Master of Architecture (MArch)
The M.ARCH programme at Queen’s is focused on the perception, physicality, and built reality of space and the programme’s particular identity stems from its context within Belfast and Northern Ireland – a city and region with a strong background in artefact, its production and physicality. That identity is further reinforced by Architecture’s placement within the School of Natural and Built Environment (SNBE) at Queen’s with its very significant material sciences tradition and close relationship with industry. The Centre for Built Environment Research is the vehicle for architectural research with SNBE providing a multi-disciplinary platform within an international network. This is a studio – based programme, underscoring design and design processes as the core concerns.
The two–year programme comprises four semesters. The staff cohort represents a wide spectrum of significant professional and academic experience and interests, and is supported by inputs from a variety of academics, practitioners, and consultants from beyond Queen’s to provide a further dimension to a stimulating educational environment.
Agustina Martire and Colm Moore
Directors of MArch
Find the 2020 End of Year Show Book here.
Click this link to view a 3d scan of the MArch Architecture End of Year Show 2019
Studio 1 - Northern Neitherland
Architettura Superleggera [ASL] looks at the relationship between architecture and the complex flows of globalization versus the stasis of traditional ideas of place. The future is effective: speedy, stripped-down and super-light.
Our project this year is called Northern NeitherLand. We will explore the future of hyper low-density regions by studying the productive and consumptive territories of the Lake District and Groningen. Each operates as distributed, networked landscapes which generate intensity and production in different manners, connected globally through varying lenses. Both experiences the fluxes and flows of occupation, output and consumption directly connected to landscape and climate. These include the cultural production of poets and writers in the Lake District – like William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter – to the intensive agricultural production and natural gas extraction of Groningen, located below sea-level. The studio will explore how these regions have developed, what shapes their operation and how they are serviced by, or service, a landscape beyond their physical boundaries. As territories with hyper-low density, the project examines the underlying networks, systems and infrastructures which service unique forms of intensity and how these must respond to climate change.
Studio 2 - Scaffold
This studio is led by Professor Michael McGarry (McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects) and Ben Weir; both are practitioners of architecture. Michael is also involved in design practice research and Ben is also an active artist.
Scaffold is a metaphor with two applications; the first being a recognition of how design happens, the second being about an ethical attitude to design in the context of climate crisis. The first application recognises that decisions designers make are intuitive and associative rather than the inevitable consequence of linear thought processes of problem solving. The second application addresses design strategies of least means – where design interventions are precise, economic (in the widest sense), and effective in creating meaningful spatial and material arrangements ie architecture.
The ambition of the studio is that students would discover, clarify, and know their own design process, and be practised in sustainable design strategies relevant in an evolving world. The studio is structured around the production of individual architectural proposals, learning through design.
Studio 3 - In Praise of Adaptation
We believe that architects have responsibilities.
These extend into the territories of the professional, moral and ethical. If wanting to take a lead in making our built environment better for all in a time of fast change and diminishing resources, it is both expedient and necessary to better employ and make use of the existing. Hence adaptation, whether by extension, revision or conversion will become an essential skill for all architects. Exploring and celebrating this paradigm will be the mainstay of this investigation where participants will be invited to develop their own personal informed attitude to (re)-making, conservation and adaptation.
Working in an Ulster context, the potential for adaptation of the existing will be critiqued and examined as mode of enquiry, also bringing attention to the oft-overlooked traditional and vernacular in a search for opportunities of genuine architectural merit among the seemingly ordinary and mundane.
Studio 4 - StreetSpace – Sailortown
StreetSpace is a research and teaching project that seeks to understand the significance of local mixed streets, by analysing their physical, historical and experiential aspects. This project aims to provide an alternative way of mapping, drawing, planning, preserving, developing and designing streets. The studio challenges students to work in collaboration with the Department for Communities and Belfast City Council to address Sailortown and its connection to the rest of the city. The studio encourages students to address problems of vacancy, lack of cohesion, connection and coherence. Students will produce proposals that will consider and enhance the diversity, vibrancy and spatial quality of the street. These proposals should be feasible, affordable and sustainable. We will deal with SNBE’s climate emergency agenda by highlighting on the one hand the importance of social justice and sustainability in the climate agenda, and on the other addressing the very pragmatic waterfront condition of the site.
Studio 5 - When we talk about the weather
This year, throughout our school, it is our intention to talk about climate change. Unlike the weather, which we can touch, climate cannot be experienced directly. Yet the climate is merely the weather in a particular place aggregated over a period of time. Whilst we may talk about the weather we rarely consider the temporal with respect to either the making or our experience of architecture. So we intend to invite the weather into our studio. To work in collaboration as shared authors of our buildings alongside our environment – time, the weather and people. To welcome nature, not as an object to be viewed, but as structural force that shapes our buildings both prior and subsequent to their construction. To conceive our projects in terms of the dual forces of nature and culture. In doing so we will address technical problems of maintenance, inhabitation, adaptability and decay focusing on their philosophical and ethical implications.
Professional Skills (MArch II)
The teaching of MArch Professional Skills has been carefully designed to enable the QUB students to fully realise their potential when they emerge into practice. Co-directed by Dr Sarah Lappin (RIBA), Laurence Lord (MRIAI), and Alan Jones (PRIBA), the coursework consists of a number of key assignments that give the students a clearer understanding of the profession they are entering, including how projects are actually delivered and future trends in the built environment. For QUB it is of the utmost importance that graduates are fully aware of the different directions their master’s qualifications offers them and how to get there. Each year there are multiple guest speakers covering a wide range of key topics to give the students a complete overview of the profession from procurement to Brexit to setting up their practice to pricing for a job.
Collaborators have included: Yemi Aladerun; John Coles; Alistair Beckett; David Capener; Paul Crowe; Ali Grehan; Feargal Harron; Rory Hyde; Aisling Rusk; Aoife McGee; Karen Latimer; Claire McAteer; Gareth McMahon; Jim Mulholland; Dr Jane McCullough; Finbarr McMeel; Dermot MacRandal; Karen McShane; Cecilia Milburn; Allan Munro; Conor Sreenan; Greg Woods.
Central to the conception of Queen’s approach to architectural technology and environment is that it is key to the realisation of buildings, not just in narrow construction terms, but also as a contingent part of the design process that informs your individual approach to architecture. Thus, throughout the school we are seeking to consistently build links between the various Technology and Environment modules and the parallel spheres of studio and indeed history and theory.
The School of the Natural and Built Environment’s recent adoption of the Climate Emergency brings the question of technology even further into focus. For architecture as a profession it clarifies the challenges we face in the coming years to build in a more holistic way. In doing this we open up a plethora of new opportunities for thinking about how and what we design. Consequently, students through their skill as designers have the chance to develop novel and engaging solutions to age old problems such as context, inhabitation, space, form and comfort.
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