learning architecture


a PhD in live projects and architectural education

PhD Opportunities in architecture at QUB

I forgot to post this last week, but there’s still plenty of time to consider. The Centre for Built Environment Research (CBER) cluster – of which I am a member – at the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE) here at QUB has a range of PhD opportunities for a 2011 start. Eleven interdisciplinary subjects have been selected for funding, and in addition there are four broad themes that propose research under the guidance of academic staff. For more information on all the opportunities, click:


Might I draw your attention in particular to:

A8.      Architecture and Education

Architecture and Education is a rich area to investigate not only since architectural education is still a relatively under theorised and critiqued area but also because it bears close witness to the nature of practice; its strengths and weaknesses. Research in this area may enquire into the historical context of architectural education, the surrounding context of other related disciplines or at new educational models or drivers for change in architectural education and hence practice. Many questions and challenges face contemporary architectural education not least its position within the academy and its relationship to practice.

Supervisor: Professor Ruth Morrow

A9.    Prefabrication and craft

This research area looks to investigate such issues as the potential overlaps between prefabrication and craft, how digitalized prefabrication may or may not open new opportunities for specificity and detail to evolve and whether this then echoes and/or extends traditional definitions of craft in architecture. There is also the opportunity within this area to consider architectural components, their design and manufacture; and how they in turn inform, define and refine architectural quality and human interface with the resultant spaces. Certain aspects of this research may necessitate the investigators to establish contact with the construction industry both locally and internationally.

Supervisors: Professor Ruth Morrow & Professor Michael McGarry

A10.    Non-metropolitan architectures

This research area raises such questions as the following. What is it to practice architecture in non-metropolitan cultures and/or locations? What are the theoretical and typological influences on the built realm in rural areas? What impact do access to and the nature of resources, both the physical and human, have on the process and built form? Have such issues differed historically and do they differ currently from metropolitan areas? Are urban forms and spatial configurations (e.g. in cultural, commercial or public buildings) appropriate to rural (non-urban areas)? Finally, what lessons can be learnt from non-metropolitan practice that bears relevance to urban practices?

Supervisors: Professor Ruth Morrow & Dr. Sarah Lappin

A11.    Architecture as discipline or practice?

This area of research may investigate such questions as the following. Where can a line be drawn between architecture as a profession and architecture as a discipline? What is the nature and extent of the relationship between the study and the practice of architecture? What knowledge, skills and values are aligned to the discipline and the practice, and which of these are best delivered within the abstract learning environment of the academy in comparison to the situated learning of practice? Within this context, also sit the influence of architectural research and how it speaks to the discipline and the profession (education and practice). Identifying and mapping existing case studies where the interface between practice based learning and university base learning is more interrelated and mutually responsive to the strengths and opportunities of each context.

Supervisors: Professor Ruth Morrow & Keith McAllister

A12.    The market for architecture

The area of research investigates the age-old relationship of practice to money. To what extent architecture currently sits outside traditional financial determinants of product client relationships? Considering and defining the multiple natures of the architectural ‘product’ – (process/service?), evidence of its consumption and the customer profile. Whether the market ever constructively informs the form and nature of the product? Case studies of architectural practice that manipulates or creates markets; perhaps also identifying practices that sit across disciplines and hence markets; or those which move from a position of professional services, dependent on external resources, to one that brokers potential funding sources, hybrid forms of architectural programmes and non-traditional clients.

Supervisor: Professor Ruth Morrow

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