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TV architect George Clarke launches ‘disruptive’ housing design degree

George clarke's council house scandala

TV personality and architect George Clarke has helped create a degree in housing design to be run by Birmingham City University

The Amazing Spaces presenter will give workshops as part of the three-year Design for Future Living course, as will other members of his Ministry of Building Innovation + Education (Mobie) charity.

Subject specialists from the university will also teach parts of the degree, which will sit within the School of Architecture and Design but will not be accredited by the RIBA nor count towards the professional qualification as an architect.

Head of the school Kevin Singh said the course was aimed at creating graduates with the skills to improve quality and quantity of new housing from within a range of organisations.

‘We are trying to be quite disruptive here,’ Singh told the AJ. ‘Developers, housebuilders, local authorities, housing associations and other bodies are crying out for these people. We think they will come in and challenge the status quo.’

Students will challenge and disrupt traditional thinking around the idea of home and develop radical alternatives

The course will borrow some modules from existing architecture degrees along with others – such as marketing, branding and business – from elsewhere. There will also be a focus on modern methods of construction such as offsite manufacturing, and a look at the planning process as well as the economics of housebuilding.

‘The problem with any normal architecture degree is that there is so much ground to cover,’ said Singh. ‘We will drill down into housing; the design projects will focus on housing.’

Clarke last month urged the government to commit to building 100,000 new council homes a year for the next three decades. His charity aims to inspire young people to innovate in the design and construction of homes in the UK and abroad.

He said: ‘I am thrilled to have helped develop and to be a part of this incredible new course at Birmingham City University.

‘Through innovative ideas, new design methods, advanced technologies and entrepreneurial skills, students will challenge and disrupt traditional thinking around the idea of home and develop radical alternatives that are fit for the future and fit to live in.’

Around 30 places will be available when the course starts in September 2020. Students can enrol now by undertaking a foundation year or apply during the winter.

The number of people accepted on to the course could double in future years.


Readers' comments (8)

  • Ironic that the only course that will directly teach housing is not going to sit within the architecture school...
    Not enough tsunami warning systems and flooded dystopian city projects for architecture school?

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  • I hope this is not another bogus 'foundation year'?

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  • Industry Professional

    I'm not really sure why anyone would want to spend (waste?) time doing this course.

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  • Perhaps the comment from "industry professional" is implying that the volume house builders know best and have no need of architects. They certainly have virtually a monopoly on what is on offer.

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  • John Kellett

    All those who achieve Part 1 should be able to design housing projects. Certainly at Bath, when I was there, we learnt more than enough about construction and design to be able to design housing. The course was deliberately hard with the first 5 terms joint with the structural and building services engineering students under the lead of Ted Happold and Michael Brawne. Why duplicate an existing perfectly sound system. Dumbing down architecture is NOT the solution. As it is chartered technologists have insufficient training in architecture to earn the title ‘architectural’. The construction industry would be better served by renaming the body CICT controlling a profession of construction technologists, for that is what they are. This is demonstrated by the fact that I can find no ‘architectural’ technology course capable of meeting the requirements of Part 1. Chartered Construction technologists would be useful to architects, contractors and manufacturers. By limiting their appeal to an area where they have little, if any, expertise CIAT is holding itself back. Yes, there are many technologists who could be architects and with the new apprenticeship route there is nothing to hold those ambitions back.

    Our own profession should be making better use of those who stick at Part 1 or Part 2 and have no desire (or talent) to proceed further. That would be the correct inclusive route rather than separating out housing design as a specialism. There are no true specialisms for real architects, merely the building types, we as individuals, prefer.

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  • Daniel Lacey

    You never miss an opportunity to have a dig at AT's ey John.

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  • Industry Professional

    Kate - read John's comment - we don't need division and pseudo-specialism...

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  • Industry Professional

    Completely wrong once again from JK. A Chartered Architectural Technologist is qualified to the same level as an architect. And for over twenty years, I’ve worked alongside architects, doing the same job, without experiencing any of the ridiculous snobbery that you regularly peddle on these comments pages.

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