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City Design Focus

The City Design focus in the MRes Architecture Pathway offers students training in interdisciplinary research methodologies with emphasis on architectural and urban theory, design methods and advanced computation. City Design integrates practice-led design and written academic research while encouraging design experimentation and critical thinking that challenges established boundaries between practice and theory, as well as prevailing disciplinary assumptions of urbanism and urban design.

The aim of City Design is to contribute new knowledge to the fields of architecture, urbanism, and urban design, and to prepare students for diverse research careers in academia and practice. It therefore sets out to explore new methods for urban, architectural, and spatial research, and to critically understand the role of computation in design, fabrication and practice. City Design not only teaches the skills needed to develop an original research proposal and execute independent research at an advanced level but, equally, fosters the knowledge and skills relevant to practicing in architectural and urban design offices, or working with government and non-governmental research institutions.

City Design supports applicants with an interest in research that examines a set of related enquiries at different architectural, urban, and territorial scales. While its framing is through questions arising from the design of cities, this is always understood as a problem connected to other design disciplines and as specific to its social, political, cultural, environmental, and economic contexts. Therefore investigations into the agency of spatial design and its impact on social and urban forms are central to the research agenda of City Design. 

The training delivered by the City Design focus within the Architecture Pathway is aimed at practical research in architecture and urban design, and concludes with an individually supervised thesis project, which can be a written thesis or an original work of design alongside with a short written thesis. In the City Design focus, the thesis is expected to develop a research question and problem enabling graduates to:

  • Pursue further advanced research at PhD level by developing robust and rigorous long-term research enquiries
  • set up their own innovative practice-led research and collaboration with academic and industry partners
  • and find employment in existing practice-based research groups.

Led by Sam Jacoby.