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Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


Domus Academy architecture

A privileged observatory on the city, to catch the transformations of the urban spaces from a local to a global perspective. An experimental platform to define strategies for action and to envision the future scenarios for the spaces where we live today. A multi-scale approach to design, handle complexity and integrate cross-disciplinary knowledge. A professional laboratory to enhance a personal design thinking, combining research, curiosity, and design experimentation. A dynamic generator of ideas and design explorations to promote a new and radical urban education.

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview

Programme Summary Information .8 Programme Aims and Objectives .9 Entry requirements .12 Programme Structure .14 Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategies .15 Study Plan .19 Annex I: Master Structure .24

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview

Part A: Programme Summary Information

(First Level) Academic Master


The Master Course graduates high level profiles able to investigate on urban and architectural issues generated within contemporary urban contexts, as well as professionals capable to experiment appropriate and innovative research tools and design methods to define project scenarios in the field of architecture, landscape and urban planning. Furthermore, the programme, which deals with the complexity of topics linked to the urban experience and works on the interplay among the multiple project scales within the urban context, offers a vision where urban planning, architecture, landscape and design skills, social and cultural analysis, communication tools, converge to create a new professional identity, able to redefine the functions and aesthetics of the urban space. Students learn how to develop a spatial approach that conceives the urban and architectural design project as a process concurring to the definition of the urban pattern; to develop a critical understanding of research and design methodologies, within the Urban and Architectural Design domain; to practise concept generation ability within set strategies, combining imaginative insight and cogency of arguments; to train in design research, on capacities and possibilities of a place for architectural and urban development; to carry on complete design processes, articulating logic and systematic sequence of coherent project steps and progressively interpreting morphological, typological, technological and aesthetics concerns; to enhance the ability to produce future visions of urban and architectural development, in answer to transforming scenarios; to develop the ability to communicate research and design works through effective tools within a professional and intercultural arena; to develop an insight into the evolving profession of urban designers and architects in a globally oriented practice and in various contexts; to reproduce a professional context of work, where interdisciplinary teams with specific skills are involved. Moreover, Domus Academy ensures that students attending

Programme Title
Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design

Programme Type
Full Time

Frequency of Intake
Once or twice per year

Starting Months
September and/or January

Course Leader
Francesca Vargiu

Language of instruction and assessment


Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


the academy become aware of the great opportunities surrounding them, such as the fact that Milan is an international and design-oriented city with a lot of famous design studios and agencies, research labs, trade fairs and companies. Students at Domus Academy come from about 50 different countries and this fact makes it an international school where different cultures can be met. Domus Academy is part of an international network of university and the teachers of the academy are internationally renowned professionals in their field.

Selected and managed interdisciplinary teams involved in the project process, becoming aware of the limits of the fields of urban and architectural design and of the possibility of incorporating knowledge from other disciplines.


The Master Urban Vision and Architectural Design offers various career opportunities: in Public Planning Administration Departments, at a local, national and European level, to face and manage the complexity of formulation, implementation, evaluation and communication of territorial policies; in Territorial Development Agencies, Real Estate Companies, NGOs, Non-Profit Organisations specialised in territorial operations, Research Centres for territorial and architectural transformations, to investigate contemporary urban dynamics and design future development scenarios; in Architectural Design Studios and Engineering Offices, dealing with the development of projects, as well as national and international competitions, which require a broad range of articulated skills, the ability to interpret new architectural languages and meanings as well as the complexity of the territory at any scale of intervention as freelance urban designers, planners and architects; as consultants, in the public and private sector, in communication and territorial promotion activities (design of services, urban marketing, government, urban centres, city network, relevant public offices), planning and management of events, cultural initiatives, tourist and recreational activities.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will have: Understood from a critical perspective the role of an urban and architectural design project as part of the comprehensive urban space and its complex dynamics; Acquired a personal awareness in applying the most appropriate research and design methodologies to design projects within the Urban and Architectural Design domain; Developed design concepts to professional standard, for Urban and Architectural Design projects tailored to specific strategies; Acquired a critical approach toward research within the design process, as a complementary component of the overall project development; Devised a coherent design proposal, accounting for morphological, typological, technological and aesthetics issues at professional level while understanding contexts and managing projects scales; Envisioned urban and architectural scenarios, according to evolving dynamics and changeable requirements; Conceived and structured an individual research and design presentation at professional level with a broader audience in an intercultural setting, selecting the most coherent communication strategy and appropriate tools and languages; Acquired knowledge and critical understanding of contemporary design domain and the changing role of architects and urban designers in different contexts;

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


PART C: Entry Requirements

Criteria for Admission to the Programme (including required English language score)
Eligibility conditions for entering the Master Course are: Bachelor Degree or Equivalent English Language Knowledge: IELTS 5.0 or equivalent Applicants are required to submit the Application Package, including: Application Form (full and satisfactory completion) Copy of Bachelor Degree* or equivalent Transcripts of previous study paths IELTS 5.0 Certificate or Equivalent Detailed Resum Statement of purpose Portfolio of projects The programme is addressed to candidates holding a bachelor degree in urban, architectural and design disciplines interested in developing a personal approach and improving their architectural sensitivity according to urban transformation needsor disciplines related to the programmes field of study. Admission students with different degrees or diplomas, as well as of professionals with a significant experience in the programmes field, will be taken into consideration if the applicant is motivated by a research interest towards the programmes topics. Upon successfully completing the programme the student will receive a Domus Academy Master Diploma. Participants who are eligible according to NABA rules will receive an Academic Master from NABA.

* Degree Cerificate Students holding a non-Italian Bachelor Degree shall contact the Italian Embassy or Consulate in the country where the degree was issued in order to ask for the so called completion documents, consisting in: a. Translation into Italian made by a certified translator of the students Bachelor Degree. b. Translation into Italian made by a certified translator of the students Academic Transcripts. c. Dichiarazione di valore in loco (Declaration of Value) of the students Bachelor Degree. The Dichiarazione di valore in loco is the document attesting that the study qualification obtained in the students country of residence is valid for accessing Italian Universities or Academies.


Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


PART D: Programme Structure

Course Diagram
The programme lasts 10 months and is full-time.
Courses Workshop 1 Workshop 2 Workshop 3 Workshop 4 Internship Final Master Project

PART E: Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategies

In the following paragraphs you will find information on the What and the When of our learning, teaching and assessment framework. The programme of the Master Course in Urban Vision & Architectural Design is workshop-based, supported by seminars, tutorials, lectures, work-in-progress sessions, critiques and a series of tutor led-projects. Through a proactive relationship with the Course Staff and Project Leaders, students will lead their project work and be supported through consultative and advisory tutorial guidance. But first a short glimpse on the Who. We call Course Leader the teacher who has overall responsability for the course, coordinates the study program, generates ideas and exploits networking opportunities. The Course Leader invites visiting professors to the academy, coordinates the assessment process and develops workshop themes. On the other hand, Project Leaders are professionals and teachers, chosen among experts of a specific field, whose job is to propose a brief, provide mentorships to students and take part in the assessment of the projects. Lectures are usually used for the presentation and discussion of theoretical issues. They will often be supported by group discussions, which provide an opportunity for interaction between Faculty and students, and allow students to extend and examine the issues raised. Some activities require students to work in groups. Teams are carefully selected and suitably managed to ensure that all students are aware of effective group processes and contribute to final project outcomes. Formal teaching is supplemented by a range of visiting lecturers and visiting professionals; students will have the chance to attend presentations by designers, artists, critics, industry professionals and academics. Not only will the meeting and exchange of ideas with leading










Please, refer to Annex I for Master Structure

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


professionals offer students the chance to enrich their knowledge but also favour a better career perspective.


The teaching and learning methods employed on the Course are designed to help students achieve their individual professional goals along with the learning objective of the Course. Courses prioritize an original learning by designing approach, that has been developed by Domus Academy over the years. The primary vehicle for learning is therefore the project work. Emphasis is placed on: learning and applying a problem setting approach, ensuring that students refine their critical skills and apply them throughout their work process; fostering a personal creative style and developing an original way of expression; developing research skills, which will enable students to source relevant materials, assimilating and articulating relevant findings; conceiving concepts and visions capable to blend creative languages with the actual needs of end users by interpreting a brief, often based on a real design assignment, in order to design a project that can match, or even excede, the companys expectation. Student work is constantly supported by the Faculty and byvisiting lecturers, and designers.

Feedbacks to students are also part of the final assessment given to students after the presentation. The Course Leader and the Project Leader are available to further discuss assessments with students when required. Students work in multi-cultural and international teams to enhance their capacity for teamwork as well as to expose them to a comparison with different backgrounds and cultures. Students work in mixed groups to support the building of a common mindset and to share previous experiences. Students are exposed to different points of view in the design field, working with designers and companies. One of the purposes of this exposure is to give students the broadest view possible of the design field in order to support them in the selection of the area in which to concentrate their future careers.


Lectures encompass key lectures, case histories and discussions on a selected range of topics. The Course Leader also invites designers, researchers, stakeholders, and representatives of companies to present their work and ideas as a link between the specific discipline perspective and the broader cultural/ economic context.

Practicals and Labs introduce different tools & techniques aimed at developing skills, addressing specific stages of the design process. In Practical/Labs sessions, students work both in groups and individually in order to complete brief skillbased exercises and assignments.

Workshops are project assignments designed to give students a working knowledge of different core subjects. All set projects start with a presentation of a brief. Which outlines the subject, scope and purpose of the workshop. The workshop culminates in an open presentation to the faculty and invited professionals. During all presentations, an open discussion on the outcome of the project is held in front of a Board chaired by the Course Leader.

The internship is a key step of a process in which students are individually tutored, in the light of matching the assessment of the students skills and aspirations with the requirement of key stakeholders: design and service companies, public institutions, design studios, consultant in creative fields.

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview

It is the moment when students have the chance to test what they have learned in real working environments. Moreover, it is a unique opportunity to develop a network of personal relationship within the chosen design field.


History & cultures and Methods & practices
The courses History & Cultures and Methods & Practices provide students with the essential backbone of the discipline: theoretical assets and cultural frameworks as well as methodological approaches and design practices within the broader context of post-graduate urban and architectural design studies. Thanks to the contribution of professionals and researchers, students will acquire awareness and understanding of the theoretical issues and conceptual assets. They will be introduced to methods of critical research and strategic thinking, to historical and contemporary design instruments, to establish a common language for future explorations use. Then, they will engage in a broad range of methods, tools, and topics that define the contemporary urban and architectural project, examining the relations between design thought and practice to the cultures and contexts in which they exist and which they must serve. At the same time, communication will be investigated as a tool for education, research, design, and visualization.



The Final Masters Project is an individual project in which students investigate a set theme. Themes are chosen by students within a research framework agreed with the faculty. The Final Masters Project culminates in an open presentation delivered by students during the Final Exam. When applicable, collaboration with Companies is set for the Final Master Project. The focus remains on the educational side, giving priority to the effective students learning when carrying out a project in a close-to-reality environment. Companies representatives provide feedbacks to students, moderated by Faculty, and they should represent an additional opportunity for students to set a reality check about their own approach to design professions.

Assessment System
The main goal of the assesment system is to monitor how students develope the design and technical competencies required to be awarded an Academic Master. Assessment is done by evaluating each student with a 1 to 30 mark given at the end of every workshop, and through a qualifying examination given at the end of each theoric course. The admission mark to the final exam is calculated by arithmetic average which takes in consideration all the marks taken after each workshop. Students will receive 0-110 (pass 70 or above) as overall evaluation. The Diploma Examination Board may award up 10 points for the Final Project. Honours may be awarded on the basis of the Board assessment of study programs, dissertations and portfolios.

The sequence of workshops is managed by the Course Leader with the aim to exploit, opportunities of cooperative projects with leading companies.

Workshop I - Strategies and vision

Urban transformation processes and the way economic, human, social and environmental dynamics affect them, do not require a local approach but a holistic vision, capable of managing complex processes and forecasting and designing the guiding forces of the future. The workshop provides the ability to capture these evolving transformations which are often fragmented and

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


disconnected, in order to unify them into a future scenario within a broader urban vision, taking in consideration both physical interventions, and strategic trajectories. In accordance with an assigned urban issue, students are asked to formulate guidelines of strategic development and envision future scenarios. Thus, they should recognize, understand and interpret on-going transformation processes in a selected territorial context; figure out a future scenario, that could be verified in a specific urban context; produce a strategic urban vision, moving from a specific intervention to a wider framework.

express all the complexity that a collective public space may contain internally. Complex systems, such as roads, squares, parks etc. as well as fragile systems, such as watercourses, archaeological sites, wildlife reserves, coastlines etc. can become the subject of the design project. Students are asked to organize and design parts of open spaces that are part of a natural or extra urban context, or placed in urban gaps. Therefore, this workshop provides the ability to identify different types of open spaces - urban, extra urban or agricultural, and to critically evaluate the landscape elements that need to be maintained, re-designed or regenerated; to formulate a project proposal capable of combining spatial complexity, social and cultural implications, environmental and energetic issues.


Workshop 2 Architectural Link

The ability to shape design ideas in relation with new cultural and interdisciplinary aspects has become fundamental in the creation and development of new projects. Beginning with an analysis of existing architectural tendencies and all the links between architecture and other relevant fields, this first project-work develops a specific project topic, aimed at investigating forms and modalities of relationship between the various study fields related to architecture and urban planning right up to the links with product and business design, interaction and communication design. Students are asked to outline and shape new design ideas linked with architectural key topics; to experiment languages, techniques and modalities so as to make the multiple study fields interact with each other; to understand the various scales in order to define, conceive and communicate the project; to critically analyse contemporary trends and cross-disciplinary interactions, which are necessary to develope the project.

Workshop 4 Architectural Design

When architectural intervention is required, it is impossible to neglect urban concerns, territorial needs and social tendencies. Nowadays, architectural projects can be seen like design objects within the city, and therefore it becomes important to promote a correct approach to architecture within an urban context, not just from a design point of view, but also taking into consideration the elements that make up the urban space around architecture. The workshop reproduces a complete design process that aims to define an architectural intervention within the urban tissue. It will enhance the ability to imagine architectural projects as devices capable of designing portions of urban tissue by interpreting the physical, cultural, economical and social features. Students are required to develop a coherent and logical project proposal, in accordance with the context and program; to combine all the architectural elements, through morphological, typological, aesthetic and technological awareness; to manage the various project scales interlaced within the architectural project.

Workshop 3 Urban and landscape Design

Open spaces are elements of the urban landscape that are no less complex and articulated than buildings and the infrastructures that make up the urban tissue. In starting off with this consideration, the workshop promotes a process of analysis, understanding and design dealing with research topics and project areas able to include and


The first kind of internship is a work experience in a company

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


working in the disciplinary field and it is a key moment in the developing of the Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design. The internship is the final step of a process in which students, thanks to a one-to-one tutorship can get a deep and balanced evaluation of their skills and aspirations, in order to build a career which fits their aims. There is also an in campus internship that takes place over the course: it is an intensive workshop in collaboration with a company. This campus internship develops an integrated project strictly related to a practical and actual need (i.e., the resolution of a design problem, or the brainstorming platform of a new project). During this crucial phase students are mentored on a step-by-step basis, and gain the fundamental experience of dealing with the real world, with real business and with the people working in the field.


The final project is an important moment of the overall learning experience, since students here have the chance to critically select, adopt, and integrate the methodologies learned during the course into a single, consistent body of knowledge. Students will need to produce a coherent body of work that reflects a developing personal integrity and achieves a high level of technical skill. They will need to develop an individual approach to the research and develop a personal investigation, planning and writing of a final report. Students will be expected to show a clear relationship between their research, text and practical work presented for the Masters presentation. They are expected to reflect critically on their own practices as well as on that of others, by exploring and identifying the context of their own work within the area of Urban Vision & Architectural Design. Collaboration with companies and/or designers is intended to add real value and links to the field, while still maintaining students freedom as far as the selection and development of a personal theme is concerned.

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview


Annex I Master Structure Urban Vision & Architectural Design

History & Cultures and Methods & Practices

Strategies and Vision

Architectural Link

Urban and Landscape Design

Architectural Design


Final master project

Domus Academy - Master in Urban Vision & Architectural Design Overview