Isabel and Philipp (King's first years) on a Faculty trip to Naples
Welcome to the Architecture subject page at King’s. Here you will find an overview of Architecture at King’s, the Cambridge Architecture course, the people who teach and research in College, and information about making an application.
- Architecture at King's
- The Architecture Tripos (Tripos = course)
- Student perspectives
- Fellows in Architecture
- Applying to study Architecture
- The portfolio
- Reading, resources and events
- Further Information
Architecture at King's
The Architecture and History of Art departments. Credit: James Bowe
King’s has long been hospitable to Architecture and typically accepts 3 or 4 students out of the 45 students in the University reading Architecture each year. Architecture students divide their time between King’s and the Architecture Department at Scroope Terrace, Trumpington Street, 10 minutes' walk up the road from King's (the department is marked by a red pin on this map). Lectures and project-work take place in the department. Students spend much of their time in the studios there, which are open from early morning until late at night.
Supervisions are arranged by the College and generally take place in King's, giving students the opportunity to discuss their work in small groups with experts in the field. With between ten and twelve architects in the College in any year, King's has a strong sense of an architectural community.
King's College Chapel
Amongst the College facilities, King's Art Centre provides a very useful, well-lit space and attracts a community of students with an interest in art of all kinds (there is also a dark room for photographers). The College Library is accessible 24/7 and provides many pleasant places to study (see the virtual tour). More generally, the College is itself rich in architectural history. The Chapel has a virtual tour, and for current students with a particular interest, the extensive College Archives include documents relating to the design and construction of all the buildings.
The Architecture Tripos (Tripos = course)
The Cambridge Architecture Tripos is oriented around the teaching of design – from the smallest detail to the scale of the city. This involves individual studio tutorials and regular critical reviews in which you are encouraged to explore your own ideas and develop your own approach to design. The studio design projects are supported by a variety of lecture courses and course work that explore architecture in cultural (the courses on the history and theory of architecture) and in technical terms (the courses on construction, environmental design and structures).
Philipp with a staff member at Kettle's Yard Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art
In the second year, you will have a choice of specialised lectures, and in the third year you will write a dissertation on a subject of your choice. The design projects are set throughout the year and range from designing (and often making) small artefacts to major projects exploring a theme in a specific location that you will be expected to visit. In addition to the lectures and the studio teaching, you will have classes in computer-aided design, representation and life-drawing.
At the end of each year you submit a portfolio of studio work and course work in addition to taking written examinations. Success in the Tripos will give you exemption from Part 1 of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) examination, the first step to obtaining the full professional qualification.
Josh and Ines are studying Architecture at King's. In the documents below they have written about their experiences of the course so far, including the teaching and studio work, the best and worst bits of the course, the work / social life balance, the Architecture Society (ArcSoc), and the application process. These accounts are well worth reading to get a sense of what studying Architecture at King's is really like.
Fellows in Architecture
Nick Bullock is interested in architecture and the urban environment in France since 1945. He teaches the history of architecture and architectural theory, and the history of planning.
Felipe Hernández (Director of Studies) is a University Lecturer in architectural design, history and theory. He has published extensively on contemporary Latin American cities. His latest research focuses on patterns of urban development, as well as the theorisation and historicisation of architectures, in Africa and the Caribbean.
To apply to study Architecture
To apply to study Architecture at King’s you need to have an enthusiasm for design and, ideally, an interest in both the arts and the sciences. The ability to draw and an interest in the history of art and architecture are both important.
We welcome students studying a variety of subjects at school or college. We will expect you to have a knowledge of mathematics to a least a good GCSE standard, but A level (or equivalent) maths is not a necessary requirement. The majority of applicants have studied Art (though this is not a requirement). Art provides a better preparation for the Cambridge Architecture course than subjects such as Design and Technology or Technical Graphics. When choosing subjects you may find the general advice in our Subject Matters leaflet useful.
Details of the application process are given on the how to apply page, which we advise you to read thoroughly. To demonstrate your enthusiasm for design, candidates invited for interviews must bring a portfolio of work that you will be asked to present at two separate interviews.
We do not formally ‘mark’ or assess the portfolio but in judging your suitability for the course we will be interested to see the terms in which you discuss your work. Your ability to convey your intentions and respond to the comments that we make provide the best measure we have of your likely performance in the studio. Please see the portfolio section below for details.
We welcome applications from suitably qualified students at all kinds of schools all over the world. Details of our most common offers in a range of examination systems are given on the entrance requirements page.
The choice of material included in your portfolio is up to you; successful candidates have brought paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and constructions of all kinds, particularly material that conveys a spatial and three dimensional interest; we would not, however, expect to see designs for buildings – that is what you are coming to Cambridge to learn!
Examples of portfolio material from successful candidates are provided below.
- Portfolio 1
- A further portfolio will be available here in due course.
Reading, resources and events
- We provide general advice about developing your interests.
- There are no particular books that Architecture applicants are required to read, and students should feel free to pursue their own interests. The Director of Studies in Architecture provides reading suggestions for applicants looking for some guidance.
- The Architecture Society website includes examples of student work.
- The RIBA website has information about events and an Explore Archtecture section.
- The subject resources page has a tag for posts on Humanities, which you might like to browse.
- Events which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Masterclasses, and King's Open Days. Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.
- Course outline and film
- Faculty website
- Applying with limited support or advice
- Extenuating Circumstances form
- International Students
- If you have further questions about applying to King's for Architecture please do not hesitate to email King's Admissions Office.