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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Masters in Design for Performance & Interaction


The Interactive Architecture Lab based at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, runs a 15 month masters programme welcoming applicants from a wide variety of artistic and technical backgrounds.

The core of the programme is the belief that the creation of spaces for performance and the creation of performances within them are symbiotic design activities. Working with interactive technologies enables us to consider objects, space, people and systems as potential performers.

Our Masters in Design for Performance and Interaction (M.Arch) has relevance across spatial and urban design, interface and systems design, auditoria and scenographic design, lighting and sound installation, performance and event design and virtual and physical environments that draw people together. Structured to offer the widest scope for creativity, the course facilitates and empowers students to find their own unique design vision, emphasising prototyping, from interactive objects to staged events and performance architecture.

Students learn with advanced skills to design for performance and interaction, informed by multidisciplinary theories from performing arts, digital media, spatial interaction, anthropology, sociology, cybernetics, cognitive neuroscience and aesthetics. The programme is taught in UCL’s cutting-edge facilities at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – a space renowned as a hotbed for technological innovation and home to some of the UK’s leading performance and design companies.

At The Bartlett School of Architecture, the UK’s leading and largest Faculty of the Built Environment, we believe this course provides an unprecedented opportunity for informed, skilled and trans-disciplinary designers to define, and deliver, spaces and systems for performance and interaction in the 21st century. Apply here

Programme highlights

  • Design and make individual and collaborative projects that feature in an end-of-year public exhibition of design work, installations and performances that attracts 1000’s of visitors. Projects commonly continue onto be exhibited and published internationally.
  • Gain a working knowledge of technical systems including sound, lighting, interactive computation and electronics.
  • Gain an understanding of parametric tools required when designing or adapting large performance spaces including acoustics, lighting, seating (spectator line of sight) and simulating occupant behaviour in normal and emergency scenarios.
  • Learn how to manipulate software and physical hardware to create both simulated and actual 1:1 performance space and performances in an architectural context.
  • Learn to communicate your ideas in 4D through live presentation and staged events, installations, films, podcasts, online, virtual and augmented environments.
  • Build a network with other like-minded students, and meet London’s industry leaders in architecture, performance and interaction.
  • Use state of the art technologies for performance and interaction including, virtual reality systems, motion capture rigs, multi-channel surround sound systems, robotics, GPU supercomputing, 4K Projectors and full suite of DMX programmable event lighting.
  • Financial support for projects that engage with the public audiences and entrepreneurial training for students seeking to develop businesses.

Who should apply?

Graduates with enthusiasm for hands-on design and fabrication from a diversity of backgrounds in art, architecture, performance, scenography, light and sound, digital media, electronics, and engineering. A strong portfolio that demonstrates a high level of creative ability and/or evidence of substantial professional experience is required. More information can be found here

Programme Director

Ruairi Glynn | Interactive Architecture Lab
Practicing installation artist and Director of MArch Design for Performance & Interaction – Ruairi Glynn has exhibited internationally with recent shows at the Centre Pompidou Paris, the National Art Museum of China Beijing, Ars Electronica in Linz and the Tate Modern, London. He has worked with leading cultural and research institutions including the Royal Academy of Arts, the Medical Research Council and BBC and built public installations for commercial clients including Twitter, Nike, Arup, Buro Happold, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He often works collaboratively with artists, architects, and choreographers including Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, New Movement Collective, onedotzero, Marshmallow Laser Feast, Tellart, and Alma-nac Architects.

History and Theory Coordinator

Prof Stephen Gage
The Bartlett’s Professor of Innovative Technology, Stephen Gage is an internationally recognised leader in education of interactive and performance architecture. He has taught at The Bartlett since 1993, holding posts as Director of Technology & Director of Architectural Design as well as leading various funded research projects, and supervising Masters & PhD students. His graduates are now some of the industry leaders in interactive and performance architecture including Jason Bruges, Dominic Harris & Usman Haque to name just a few.

Design Tutors

Jessica In
Originally from Melbourne Australia via Ithaca, Seoul and Zurich. Jessica is an architect, designer, creative coder + educator. She is currently pursuing her interests in drawing and robotics for interactive design explorations. Formerly architectural designer at Heatherwick Studio, Jessica responsible for the production of Google Campus in Mountain View and the Hudson Yards Vessel sculpture projects in New York. She has taught at the Bartlett on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Fiona Zisch | Interactive Architecture Lab
Architect and experimental psychologist with experience in film production design and designing for extreme environments – Fiona Zisch researches the cognition, experience, and reciprocity of architectural space, bodies, and movement. She works between the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience at UCL and the Bartlett School of Architecture. She also teaches undergraduate Experimental Psychology at UCL. Fiona speaks at and organises international architecture and neuroscience conferences and festivals, has collaborated on a number of multidisciplinary research projects, and acts as a consultant for architecture and technology companies. She has published papers and book chapters in an array of research fields.

Paul Bavister
Award winning architect, Paul’s practice specialises in public sector design, in particular acoustic and performance spaces. Paul is an active member of sound art group Audialsense, and has lectured internationally on the relationships between sound and architecture. Paul is a Senior Associate Director at Flanagan Lawrence, a Director of Soundforms, and both a design tutor and PHD candidate, at the Bartlett School of Architecture.

Vasilija Abramovic Glynn
An architect, designer and doctoral researcher. Vasilija’s interest lies in the field of Artificial life approaches to Interactive Architecture, building responsive environments with recent exhibitions in France, Netherlands and Belgium. Her work has been published in conferences and journals, most recently at ACADIA 2018, and eCAADe 2017. Vasilija is also a scientific committee member and editorial board member for scientific journals and has held academic roles across several universities such as Faculty of Architecture in Prague, University of Westminster and the Bartlett School of Architecture.

Alexander Whitley
Choreographer and dancer, Alexander Whitley has created work for several of the UK’s leading companies including the Royal Ballet, Rambert, Balletboyz and Birmingham Royal Ballet. He is a New Wave Associate artist at Sadler’s Wells theatre, and an associate artist at DanceEast. He collaborates across art forms, working with filmmakers, designers, digital artists and composers to create innovative and wide-ranging work that seeks to broaden the scope of dance. His own Dance Company, has enjoyed sell out performances at the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells as well as being nominated for a Critics’ Circle Award.  Through its innovative stage productions The Measures Taken, Pattern Recognition and 8 Minutes, the company has rapidly established a reputation for its ambitious and intellectually engaged work and has developed a wide network of world-class collaborators.

Felix Faire
Multidisciplinary designer and musician practicing in London. His Audio-visual work explores embodied and synaesthetic experiences of music, space and image through the media of light, sound and code. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art, Somerset House and installed, performed or presented at various events around the world including Sonar+D, Moogfest, the V&A and TEDx.

Luca Delatorre | Charcoalblue
Luca is an acoustic and soundscape designer merging his musical performance background with his training in architecture and engineering. He is a Senior Consultant at Charcoalblue the world’s leading theatre, acoustics and digital design consultancy. His interests cross between the interaction of architecture, sound and hearing. His research has examined musician’s acoustic perception on stage and the preferred conditions to allow them to perform at their best. His research was directly applied to the design of Hoddinot Hall, in Cardiff, a 400 seats hall for the BBC Wales symphonic orchestra dedicated to recording and broadcasting; Milton Court, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, a 680-seat concert hall tunable for different types of performances.

David Diduca | BAT Studio
Architect and interaction designer, David is a founding director of BAT Studio. He previously worked for Jason Bruges Studio where he was involved in a number of major artworks including the Coca-Cola pavilion at the London Olympics. He was also a member of the Workers collective who recently built robots which roamed the galleries of Tate Britain, After Dark.

Dominik Zisch | Jason Bruges Studio
A creative technologist, Dominik has a background in architectural technology, theoretical physics, and software engineering. Dominik works at Jason Bruges Studio and also teaches on the MArch at Innsbruck University. He has collaborated with UCL experimental psychology as chief app developer for a series of navigation experiments in the real world. Dominik has a passion for user interaction design with an emphasis on programming and dedicates the little time he has outside of work to researching new ways to interact and work with technology and data.

Theory Tutors

Prof Sarah Rubidge
Formerly Professor of Choreography and New Media at the University of Chichester, now Professor Emerita, Sarah has re-embarked on a freelance career as scholar, artist and academic & artistic consultant. She has is a PhD supervisor and Examiner, both in the UK and overseas, and continues to lecture, write, make creative works and act as consultant for national and international bodies and institutions.

Prof Owen Holland
For the last ten yearsOwen has mainly been interested in the prospects for building a conscious machine. He is a professor of cognitive robotics in the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science and taught at various universities around the UK.

Graduates Projects in the Press

Russell Beaumont, Takashi Torisu & Haavard Tveito WiredCreative Applications
William Camilleri & Danilo Sampaio Designboom, Inhabitat, Vice
Syuko Kato & Vincent Huyghe GizmodoWe Make Money Not Art
Ava Aghakouchak & Maria Paneta FastCoDesignDomusLe Monde, Verge
Ollie Palmer: BBC, New Scientist, Dazed
Chryssa Varna: Creator Project, Suckerpunch
Ling Tan: Dezeen, Protein
Felix Faire: Creative Applications, Gizmodo
Lin Zhang and Ran Xie: CNET, PSFK
Bijing Zhang & Francois Mangion:We Make Money Not Art, FastCompany
William Bondin: BBC, Architizer
, Mashable, Wired


Have a look at interviews of our recent graduates.