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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

Course Structure


Have a look at interviews of our recent graduates.