ARC8050 : Architectural Design Research 1 (Semester 1)


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

Semester 1 Credit Value: 40
ECTS Credits: 20.0
European Credit Transfer System


In relation to the general programme aims, the specific ones aims of the module are to develop:

•       an ability to develop design research related to the generation of complex design proposals showing understanding of current architectural and urban design issues, originality in the application of subject knowledge and, where appropriate, to test new hypotheses and speculations;

•       an ability to evaluate and apply a comprehensive range of visual, oral and written media to test, analyse, critically appraise and explain design proposals;

•       problem-solving skills, professional judgment, and ability to take the initiative and make ethical and informed decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances; and

•       an ability to identify individual learning needs and understand the personal responsibility required to prepare for qualification as an architect.

Outline Of Syllabus

Architectural Design Research 1 is the first design module of Stage 5 and the MArch programme. The module offers a range of challenges that aim to expand on the core skills acquired during Part 1 of the professional qualification in Architecture with a specific emphasis on developing a critical understanding of urban environments and the generation of mapping strategies of specific contexts. It sets the research basis for the work that will be carried out during Architectural Design Practice 1 in the second semester of Stage 5. It also prepares students for the independent research and design that the final year thesis projects will require.

The module is a semester-long design studio based on the dynamics of vertical studios between Stages 5 and 6,each with a particular emphasis on the urban environment. Although the theme and content of the projects changes regularly, Semester 1 starts out at the urban scale, focusing on issues of master planning, mapping strategies and urban design, and response to context. It aims to build upon the foundations of Part 1 by developing a critical awareness of a range of contemporary urban and architectural issues and by encouraging students to research, develop, test, and articulate their own particular architectural standpoint. Projects also seek to develop critical reading and debate skills, graphic skills and encourage an imaginative approach to research, design and representation. Projects can involve both group and individual work and will engage students in a creative dialogue with staff and their peers.

Students are expected to develop a spatial proposal for their study context that is informed by individual and collaborative research and demonstrates understanding of the complex relationships: social, economic, cultural and environmental in their study context.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00Lectures to support studio design activities.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical118:0088:00Tutorial, Review and Crit participation (present-in-person)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching44:0016:00Group Collaboration - studio-based project to plan delivery of technology/material focused workshops
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1268:00268:00Independent study inc. making of a report in portfolio format and preparation for final assessment.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk18:008:00Course introduction and studio presentations during induction week
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

- Individual design projects allow students to demonstrate their intellectual and practical skills in the synthesis and critical appraisal of relevant information through group or individual work over the duration of the assignment.

- Group projects allow students to demonstrate their understanding and application theoretical concepts and the practice of key skills. Group presentations at reviews will be used to assess key skills (teamwork, visual and oral presentation) as well as students’ understanding of the main themes of the module.

- Key skills in written and visual communication (the ability to read critically, analyse and interpret precedents and existing conditions, and convey observations, conclusions, and proposals in various formats) will be assessed through these projects.

- Lectures provide supporting information for design studio activities.

Tutorials and interim reviews are intended to be delivered on campus. They will afford the development of all the skills and outcomes described above both in a one-to-one setting and in groups. These different formats of contact will allow students the opportunity to test out and develop their ideas in preparation for their final assessment of a report in portfolio format.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1A100Report in portfolio format (online only)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

•The project will be presented for final review before the Winter break and later submitted in early January as a report in portfolio format [online only]. Assessment will take into consideration both occasions, moderated across studios.

•Projects must be presented for assessment at the appointed time. Non-submissions must be accompanied by a written explanation to the Module Leader.

•Students present their projects at various points in the semester to receive interim feedback. These presentations provide students an opportunity to articulate their design approach and how it meets the assessment criteria for the module. Students will receive summative feedback after the final review which may be acted upon before the final grading in the report review.

•Each project is evaluated against a clearly described set of criteria outlined in the project descriptions. The assessment criteria for each project commonly require an understanding of an ability to apply:

-       a particular body of knowledge (related to the project)
-       a particular range of skills and techniques (introduced in the project)

•Students choose from one of several studios at the beginning of the module. These studios change every year and each studio has a different emphasis and approach to deliver the above Learning Outcomes. This will be reflected in the weightings attached to the assessment criteria, as well as one criterion developed for the studio itself. These criteria, which are agreed with the module coordinator at the beginning of the year, are shown at the outset to help the student choose studio and will be used throughout the module as the basis of the interim and final review feedback sheets.

Reading Lists