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Advice on a Msc/March degree

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    My situation:
    I'm currently a Portuguese student at my country, hoping to finish my masters degree this year in Architecture.
    Not seeing a very bright future at a professional level, I think this is probably the best times to keep studying (even in the field of architecture). Am I right?

    I am researching (dissertation) in the parametric design theme, and I would like to keep in this track both professionally/academically if possible. Nevertheless my guess is that the best choice for my life on a medium-term point of view would be to apply to a UK Msc/March degree in architecture, rather than stay with my degree, and looking for a job in Portugal.

    Where I ask for your advice:
    I'm basically looking for your opinions/advices for good choices on a UK course/university that could offer me new hopes, as a EU student:
    - A Msc/March degree preferably in the theme of parametric architecture design/digital architecture, alternative to the AA or Bartlett (if possible). This is the most important feature, I guess.
    - A nice environment in a cool campus, preferably in London, Manchester or any UK cosmopolitan city.
    - A good number of student to teacher ratio, the closest if possible.
    - Last but not least, your own general inputs; and also regarding employability in UK firms.
    - RIBA is a must to work in a UK architectural firm??

    Thanks in advance people.
    Cheers.
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    Someone?
    I was thinking, maybe in the future, architecture degrees with strong emphasis on sustainable technologies will also be a must. Agreed?

    Would appreciate input.
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    Isn't parametricism, as practised by Schumacker, etc, the creation of the only possible form outcome from a series of arbitrary constraints that are plucked in order to achieve the shape he & Zaha wanted to make anyway?

    Its all BS. If you want to look at true paramtericism you'd be bette off looking at someone like Olgiati or Diener & Diener who actually do work within tight parameters (Swiss Building Codes) rather than Zaha and Patrick who pretend they are working within constraints to provide a back story to their space 1999 designs. Zaha should think about plugging a really big parameter into her model on the first day - THE CLIENT'S BUDGET!

    I think most other schools in the UK than the Bartlett and AA recognise that parameticism a la Zaha is an excuse for an indulgence and the current recession / depression will mean it is looked back upon as the signal of the top of the hubris and hence aren't too fussed about it. Most schools like Westminster / Cardiff etc have a unit that does it but no one tends to take them very seriously as its so easily to dismantle the logic of the concept. Its generally pie in the sky stuff from computer that does next to nothing to resonate with us as humans and is therefore poor as architecture.

    And please, if you want to send your examiners to sleep, don't try to shoe-horn 'sustainability' into your dissertation. You will look like you're about 15 years late to the party.


    RIBA Part 1/2 is not a must have to work in a UK firm but its a nice to have and as with anything, if two students have an equally good portfolio and one has RIBA qualifications and the other doesn't, most employers are going to offer the job to the RIBA Part 1 / 2 over the non-RIBA candidate.
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    Firstly, I have to thank you for your evident honesty.

    Not everyone is receptive to this idea of parametric design, (I value your straight answer), and as you've reported by stating a closer picture of the reality on academics/practise on the UK. A kind of picture I was already suspecting.

    Regarding the issue of environmental sustainability, what I meant was only that, by now, I think, it's an issue you have to adress on the very first gesture of design. So, I'm not even touching this issue on my dissertation, nor am I associating any kind of newness to it. I'm only assuming that an architectural education and practise is inseparable from it. So if I feel my training is poor from this point of view, I might as well bridge this gap, am I right??
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    Building is a pretty unsustainable thing in itself, so talking about sustainable architecture is a bit like talking about peaceful wars. What you - and the industry - should be focusing more on above 'environmental' sustainability is the broader term - social & economic sustainability. Unless we as architects get involved in politics and start being a bit more circumspect in the commissions we take on, doing a little bit of greening to our designs is like pissing into the wind.

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Updated: May 19, 2012
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