Architecture and Environmental Design MSc

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UKPASS code: 044597 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 15 September 2016
Duration: 1 year
Location: Central London
Campus: Marylebone

All prices quoted are for the academic year 2016/17 only. Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £10,500.00
Overseas: £12,500.00

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 The same can be said for the existing built environment which is largely outdated and underperforming, requiring urgent implementation of effective retrofit strategies.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.

Course content

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.

Architecture and Environment Design MScThis 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.

Images from top to bottom: Image 1: Global Ecology Research Centre, Stanford, California. Image 2: Sun path diagram projection on site map. Image 3: Computational Fluid Dynamic simulation showing temperature stratifications in refurbishment project in Mumbai.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Core modules

Semester one

Evaluation of Built Environments

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.

Principles of Environmental Design

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.

Theory and History of Environmental Design

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.

Semester two

Environmental and Energy Modelling

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.

Semester two and three

Thesis Project

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

Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan, course leader, is Principal Lecturer in Architecture and Environmental Design in the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of the University of Westminster. Rosa has 18 years experience in the field of environmental design devoting most of her career to consultancy and research, working for global organisations and with international partners. She was formerly Senior Lecturer at the Architectural Association teaching in the MSc and MArch in Sustainable Environmental Design and contributing to the PhD Programme in Environment and Energy. She is co-director of Natural Cooling Limited and co-author of The Architecture & Engineering of Downdraught Cooling, published in 2010 and recipient of a commendation by the RIBA President's Awards for Research in December 2011.

Teaching staff

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:

  • Dr Colin Gleeson, chartered building services engineer, academic, Deputy Director of ProBE research centre. Colin's recent work includes the ESF European Retrofit Network and the impact of 'green construction' on vocational education and training.
  • Dr Nasser Golzari, architect, academic and practitioner with project experience in the UK and Middle East. Nasser was part of the design team for the project 'Revitalisation of Birzeit Historic Centre' in Palestine which received the Aga Khan award 2013.
  • Dr Jon Goodbun, whose career embraces architecture and the academy. Jon has worked in both practice and in the exploration of cultural theory. He was a member of the EU HERA funded SCIBE research project into scarcity, and co-authored The Design of Scarcity published in 2014 by Strelka.
  • Juan Vallejo, architect from University of Granada and MSc SED at the AA School of Architecture, London. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham researching in the field of natural ventilation and passive evaporative cooling. He regularly lectures and consults on building environmental simulation tools and passive design techniques in the UK and abroad.
  • Zhenzhou Weng is a building services engineer with an MSc in Sustainable Environmental Design at the AA, London. His research focuses on computational tools for environmental design education and parametric optimization. As part of his PhD at Bath, he is currently developing a web-based e-learning tool on building physics which features interactive demonstrations.

The course will also draw on the skill and range of the established design studios and visiting practitioners, and the workshops and laboratories shared by the Departments of Architecture and of Property and Construction. The visiting professors associated with this course are Professor Joana Goncalves and Professor Peter Sharrat.

Associated careers

This course will give you skills which 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.

Indicative timetable

Full-time students on the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc course usually need to attend classes at University on Tuesday and Wednesday with additional tutorials on Monday afternoon. Part-time students usually need to attend classes at University on Tuesday in the first semester, and on a Wednesday and Monday afternoon in the second semester of their first year. In their second year, part-time students need to attend classes at University on a Wednesday and Monday afternoon in the first semester and Tuesday in the second semester. Please note, this timetable is subject to change.

Facilities

The course is delivered at our central London Marylebone Campus, which is easily accessible by all forms of public transport. Design work is developed within dedicated studio spaces. In addition to an extensive CAD lab, a complete suite of 100 computers has been installed in the design studios to the highest specification and with all the latest software. Together, these facilities offer a wide range of drawing, graphics and video applications. The new Fabrication Laboratory includes state-of-the-art CAD-CAM equipment in shape of several 3D printers, laser-cutting machines and computer-controlled drilling machines. Metalworking and woodworking workshops, as well as other support facilities are also available. The course also has access to an environmental laboratory which contains a wide range of testing and monitoring equipment for assessing environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, day-lighting, air velocity and sound; and surveying equipment. An Artificial Sky for the physical modelling and analogue simulation of daylighting is also under construction

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.

Employability

Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.

Accommodation

After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

Rammed Earth Workshop – PLAY Week 2015

During PLAY Week 2015 staff and students explored an area of interest they may otherwise not had the time of freedom to investigate in their everyday teaching and learning.

Architecture and Environmental Design MSc students ran a workshop for other students in the use of sustainable natural building materials, in this case rammed earth (with the addition of straw and wood), in a fun and practical way. It was an opportunity to document the construction methods, processes and research involved in creating rammed earth structures.

Students built four cubes - wooden, straw and two rammed cubes - experiencing not only rammed earth construction in practice but also researching and learning construction techniques from a practical perspective.

This image slideshow shows the story of the creation of the cubes, from students testing mixes and timber form work, through to constructing the cubes.

Talia Quesada Campana

Architecture and Environmental Design alumnus Talia Quesada

Why did you choose the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc at Westminster?
I chose this course because of the importance of environmental design nowadays. In my practice as an architect I was lacking the tools and knowledge to successfully apply environmental parameters to my projects.

What do you like about the course and about Westminster?
I like that the course offers a logical combination of theoretical knowledge, digital tools and fieldwork. Therefore, applying what is learned to real cases is effortless.

What I like about studying at the University of Westminster, besides its central location in London, is that the campus and library are open 24 hours, seven days a week, with all the IT technology you need available.

What are you hoping to do after you leave Westminster?
I am hoping to return to my country and work as an architect and professor in the university.

How do you think this specific course will help you in your career?
Besides the acquisition of the needed knowledge and skills to project environmental friendly buildings, this course will improve my level of English and methodological ability to face a project.

What support did the University offer you as an international student?
The University of Westminster has offered me great support by awarding me with a full scholarship.

Do you think this course is a good place to study as an international student?
Yes, first of all because the lectures and content of the course are not only related to the British context, but to the whole world. Also, in the university there are many international students and you enjoy a multicultural experience.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?
To be able to work as an architect in the Old Havana and at the same time work part-time as an instructor in the University in Havana. Also, coming to London to study for the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc.

 

Mosaab Alaboud

Architecture and Environmental Design alumnus Mosaab Alaboud

Why did you choose the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc at Westminster?
I chose this course to engage my previous architecture studies with the environment, and following some research about our course leader I wanted to come here.

What do you like about the course and about Westminster?
I like being part of the first group of students to graduate from this course next year and I am glad to study in central London as well. We're very much an international group on this course this year and Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan (the course leader) and the other lecturers are helping us getting better and better.

What have you been working on so far?
I've been analysing case study buildings with a group of my classmates, doing a lot of reading for the history and theory of environmental design and doing some calculations for the principals of environmental design.

What are you hoping to do after you leave Westminster?
I've just finished the second month of the course but if the next ten months work fine for me, and if Dr Schiano-Phan doesn't mind accepting a PhD student, I'd like to stay here for a few years more doing a PhD.

How do you think the course will help you in your career?
It will help me get the tools, the knowledge and the guidance from very experienced and intelligent lecturers.

 

Yutaka Sato

Architecture and Environmental Design alumnus Yutaka Sato

Why did you choose the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc at Westminster?
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.

What do you like about the course and about Westminster?
I am learning under the guidance of experts with diverse backgrounds, such as a building service engineer, an ecological researcher and an architect. This will help me have a broad outlook on architecture. In addition, the location of the university is very convenient for me to access useful information.

Do you think Westminster is a good place to study as an international student?
There are many students and course tutors from overseas, and their contributions have offered me a broader perspective. The University offers international students necessary and useful information such as guidance on accommodation and applications.

What are you hoping to do after you leave Westminster?
Although I am interested in design in general, I would like to make the best use of the course experience and hope to be involved in environmental strategies which will become increasingly important in the future.

On this course I am developing problem solving skills which will be useful in future.

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

DateTitleLocation
16 November 2016Postgraduate Information EveningHarrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent Street

Architecture and the Built Environment

We are one of the country's leading centres for the study of Architecture and the Built Environment, covering the core subject areas that address the future shape of our cities.

Find out more in our welcome from the Dean of the faculty

Architecture and the Built Environment

Postgraduate student funding

Group of students seated around a table

Find out about new student loans of up to £10,000 for postgraduate master’s study.

Fabrication Laboratory Westminster

The fabrication laboratory allows students to explore the exciting field of digital fabrication, including ABS and plaster 3D printing, CNC knife cutting, large-scale CNC routing, CNC metal milling and robot fabrication.

Exhibition Catalogue

Poster for PG2016 exhibition

View our Postgraduate Architecture and Interiors end of year exhibition exhibition catalogue.

Facilities

Student facilities at Marylebone Campus.

Meet the Academics

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

Architecture and the Built Environment

Related course

Find out more about our Architecture and Environmental Design BSc.

Video

Still from Architecture video

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