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History and Critical Thinking in Architecture MA

Architectural Association School Of Architecture

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Course options

  • Qualification

    MA - Master of Arts

  • Location

    Architectural Association School Of Architecture

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

The History and Critical Thinking (HCT) programme is a unique postgraduate platform for critical and theoretical reflection on contemporaneity through systematic enquiry into history. Emphasis is placed on historiography, its theoretical assumptions, methodologies and political agency, with the aim to unlearn and then challenge paradigms, discourses and practices.

Over the past 20 years, the 12-month programme has remained engaged with disciplinary thinking as well as the intellectual, social and political processes that determine the material and discursive production of the built environment. Therefore, the boundaries of what might be regarded as a legitimate object of study are constantly interrogated and expanded. Interested in the relationships between words, ideas and practices, as well as their histories and visual languages, various objects of study can be constructed and their methods debated.

Language is an essential theme throughout all the courses. Different mediums – architectural writings, drawings, literature, photographs, film – are analysed to uncover connections between the textual, the visual and the graphic. A particular emphasis is placed on writing as a practice of thinking and how a project can transform through the textual. To explore this, different modes of writing – thesis, essays, short experimental pieces, critical reviews, commentaries, book proposals, interviews – are introduced to articulate multiple aspects of study. The aim is to explore, adopt and adapt elements from these different disciplines and practices into one’s own writing, while preserving one’s own voice.

The ambition of HCT is three-fold: to develop a set of resources that explore and challenge architectural histories and the ways in which political ambitions, economic interests and institutional structures shape particular accounts of the built environment; to connect current debates and projects with a wider milieu and interpret the contemporary from a historical, critical and cross-disciplinary point of view; and to investigate technologies of research, production and distribution of knowledge in relation to practices and public cultures in architecture as well as in the context of recent social and geo-political pressures. Students gain a well-developed historical and theoretical understanding of conceptual and practical issues in architecture, allowing them pursue doctoral studies, journalism, reorient their professional development into other fields or become involved in teaching in the field of architecture.

Tuition fees

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University information

Architectural Association School Of Architecture

  • Campus address

    Architectural Association School Of Architecture, 36 Bedford Square, Camden, London, Greater London, WC1B 3ES, England

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