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Developing design solutions with architecture and civil engineering projects

Cross-discipline project work prepares our students for the professional team relationships they will experience in their careers.

Starting with the fundamentals

We'll focus on the basics, getting to know materials before looking at the wider context in later years.

In your first two years of study, you'll develop your core technical and design skills by experimenting with different materials and building contexts. You'll learn:

  • freehand and technical drawing
  • model making
  • how to approach a brief
  • how to verbally present your work

Throughout your degree, you will work on individual and group projects in single and cross-disciplinary teams. This gives you the opportunity to apply the theory you learn in lectures and field trips to realistic design situations.

‘‘It was really good fun. When you've got a shared experience with people you don't know, it builds the relationships quite quickly. I think it was a great first project.’’
Greg Ferguson BSc Architecture

Developing the skills to take on major projects

Through the years your skillset will diversify.

Each year as your knowledge and experience grows you'll take on more complex briefs covering structural and environmental strategies. Working in our purpose-built studios alongside your peers, you'll be encouraged to push the boundaries of your design work through critique sessions and tutorials.

Thanks to our extensive links with industry through our research and placement partnerships, you'll be tutored by practising architects and engineers who often have experience directly related to your brief. They will provide you with client feedback so you can develop your work further alongside giving you an insight into the professional world.

From studio to workplace

In a group of architecture and civil engineering students, Gemma Andrews developed a design for a new railway station for Oxford. She then started a graduate scheme in London where one of her first projects is the London Waterloo station upgrade

Read about Gemma's experiences
Gemma smiles as she looks at her model for a railway station.

Working collaboratively

We believe collaboration between architects and engineers results in exemplary and enduring building design.

Working in joint project groups gives our civil engineering students a greater understanding of the richness and complexity of designing to meet people’s broadest needs, and our architecture students gain a better comprehension of how sophisticated engineering transforms the construction and operation of buildings. Developing this working relationship prepares students for the professional world of complex, multi-disciplinary project teams.

Our flagship design competition, the Ted Happold project (formerly known as the Basil Spence), is the opportunity to fully explore the relationship between structure, environment, architecture and building construction. The brief changes each year, but is always based on a real scenario with a focus on sustainability. Working in teams of about four to six, students develop their solutions together over eight weeks by discussing drawings, models and calculations.

The Ted Happold project

Find out what it's like to work on our cross-disciplinary design competition.

Inclusive design to transform Oxford

This Ted Happold winning design addresses the socioeconomic divide between the town and university in Oxford. With a strong focus on sustainability, the design successfully connects Oxford's less affluent residents with the university.

Read the full case study
an architectural drawing of a  park and green space in the centre surrounded by buildings with lots of people in a pedestrian area

Facilities to realise your ideas

We focus your studies around studio work from the very start of your degree.

Our open plan studios in 4 East South provide the perfect setting for collaborative working with dedicated crit bays for you to present your projects. We have civil engineering laboratories for structures, hydraulics, soils and natural building materials, as well as a timber workshop.

View 360° images of our:

Explore our 4 East South building in virtual reality

Meet some of our staff and students in the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, hear about their projects and get a taste of life in the studio.

Working independently

Individual projects are a great opportunity to find what direction you'd like to take in your career.

Our students develop their own briefs for their fourth-year architecture individual project and civil engineering research dissertation. This gives you the opportunity to focus on a topic that particularly interests you. The planning, research and presentation skills you'll need to demonstrate will help prepare you to begin your career.

Dreaming of Electric Sheep

For his final-year individual project, Justin Bean, designed a hotel set among the wires and pylons of Chickerell electrical substation. His project went on to win the RIBA Bronze Medal.

Read about Justin's project
Justin sits in our design studio with a group project team as they listen to their tutor talk.

Architecture and civil engineering undergraduate courses.

Browse our courses

Please note that project briefs continuously change as we try to link these to current scenarios taking place in the industry. The project work experiences listed here, as well as access to facilities and equipment, are dependent on the health and safety circumstances of any given year and refurbishment/upgrade works that may need to be carried out.