The Canterbury School of Architecture (CSA) is situated within the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), a leading specialist university that offers courses from pre-degree Art Foundation to PhD research in its Art, Design & Media disciplines. Our founding colleges and campuses at Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester have a history dating back to 1866. Our courses in Architecture, Interiors and Design for Performance, Theatre & Film are located at our campuses in Canterbury, Farnham Rochester where students benefit from generous and dedicated purpose-built studios and a range of specialist technical workshops, library collections and exhibition spaces. The School has been ranked in the top 10 Schools of Architecture in the UK in the Guardian University Guide in three consecutive years (2016-2018).

Our School has developed a distinctive approach to architectural and spatial design education and research that is informed by its rich Art School heritage. In particular we emphasise activist models of teaching, learning and research; cultures of thinking and making that synthesise traditional techniques with advanced digital media and workflows: and a pedagogic culture that situates imaginative futures in clearly articulated critical understandings of the present. All of our activities consciously face outwards to the world and engage diverse audiences through exhibitions, publications, collaborations and a strong public programme of lectures and events.

Our School is a laboratory for architecture and spatial design. We explore the potentials of our disciplines through individual and collective actions and agency. This requires a commitment on the part of our students and staff to take positions in relation to the contemporary condition of the city and society, to take responsibility for its transformation and ultimately to take action. This activist approach informs all of the design projects that we set for our students, demanding that they take responsibility for aspects of the projects objectives and aims, their development and trajectory and ultimately their dissemination and use. We share this mind-set with the wider community of artists, designers and designer-makers at UCA where there is a strong tradition of valuing professional and creative practice and agency. This Art School tradition makes the Canterbury School of Architecture an ideal place for the exploration and production of ideas as things.

We provide opportunities for our students to develop distinctive approaches to architectural and spatial design and its representation through integrated curricula and projects that introduce a wide range of skills in Design Thinking, Design Making and Design Doing. As students progress through the School they are supported to develop an increasing number of skills and direct these towards their own interests and ambitions. Where many schools of architecture have either abandoned traditional methods of design communication, including hand drawing, or conversely resisted the transformations in both information technology and computational design, we believe that it is the inter-relationships between these processes and media that provide the spaces for spatial imagination to be enacted.

Our Art School campus provides a supportive and permissive environment where our students can make work in and between the various studio spaces, workshops and the internal and external public spaces for exhibition and engagement. We also work in an explicitly networked way across all of our projects with external communities and organisations and our exceptional team of full and part time teaching staff see themselves as implicated collaborators in the work of our students, providing opportunities through their own networks in practice and the creative industries to develop models of live project locally, regionally and internationally.

Our School increasingly acts as a new kind of architecture centre for the region hosting conference and networking events and generating audiences for our work. Our public programme of lectures and events, ‘Multistory’, has grown significantly to become the most extensive lecture series dedicated to architecture and design in the region with more than 30 speakers annually at Canterbury and a further talks and events at Rochester, Farnham and Central London. We are a Key Partner in a new regional initiative, ‘Kent Design’, that brings public and private sector organisations and stakeholders together to debate and consider the future of the region and the impact this will have on its communities and places.

Our future graduates will face major change-dynamics – from resource scarcity and climate change to increasingly turbulent work patterns and demographic shifts. We are committed to providing courses that provide both the hard skills (designing, making and representing) and the soft skills (advocacy, activism and entrepreneurship) needed to be effective and successful agents of spatial, social and ecological change.