For more info contact:
Telephone: 01223 333313
Fax: 01223 333179
Cambridge University Students' Union
Old Examination Hall
Free School Lane
Cambridge CB2 3RF
The biggest part of the architecture course at Cambridge is the studio work. This forms our practical portfolio, where we make collages, films, sketches, models, technical drawings, concrete (!) and weird things like devices and masks! Sometimes we even get to design buildings! The studio work is great fun and certainly makes architecture unique among Cambridge courses. While it is time consuming and can be frustrating, it is creative, experimental and enjoyable, enabling you to develop your own style, method of working and approach to design. In first year at least, it is very much trial-and-error, but it is surprising just how much work we get done and how quickly we improve!
The lectures are broad and interesting. We cover the many aspects of architecture such as history, materials, structural design, construction, sustainability, light, heating and so on. There are so many things to consider, in an aesthetic, conceptual and practical sense, but this is what makes both studio and lectures fascinating. We have had some unusual lectures, involving singing, standing on planks of wood and hearing about the infinite possibilities of bricks!
“ unusual lectures...about the infinite possibilities of bricks! ”
The department has a fairly recent extension which houses the studio and workshop - both excellent facilities. The library is also a great resource, especially because of its copies of architectural magazines and construction product catalogues. There is also a laser cutter, 3D printer and lots of giant scanners, printers and plotters.
One big problem is that the department doesn't provide any materials for studio work, so you have to buy it all yourself. However, the Architecture Society (ArcSoc) has a small shop for some materials, and a local art shop has everything we need, at a discount! Many colleges also enable you to claim back some expenses.
Best thing? The sense of community
In first year there is a trip to study abroad (places in the past have included Rome and Naples), which is paid for by the department. We also frequently go on trips in the local area; so far I've been to an art gallery, air museum and Fitzwilliam college chapel!
There are exams for every lecture series, although in total they contribute to less that 40% of the course, the rest being taken up by portfolio and coursework.
Worst thing? Workload!
The best thing about the course is the really strong sense of community - you get to know everyone in your year and many people from other years, too; we love talking about architecture all the time! Having to work late nights a lot of the time definitely brings us together!