Taught course

Architectural Design for the Conservation of Built Heritage

University of Strathclyde · Department of Architecture

Entry requirements

First or second-class Honours degree in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2 equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

Why this course?

Architectural conservation - the action of conserving built heritage while maintaining its values - is practiced differently across the world; sometimes not at all due to cultural and economic constraints.

It is an emerging area of work which requires specialist training and knowledge to deal with its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature. It also requires the development of a critical approach for the analysis and design of the intervention, informed by the shared international principles and the specific nature and context of the historic building to be conserved.

We need to attract new talent to the field of architectural conservation. To work with historic buildings is an enriching experience, which combines the creative aspects of designing a new building with the in-depth research required to understand in full the building and its context. Working with historic buildings is also a great training to improve the design of new buildings, as you learn a great deal about the importance of design ideas, innovation, durability and care. It is also a very sociable work, interacting with a variety of people from all backgrounds, joining forces in helping current generations to enjoy historic buildings, to create community identities around them, and to transmit the buildings and their values to the future.

Glasgow and its surrounding area provide an excellent location for the course, with architectural heritage from all periods, from Roman to Medieval, Georgian, Victorian and contemporary, without forgetting the better known C. R. Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s buildings. Strathclyde has a lively international community of staff and students and we enjoy a privileged position in the centre of Glasgow.

You’ll study

The course is a platform for:

  • collaboration with both practice and research partners
  • architectural critique
  • discussion and debate

All full-time students take instructional classes and a design project in the first two semesters. MSc students then complete a dissertation project.

Compulsory taught classes are delivered intensively, making them more accessible to part-time students and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Areas explored in classes include:

  • theory
  • history
  • survey
  • investigations
  • legislation
  • materials
  • structures

The course is informed by the outcomes of the research being carried out at the Architectural Design and Conservation Research Unit (ADCRU). It is a platform for collaboration with both practice and research partners; architectural critique, discussion and debate are fundamental parts of the course.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
18 months
full time
9 months


full time
5 months
part time
9 months

Course contact details

Ellen Thomson