Bartlett School of Architecture (Erik)



Sep '06 - May '07

  • anchor

    Let's Get Situated...

    By Erik Schonsett
    Sep 26, '06 7:26 PM EST

    Well, I'm not sure how familiar anyone is with London. This is my first time here and my first time to Europe. I thought it would be a good idea to play a little game of where in the world?...

    Click here to read full size

    This is central London. The school (UCL) is located at the end of the pen point in an area called Bloomsbury. It is squeezed between the city (downtown) and the West end and is in easy walking distance to both.

    Click here to read full size

    Langton Close is where I'm living. It's about a 15 min. walk East of the school, towards the city. It's the small red building at the end of the pen.

    Click here to read full size

    And this is Wates House, the building that the Bartlett is in.

    Click here to read full size

    As you can see, the Bartlett is located directly across from the UCL Union and just down the street from Euston Square tube stop.

    Enough with maps. As I've said before, I'm in the M. Arch. in Architectural Design program. It's a three semester masters program with the main focus of the year being a self directed thesis. This is the program that was started and ran by Peter Cook until a few years ago. Neil Spiller took it over about two years ago when Peter retired (or was asked to retire). The program produces some amazing work and the thesis aspect is one of the main reasons that I decided to come out here. This is what the school sent me describing what the program is and what to expect.

    Click here to read full size

    Click here to read full size

    Today was the first 'official' day at the Bartlett. Today, diploma unit instructors presented themselves and their units work for all of the incoming diploma students. 4th and 5th years are considered diploma. England works different than in the states. In England, you go to school, then are required to take time off and work in an office. When you return you are considered a 4th year diploma student. Doing this will exempt you from certain parts of the RIBA examination. (This is what I understand happens, please anyone correct me if I'm wrong). Diploma students then get to select their top 3 units. After that, the unit instructors set up interviews and select which students they want to work with. This is a little different that what I have seen in the past, but I think it works quite well. It forces students to keep an up to date portfolio (which was something that was lacking at SCI_Arc) and keep their work quality high; otherwise, you won't get into the unit that you want.

    I decided to sit in on these presentations even though I am not in diploma and as far as I can tell I don't really have a choice as to my instructor. I thought it would be a good introduction to the school and the types of work that has happened here in the past. It was also a good chance to start putting faces with the names of the instructors that I have heard about.

    The only problem is that is lasted forever (11am to 730pm). You see, there are 13 diploma units that presented.

    Unit 19 Neil Spiller and Phil Watson - We are cool and we don't really care if you do a building as long as the work is superb. And by the way, we're going to Florence.

    Unit 21Christine Hawley and Peter Culley - We're a new unit and unit 19 would think our work is "good old fashioned rubbish". We like buildings because we're architects. We like narrative and we're doing a museum / collection.

    Unit 16Simon Herron and Susanna Isa - We like drawings! (by the way, we're a little weird). We created a mythical 'Wonderacres' national park. We like drawings. Your projects will become a part of Wonderacres. We have no bias on how you should work. Did we mention that we like drawings?

    Unit 10 C.J. Lim and Bernd Felsinger - We have a lot of published work. We like buildings too (we are architects after all). We're interested in travel and tourism, but who cares we're going to Luxor, Egypt!

    Unit 11 Mark Smout and Laura Allen - Buildings are nice, but not too important. We like travel and tourism too, with a little bit of history. That's why we're going to Rome.

    Unit 18 Colin Fournier and David Ardill - We like sustainability. Not enough schools are dealing with sustainability. We're going to be designing sustainable things for Los Angeles, and by the way, we're going there too.

    Unit 20 Marjan Colletti and Marcos Cruz - We like the Baroque, but in modern terms. We both graduated from the Bartlett a few years ago. We like to build things. Our projects for this year are a secret space, a sacred space, and a sublime space. We're going to Venice, Rome, and the Swiss Alps.

    Unit 15 Nic Clear and Simon Kennedy - We do movies.

    Unit 23 Bob Sheil and Graeme Willamson - We like to build things at full scale. We also like prototypes.

    Unit 14 Stephen Gage, Phil Ayres, James O'Leary - We win awards. We want to support your individuality. Buildings aren't so important. We're going to Berlin.

    Unit 17 Niall McLaughlin and Bev Dockray - We're practicing Architects. Several of out past students work for us. We're interested in migration. We're going to drive the California coast from Oregon to Mexico.

    Unit 12 Jonathan Hill and Elizabeth Dow - We're interested in the weather. We like the new and the old.

    Unit 22 Peter Szczepaniak and John Puttick - PATTERNS PATTERNS PATTERNS!

    Well, there's my summary of the units. If you want a more 'official' version, click here. We have our first introductory meting for the M. Arch program with Neil in the afternoon. I'll keep you posted.

    26 September 2006


    • aml

      loved your summary! good work with the blog also, in general [maps are always good], keep it up and best of luck.

      Sep 26, 06 7:50 pm  · 

      those units aren't much different from the studio choices at the ivies... half the choices are about where to travel too (or make movies)!

      Sep 26, 06 8:38 pm  · 

      thanks for the walk down memory lane... i completed the m.arch course in 2002 and also lived at langton close. many good memories there... in fact, i based my thesis largely on the "event" of traveling between the two locations. best of luck in your course and, most especially, with adapting to the english pedagogy of indirect critique :)

      Sep 27, 06 12:52 pm  · 
      faye hays

      hi! really enjoyed your post. you're just the resource i need for an urgent question. I'm applying for the Marshall Scholarship, to go to grad school in the UK, and they just notified me that the Diploma does not count as an eligible option of study. The Master's does. Buuut, I'm pretty sure the Diploma IS the equivalent of the american masters, is it not? Did you go from undergraduate at Sciarc to the Masters at Bartlett, or did you complete your master's at bartlett and then go to master's at bartlett? My application is due the 4th and i have to straighten this out before then, any clarification you can provide for me before then would be immensely appreciated. Please email me at if you have the time.

      Oct 2, 06 9:44 pm  · 

      faye hays, though you didn't ask me… I received a BArch in the US and an MArch from the Bartlett and I believe this is how it works:

      The Diploma is what one receives at the Bartlett after a five-year course of study (which includes a year off, between year three and four, for work - making it a six year total). It is a professional degree. It is the equivalent of the five-year BArch degree you would get in the United States, not a Master's. In the US the five-year degree is no longer the standard. Most students now receive the four-year BSArch (not a professional degree) and then MUST go on to get their first professional degree as an MArch in order to become licensed. If this is your case, BE CAREFUL, the MArch degree conferred at the Bartlett will likely not qualify you for the professional exams in the US as it is NOT a professional degree either since this is what their Diploma is.

      Sounds confusing, I know. The gist is: Most schools abroad qualify their students at the undergrad level. Most schools in the US qualify their students (now) at the grad level. Most grad schools abroad will NOT qualify you since this is not their role...

      Most likely, your scholarship requirements are looking for you to find post-graduate study and the Diploma is NOT that, but most post-graduate studies abroad will not give you a professional degree

      Perhaps bad news, perhaps not. The Bartlett is not a place you go if you are interested in licensure, so it might be just the place for you. It was for me.

      Oct 3, 06 10:09 am  · 
      faye hays

      Thank you very much for your help. One question, was the B.Arch you completed in the US a 4 year or a 5year? I'm trying to make sure I can go straight into the Bartlett graduate even though i don't have five years under me...

      Oct 3, 06 11:53 am  · 

      You can go.

      I had a five-year BArch, but you can have the four-year BSArch. I think you can have many other undergrad degrees as well (we had people from many areas studying at the same time.)

      Oct 3, 06 1:16 pm  · 
      Erik Schonsett


      Boruxa has some really good points. I do have a 5 year degree from SCI_Arc. It is a first professional degree. I don't need a master’s degree to become licensed in the US. One of the reasons that I decided to come out here was because I want to teach at some point. The M. Arch program here will give ma a Masters of Architecture. The time I spend out here will help me to further push my understanding of Architecture and my specific interests in it.

      You need to decide what you want to do and what your interests are. The Bartlett is not for everyone. If you're interested in traditional architectural education and having the Bartlett count to get your U.S. license, then maybe this is the wrong place. If you want to test your personal limits of what you think Architecture is, then come on over, I'll keep a light on for ya.

      If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at

      Oct 3, 06 2:48 pm  · 

      btw, excellent blog Erik. i didn't mean to answer for you - i was here for a slice of reminiscence pie anyway. i feel like i'm reliving the whole experience, so this is great.

      Oct 3, 06 8:17 pm  · 
      Erik Schonsett

      No worries! The more imput the better!


      Oct 13, 06 7:39 pm  · 
      faye hays

      thank you all - the input is very much appreciated, and i'm so excited about the bartlett. thanks :)

      Oct 14, 06 12:06 am  · 

      Block this user

      Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

    • Back to Entry List...
  • ×Search in:

Affiliated with:

Authored by:

  • Erik Schonsett

Other blogs affiliated with University College London (UCL):

Recent Entries