

    Vanessa Lastrucci

  • RS2_2018-19_Peatland Canal_with Guide

    Peatland Canal with Guide

  • Environmental_Architecture_Water Circulation_Salar de Atacama_Lithium Triangle Studio Project Group Work.png

    Water Circulation, Salar de Atacama, Lithium Triangle Studio Project Group Work

  • Field trip to the Atacama Desert Chile.png

    Field trip to the Atacama Desert, Chile

  • Student Presentations_Environmental Architecture.jpg

    Student Presentations, Environmental Architecture

  • Collecting_soil_samples_Salar_de_Atacama_Chile_.original.jpg

    Collecting soil samples, Salar de Atacama, Chile


The School of Architecture is based at our historic Kensington site.

View all facilities

Our studios are the heart of day-to-day activity for the School. Studios are purpose-designed for inspiration and interaction between students of different design disciplines. Studio workspace is provided for each student. In addition, you have access to wood, metal, plastic and resin workshop facilities, as well as contemporary digital fabrication equipment and a suite of bookable project and making spaces.

  • School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton.jpg

    School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton

  • School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton.jpg

    School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton

  • School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton.jpg

    School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton

  • School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton.jpg

    School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton

  • School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton.jpg

    School of Architecture Studios. Photographer: Richard Haughton

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

Field trip to Atacama Desert, Chile, 2018

Live Project-based studio work forms the core of learning in MA Environmental Architecture MA programme; collaboration with external partners and knowledge exchange are central to our pedagogical model.

Each Studio will develop collaborative design-led research around a unique case study. Studios work on the same case for a four-year period. As the programme grows, each new Studio will introduce a new case study.

For 2019/20, the Lithium Triangle Research Studio will explore architecture’s contribution to communities and popular organisations engaged in environmental disputes over resource extraction in the context of the 'global energy transition'.

Meanwhile, The Orang-orang and the Hutan Studio interrogates bio-resources – both extracted and extracted from – through the specific, elemental materials and processes that comprise the inhabited forest, and in doing so addresses intersectional knowledge and spatial structures entangled within the social and ecological tensions of a forest under fire.

Cooking Sections, February 2019

Environmental questions are rarely far from contemporary public debate.

Climate change, global warming, global forest fires, and extreme weather events, mass species extinction, the pollution of our air, seas, land and rivers, not to forget the pollution of our own bodies and food supplies are all daily headline news in print and televisual media.

How should we think about these questions within a school of architecture?

In this series of readings, lectures, and seminars we will encounter a range of voices and texts, drawing upon sources including discussions in mainstream media, as well as various agents and specialists whose basis lies in activism, law and jurisprudence, science and technology studies, and of course architecture and design research.

Kaiwen Yu, Central Kalimantan, 2019

Studio teaching is supported by Technical Workshops delivered weekly by faculty and invited specialists. These aim to provide students with the skills to explore architectural, environmental, and territorial concepts in relation to observational, imaging, documentation, and visualization techniques.

Students will be asked to examine new systems of representation, and their ability to create original and experimental spaces of intervention within the field. This comprises sessions in core digital skills including Remote-sensing, film making, GIS, Rhino or Grasshopper.

We will focus as well on documental practices and ethnographic methods in preparation for the field trip. We use the software rooms and specialized equipment provided by the College and the School of Architecture in the Kensington Campus.

This unit enables students to explore how architects communicate ideas from both a contemporary and historical perspective. This encompasses a range of media that spans disciplines, ideologies and methods.

Students will use both analogue and digital technologies to understand better how a designer creates, interrogates and manipulates spatial environments.

This investigation will take place in a critical context, which explores how images are used to manufacture socio-political ideologies and negotiate public identities.

We have an innovative format of partnership with a selected group of professional practices and organisations. In the beginning of your Independent Research Project (IRP), you’ll be paired with a mentor  according to your research interests and work on your proposal for six weeks on-site within the mentor’s installations. In doing so we hope professional practices and organisations might have a foundational role in the development of the student’s IRP. 

Composed of a unique set of practices at the forefront of contemporary environmental design and thinking, our mentors aim to reflect the diversity of perspectives and possibilities within our programme.

Recent practice mentors include:

All studio-based MA students follow a weekly schedule of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS), a College-wide initiative that provides you with the intellectual framework to build a coherent relationship between theory and practice.

CHS delivers exciting, thought-provoking and inspiring lectures by experts within the programme and high-profile visiting lecturers. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the theoretical background and aspects of your chosen discipline through a tutored dissertation process, as well as receiving individual tutorial support from our team of expert tutors.

View more CHS information


What you need to know before you apply

Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process will consider creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.

You’ll likely be students of architecture with a 3+2-year Bachelor and Master’s degree, or master-equivalent 5-year diploma preferably in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Landscape Urbanism, Urban Design or other related design discipline looking to acquire expertise in large scale, environmental and ecological design projects.

We’ll consider other backgrounds, such as fine arts, social sciences, geography, urban studies, planning or economics, if your prior work is of exceptional merit and you’re able to demonstrate their ability to work alongside and contribute to multidisciplinary teams. Evidence of your intellectual and professional curiosity and a readiness to engage in a rigorous and demanding period of study is essential.

What's needed from you

Your portfolio is a showcase of your work as an artist or designer and can be made up of images, videos or writing examples. Your portfolio helps us to better understand your application and allows you to show evidence of your ability and motivation to undertake a given programme.

Generally, we’re looking for you to demonstrate your:

  • Creativity, imagination and innovation
  • Ability to articulate the intentions of the work
  • Intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work
  • Technical skills appropriate to the work
  • Potential to benefit from the programme

Each programme is looking for different things in a portfolio. Each Head of Programme provides specific advice on portfolio requirements in the online application system. We advise you to consider these requirements carefully before submitting your application.

Visit our application portal to view more portfolio requirements

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE). Students achieving a grade of at least 6.0, with a grade of 5.5 in the Test of Written English, may be eligible to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes course to enable them to reach the required standard.

You are exempt from this requirement if you have received a 2.1 degree or above from a university in a majority English-speaking nation within the last two years.

If you need a Tier 4 visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

For this programme

Fees for new students

You'll find tuition fees for 2020/21 entry below.

Home and EU
£14,850 total cost*
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
£17,425 total cost*
£34,850 total cost*


New entrants to the College for MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees for the first year of study.

Home and EU

* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.



Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.

More information

External funding

There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.


Tuition fees are due on the first day of the academic year and students are sent an invoice prior to beginning their studies. Payments can be made in advance, on registration or in two instalments.

Start your application

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Change your life and be here in 2020

The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.

Before you begin

Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements
More information about entrance requirements
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Visit our applications portal to get started

Ask a question

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.

Email us at
[email protected]
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