📃 On paper
Level 4 (first year):
The aim is gain a sound conceptual knowledge and skill base for the study of the subject. In doing so, there will be an introduction to the conceptual and practical skills and processes necessary for making an architectural proposition, the methodologies of analysing and communicating architectural proposition, and an understanding of theoretical aspects of architectural design.
A programme of studio projects, lectures, seminars, visits, case studies, guided reading and tutorials will be used to disseminate information and concepts. Furthermore, the experience comes through practical studio-based experimentation and development of one's creative design abilities through individual and group working opportunities.
Level 5 (second year):
The second year is all about exploring issues around building in an urban context and future scenarios for architecture. The aim is to propose innovative and thoughtful interventions and urban spaces to house public activities associated with the economic, sustainable and physical opportunities of the area.
Throughout the year, you’ll continue to increase your professional competence through the development of skills, knowledge and understanding. You’ll extend your knowledge through the study of construction, structure and environmental control.
Your communication skills will be applied to the design and development of an existing environment and the making of an architectural proposition. Visiting lecturers and subject specialists inclusive of professionals from industry will contribute their knowledge to your development.
Level 6 (third year):
The final year begins with experimentation through design and research by making. This means a deep exploration of typologies of interest where it is expected to dissect the ways that ideas can inform architecture by delving into three successful real-life examples relating to the typologies.
Alongside the Research By Making design unit, the Bachelor Dissertation is also part of the first term. It is optional to connect to the design unit but most certainly recommended in order to have a more cohesive and connected outcome.
During the second and third unit, Architectural Practices unit is introduced to expand knowledge beyond the design aspect of the architect alongside the influence of clients, development, construction, planning, legal, regulation and wider social, ethical, economic and cultural values.
The year further develops into investigating architectural design as a way in which our built environment is conceived and perceived, focusing on contemporary issues using existing urban sites in Bournemouth. This is time where the final year project begins its urban analysis phase which feeds into the design phase.
The end results is a demonstration of skills in 2D drawings, 3D and physical models as well as 3D visualisation. In doing so, this helps producing a portfolio of work to prepare for employment and postgraduate study.
👐🏻 General approach
This degree equips students for professional practice (Part 1 ARB/RIBA) while exploring living spaces through material and spatial relationships.
Students develop foundational skills in architecture—making, collaborating, designing, and communicating—integrating theory with practice. The program adopts a 'research-by-making' approach, fostering risk-taking, innovation, and entrepreneurship. But all projects are eventually individual.
Through projects inside and outside the studio, seminars, lectures, and reviews, students strike a creative balance of rigor and risk, informed by design, technical, and contextual knowledge.
Collaborative opportunities across courses enhance students' own practice, fostering a deep understanding of architectural theory and practice. The focus is on creating thoughtful, tangible spaces that mediate between individuals, the world, and fellow inhabitants.
💖 Student support
In my experience, the support for students at AUB, both in terms of the overall university environment and specific courses, has been commendable. However, the key lies in actively reaching out to tap into the resources available for addressing individual concerns.
AUB offers robust language support tailored for international students, along with valuable essay assistance provided by capable teachers. Despite these resources being available, not many students during my time took advantage of them. Personally, I found these supports immensely beneficial for enhancing my essays—they guided me in understanding the objectives, articulating my thoughts effectively, and employing appropriate academic language.
When it comes to studio work, the continuous presence of full-time tutors and technicians around the studios is noteworthy. This accessibility allows for mini 1-on-1 sessions throughout the week, particularly advantageous for third-year students grappling with heavy workloads, as they spend substantial time in the studios.
The technical support for software and model making is reliable, with knowledgeable technicians and staff ready to address any specific issues. The overall takeaway is that the support system is indeed robust, provided you actively seek it out. It's worth noting that individuals who spent minimal time on campus struggled more to navigate their problems due to a lack of awareness about available support avenues.
AUB's campus is like a vibrant village, creating a close-knit community where everything happens in one sprawling place. What's fantastic is that you can bring friends and family along without needing a student ID to explore the facilities.
From the library and canteen to the innovative spaces like the Innovation Studio and CRAB Drawing Studio designed by AUB alumnus Sir Peter Cook, the campus has it all. There's a mix of modern structures and older buildings, like the architecture studios housed in the north building.
Despite the north building's plain exterior, it's a treasure trove inside:
It's equipped with a good number of computers, some even with double monitors—a game-changer for multitaskers. This is also where you'll find the technicians' office.
Three spacious studios are allocated for each BA year. Occasionally, bigger studios host lectures, so during those times, you might need to find an alternative workspace. Just keep an eye on the opening hours, especially close to final crits and hand-in dates.
There are smaller seminar rooms available to everyone, perfect for those who prefer working in silence. Two larger seminar rooms in other buildings host talks, visits, and Friday forums.
AUB boasts exceptional workshop facilities—from wood and metal to laser cutting. The staff is not only capable but also incredibly helpful. The best part? Most materials are free, a blessing considering their usual costs.
Like any university library, it has quiet spaces, computers, and even laptops for borrowing. The plastic museum adds a unique touch. And yes, it's open every day of the week.
As the course and Bournemouth gained massive popularity in the past three years, the studio spaces might seem a bit snug. Yet, the campus is spacious enough to always find a spot nearby. Rumors of a new North building during my time sparked excitement, and if the CGI is any indication, AUB might soon expand the architecture studios. Fingers crossed!
📄 Application Process
Getting into the university was a breeze and I was an international student.
Although grades are important, AUB puts more importance on the portfolio element of the application. This is where they see your creativity through your interests, personalty and skills. Hence, why they do interviews so they can match the face to the portfolio.
It is never expected to see architecture projects in your portfolio or else "you'd have been an architect already" as they often say. Showcase why you love architecture and capture elements of that and put it into your portfolio.
After that, you simply apply through UCAS, and it boils down to either receiving an offer or not.
In short, the process was pretty straightforward, and it all revolved around having a portfolio and nailing those grades to make it official.
😉 Insider Tips
Bournemouth University campus (the other uni in Bournemouth) is literally neighbours and I prefer their food shop over AUB plus its cheaper!