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ARC1015 : Introduction to Architecture

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Katie Lloyd Thomas
  • Lecturer: Professor Prue Chiles, Professor Zeynep Kezer
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To enable students to:

Develop an awareness of the history, principles and theories of architecture, and their contribution to present and past environments.

Recognise how architecture and its composition, representation, making and materiality has been shaped by technological, social, political, economic, geographic and cultural forces, and by the principles and theories of architecture - present and past.

Understand historic works of architecture and developments in the history of ideas, science and art as part of the continuum of architectural culture within which contemporary architects operate, and to begin incorporating these into design projects.

To appreciate different modes of architectural writing and to critically communicate understanding of architectural history, principles and theory in written and graphic form, using appropriate media and academic research and referencing methods.

Outline Of Syllabus

This introductory level course provides students in architecture with an overview of the histories, principles and theories of architecture from classical times to the present day. It uses both canonical international works and regional examples, and encourages students to refer to examples local to home, in order to introduce key topics such as; the needs and aspirations of building users, vernacular and formal architectures; experiential factors of architecture; architectural space; tectonics and materiality. It introduces the epochs in which these buildings emerge and related developments in the history of politics, ideas, art and science, to establish a framework for the continuing knowledge, study and appreciation of built form and the factors that produce it.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture91:009:00Semester 1 only , in same session as module talk
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials240:208:00Semesters 1 and 2
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion341:0034:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion801:0080:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities140:204:40Tasks punctuating module talks (In person or synchronous online)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading121:0012:00Semesters 1 and 2
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00In week 6 to prepare submission, in Sem 2 for critical reading and writing skills. groups approx. 1
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities33:009:00Semester 2 seminar preparation
Guided Independent StudySkills practice91:009:00various library and research skills, writing, analysis etc.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity91:009:00Both semesters start with group work which moves into individual study
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study121:0012:00reading, viewing to support module
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk140:409:20Split into 2 x 20 mins sessions weekly introducing theme, activities and Q& A.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

In semester 1 a mixture of scheduled and structured activities, including recorded mini lectures, reading and skills based tasks to be carried out individually and in small student groups around a theme (eg. ‘at home’, ‘architecture and power’, ‘production and exchange’) enable students to build their knowledge of architecture and develop the skills to locate and evaluate information independently. Themes can be responsive to staff specialisms and changing teaching situations and timetables. Structured activities are supported by directed and independent reading, and skills practice between module activity days, and towards the end of the semester by assessment preparation. Weekly 2 hr synchronous sessions comprise a mix of module talk, lecture and academic skills activities that can either be conducted in person and recorded in session, or if necessary transferred to a mix of online synchronous and pre-recorded talks.

In semester 2 a 4 week teaching block is more focussed on reading, researching and writing skills, preparing students for their essay submission after Easter. Module meetings and pre-recorded mini lectures, as well as structured individual and group activities support 3 seminars in which students discuss readings and review carefully staged tasks towards their essay writing. Weekly 1 hr synchronous sessions comprise a mix of module talk and academic skills activities that can either be conducted in person and recorded in session, or if necessary transferred to a mix of online synchronous and pre-recorded talks.

Synchronous v Non-synchronous Hours: While there is both synchronous and non-synchronous learning and teaching activity for all modules, across the 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. Architectural pedagogy is reliant on a high proportion of independent learning to support the design process. The MOF hours are consistent with this approach.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster1M30Annotated and illustrated historical guided walk poster submitted in week 8. Week 9 used for peer review.
Essay2M702000 word illustrated essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The poster – or pamphlet explaining a historical walk - is produced individually and assesses student’s ability to access, and interpret information about buildings in context, to construct a narrative about relationships that demonstrates understanding of their history and significance, and to communicate their analysis and ideas using graphic techniques. Elements of the walk are selected and researched on a weekly basis in response to themes discussed in teaching sessions, and brought together in the final submission in week 8.

The essay (semester 2) appraises their understanding of themes introduced during the module and their capacity to consider buildings in terms of their historical and social context, and assesses their ability to produce a clearly written and illustrated essay using academic research and referencing methods.

Reading Lists