We have put together the most frequently asked questions from our recent School of Architecture and Design online Q&A.
How much maths is involved in Architecture?
Traditionally maths was an important requirement for architecture but these days computers have taken over many of the tasks. Apart from basic maths to understand measurements or areas you don’t need anything specialised.
How is Architecture at Brighton taught and assessed?
Our teaching is focused around the design studio spaces where we have a mix of lectures and seminars for other subject areas. There is a focus on one to one conversation more than in many other subject areas. We assess through the course work you develop in each subject area and this takes different forms. So, for design this would be a portfolio of work, for technology this may take the form of drawings and a report, or for history and theory it would be an essay or a dissertation.
How much space do we get in a studio?
In the first year each student has their own designated desk space within a shared studio space where you can set up a drawing board. The first year have the bonus of lovely views of the sea! You will be provided with a drawing board and usually a parallel rule as well. In the second and third year students may choose to work in a studio or at home, so we don’t guarantee a space but our recent layout change made it possible for anyone who wanted a desk space to get one in the upper years.
What do we learn in the first year and beyond?
The first year comprises of many short exercises covering all the different skills you need for later study: model making, drawing by hand, computer, drawing in pencil and pen, surveying sites, doing analysis and designing. There are case studies and students will get to see a wide range of architectural approaches. There are four strands to architectural teaching: design which takes up about half the time; technology including how buildings stand and how they interact and impact the environment; humanities, which is history and theory; and practices – how architects work. In design, you will learn skills for 3D thinking: how to visualise in 3D, and also how to draw and create physical models. Design approaches is how do you decide to do something one way or another.
How many hours a week will we need to be working in the studio?
Overall the workload is based on a working week – about 40 hours a week. Generally, however it takes more, some times over the weekend is needed. We encourage students to use the studio space as much as possible and in the first year all students get a dedicated workspace. However in years 2 and 3 we recognise some students prefer to work at home. In those cases, you would still be in the studio about 2 and a bit days a week for design and technology tutorials. Working in studios is a great place to learn as you have the opportunity to interact with others on different years of the course alongside your peers.
How different is interior architecture to interior design?
The key focus of Interior Architecture is understanding spatial qualities and designing into spaces or existing building within the field of architecture and design and teaches the architectural skills needed. Whereas interior design usually focuses on the unique appearance of an existing room or space.
What sort of thing will we study?
The course as a whole allows the students to explore many techniques and play to their strengths in designing and creating, in compliance with a variety of briefs – usually with a local site and realistic task outline. Like architecture you work in studios. In the first year you will work as one cohort and in the second and third year you work in selected studios of your choice.
Each studio has a different thematic focus – this might be a specific research focus of a lecturer or might be project based. However, each studio will undertake the same modules but in studio cohorts doing different outputs. In the first year studio work is taught by one tutor with some integrated modules taught by specialised tutors. In the second and third years students work together on a variety of briefs and have the choice of which studio they would like to be in for the year. The studios are based around the tutors style of teaching and particular current themes. Past themes of studios have included the future of housing, festival/temporary structures, the future of the high street, rituals and memorials.
How many hours a week will we need to be working in the studio?
Design studio meets twice a week and a day can range from six hours to one hour depending on the stage of the project and whether there are presentations, workshops or individual tutorials. For humanities, technology and practices there are generally hour-long lectures and 90-minute seminars once a week. However, you usually do design plus one of the other modules at any given time which equates to about 3-4 days a week in university during the first year and three days a week in the second and third.
How big is the course?
It varies but a typical studio group on the final year is about 22 students and there are four studio groups so the total cohort is about 80 students. Each studio has a dedicated tutor so we have the opportunity to be in constant contact with the students. We also have tutorials weekly which are normally in small groups of 408 and 1-1 tutorials every couple of weeks.
What is the ratio between studio/hands-on vs lecture time
About 60% studio and 40% lecture gravitating towards more studio hands-on work in the final year. In terms of lecture time it’s 1-2 days a week of lectures and the rest is studio time. I would say that a lot of learning is done in studio time as you are surrounded by other years and therefore everyone helps each other if you don’t understand. There are also tutorials at the end of the week so that you can review your progress.
I’m worried about starting – I’m sure everyone else will know more than me
Don’t panic! Everyone is in the same boat and although it may be scary at first, you will find your feet! One of the best parts about our product design course is that during studio time there are always people on hand to help you out if you are struggling – you just need to ask.
Are there any jobs available on campus?
There are many job roles which provide useful income to support to the costs of university such as working in the uni shop, becoming a student helper, cafe work or applying to become a student ambassador for open days, applicant days and online events. In addition, there are part-time roles through the Student Union. There are also local jobs such as working at the Amex football stadium next to our Falmer campus, and in the city itself there are always jobs available in restaurants, shops and cafes.
Is there student parking?
There is a multi-storey car park on the Moulsecoomb site and students get a preferential charge for parking there. You will need to apply for a permit though as spaces are limited.
How is the university responding to the Covid crisis?
If you have any questions about the application process or teaching and learning at this time, the University has prepared some guidance that can be found here.
What opportunities are there outside of the courses?
There are over 100 University of Brighton societies to join – you can find them on the Students’ Union website. And we have a great local volunteering service Active Student.