📃 On paper
There are 3 main units the biggest one is studio (portfolio work)
Contextual Studies is the next biggest unit, this is learning about architectural history. You’ll have lectures in 1st year, lectures and seminars in 2nd year, lectures, seminars and dissertation tutorials in your third year (one to one, and small group discussions)
Technical studies is learning about the structural aspects. You’ll have lectures in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year. In third year you’ll have to write and investigate a technical thesis.
Professional practice is the final unit, it's tiny but very useful. This covers, the RIBA stages, code of conduct, legal aspects of company types, fees and contract types. You’ll learn a lot and get feedback/advice on cv, cover letter, portfolio and finding jobs.
In your third year you will also have seminars on architectural theory. This series compliments your studio and dissertation work by convening both units. It looks at architecture through an intellectual lens.
In 2nd and 3rd year you will be put in vertical studios which means 2nd years and 3rd years are mixed together in the same studio. You will indicate your preference on a survey with your reasons and you will be placed in studios accordingly- studio tutors don’t pick.
In your first year you have an additional unit in which you explore one building detail as a case study within a group. (This may have already changed or may change in the future)
You will have a making week each year, which usually involves working on a live project. Building at a 1:1 scale.
Lecture series: You will have evening lectures throughout the year that are free and incredibly useful and interesting. You can also attend lectures/ events from other courses.
In the Spring term is the public evening lecture series. This is usually widely attended and highly valued. An incredible opportunity to observe discussions on a panel of some of the biggest names in the industry with an audience of industry professionals. An example of this the fundamentals lecture series :
The CSM degree show, when there isn’t a pandemic, is an incredible opportunity to showcase talent and allure the attention of potential employers. It's a real privilege to view student work being displayed across all disciplines.
👐🏻 General approach
CSM takes a balanced approach to teaching architecture in order to give graduates a rounded set of skills.
The specific focus is on the social aspect of architecture. There is a lot of research conducted by staff and students along this trajectory. This involves considering the effects of architecture on the wider user (how would a new tower affect people who live, work or commute up and down the road?)
Considering how architecture or spatial interventions (which can be anything that is organised in a space) help bring value to communities. Can they help stitch communities together, can they give agency to the user, can they uncover hidden or forgotten stories in a locality, can they celebrate the bounties of the area?
Read the Spatial Practices: modes of action and engagement by Mel Dodd (with chapters from other teaching staff on the course) to give you an idea. There is also a lot of work conducted regarding social sustainability and how architecture and architectural practice can protect the planet. CSM was ranked no6 for architecture last year.
Being in an arts school that is considered to be world leading, ranked 2nd in Europe, you will be among a very unique, talented, creative set of individuals. The range of workshops really reflects this, do make use of them! An arts library is pretty cool and you’ll find things like the archive of Stanley Kubrick’s films.
💖 Student support
There is a strong team to provide support to students. If you need to you can get extenuating circumstances.
There is a counselling service.
The course itself provides pastoral care and advice. You can voice your concerns with the arts student union. Each year has course reps, they sit in on every course meeting. The architecture society is very active and organises lots of events for you.
As a newer younger course the alumni is smaller and younger (compared to UCL, Manchester Westminster etc).
Alumni are doing very exciting and encouraging things but to be perfectly honest there aren't that many alumni who run practices or are very senior that come back to CSM to recruit graduates. As a graduate you will have to be proactive in finding jobs.
No integrated work placements.
You can buy an adobe suite for a one off payment of £48 for one year. You can buy Rhino at a discounted price. Microsoft Office can be downloaded for free
You can get a locker for the whole year but they are limited so you have to be quick..tip get a locker in the library.
Library 24 hrs during submission periods. Several computers, in the library, in the J spaces. Macs and PCs. Laptops can be borrowed from libraries and from the loan store. (literally anything can be borrowed from the loan store)
Large scale printing in the uni is pricey and can be time consuming. Easy to order and get your print delivered to uni from company called archi-print.
2x A0 Drawing boards/light boxes in the library. Further 2 light boxes available and more available to borrow.
Art store gives discounted prices on materials, located within the uni. Large variety of items, from usb/sd cards, to paints, markers, pens, cards, paper, sketchbooks, building materials etc.
Expensive PPE provided for free per student. Wide range of workshops.
Prayer room on first floor next to architecture department. Canteen rarely has halal food but the prices are low. In the evening the caravan (?) opens up and you can buy food from there.
📄 Application Process
😉 Insider Tips
Waitrose has half price items after 6. It's literally right next to uni. Free coffee at waitrose.
🔗 Other links
A fun account:
A bit old but might help: