ARC2024 : About Architecture: Cities, Cultures and Space (Inactive)


Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
Semester 2 Credit Value: 5
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To enable students to:

Develop an awareness of theories and ideas from a range of disciplines relating to architecture,
cities, space, ecologies and the production of the built environment.

Recognise how factors surrounding the practice of architecture, such as planning, regulation,
economy, diverse cultures, ways of living and thinking about the world, influence both the production
of the built environment and the values it forms and perpetuates.

Appreciate the complex interplay between architects’ designs, techniques and practices and their
theoretical approaches, principles and political aspirations (such as ecology, participation, diversity,
critique) in architectural cultures since the late 19th century to the present day.

Inform and strengthen the theoretical basis on which students develop design approaches and take
Decisions in an ethical, responsible and adaptive manner.

Outline Of Syllabus

This course examines the major currents in architectural and urban thinking, and the social, political,
economic, environmental, technological and ideological factors that have shaped, and continue to
shape, the production and design of buildings and cities since the emergence of modernity.

Organised in three thematics; cities, cultures and space, the first part of the course introduces
students to key concepts and theories for thinking about architecture, space and the built
environment and to the importance of disciplinary perspectives from beyond architecture such as
planning, urban design, social sciences, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, history and the

The second part of the course draws on staff specialisms, to enables students to select
one of these areas to pursue in more detail in their own dissertation research. The course continues
to develop students’ awareness of recent architecture and building from different parts of the world,
and builds a foundation for their engagement with the diverse disciplinary approaches to architecture,
to inform their own design work and any future research in the subject.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion156:0056:00S1 Ongoing essay development towards semester 1 submission
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Oral presentation preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:3025:00S1 In person lectures and guest slots
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities101:0010:00S2 3x 20min pre-recorded videos to accompany in person lecture content per session
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading116:0016:00S2 Reading and preparation for seminars
Guided Independent StudySkills practice34:0012:00S1 2 hour per week reflective writing on related article
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities124:0024:00S1 hours per week related article reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00S1 1 hour long seminar per student per block (cites/spaces/cultures)
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities81:3012:00S1 Independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching72:0014:00S2 Elective Seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion40:302:00S1 Non-synchronous online discussion forum for module Q&A with ML/lecturers
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00S1 Essay-writing ‘drop-in’ session with staff
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity31:003:00S1 In person reading group
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Teaching in semester one is by means of weekly blocks 2.5 hour lecture sessions. These will be in-person, with 1 hour dedicated to subject introduction and close reading of texts led by lecturer. 1 hour will be a continuation of last years ‘zoom-interviews’ - which will take place either with an interviewed guest in conversation in person, or via zoom to the lecture theatre. This enables us to invite guests from across the world, as has happened in 2020/21, but with a live ‘in-person’ audience. This structured interview in the lecture theatre will be followed by a half hour Q+A with invited guest.

These in-person event will be supported by one hour per week of pre-recorded content that takes students on a virtual tour of a city, exploring thematic content in relation to real world examples. These will be in twenty minute sections and relate to the content of the in-person lecture and interview.

Seminars will be delivered in-person where allowed, with 1 hour per block, allowing students to explore a key thematic text with an academic colleague.

Online discussion groups will remain, with canvas used to file and respond to lecture questions and module information as the semester progresses.

In the event of further public health measures, all of this content and student engagement can move online as in academic year 2020/21.

In semester two students follow a themed seminar series chosen from a selection on offer, that supports their emerging dissertation interests. These are research-led weekly seminars from APL staff from the range of disciplines in architecture, from humanities and social sciences to creative practice and technology. Students are expected to augment this knowledge by reading and exploring other sources of information. These are expected to move back to in-person delivery, with the use of remote learning technology where appropriate.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M503,000-word illustrated essay.
Oral Examination2M50Oral presentation (using audio/visual media).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay assesses students’ overview and knowledge of the syllabus and their ability to consider the built environment in relation to some of the theories and ideas they have been introduced to, and to access and synthesise materials and evidence to support their arguments.

In recognition of the nature of the essay as an 'in-process' development tool for thinking, and not an end in itself, the assessment considers the process of developing ideas on the page: partial and positional work, open-ended propositional writing, citational practices, and the exploration of textual space and writerly modes.

Oral Presentation

The elective oral asks students to consider issues of cities, explore the theories and ideas they have been introduced to, and evidence their own related research interest through and oral presentation. This oral presentation should include, present and discuss supporting materials (which may include audio, moving image and/or stills images) demonstrating exploration of these theories, ideas, and experimentation in the processes and practices of planning and presentation of a synthesised verbal argument.

Reading Lists