Skip to main content


ARC8083 : Architectural Design Practice 2

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Christos Kakalis
  • Other Staff: Dr Claire Harper, Professor Graham Farmer, Professor Prue Chiles, Mr John Kinsley, Dr Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes, Dr Nathaniel Coleman, Miss Anna Czigler, Mr Ivan Marquez Munoz
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 40
ECTS Credits: 20.0


The aims of the module are to develop:

• an ability to generate complex design proposals showing understanding of current architectural
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 appropriate 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 Practice 2 is the second module that constitutes the Design Thesis, a comprehensive research-led architectural proposition. The module builds on Design Research 2 and is an opportunity for students to develop their design skills to an advanced level by addressing the resolution of a complex architectural project.

The Design Thesis addresses both the development of core skills expected of an architecture student at this
stage in their learning (presentation and communication, critical and creative thinking, brief and design
development, contextual analysis), as well as providing the opportunity for them to explore and research in
greater depth those particular aspects of architecture which are of special interest to them.

Continuing from the Architectural Design Research 2 module, students will independently define and declare an
architectural design thesis project by way of a Line of Enquiry, Thematic Framework, Functional Programme,
Theoretical & Physical Context, Technological Interest and set of Precedent Studies. They are then required to
fully design and detail a convincing and rigorous architectural design proposition to a high level of resolution. This resolved architectural project will be presented and communicated through appropriate media,
including films, drawings, models, experiments, and written work, and presented as a coherent portfolio of work.

Further enhancing the importance of integrated design technology, Architectural Design Practice 2 includes a technological component, in which stage 6 students will collaborate with stage 5 students at a series of studio-specific workshops and attend the relevant lectures series aiming to support them in their research investigation of technical ambitions integrated in their thesis projects.

The project also develops professional skills in conjunction with ARC8084 Architectural Practice, and asks students to position their developing practice and specialist interests in the context of the wider profession.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical28:0016:00Technical/Material workshops to develop studio enquiry & aid personal technical study & integration
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical42:008:00Dedicated consultancy workshops to support students developing detailed building design strategies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical118:0088:00Tutorial, Review, Process-Related Lectures and Crits (present in person except sync-online lectures)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1264:00264:00Independent study including preparation for final assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk82:0016:00Guest lectures (Technology) with associated live Q&A session (online – synchronous)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk18:008:00Course introduction (online - synchronous)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is taught through a series of weekly design studios, supporting seminars and/or lectures, individual and group tutorials, and regular design reviews which are held throughout the year with internal staff and external critics to monitor the development of the Outline Design, Technical/Engineering studies, Detailed and Final Proposals. Individual and/or group Technology/Engineering tutorials are arranged with specialist practitioners at appropriate design stages. Technical/ materially focused workshops are organised to further develop studio inquiry and aid students personal technical study and integration with design project.

•       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. Group work is suggested but not obligatory, depending on the brief given to the students. Joint thesis projects are also given as an opportunity to further develop team work skills.
•       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.

The module talk is intended to be delivered online (synchronous). This will also be the default delivery method for large-group support lectures.

Tutorials, interim reviews and small-group supportive seminars are intended to be delivered in person 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.

As a back-up plan, online and hybrid teaching possibilities have already been successfully tested and are ready to be set in action if needed.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj2A8030min presentation of Design Thesis to panel of examiners inc. tutors & other staff. Take place in exhibition environment in person.
Report2A20Technical Specialism Narrative Report. Present how technical workshops have informed research investigation - online submission
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The whole year’s work is required to be presented in the Design Exam, an exhibition for review by examiners at the end of Semester 2. The exam should take place in an exhibition environment in spaces within the Architecture Building. If the public health situation does not make possible physical exams in exhibition spaces, an online equivalent will take place assessing the same learning outcomes. This will require the submission of design work as a summative document via Canvas, and exams to take place by video meeting software such as Zoom or Teams. A rigorous process of moderation is applied subsequent to exams requiring all examiners to reach consensus prior to returning marks to the exam board.

The design learning outcomes account for 80% of the overall project mark. The technology learning outcomes account for the other 20%. Both design and technology components have to be passed (i.e. each component of the submission must be passed) in order to pass the module. The specific expectations for each component are described in the project brief.

The Professional Specialism Report is a document that will present how technology workshops have informed the students’ research investigation of technical ambitions, in relation to their studios’ briefs as well as gradual development of their thesis.

• 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 Design Exam.

• 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)

Reading Lists