Moments of Recognition: The Four Semester Studio in QUB

Andrew Clancy, Colm Moore, Michael McGarry

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    It is a legitimate assertion that the common ground of work of worth in architecture, whether theoretical or built comes from a firmly held position on the part of the author. In addition to delivery key competencies architectural education should act to support the formation of such a position in the student, or to make students aware of the possibility of holding such a position.

    It is with this in mind perhaps that intensive unit-based diploma and masters structures are increasingly becoming the standard structure for for schools of architecture across the UK. The strengths of such a structure are most evident when the school, either by virtue of financial strength or geographic location is able to attract a diverse range of contrasting positions to bear in the formation of these units. In effect the offering to the student is a short, intensive immersion into a clear line of thought based on the position of those running the unit. Research is channeled by those running the unit to the work of the students. A single cohort of students therefore is able to observe and understand a wide range of ways of thinking about the subject whether or not they are participants in a unit or not. It is axiomatic that where this structure is applied in the absence of these resources the result can be less helpful, individual units are differentiated not to reflect the interests of those running the unit but for the sake of difference as its own end.

    In structuring the M.Arch programme in Queens University Belfast the reality of our somewhat peripheral location was placed at the forefront of our considerations. A single 4 semester studio is offered. The first three semesters are carefully structured to offer a range of directed and self directed projects to the students. By interrogation of these projects, and work undertaken at undergraduate level the aim is to assist the students to identify a personal position on architecture, which is then developed in the thesis in semester four. Research and design outputs are emergent from the interest of the student body, cultivated by staff who have the time over the four semesters to get to know all aspects of a students interests.

    This paper will lay out this structure and some of the projects run within it. Now having delivered two graduating years the successes and challenges of the system will be laid out by reference to several case studies of individual student experiences of the structure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages249
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2013


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