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Leading the 2023 MSt Urban Design Masterclass at the University of Cambridge

Leading the MSt Urban Design Masterclass at the University of Cambridge

Directors Stephen and Andrew were recently invited to lead the Urban Design Masterclass module - part of the MSt Architecture Apprenticeship programme at the University of Cambridge for a third year. The innovative course allows apprentices to combine academic and practice based learning to gain professional qualifications in architecture. 

The apprentices were challenged to work in small teams - mirroring the work of urban designers, masterplanners and architects in practice - to analyse the existing neighbourhood (and wider context) of Studlands Park in Newmarket, designed by the eminent humanist Architect, Ralph Erskine, in 1969. The teams were asked to develop urban design and masterplanning strategies to form a defined northern boundary to the famous racecourse town. 

The ten-day module included lectures and presentations on current urban design thinking and focussed on issues including: creating a contextual response, identity and narrative of place for new settlements, the impact of suburban edge intensification, 15/20 Minute Neighbourhood strategies and the importance of boundaries and thresholds in the creation of spatial hierarchy. 

Stephen Proctor said: "It has been fantastic to lead the urban design module for Part 2 architectural apprentices at the University of Cambridge for a third year. Many thanks to all for making this a thought provoking and enjoyable module…and to all apprentices for their inspiration, commitment and wonderful work.” 

Stephen and Andrew worked closely alongside course leader Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin with additional contributions to the workshop sessions from Paul Keogh (Director of Paul Keogh Architects and President of the RIAI 2010-2012, Dublin), Pedro Baganha (Councillor, Department of Planning and Public Spaces, Porto), Stephen Willacy (Director of Stephen Willacy Architecture and Urbanism and Chief Architect, Aarhus City Council 2014-2021), Jonathan Brookes (Strategic Sites Team leader, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service), Boyd Nicholas (Principal Planning Officer, West Suffolk Council) and Director Georgina Bignold and Senior Associate Harrison Symonds from Proctor and Matthews Architects.