Students design and build a Sheppard’s Hut under supervision from project manager Duncan Passmore as part of a joint project between the University's School of Architecture and Dartington Hall Trust.
“We take initial concepts and proposals right through to the end build. You see the whole process.”
You will have the opportunity to engage with industry professionals, clients and partner organisations on the development and resolution of live projects throughout the course.
Our students have engaged in the following ‘live’ projects – following the RIBA Plan of Works (from Consultation, Design to Construction, Handover and In Use). 

Big Tent

The Dartington Hall Trust wrote the competition brief for a temporary 7m × 5m timber shelter campsite and a meeting space. 14 groups comprised of second and third year BA (Hons) Architecture and BA (Hons) Architecture Technology and the Environment students worked over a period of 5 days to respond to the competition brief for a demountable structure. The winning scheme was highly praised both by Dartington Hall and the wider community. The students underwent the process of completing the costing, measurement, planning permission and construction manual. The construction stage included Year 2 students staying in accommodation on site all week to construct the project and Year 3 students made ‘site visits’ in smaller groups each day acting as project managers.
“I think this real-life experience is something that not many universities offer.”


Our students were asked to design an eco-pod which would become part of new camping facilities on the Dartington estate, a 1,200-acre country estate on the outskirts of Totnes in South Devon and an internationally renowned centre for progressive education, ecology, the arts and architecture.
The only stipulations were that their design should embody the values and principles of the estate’s emerging vision and strategy; be an exemplar in sustainable construction and positively contribute to its surroundings. The pod was constructed using local and sustainable materials including larch, Douglas fir and sheep’s wool, while craft tutors on the Trust’s wide-ranging craft education programme helped create a bespoke interior that will provide guests with a unique experience as part of the Trust’s new camping initiative.
“These collaborative skills are so important in the real world because you rarely get to choose who you work on projects with.”

Outdoor classroom and firepit

Outdoor classroom at Riverside Primary School
The outdoor classroom with the brick fire pit as its central point was designed and built by our Year 1 BA (Hons) Architecture students was one of the 11 shortlisted projects for the 2020 RIBA MacEwan Award. The context of the outdoor learning environment was developed in collaboration with students from BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and BA (Hons) Education at the University of Plymouth.
The sophisticated design – which enabled the students to engage in various stages, from briefing, design to post-completion evaluation – is an ecologically strong and socioeconomically robust structure. The outdoor classroom follows the established ‘live projects’ structure where students form teams that model and propose a design concept design to the client. The winning design, chosen by the client, is then built by students. The outdoor learning space was constructed out of 130 recycled timber pellets.
“It was amazing to know that something that we had designed and built impacted their school life."