Skip to main content


APL2006 : Living Communally

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Claire Harper
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aims of the module are to:

1.       Design a multi-dwelling, collective housing scheme and demonstrate an appropriate response to the physical, social, cultural, environmental and experiential opportunities afforded by the site (ARB GC1).
2.       Synthesise the demands of designing for multiple users and integrating new development in an existing community and neighbourhood, as well as, demonstrate research abilities in developing briefs for architectural projects, taking into consideration the views of experts, stakeholders and users (ARB GC5, GC6, GC7).
3.       Demonstrate how the design is informed by different scales, from the neighbourhood, to the street or urban block, down to the scale of the individual dwelling, evidencing an adequate knowledge of landscape architecture, urban design, planning and the skills involved in the planning process (ARB GC4).
4.       Identify suitable sources and demonstrate how research has informed the design proposal, in particular the application of theoretical concepts as well as the influence of arts in architectural design (ARB GC2, GC3).
5.       Communicate a design proposal of medium scale and complexity using a combination of architectural drawing conventions, model-making and creative, experimental techniques.
6.       Develop a basic understanding of the construction of a medium-scale, residential building and how decisions about material, structure and environment affect the layout, scale, composition and atmosphere of the proposal (ARB GC1, GC8, GC9, GES).

Outline Of Syllabus

This module presents a critical introduction to some of the social, economic, environmental, technological, historical and ideological factors that have influenced housing architecture through the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Drawing on this understanding, students will have an opportunity to creatively explore a future housing model for a new residential community in Newcastle.

The module will encourage thinking about the diverse needs of households and how these can be synthesised and mediated through good design. It will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the planning processes and practices introduced in other modules and how these might affect a new housing project.

The project builds upon the site reading and contextual understanding developed in semester one module APL2015 and analytical skills developed in ARC1007.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture30:402:00All sessions to be recorded, PiP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:004:00Introduction, housekeeping and feedback, PiP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion100:305:00Preparing work for presentation in reviews and tutorials
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00To be available as short 20minute segments
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading94:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching26:0012:00Design reviews
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching82:0016:00Group tutorials in studio, PiP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00Visit to site for design project
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity22:004:00In studio (with scope to be developed remotely if necessary)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1112:00112:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module is design-studio based. Students will be supported to develop good studio practice, either on-campus or remotely, documenting their design process weekly, collating and reflecting on research and critically evaluating their design proposals against the aims of the project. Studio work will be supported by weekly group tutorials.

Students will be introduced to the critical and thematic framework surrounding housing design through a series of design lectures. These will be a-synchronous, and made available to students in advance of the weekly tutorials.

Short lectures will introduce important considerations underpinning the project brief, including housing typologies, consideration of scale, sociability, construction and economies of housing, as well as basic construction, structural and environmental principles (ARB GC4, GC8, GC9; RTPI LO.1,3,4,7). They will be supplemented by key case studies and examples, for further discussion during tutorials (ARB GC7; RTPI LO2, SO7). Students will also be asked to revisit content from previous modules to ‘frame’ the planning context to their project.

Students’ independent study will follow a structured programme of tasks that guide the student through the iterative process of designing for the individual and synthesising this with the needs of the community and opportunities afforded by the site (ARB GC1, GC5, GC6; RTPI LO4, 6).

The phases of the project will be set up to align with content covered in the lectures and seminars so that students have an opportunity to test ideas from the lectures and synthesise these into their own design proposals. Site understanding will be supported by a guided site visit and discussion with tutors (ARB GC1; RTPI LO6,7).

The project builds on the understanding and skills in architectural design and representation that have been developed in earlier modules, specifically APL2015 and ARC1007, with the addition of a more complex programme and the need to consider multiple users as well as the relationship with the wider neighbourhood (ARB GC5, GC6; RTPI LO4, SO2,4).

Students will also be encouraged to take advantage of other relevant sources, such as topical articles, films and television programmes, important local buildings and lecture series. Doing so will broaden their exposure to a broad spectrum of architectural and urban design practice and introduce them to a form of continuing professional development (ARB GC2, GC3, GC6; RTPI LO2, SO5). These activities will form the basis of student-led discussion groups, either in-person or on-line (according to students’ preferences).

The regular programme of tutorials and design reviews will enable students to develop fluency in digital presentation techniques and gain confidence in presenting their ideas through a range of different media (ARB GC1, GC3; RTPI SO2,5,7).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj2A80Design proposal for collective housing scheme communicated through design portfolio
Report2A20Illustrated project report expanding the planning context and understanding of housing development
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The portfolio is an opportunity for students to narrate the iterative process through which they have developed their design proposal. The assessment criteria are based on the learning outcomes and assessment criteria outlined in the project brief, demonstrating engagement with context (ARB GC1, GC4, GC5), brief writing (ARB GC7) reflective practice, testing of ideas through different spatial and visual techniques, and development of key skills in architectural design (ARB GC1, GC3, GC8, GC9).

The report supplements this process, providing an opportunity for students to extend a narrative of how their proposed project is delivered, owned and inhabited. It provides an opportunity to reflect creatively on ideas presented in other modules and to demonstrate an understanding of the contingencies that affect housing design and development (ARB GC2, GC6).

The weighting of components reflects the number of skills outcomes and learning outcomes that the portfolio and report each address, with a higher weighting on the creative, practice-based skills being demonstrated in the portfolio.

Reading Lists