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Course Descriptions

Credits: 4

Professor(s): Dr.N.Falk

Syllabus: Economics of Reuse

This course is aimed at those considering a career in the built environment and will deal with the economics of development with particular regards to the adaptive reuse of old buildings. Using different parts of London as case studies, along with a visit to a former mill town in Gloucestershire, the course will equip participants with some of the tools and concepts needed to enter the development world. It is being led by Dr Nicholas Falk with inputs from a range of experienced practitioners. The course first deals with how cities grow, then considers the different kinds of demand. This is followed by sections on how to reduce costs and raise finance, and on how different kinds of developers function. Extensive reading material brings together experience in both the UK and North America.

Credits: 4

Professor(s): Dr. N. Bingham, Dr. T. Longstaffe-Gowan, Mr. James. Fox, Mr Ian Hume, Prof Jules Lubbock

Syllabus: Aspects of Architectural and Urban Development

This course offers a sophisticated overview of aspects of the setting, presentation, and continuity of buildings.Presented in four sections, the instruction will leave the class able to navigate in four fields: town squares and gardens, the structure of older buildings, architectural representations and historic interiors.

The first section, led by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan and James Fox, focuses on landscape design. It will explore the setting of buildings, town squares and gardens throughout London, including visits to Kensington Palace and Hampton Court.

The second section, taught by Ian Hume, will help students understand the basic aspects of structure in historic buildings and learn how to undertake their repair and restoration. It will cover the principles of engineering conservation.

The third section, led by Neil Bingham, will teach students how to identify and ‘read’ the basic aspects of architectural representations (e.g. plan, elevation, section, detail, perspective). It will develop students’ appreciation of architectural drawings through the use of excellent library collections and archives at the RIBA Architecture Study Rooms at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The fourth section considers great interiors from the 1500s to early 1900s. It will comprise a visit to the Geffrye Museum of Interiors and two guided tours in the acclaimed new British Galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum.


Credits: 2

Professor(s): Jessica James and Ian Flewitt

Syllabus: Low Energy Strategies and Sustainability in Historic Buildings

This course outlines methods of environmental assessment for buildings, in relation to sustainability concepts and the impact of buildings on the environment. It examines the application of these tests including the context of existing buildings and the scope for action in this field, referencing the balance of sustainable and non-sustainable characteristics of historic buildings.


Credits: 4

Professor(s): Mr R Hill

Syllabus: Adaptive ReUse of Buildings in a Green World: Successes and Failures I

This course uses a range of readings and visits to buildings and places of interest to show the great variety of discourses within which historic buildings can be placed. The readings vary a great deal, including Wordsworth, Ruskin and Morris, among others, but also current government reports and guidance documents on the historic environment. They raise many theoretical points: What is the nature of the vernacular? What is the role of the classical tradition in architecture? Can historical and architectural “significance” be understood in a systematic way? In Britain attitudes and policies relating to historic buildings, and their adaptation and re-use, have been closely related to attitudes to the conservation of the landscape and the countryside. The design of traditional buildings varied greatly, depending on the pattern of local settlement and agriculture and on available building materials. Industrial cities too had their own distinctive character. Responses to change, in adapting historic buildings, need to take these individual circumstances into account.

Students should gain:

1.An understanding of the relationship between the history of buildings and their setting in a particular landscape or townscape.

2.An understanding of the challenges facing cities and rural areas, which have quantities of historic buildings, particularly in the context of economic and demographic change.

3.An understanding of how particular building types can be receptive to avariety of strategies of re-use and adaptation


Credits: 2

Professor(s): Dr. E. Diestelkamp

Syllabus: Independent Study

Independent Study is intended to encourage exposure to the wide range of lectures, conferences, exhibitions, specially organised visits, special events, and tours taking place in and around London related to the subjects of architectural history, the adaptive re - use of historic buildings and the practise of conservation.

Through the regular attendance at this variety of events, the independent study course will enable students to appreciate the wealth of activities in London on the subject areas of architectural history, the adaptive re-use of buildings and the practise of conservation. Events are arranged and held throughout the year by national amenity societies, heritage organisations, historical societies, official bodies, professional institutions, educational establishments and museums and galleries.



Credits: 4

Professor(s): Malcolm Fryer and Pauline Nee (under the supervision of) Mr. R. Hill

Syllabus: Adaptive ReUse of Buildings in a Green World: Successes and Failures II

The second half of this course continues the same approach used in the first, balancing readings against case studies and visits. Two key theoretical issues are explored. The first is the role of memory in the significance of historic buildings. Can public memory withstand radical changes of use? Are some building types more likely to lose their burden of public memories more easily than others? The desired outcome is to develop an understanding of the many challenges of adaptive re-use, through the study of building types and their inherent physical and social characteristics.

The second issue is that of the relationship between modernism and “heritage”. At the moment, some of the fiercest heritage debates in Britain concern modern buildings (from the 1930s to the 1980s); architects who, in the past, would have been lukewarm about preserving old buildings are now the staunchest defenders of this modern heritage. Visits are organised (e.g. to key modern housing projects in the East End of London) to illuminate these issues by practical example. Students will be encouraged to engage in debate and by the end of the course they should have a broader understanding of the place of modern architecture in Britain today, based on a range of contrasting designs and building types.


Credits: 4

Professor(s): Mr N.Collins and Alan Powers

Syllbus: Practical Experience

This class will look at the conservation of heritage assets from the viewpoint of the practitioner. Students will gain a basic understanding of London’s architectural history across the 18th – 20th Centuries, as well as an insight into the work of the amenity societies, heritage public bodies and charitable organisations that exist to conserve the best buildings from this period. The class will be taught through a combination of lectures from the Instructor, guest speakers (all experienced practitioners in their field) and site visits. Study days outside of London to the historic town of Rye in Kent are also arranged.

Students will learn how to approach the analysis and description of historic assets and how to assess their significance, considering different approaches to new buildings in historic contexts.Students will also gain an insight into the technical implications that new uses in historic buildings can have on their integrity and significance.There will also be the opportunity to visit some recent and current conservation-led public regeneration schemes in London.


Credits: 4

Professor(s): Dr. E. Diestelkamp

Syllabus: The Practical Solution

The Practical Solution course in the M. A. in Historical and Sustainable Architecture focuses on both the practice and design of adaptive reuse of historic buildings. As well as design and planning issues, the course will consider technical issues, including communication through visual media and aspects related to the conservation and reuse of historic properties.Through the study of individual case studies during the semester students will examine solutions that have been arrived at including design and planning issues as well as aspects of the client’s brief.

In addition, the role of government and advocacy groups at the local and national level, as well as the role of agencies involved with historic buildings (including English Heritage, SPAB, the Georgian Group, the Victorian and Twentieth Century Societies and ecclesiastical organisations working with historic buildings) will be explored throughout the semester.

The course will also consider issues related to contractual arrangements and problem solving in both the restoration and sympathetic adaptation of historic buildings for new purposes. The majority of seminars take place off site both in London (Whitechapel Art Gallery, The Railway Hotel in Brixton, Roundhouse in Camden) and outside London (Chatham Dockyard, Oxford, and Hardwick House).


Credits: 4

Professor(s): Ms. M. Richardson, Dr. T. Hinchcliffe & Ms Gillian Darley with Prof Mosette Broderick and Prof Jon Ritter

Syllabus: Capstone Thesis

The culmination of the MA in Historical and Sustainable Architecture program is a thesis of independent research. This may take the form of a paper or report with supporting documentation, images and notes. Research may consist of archival investigation and/or fieldwork, including personal interviews, site reports, and condition assessments. Students will be assigned a thesis advisor, with whom they will meet regularly.


Special Events


The MA in Historical and Sustainable Architecture includes a number of special enrichment lectures from a variety of UK experts in relevant fields of interest:

Gavin Stamp – Noted academic and writer of architectural history; he taught at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art,. In 2003-04 he was a Bye- Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and a Mellon Senior Research Fellow. Author of books on Edwin Lutyens, Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, George Gilbert Scott junior and other architectural subjects.

Dr. Olmo Silva – Senior Lecturer in Real Estate Economics and Finance at the London School of Economics

Anthony Richardson of Anthony Richardson Architects

Karen Lim & Chris Cowper of Cowper Griffiths Architects

Kirsten Burrows – Sustainability Consultant with PRP Environmental and Architects. She is also a 2011 alumna of NYU’s MA in Historical and Sustainable Architecture

Sam Price of Price & Myers, consulting structural engineers

Sam White of Platt, Byard, Dovell & White Architects

Benedict O’Looney – lecturer and practitioner in architectural history and conservation. He has worked at the Canterbury School of Architecture and the Architectural Association and is chair of Southwark’s Conservation Areas Advisory Group and the vice-president of the London Sketch Club.

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