Studying MSc Advanced Architectural Design at RGU

MSc Advanced Architectural Design student Fraser McCulloch, discusses why he chose RGU for his postgraduate studies and shares his experiences on the course.

What excites you about Advanced Architectural Design?

I graduated in 2020 with my honour’s degree in Architectural Technology from the The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment and at the time, I thought I knew everything about the world of architecture. However, Advanced Architectural Design has changed that completely. While my undergraduate degree gave me the basics I needed to know, my master’s has elevated my knowledge in how to design and construct for future generations. One of the main aspects I have developed over the course is the social context of a building and how that particular design can help influence a social change in people’s lives. I also enjoy designing with modern methods of construction because I believe that the modern ways of designing will help aid in reducing our carbon footprint whilst also bringing the construction industry closer to zero-carbon.

Why did you decide to study Advanced Architectural Design, and why did you choose RGU for your postgraduate studies?

I had just graduated in my honours degree last year during the pandemic so trying to find a job during that time was proving to be a challenge. My lecturer at the time had suggested to do a master’s degree because it would help me find a career in 2021 and further expand my knowledge of the built environment. I went searching around for master’s degrees that focused on what I was interested in but I struggled to choose between RGU and Edinburgh Napier. I decided to go for RGU because the course focused on real-world problems, such as climate change and renewable technologies, which is the direction I believe that built environment is heading. Furthermore, since I currently live in Grantown-on-Spey, which is located in the Highlands, it allows me to travel easily back and forth to the campus which allowed me to stay at home with my parents while studying.

Tell us about your course experience/journey? What has been the most enjoyable part of the course?

My term two project, hands down. I really blew myself away at how much detail I put into that project, and I am trying not to be boastful but I just want to say how proud I am of my project. During my undergraduate degree I lacked the initiative to progress on a project which is something that has completely changed now.

My term two project focused on designing a high-rise residential tower that also integrated a community centre for the local community in Aberdeen. When designing the high-rise tower, I had to make sure there was a social interaction between the neighbours of the building as usually interactions can be quite short and limited. I integrated areas of the community centre throughout each level of my building to ensure that both residents and visitors had more of a social connection with each other. This allowed the building to feel more like its own ‘city in the sky’.

Do you have any advice for future students?

I would say two things, one is to go for it. It doesn’t matter if you have just graduated from your undergraduate degree or if you are a mature student. This degree makes you think differently to how we should design and construct for the future. While this degree is only a year long, the amount of knowledge I gained over that time is incredible and I am so grateful to be part of an amazing course.

Number two is to be proud of your work. Being part of the built environment means that people are going to judge your work and that is absolutely fine. Whether they compliment or critique it, it means that you can improve and succeed along your career journey.

Fraser McCulloch

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