Architecture

Everything you are about to read has been written by current and recently graduated students at the University of Cambridge, to give you honest information about what it’s like to be a student at Cambridge.

Architecture, combining science and art, is an incredibly varied course. We study Architectural history, structures and materials as well as design (and sometimes build!) our own projects. All of this happens in the Department of Architecture which houses lecture rooms, classrooms and our studio. The size of year is very small, less than 50, which makes it an extremely social course with a real sense of community.

#college image# Credit: Cambridge University

What about the Architecture course at Cambridge appealed to you?

Chloe, Architecture, Queens
Chloe
Architecture, Queens’ College

Being part of such a small year group means that you get to know everyone quickly and there is a great sense of community. Plus, because you spend a significant amount of time in studio, you form really tight friendships with your fellow architects.

How have you found the structure of the course?

Chloe, Architecture, Queens
Chloe
Architecture, Queens’ College

Architecture is super diverse; our course encompasses art, history and maths to name just a few which means you’ll never get bored of doing the same thing.

Sorcha, Architecture, Emmanuel
Sorcha
Architecture, Emmanuel

The structure of the course is well balanced with 60% of our grade based on studio work and 40% based on written exams in a wide range of subjects such as history, materials and structures.

What is your faculty/department like?

Chloe, Architecture, Queens
Chloe
Architecture, Queens’ College

Cambridge has the smallest architecture department in the UK and the facilities are sized accordingly. Having said that, we each have our own studio space to work in as well as a model shop, workshop and reprographics room which prove sufficient most of the time!

Sorcha, Architecture, Emmanuel
Sorcha
Architecture, Emmanuel

The department is basically in the centre of town which is so useful considering all lectures and studio work happen there and I often have to make the journey between college and the department three times a day. Everyone has their own desk in studio making life so much easier as we don’t have to clear up all our work at the end of the day.

What types of work do you have to do?

Sorcha, Architecture, Emmanuel
Sorcha
Architecture, Emmanuel
Types of work

Most of my time is spent working in studio, it’s very hands on ­ drawing, making and testing concepts in 3D. We have five lectures a week and a bit of reading for supervisions too. We also have ‘crits’ and ‘pin ups’ which is basically giving a presentation to the year, the tutors and invited guests on our projects who give feedback and discuss the work. Not being a confident public speaker I was nervous about these at the beginning but I present so often now that I have no problem speaking in front of a large crowd.

Do you have career plans?

Sorcha, Architecture, Emmanuel
Sorcha
Architecture, Emmanuel

At the moment I’d say that I want to be an architect but the course has opened my eyes to a whole set of design based careers that would also really interest me. It’s defiantely not just a course for people who want to be architects, I have friends who would like to work in fashion, marketing and art.

What about your course would you change?

Chloe, Architecture, Queens
Chloe
Architecture, Queens’ College

Architecture is an intensive course wherever you go but, since terms at Cambridge are so short (8 weeks), architects get a huge amount of work crammed into a very short time­frame. This means that we sometimes need to stay up a little later than usual, but it’s usually worth it!

Sorcha, Architecture, Emmanuel
Sorcha
Architecture, Emmanuel

I’d love a bit more sleep, staying up late to finish a drawing or prepare for a crit is defiantely a trend among the architects.

Typical timetable of a 1st year Architecture student

Sorcha, Architecture, Emmanuel
Sorcha
Architecture, Emmanuel

Studio is scheduled from 10am ­ 5pm two days a week. This is the time when the studio tutors are available to help you with your work but we spend a lot more time in studio on other days too as it’s the most important aspect of the course.

- Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9am - Lecture ­ Construction Lecture ­ Post 1800 History - Lecture ­ Pre 1800 History
10am Studio Lecture ­ Construction Lecture ­ Post 1800 History Studio Lecture ­ Pre 1800 History
11am Studio - Lecture ­ Environment Studio Lecture ­ Structures
12pm Studio - Lecture ­ Environment Studio Lecture ­ Structures
1pm Studio - - Studio -
2pm Studio - - Studio Supervision ­ History
3pm Studio - - Studio -
4pm Studio - Supervision ­ Structures Studio -

What has been going on at Architecture?

- Recent Events -

1st Year Project

During first term, the first­years worked on a live project for a local charity, the Cambridge Cyrenians. We built 6 projects: a tool shed, bothy pod, compost area, bike shed, social space and market stall.

Cabaret Party

Cabaret is Architecture Society's popular annual party, for which fancy­dress is compulsory! This year's theme, 'Welcome to the Pleasuredome', resulted in a lot of surrealist responses.

Arcsoc Talks

Lectures from Architects and designers outside of the university are arranged regularly. These offer insight into future careers within creative fields and help with studio work (they are also always followed by wine and cheese in the department!).

Course Gallery

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Please note that as student volunteers we are unable to answer questions on admissions requirements - e.g. school/college qualifications needed to apply. You are best asking these questions to admissions@cam.ac.uk