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ARC1007 : Architectural Design 1.1

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Daniel Mallo
  • Lecturer: Mr David McKenna, Mrs Armelle Tardiveau, Dr Loes Veldpaus, Mr James Longfield, Mr Kieran Connolly
  • Other Staff: Miss Anna Cumberland
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0


Architectural Design 1 aims to introduce essential architectural design skills, informed by an appropriate level of cultural and technical understanding (ARB GC1), theories and histories of architecture (ARB GC2). In particular, the module aims to introduce the methodological base and the methods of investigation and preparation of briefs (ARB GC1, GC7): the iterative 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, mainly manual but also basic digital. In this its special emphasis is to refine the visual (fine arts) skills gained earlier by a student to be used in architectural representation (ARB GC3).

Architectural Design 1 also aims to enable students to identify the impact architecture has on users by introducing to them brief development (ARB GC7), environmental aesthetics and architectural or urban design theories (ARB GC2, GC5, GC4, GC6), which inform students in design process and proposition. 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 (ARB GC5, GC6). The base for making decisions about structures is introduced along the increasing level of complexity in briefs (ARB GC8).

Outline Of Syllabus

The module includes a series of design projects that reveal the nature of architectural design as iterative, accumulative, multivalent and complex process. This overview sketches a conceptual framework in order to explain the relevance of design teaching (ARB GC1). A series of projects focus on: orthographic drawing, model making, interventions within specific contexts – urban and natural; the implications of detailed decisions about context, materials and construction (ARB GC8); 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 (ARB GC4, GC5). The relevance of methods related to the fine arts is introduced especially via the conceptual translation techniques or means to record a response to the environment (ARB GC3).

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 architectural design precedents in group work (ARB GC7.1). Projects of smaller or larger scale are designed to introduce the spatial relationships. The ability to make informed choices about scale, material and basic structural and environmental elements is linked with basic functional and ergonomic factors and to architectural theories and history (ARB GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9). The sites span from green landscape to larger homogeneous (coherent) urban environments allowing the implementation of the theories of urban design or cityscape introduced in other modules (ARB GC5, GC6). The awareness of the impact of the chosen design method is discussed in peer assessments and self- assessment tasks (ARB GC1, GC2, GC3). 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

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00Design lectures supporting the project briefs Mix of PIP and synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching223:0066:00Design tutorials and Crit/review (Presenting work and attending other student's reviews) PIP
Guided Independent StudyProject work1262:00262:00Independent study inc. design project development, making portfolio, submission for final assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops104:0040:00Skills building workshop (hand & orthographic drawing, model making, photography, digital rep) PIP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork34:0012:00Site visits / City walks PIP
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. 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.

Should the public health situation not allow for present in person teaching, the lectures will be delivered in an online synchronous mode with weekly live module talks and drop-ins. Group tutorials and project reviews will move to synchronous online delivery with the support of online design platform Miro. Fieldwork will follow public health restrictions.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A60Portfolio Review
Portfolio1A40Portfolio Review
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Design projects are reviewed weekly and provisionally marked at the end of each project. Individual performance is discussed as the year progresses. Each project is evaluated against a set of criteria outlined in the project descriptions and marking descriptors for each project. 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).

The assessment criteria for each project are based on the learning outcomes and assessment criteria outlined in respective project briefs. The criteria will integrate the following aspects:

•       Evidence of response and engagement with site / surrounding urban or landscape context including appreciation of physical, tangible, material, tectonic aspects as well as social, cultural and experiential considerations (ARB GC1, GC5, GC6)

•       Understanding of scale demonstrated through a range of media including drawings and models (ARB GC1, GC3).

•       Design / Spatial Imagination: evidencing coherent spatial narrative conveyed through iteration and resolved drawings and/or models and informed by an appropriate level of cultural and technical understanding, theories and histories of architecture and fine arts (ARB GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7)

•       Material and Construction through declaring how material and construction as well as structural and environmental considerations are integrated (ARB GC1, GC8, GC9).

•       Process: evidencing the exploration of how the ideas emerged through sketches / models (ARB GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7).

•       Representation of ideas through orthographic drawings / models using architectural representation as well as through atmospheric and evocative drawings, collages and photographs that convey the quality of space (ARB GC1, GC3).

Following the final review of each project, students receive a set of written comments in relation to the declared criteria, together with a provisional letter grade. Further oral feedback is given by project leaders once the projects are complete to help students understand their feedback within the wider context of their peers performance. The letter grades indicate a broad performance, allowing students to review and amend their design work based on feedback received before the portfolio assessment at the end of each semester. Semester 1 accounts for 40% whilst semester 2 accounts for 60% of the overall mark.

Failure to submit a complete portfolio including all projects for each semester will be considered as non-submission. It is students' responsibility to look after all work: original drawings sketches, and models which must be included alongside amended design work.

The final mark is provisional and subject to approval within the external examination process.

Reading Lists