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ARC1001 : Architectural Design 1.1

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Simon Hacker
  • Lecturer: Ms Kati Blom
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 30
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 30.0


Architectural Design 1.1 aims to introduce essential architectural skills, informed by an appropriate level of cultural and technical understanding (C1) , together with theories and histories of architecture (C2).

In particular, the module aims to introduce the methodological base and the methods of investigation and preparation(C1, C7): the iterative cycle of the design process – research, analysis, synthesis and evaluation enabling appropriate design decisions; and basic techniques of evaluation and communication using a range of skills – oral/ graphic/written/numerical, both manual and computer-aided. In this its special emphasis is to refine the visual (fine arts) skills gained earlier by a student to be used in architectural studies (C3).

Architectural Design 1 also aims to enable students to identify the impact architecture has on users by introducing to them ergonomics (C5), environmental aesthetics and architectural or urban design theories (C2, C5 , C4, C6), which inform students in design process. The architectural tradition is introduced by intensive precedent studies.

The course fosters the framing of a personal ethical basis for design decisions, with an emphasis on client/user needs and concern for the natural/built environment (C5, C6). The base for making decisions about structures is introduced along the increasing level of complexity in briefs (C8).

Outline Of Syllabus

The module begins with projects and interventions that reveal the nature of architectural design as multivalent and complex. This overview sketches in a conceptual framework in order to explain the relevance of further teaching (C1, C3, C7). A series of projects then focus on: intervention within specific contexts – natural and manmade; the implications of detailed decisions about context, materials and construction; 3D manipulation of interior space and light to meet specific functional requirements; and a project demanding an appropriate design response to a site and to a set of specific activities as well as a considered response to a setting of strong visual, climatic and cultural and social character (C4, C5). The relevance of methods related to the fine arts is introduced especially via the conceptual translation techniques orr means to record response to environment (C3).

A series of related analytical and design projects gradually develop basic architectural thinking, skill and knowledge. Each project is carefully focused to introduce new ways of thinking; a new skill, or limited range of skills; and to encompass a particular type of knowledge. The learning experience is cumulative – each project enables the next and the level of complexity builds towards application in a final, consolidating project.

Projects in this module form an introduction to the scope and definition of the subject. Initially, skills in graphic composition and analysis are introduced as a means of analysing and synthesising architectural order by using precedents in group work (C7.1). Projects of smaller or larger scale are designed to introduce the skills of manipulating circulation, outdoor and indoor space relationships and the quality of interior space. The ability to make informed choices about scale and material of basic structural elements is linked with basic functional and ergonomic factors and to architectural theories and history (C1.2, C1.3, C2.3, C3, C5.1, C5.3, C6.1, C7.2, C8.1, C8.2). The sites span from green landscape to larger homogeneous (coherent) environments allowing implementing the theories of urban design or cityscape introduced in other modules. C4.1, C5.1, C5.3, C6.1, C6.3. The awareness of the impact of the chosen design method is discussed in peer assessments and self-assessment tasks (C1,C2, C3)..
The projects and workshops particularly explore design as a dialogue between qualities and quantities of different orders. Theories and approaches differ according to the specific learning outcome of each project.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials960:2032:0020-minute videos.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion88:0064:00Presentation outputs directly in relation to the design project assessments.
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities484:00192:00design project development and tasks as described in the design project briefs, including sketchbook
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities960:2032:0020-minute research, reading and skills-based activity themed to support weekly lecture topics.
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity162:0032:00Individual completion of weekly reflective journal.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity161:0016:00Small group working, including discussions, peer review and formulation of group questions and discu
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery162:0032:00Drop-in’ online weekly office-hours allowing one-to-one Q&A’s
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1104:00104:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time164:0064:00Weekly small group/individual studio tutorials/reviews in support of the on-going design studio proj
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk162:0032:00Weekly signposting talks + general Q&A’s (recorded and fed-back via Canvas discussion-board etc).
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARC1014Architectural Technology 1.2: Principles of Constructing Architecture
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Design learning is focussed around a carefully orchestrated series of design projects that build in complexity and scale throughout the year.

Each design project is undertaken in response to a design ‘brief’ and the supporting teaching (studio tutorials) takes place on weekly studio days and encourages a process-driven and iterative approach to design that often leads to a variety of presentational outputs. Students are encouraged to learn ‘alongside’ and in discussion with their peers and, to-this end, whilst some individual teaching and assessment takes place, the majority is undertaken in small groups, in order to help build a studio culture.

Throughout each design project there is often a focus on analysing and responding to one or more of the following:
•       Site – in order to promote contextual-driven awareness (including climate, materials, proximal buildings and features)
•       Brief/Schedule of Accommodation – in order to promote programmatic awareness (including entry points, routes, activities, and zonings)
•       Precedents – in order to promote research-based working and the development of architectural language ideas

A wide variety of teaching and learning methods are employed, in order that theoretical teaching and practical application best complement one another at appropriate stages throughout each project. These include:
•       Design project ‘briefs’ (often used to define the design problems and needs)
•       Research, surveying and analytical skills (often employed to help understand these needs more fully)
•       Design theory and practice (including case-study) lectures, videos and workshops/discussions (often provide techniques and methodologies that can be used in the problem-solving process)
•       Verbal, written and visual communication skills and techniques (used to explain the problem, process and solution to others)
•       Reflective learning – through the production of a weekly reflective blog/vlog/journal (used to help identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to personal learning development)

Teaching delivery is distributed reasonably evenly between Scheduled Learning and Teaching, Structured Guided Learning and Guided Independent Study (please see note on Synchronous v Non-synchronous Hours, below). The former provides regular weekly contact to facilitate the process-driven nature of design as well as some semester-long ‘structure’, with the weekly Signposting Talks/Q&A Sessions playing a key role in helping students both navigate the module and contextualise their learning within the wider programme.
‘Present in person’ provision:
This is delivered at the programme level, via academic mentoring on assigned ‘Present in Person days’.

Synchronous v Non-synchronous Hours:
While there is both synchronous and non-synchronous learning and teaching activity for all modules, across the Architecture Programme the structured guided learning is weighted towards Non-Design modules and the scheduled learning and teaching activity hours are weighted towards Architectural Design modules. The latter is a reflection of a) design studio pedagogy, which is centred on a dialogic and responsive approach to students’ own research and creative work and b) student feedback and high student attendance at weekly online Architectural Design Stage Briefings (module talks) during the period of lockdown teaching in Spring 2020.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A100Portfolio Review
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Design Projects are reviewed, and individual performance is discussed as the year progresses. Each project is evaluated against a set of criteria outlined in the Project Brief. The assessment criteria for each project commonly require an understanding of and an ability to apply:
•       a particular body of knowledge (related to the project)
•       a particular range of skills and techniques (introduced in the project)
Following each project review, students receive a set of written comments in relation to the declared criteria, together with a broad indicator of progress. Further oral feedback is given by the project leader at Project Reviews/feedback meetings.

The formal assessment takes place at the end of semester 2 where the year’s design work will be assessed holistically as a portfolio . This allows students to amend and develop work from earlier projects before the final portfolio assessment at the end of semester 2.

STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO HAND IN A ‘COMPLETE’ ACADEMIC PORTFOLIO AT THE END OF THE YEAR (I.E. THE PORTFOLIO MUST INCLUDE WORK FOR ALL STAGE DESIGN PROJECTS). Failure to submit a full portfolio will be considered as a non-submission of the entire module. It is the student’s responsibility to retain any outputs (documents, originals, models, files etc) that they produce in relation to their design projects throughout the academic year, for inclusion in the portfolio.

Reading Lists