About the School



Head of the School of Architecture Matt Gaskin

"When our students leave Oxford Brookes University they leave with something very distinct, very individual and very highly regarded by the profession."
Matt Gaskin, Head of Architecture

The School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University combines poetics and materiality to achieve excellence in design. Our unique portfolio of programmes links research, practice and teaching, and offers students and staff a self-determined trajectory. We are distinctive in our combination of transdisciplinary approaches to the design studio, engendering a culture of professional innovation and experimentation.

Cultural context, diversity and the global agenda

The School is exceptional in the teaching of cultural context. The work undertaken in Development and Emergency Practice is internationally recognised. The same principles of architectural design are employed across both the Part 1 and Part 2 programmes, shaping the individual student position through diverse thinking. The School embeds both digital literacy and a low carbon agenda in both its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The School remains informed of future directions, actively participating in the local, the national and the global agenda of architecture. With a clear focus on our academic, research and personal literacy the School delivers a global graduate to lead in an internationalised market. The Part 2 programmes enable students to engage in live research projects and to work in transdisciplinary teams for both summative and formative assessment. The design studios offer a range of project scales and contexts to the student, which encourages a student to be distinctive in their approach while producing a body of work that demonstrates a full range of skills and competencies. Research linked to teaching is applied and practiced in the School through internal and external exchange; conference, live project, exhibition. This combination enables a rich dialogue that explores the combined effect of differing positions.

A plethora of design approaches and learning opportunities

The studios in the School offer a plethora of design approaches to appeal to all students of the built environment, and we structure these in a manner to allow for individual choice and the production of highly distinctive final portfolios. Students in the School make valuable contributions to the learning experience, such as the introduction of sustainable construction workshops and live projects. The design work illustrates the high quality expected from all in the School of Architecture. The implementation of an e-portfolio submission at Part 2 level is indicative of the School's forward thinking approach to assessment and recognition of the changing delivery mechanisms in the world of practice. The design studios are taught in a vertical unit system at Part 1 and in dedicated studios at Part 2. The Part 1 and 2 programmes link through shared student working spaces and student involvement in crits alongside invited guests. The School encourages staff to connect teaching to research and design through the studio, which encourages students to recognise the synergies between teaching and practice. Annual field trips embed empirical learning into the student experience, local, European and International.

Student development

At Part 1 level, the School aims to produce a graduate that is skilled in design, technology, practice and cultural context. Students are confident in their synthesised abilities and are enthusiastic, and independent. Teaching environment, progression At Part 2 level, the School aims to produce an international graduate that has applied specialism in design, an understanding of transdisciplinary working practices and is confident, articulate, intellectually engaged and independent.

Pushing forward the academic agenda in architecture

The work in the School repeatedly wins awards at national and international level. This recognition is testament to the quality of the people, the place, the environment and the culture engendered. We value our students and staff highly and the result is a School collectively pushing the academic agenda in architecture.

Excellent faciltiies

The facilities in the School, Faculty and University enable the production of the highest quality work. The School workshop offers woodworking and laser cutting, the print room numerous high quality and affordable production methods, including 3D printing. These facilities are supplemented by the alternate workshops in the Faculty and the brand new buildings initiated by the University.

Live projects and employability

The School actively encourages students to participate in live projects and at present has five projects in and around the city of Oxford; a refit, a redesign of an interior, a pavilion, a self-build, and a substantial new build. This enables students to work with staff and external stakeholders, and learn through building. The School exhibits work externally throughout the year and draws on local and London practices to deliver the technology and practice in its portfolio. The School runs a focus group with leading architects to explore the needs of the profession in context to education. The Schools employment record in the current recession is exemplary, which demonstrates the alignment of the programmes with the needs of practice. The School Practice, Management and Law at Parts 1, 2, and 3, bring leading architects, lawyers and business people in to educate the students. The workshops in this area enable the students to link up with their own design projects.

Fully integrated teaching and assessment

The validation criteria are as a strong foundation on which to build an exceptional student experience and a strong graduate. Through the Part 1 and Part 2 programmes students engage in applied learning into design, through the lecture, seminar and workshop format. The criteria are revisited in different contexts to enable students to explore the possibilities through alternate academic and practice positions. The School signs up to a fully integrated approach to both teaching and assessment. The assessment embeds at key points into the delivery of teaching. The programmes employ peer assisted learning and self-assessment, which promotes independent learning and critical reflection. The nine design studios in Part 1 and the six design studios in Part 2 enable a diverse offering of pathways to achieve the criteria. The student engagement in parallel modules enable the cross fertilisation of applied learning to be realised and explored.

International centre for research

The School is a major international centre for research, which as part of the Faculty of Technology Design and Environment offers a dynamic and welcoming research environment for staff, students and visiting scholars. Enjoying an excellent reputation for the quality of its research, the School is internationally recognised for work across a wide range of fields; low carbon technologies, architectural humanities, technology, development practice and vernacular architecture. The School continues to build on this reputation through the development of new areas of research such as research by design, and through the organisation of conferences and the dissemination of its research through publications, exhibitions and knowledge exchange partnerships.

An historic Oxford location

In June 2012 the School of Architecture, Oxford celebrated its eighty fifth anniversary. From the one room base of 1927 through to its current location overlooking Oxford, the School has always embraced change and innovation in its portfolio of programmes. The location of Oxford offers some of the most historically significant architecture in the world and access to some of the best modern architecture, produced by world-renowned contemporary architects. This highly desirable and rare resource sits right on the doorstep of the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University. In June 2012 the School expanded into the new Abercrombie building on the Gipsy Lane Campus.

Matt Gaskin

Head of the School of Architecture


School of Architecture

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP

Enquiry centre: query@brookes.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 484848

Programme Administrator: tde-architecture-enquiry@brookes.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 488322

Complete University Guide Award for Architecure Badge