Course Overview

Attendance
UK/EU Fees £1,175 *
International Fees £1,400 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 2 years

* Price per 20-credit module

Course summary

The global environmental and energy challenge facing current and future generations of architects and building professionals calls for a deeper understanding of the principles of environmental design, and their effective application into architectural practice worldwide. Over the last decades Environmental Design as a subject area has developed, responding to new research and experimentation, both in academia and in practice. However, buildings claiming to be environmentally conscious do not perform to the expected standards, still heavily contributing to global CO2 emissions and often providing unsatisfactory comfort conditions to occupants. The same can be said for the existing built environment which is largely outdated and underperforming, requiring urgent implementation of effective retrofit strategies. This is due to a lack of comprehensive performance prediction and feedback protocols, which are still not common practice in architectural design.

Students on this course will take a fresh critical look at this subject. Here you will gain the knowledge and tools to make informed design decisions based on post-occupancy feedback and performance analysis, towards a new paradigm of environmental architecture, which is environmentally and energy conscious, yet sensitive to the contextual and socio-cultural landscape we live in. You will learn environmental design methods which relate to the various stages of architectural design. You will be able to evaluate existing buildings and design new ones following a combined bioclimatic and building occupant focused approach. In the core design modules you will follow an evidence based design approach where the acquisition of specialised software and analytical tools will be directly applied to an evaluation or design project.

This interdisciplinary and international course will provide you with skills that can be applied to diverse building typologies and global climatic, environmental and contextual issues. On completion of this course you will have a thorough understanding of the principles and methodology of environmental design and will develop critical thinking skills to challenge established practices. You will hold the knowledge and the practical tools to better understand existing buildings for retrofit and to design new ones – positively driving change in this field and moving towards a truly environmentally conscious architecture.

The course covers both the wider contextual and sustainable approach to environmental design, and the more technical aspects of environmentally and energy conscious building design and performance. As well as taught modules, you will take design-based modules where you will apply quantitative and qualitative analysis to the study of existing built environments and to new design projects.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

You will be involved in practical workshops on the use of tools and on the development of analytical methods, which will be directly applied to a design studio project on the evaluation of case studies. In this module you will learn about climate and microclimate analysis and fieldwork methods for the measurement of environmental and energy parameters, thermal comfort surveys and post-occupancy evaluations.

You will look at the principles of passive solar design and strategies for bioclimatic architecture (eg enhanced thermal performance of building envelope, solar control, natural ventilation, day-lighting, passive solar heating and cooling etc). The module will provide, through practical experimentation and laboratory exercises, fundamentals of building physics, energy and environmental foundations, including heat exchange and energy balance of buildings, and thermal and visual comfort.

You will look at ethical and environmental drivers of environmental design; climate change, energy conservation and economy; standards and regulations; history of environmental design; and its various past and present definitions.

You will undertake software workshops and design application of dynamic thermal modelling, Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) modelling and day-lighting. The software used will be tailored to the various stages of the design process and will range from climate data analysis to daylighting and thermal modelling. These will be directly applied to a design studio project running in parallel to the workshops. Amongst the software used are Rhino, Grasshopper, Ladybug, Radiance, Daysim, TAS and Autodesk CFD. It is recommended that students familiarise themselves with Excel, Rhino and Grasshopper prior to the commencement of the course.

You will explore advanced topics and contexts of research applicability. The topic chosen can depend on your individual interests and aspirations, ranging from analytical projects to design proposals. The module will provide you with the background on research methods and advanced technical skills appropriate to your topic of choice. Dissertations can be formulated as a written thesis or as a hybrid written and design-project thesis.

Course Team

You will be taught by a team of academics with an international track record and expertise in the field of environmental design. External contributors from industry and practice will enrich the lecture-based courses and the design studio activities.

Internal contributors to the course and module leaders will include:

Entry Requirements

Generally, a good undergraduate degree (ie First or Upper-Second Class Honours) in Architecture or a related subject within the context of the construction industry and built environment disciplines.  Applicants with qualifications in other subject areas which may be relevant to the award are encouraged to apply, each case being considered on merit. You will need a portfolio of work, or comprehensive, and a personal statement which clearly articulates why you wish to study for the award.

You will need fluent written and spoken English to study at postgraduate level. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of at least 6.5 (or equivalent). The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

Generally, a good undergraduate degree (ie. First or Upper-Second Class Honours) in Architecture or a related subject within the context of the construction industry and built environment disciplines.  Applicants with qualifications in other subject areas which may be relevant to the award are encouraged to apply, each case being considered on merit. You will need a portfolio of work, or comprehensive, and a personal statement which clearly articulates why you wish to study for the award.

You will need fluent written and spoken English to study at postgraduate level. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of at least 6.5 (or equivalent). The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

More information

Careers

This course will give you skills that can be used both in architectural practice and in environmental design consultancy. The research issues explored in your final thesis project could also lead to further research and an academic career through the path of a PhD degree in a number of related fields.

Our Career Development Centre has just been shortlisted for the Best University Careers Service in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards for 2017.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we are here to help you succeed.

In 2015–16, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

As a Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

We can help you:

  • find work placements related to your course
  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • find international opportunities to enhance your employability
  • market yourself effectively to employers
  • write better CVs and application forms
  • develop your interview and enterprise skills
  • plan your career with our careers consultants
  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

What our students say

Architecture student, Talia Quesada

Talia Quesada Campana

Architecture and Environmental Design MSc

The course offers a logical combination of theoretical knowledge, digital tools and fieldwork. Therefore, applying what is learned to real cases is effortless.

Architecture student, Mosaab Alaboud

Mosaab Alaboud

Architecture and Environmental Design MSc

We're very much an international group on this course this year and Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan and the other lecturers are helping us getting better and better.

Architecture student, Yutaka Sato

Yutaka Sato

Architecture and Environmental Design MSc

I chose this course because it covers not just conventional design approaches but also the quantitative approaches with which indoor and outdoor environments are considered.

Student work

Our annual exhibition of work from students on our postgraduate Architecture and Interiors courses features thesis project work and provides a fascinating insight into the nature of research in architecture and the built environment.

PG2016 catalogue

PG2015 catalogue

Find out more

About Architecture and Interiors

Watch our video to find out more about studying Architecture and Interiors courses with us.

Meet the academic

Lecturer and practising architect Nasser Golzari talks about the University, his work and research in social commitment in architecture.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £1,175 (Price per 20-credit module)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £1,400 (Price per 20-credit module)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Course Location

Our Marylebone Campus has benefitted from a multi-million pound refurbishment resulting in new workshops, digital studios and development of the Marylebone Library. The campus is home to the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment and Westminster Business School. For more details, visit our Marylebone Campus page.

More information

Your Westminster

Book an open day. Order a prospectus. Sign up for newsletters.