Free Unit

Unit brief

In order to be effective, architects must connect what they design with how they feel about the world. They must mobilise their identity and personal resources in the service of what they believe, not what they are told to believe by the mediated world of high architectural culture and education.

As a diploma/MA student, you have an obligation to explore the limits of your personal design identity and develop certainties that are capable of sustaining you in practice. This is a unique privilege. The Free Unit will help you do this by offering an alternative to the traditional unit programme – giving you the opportunity to propose, develop and realise independent projects – or to become involved in your own live projects (supported by the professional infrastructure of the projects office).

The emphasis is on your personal position. So each student develops a detailed "contract" with themselves and the Free Unit, detailing how, when what and where. Then we help you to identify external tutors and give you support to develop a personal tutorial team, what the studio calls your "friends". These ten friends are involved in directing, judging and in some cases finally assessing your work. Otherwise your projects are closely tutored and supported by the unit staff in the same way as a conventional unit.

In recent years, students have carried out projects which emphasise their personal histories, often returning to places they have known or wish to work in the future. The results have been moving and deeply felt; and for many have become the basis of their future practice.

Students also use the unit to refine and launch their own practices. At its best, the Free Unit marks the first stage of your future practice rather than the final stage of your education. 

Unit numbers are limited, and access is by interview on the day after the Unit presentations. The Unit is open to 4th and 5th year Professional Diploma students and MA Architecture students.

Free World Map


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture
Tutor Professor Peter Carl
Catrina Beevor
Where Central House, 4th Floor Studios
When Monday and Thursday

Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA part II)