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Architecture AS / A Level

'Architecture' is usually taken to mean the study and design of buildings, but it is much more than this. In its broadest sense, to study architecture is to study how we interact with our environment and why we shape it in the way we do.

The range of influences on our built environment is huge - cultural, geographical and sociological factors all feed into the artistic and practical aspects of building design. The study of architecture can incorporate all of these, from the broadest analysis of cultural expression to the examination of the smallest architectural detail.

The title of the qualification is 'Critical and Contextual Studies in Art'. There is no Architecture AS/A as such, so we use this syllabus (which allows you to focus on a particular area of art, such as built environment or landscape) as a basis for a course specialising in architecture.

Exam Board: OCR

STARTS IN SEPTEMBER

  • What will I study and learn?

    In the first year you will study some of the key periods of architecture from ancient to modern times; comparing examples, understanding their design principles and the influences that acted on their design. The major project will be a design-based on a starting point set by the exam board.

    In the second year your studies will focus on the way we inhabit the built environment and how it affects our lives. You will study the way that ordinary buildings affect social interaction and you will analyse the qualities of 'place' that familiar spaces have. The year finishes with a design project which demonstrates these qualities.

    Both years will involve a wide range of work methods - drawing, painting, writing and model making. Our aim is to prepare you with the knowledge and skills you will need if you want to study architecture at university and to help you to develop a portfolio of work that will help you at university interviews. However the course is also very useful as a general education in architecture and the built environment: an enjoyable area of study and valid in any profession.

  • How is the course assessed?

    The course will be assessed through exams and coursework.

  • What skills will I need for the course?

    Drawing is the fundamental activity of architectural study and we will ask you to provide evidence of your drawing ability (such as a sketchbook). You will need to be able to describe buildings and analyse them in words. A reasonable mathematical ability is also useful.

  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    You will need an average GCSE points score of 5.25 including GCSE English and Maths at grade 5 and Art at grace C with an enthusiasm for drawing.

    Points calculation

    The average points score for entry to an A Level programme will be calculated using your 8 best GCSEs OR 6 GCSEs plus 1 technical qualification (equivalent to a maximum of 2 GCSEs and 10 points).

    From 2017 English Language, English Literature and Mathematics GCSE will be graded numerically (1 – 9. Grade 5 = a good grade C, grade 6 = grade B and grade 7 = grade A).

    To work out your average and find out more information, please see our Entry Requirements page.

  • What could the course lead to in higher education or careers?

    Whatever your career intentions, the course will provide a useful qualification, reflecting your ability to analyse the built environment in an imaginative and creative way and giving you a broad understanding of the connection between technology and art.


    If you are thinking of going on to study architecture at university the course has obvious benefits. As well as the qualification itself, it will provide you with a portfolio of work which will be very useful at interview stage.


    You can find out more about architecture as a career at RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).

  • Are there any costs involved?

    A studio fee of £60 is payable at enrolment to cover materials used in the course.

Student Work

See more examples of Student Work.

To Apply or Enquire

If you are interested in applying please fill out an application form. If you require more information please do not hesitate in sending us your queries via our enquiry form. We will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

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A Level Architecture

a level physics architecture photography and maths student wants to be an architect and photographer and loves the studio and dark room at Richmond upon Thames College near Clapham

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“The facilities we have for photography are great and I really enjoy using the studio and the dark room. I’ve developed my camera skills a lot since I started the course and am now much more comfortable with things like aperture and shutter speeds. The teachers explain things in a way you’ll understand and make the lessons really enjoyable.”

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