MA Architecture and Digital Media
University of Westminster

The use of digital technology is now a central feature of architectural design practice and education. But whilst computer modelling, drafting and visualisation now already form part of the syllabus for the recognised professional qualifications in architecture, the implications of these technologies and of developments in this field, continues to provide the scope for new research and for innovation in design – beyond the remit of standard architectural education. This course provides the opportunity for students already conversant with conventional digital design tools and architectural theory, to develop those skills; to form a critical understanding of their application; and to explore the further possibilities for the integration of computer technology into design praxis.

In the context of a vibrant digital design culture, including digital prototyping, animation, parametric design and interactive/responsive environments, the implications of digital media technology in architecture are considered in terms of their impact on architectural theory and design. By addressing a range of different technologies and techniques, the MA Architecture and Digital Media seeks to provide a critical perspective through which the value and appropriateness of these technologies can be assessed. Centred primarily on project based work, attempts to theorise the use of digital media in architecture also draw on ideas derived from film theory; art history, philosophy and critical theory.

In the majority of modules, design oriented tasks cement and test understanding of key principles and software while at the same time providing students with an opportunity to develop and extend their creative design abilities. Through a project-based application of digital tools a knowledge base and awareness of digital design culture is established that provides the context for the more specialised and narrowly focussed research carried out by individual students in their thesis projects. This forms the major part of the course and brings together theory, technical skills and design as an integrated conceptual design project. Typically, the thesis project will explore the use of digital media in a particular design context and provides a mechanism through which students can demonstrate their ability to apply what they have learnt; and to combine directed research with more speculative forms of investigation to construct a project that integrates digital media technology in both its design and execution. Students are encouraged to explore and incorporate emerging technologies and to demonstrate an innovative and imaginative use of digital media and design strategies.

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