Students interested in architecture studies leading to professional registration should apply to the Professional M.Arch. program.
The Post-professional programs in History and Theory and Urban Design and Housing
The History and Theory option is concerned with the reconciliation of ethics and poetics in architectural practice. The Master’s curriculum, which in most cases is also a required foundation year for a Ph.D. in the field, is simple in terms of course requirements, but demanding in terms of personal commitment to reading and writing. It is particularly suited to students with a professional background in architecture who want to explore and understand the complex connections between history, theory, and design. A thorough understanding of architecture as a cultural phenomenon, leading to a more serious definition of its true essence as it appears in history, is now regarded as crucial by practitioners and teachers who wish to come to terms with the present predicaments of architecture vis-à-vis the contradictions of the contemporary world.
McGill University’s History and Theory of Architecture option has a long-standing international reputation. Students are able to draw from the wide-ranging expertise of the faculty of the School and the University. McGill’s Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art which includes the John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection is one of the best in Canada for this specialty. The course of studies is further enriched by the presence of distinguished visitors, which have included architects, theoreticians, historians and philosophers such as Juhani Pallasmaa, Dalibor Vesely, George Hersey, Karsten Harries, David Levin, Edward Casey and Richard Kearney, among others.
Architectural theory is viewed not as methodology but as philosophical orientation. Crucial issues of contemporary culture are explored through readings of phenomenology and continental European philosophy. Key notions in architecture, such as technology, perception, theory and practice, meaning and symbolization, and the nature of history, are discussed through the presentation of carefully selected readings. History and Theory examines architectural intentions, particularly through primary sources in the form of treatises, starting with pre-classical Greece and finishing in the nineteenth century. The questions addressed are always placed in the context of a worldview through a “hermeneutical” method, and are, therefore, related to the clarification of real problems facing architecture in the modern world. History is not seen as an independent or gratuitous discipline conveying neutral or specialized information, but understood as the only authentic ground for theory and practical reason in the making of architecture.
The UDH program enables students to develop specialized skills for contemporary practice in housing, urban design, the interpretation of cultural landscapes, and the management of human settlements. McGill's post-professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree concentration in Urban Design and Housing helps prepare accredited professionals of the built environment--such as architects, landscape architects, planners, and civil engineers--to work in this burgeoning area of practice and research.
The program of study for the Urban Design and Housing option is conducted in the heart of Montréal, a city-region centred on a 500km2 island in the St. Lawrence River. This metropolis of almost four million is one of North America's most cosmopolitan, with a vibrant public realm and a richly diverse built environment, ranging from the 17th-century urban form of Vieux-Montréal to sprawling contemporary 'edge cities' on the north and south shores of the Saint Lawrence River. Montréal is also a cultural crossroads for dozens of cultures which greatly enrich its bilingual French/English heritage. We use the city and region of Montréal as our workshop, benefiting from collaboration with the municipal administration and its professional staff.