MA Programme

Can spatial practice become a form of research? How may architecture engage with questions of contemporary culture, politics and conflict? This new and innovative research centre brings together MA students from a variety of backgrounds-educations and from a range of disciplines to work around questions of this kind. In keeping with Goldsmiths’ commitment to multidisciplinary research and learning, the centre offers an alternative to traditional postgraduate architectural education by inaugurating a unique, robust studio-based combination of critical architectural research and practice in the context of theoretical work.


The MA is a theory/practice programme organised around a single major spatial research project. The project actively engages with spatial research and concentrates on a distinct issue, process or site. It forms the core of the MA dissertation, which you submit at the end of the programme. A series of seminars, workshops and lectures will provide you with the necessary and stimulating intellectual and methodological resources and create a forum for discussion. These components cover an introduction to architectural research, and to such issues as conflict and negotiation as spatial practices. You will undertake another theoretical course from a range of related courses offered in other departments across the College. Throughout the year you will develop the conceptual and practical skills necessary for your studio projects, and will take part in a site visit, where you will travel to a place of contemporary interest and present your findings in the form of an oral presentation using photography, mapping video, or text. In addition, you complete a dissertation.

Lecture Seminar

Part I – Introduction to Architectural Research
The introductory part of this course, lasting the first five weeks of the first term, provides you with a foundation in Architectural Research and critical spatial theory. It discusses the work of several important protagonists – writers, artists, curators, activists and architects – who explored space, especially urban space, as a medium of power and resistance and projected the city as an object of investigation and as a site of intervention.

Part II – Conflict and Negotiations as Spatial Practices
The second part of this course is the main theoretical part of the MA. It is divided in three sections: in the first – ‘City’ – we discuss social and political conflicts as they register themselves in the transformation of the built urban environment; the second – ‘Frontiers’ – shifts the scale of our investigation from the urban to the geopolitical, dealing with the spatial dimension of geopolitical conflicts; the third – ‘Human Rights’ – folds the urban and the geopolitical into a more detailed analysis of war and conflict, emphasising the importance of the built environment to any contemporary discussion on human rights.

Studio Seminar

In this seminar the conceptual and practical tools for the studio projects will be developed. This includes both individual tutorials with the centre’s staff, workshops, and general meetings where your work will be discussed in a common forum. Products could be film, an illustrated book or mapping. For the studio seminar you will be assessed by an individual or collective project.

Site Visit

The site visit is part of the studio seminar. Every year the MA classes will travel to a place of contemporary interest, generally environments undergoing rapid, intense change where political transformation can be viewed in the development of the built environment. You will present your findings in the form of an aural presentation using photography, mapping video or text. Recent trips took place at Isnabul, Berlin, Antwerp, NYC and Philadelphia.

Choice Lecture Seminar

Students are expected to choose another theoretical course from a list of courses offered by the departments of Sociology, Visual Cultures and Cultural Studies. These courses run in either Spring or Autumn terms.

Other events

MA students would take part as well in the Weekly lecture series of the department of Visual Cultures as well as in the Monthly two-days long round-table seminar in Research Architecture.

more information at The Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths – University of London

MA Programme