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Year 2

Admissions image 5

The second year of the architecture course builds on the first. The year ends with an examination for Part IB of the Architecture Tripos. This year is much more challenging than the first year and you will be expected to have developed ways of working that allow you to keep up with the pace.



The second year students are divided into two or three units (10-15 students in each unit) following different but parallel programmes for a UK site whose design issues are the shared focus of the year. Projects develop in scale from small mapping studies and interior design work to a reasonable-sized building at the end of the year. The programmes are structured to further develop the technical skills you learnt in the first year and to bring the content of ongoing lecture courses into studio work.

You will be expected to demonstrate a greater awareness of social issues and theoretical frameworks and a greater understanding of how your designs would be built. You will be expected to be able to use a proper CAD package such as Rhino, Vectorworks or AutoCAD to produce drawings and to have developed the ability to criticise your own work and that of others. As in the first year, studio days are timetabled twice a week throughout the year and at the end of the year you will present your completed portfolios for marking. Similarly, the portfolio carries 60% of the overall marks.



The second year involves a non-compulsory trip abroad for 3-4 days in the Christmas holidays to a European city (this year the second year went to Porto). This trip involves visits to and lectures on the famous buildings of the chosen city and its surroundings.



There are five written papers (modules) in second year:

  • Paper 1: Essays on the history and theory of architecture, urbanism and design
  • Paper 2: The history and theory of architecture, urbanism and design
  • Paper 3: Principles of construction
  • Paper 4: Principles of structural design
  • Paper 5: Principles of environmental design

The second-year architectural history course draws on the specialist knowledge of researchers in the Faculty and invited lecturers. Paper 1 is assessed entirely through submitted essays (two of them), addressing topics related to the core history/theory lecture courses. These essays help prepare you for the dissertation you will complete in the third year. Paper 2 is marked through written examination at the end of the year.

Second-year building construction works systematically through the range of options available to the modern architect. The first term looks at interiors and the second focuses on the design of structural elements and the building envelope.

Second-year structural design introduces you to more complex decision-making issues in structural design including the design of steel and concrete structures, while Environmental design builds on the first year by looking at how the techniques learned can be applied to particular building types and situations. You will submit Construction, Structures and Environment coursework based on studio work as part of your portfolio at the end of the year.

As in the first year, all papers carry equal marks and together count for 40% of the final mark. Subjects are taught through lecture courses. You will typically have a lecture on each subject every week during the first two terms of the year. You will also be given supervisions – typically by subject lecturers – for which you will be expected to produce essays and/or carry out basic preparation.

Watch the course film


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