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Programme aims and learning outcomes

The MSc Computing and Design programme

The MSc Computing and Design programme hosts a lecture series drawing on leaders in the field, and our staff and associated lectures are contributing to cutting edge research. Former students hold many positions in the computational design field.

This course will give you the tools not just to become a digital form-maker but to interact creatively with the computer at a more fundamental level, to simulate growth process, complex mappings and computation geometry - to understand the underlying principles of computation and how it has affected our ways of understanding form as a process.

Students on the course are embedded in a rigorous process of learning algorithmic design through cad scripting, in a practice focused environment. Many students have taken up positions in practice as part of computational modelling teams.

Paul Coates/Christian Derix 
Spring 2007


The programme is intended for building professionals and those interested in this specialist area in relation to the design and management of the built environment. Applicants must demonstrate that they will benefit from and contribute to the programme. Particular requirements are: - Honours Degree in Architecture or exemption from the RIBA Part 1 or an Honours Degree in a subject connected with the built environment.

This programme has also been designed to attract professionals from practice who are seeking to upgrade their qualifications, or who are looking for the opportunity to validate aspects of their professional remit, or to research and develop internationally relevant issues that they have encountered in professional practice

Applications are welcomed from the EU and overseas, in particular, lecturers from Higher Education Institutions wishing to increase their qualifications.

Students whose first language is not English will have achieved a score of 7.0 in ILTS or equivalent. Eligibility for students without degree equivalent qualifications will be assessed on the basis of a short essay, statement and a portfolio. Places will be offered after a successful interview with a member of the programme team. Professionals returning to the industry after career break are considered an important sector for recruitment.

All applicants will be interviewed.

This programme aims to provide students with advanced CAD skills and at the same time introduces ways of thinking about the role of the computer in architectural design beyond the current practice in offices through the medium of end user scripting. The course uses CAD as an introduction and vehicle for design research, and is concerned with space and form and their determinants. This programme introduces the new ways in which computers can be used to explore and generate designs. It is founded on the notion that architectural outcomes can be seen as the result of some process; that its three dimensional form can be described not just geometrically, in the conventional top down way, but as a set of rules derived from an analysis of the design problem couched in a different dynamical perspective. Since 1991 the School has pioneered work in this expanding field of generative modelling, and has developed a range of new tools for designers which are available for students to explore and extend.
  • evaluating Self-organising Neural nets as spatial cognisers
  • 3D voronoi as spatial structure for wayfinding in 3d
  • agent based modelling of alpha syntax structures.
Students and staff have contributed papers to a multitude of conferences, i.e. ECAADE, CAAD FUTURES, Generative Arts, DCC since 1991.

Former students have collaborated on spatial research and immersive systems with recent work at the ZKM in Karlsruhe and the ARS Electronica.

Former students and staff continue to develop computational methods for architectural designs in R&D groups of large architectural practices.
  • Full-time: two days a week for one year.
  • Part-time: one day a week for two years.
  • Module 141 : form_script sessions (semesters A & B) programming classes for (60 credits)
    • NetLogo 3d
    • VBA (AutoCAD and Rhino)
    • AutoLISP
    • MEL (Maya script)
  • Module 142 : systems_workshops (semesters A & B) systems theory workshops  (60 credits)
    • systems theory and cognitive science
    • material computation
    • cybernetic machines
    • programmable hardware
  • Module 143 : autonomous R&D  (semester C) final thesis contains approximately 10,000 words and is based around a working algorithm designed by the student (60 credits)
The programme forms part of the master’s umbrella programmes integrated with the Architecture programme, and with access to a wide range of digital arts programmes at AVA:
  • MSc Material Matters
  • MA Sustainability and design
  • MA Alternative Urbanisms
  • MA Interpretation and theories
Programme aims and learning outcomes
Module descriptions