Architectural History/Theory: AA or Bartlett?


The AA's MA History and Critical Thinking or The Bartlett's MA Architectural History?


Allegedly the AA has a better reputation for architectural practice, but does the same apply for a more academic route?  Solely judging from their web presences, Bartlett appears to have the more developed and serious program for history and theory.

I've been accepted to both, and need to decide by the end of the month.  However, since I live in NYC I will not have time to visit the schools.  Any advice or perspective would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

May 15, 13 7:37 pm
chatter of clouds

did you compare student theses?

course lists?

tutor lists?

Bartlett mentions that their focus is on the 19th 20th and 21st century....well, there was a lot of interesting stuff happening in the 16th and 17th century ...what about a thousand and some years before CE? i don't understand the limitation to 19, 20 and 21. 

May 16, 13 9:22 am

bartlett, hands down. 

Aug 15, 13 5:33 pm

I would have said bartlett but think adrian forty who is the back bone may be pushing back. It also depends upon what you wish to do post-uni. The AA has far more interesting engagement with external critics and feel the issues of the students are much more relevant than things that go on at bartlett.  

Library at AA hands down is 10x better than bartlett.

Aug 17, 13 9:43 pm

"Library at AA hands down is 10x better than bartlett."


I would say that AH students spend just 50% of their time in the bartlett library. Due to to interdisciplinary effort they are required to do they end up plundering all the other libraries within UCL, which have a greater variety of books than the AA.

Aug 23, 13 9:49 am

Less is more, as they say.  

Having about 50 lib cards in my possession, what makes the AA lib distinct is the vast amount of primary source material that is available there and not available at any other library.

You can get privileges at any UK library if your studying at PGT level [except Oxford/Cambridge which I have privileges]

What is at UCL is at Brit Lib, U of London Lib and any of the other libs that are available for use.  Personally, the library spaces at UCL suck in comparison to the AA which is wonderful to sit in.

I am presently sitting in the U of Chicago Library on circuit from Columbia, GSD and George Wash plus a few archives in between.  Judging by libraries, Columbia is my top US pick for H+T studies, again because it actively collects primary source material [the columbia library spaces is wonderful]

Aug 23, 13 10:53 am

I am curious to know what did u end up choosing? 

Mar 7, 14 8:33 am

got into the MA Architectural History in Bartlett this year.

The faculties are prefect, including Adrian Forty, Iain Borden and Jane Rendell, plus this year, Mario Carpo is coming for a new module. But I still can't choose between SCI-Arc M.Arch1 and UCL MA, any advice, please?

Mar 11, 14 11:01 am


Iain resigned and Adrian is retiring so you may need some up to date info before deciding. 

May 21, 14 6:11 pm

Hi everyone, this is Iain Borden from the Bartlett School of Architecture. One of the Bartlett students alerted to me to this discussion, so just to say that I have most definitely NOT resigned from the Bartlett! (I have, however, recently stepped down from an internal role relating to the admin of history & theory, which may have inadvertently caused this rumour).

The teaching team for the MA Architectural History for 2014-15 will be (in no particular order):

Prof Jane Rendell, Dr Barbara Penner, Prof Mario Carpo, Dr Ben Campkin, Dr Robin Wilson , Dr Peg Rawes, Amy Thomas, Prof Murray Fraser, and myself - plus contributions from the Survey of London teaching team. 

May 27, 14 8:52 am

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