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ARC2009 : ARC2009: Architectural Technology 2.1: Construction in Detail

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Simon Hacker
  • Lecturer: Dr Ben Bridgens
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
Semester 2 Credit Value: 5
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1.       The key aim is to demonstrate to students that ‘design’ and ‘technology’ are intrinsically linked and complimentary, and that in many respects they are simply two sides of the same coin.
2.       Within the present context of climate emergency, the module seeks to reinforce the impact and relevance that sustainable building technologies, constructional methods, material choices and ‘design’ in the broader sense, all have in regard to both natural and man-made environments.
3.       To introduce the idea of architectural design being about the ‘whole’ (i.e. a building that responds to a particular place and context and addresses a programmatic-based set of requirements) and that, whilst this is a common starting-point for many designers, consideration must also be given (and may sometimes commence with) the ‘parts’ (constructional materials, elements, components, junctions and details).
4.       To introduce a number of common constructional systems, with a focus on the sequence of building construction (the layering of materials within elements and the timing of when things happen) and the importance of constructional junctions and details (how and why things come together, are fixed and joined).
5.       To reinforce previously learned structural principles, to increase the understanding of structural ‘orders’, and to consider the spatial implications of different structural systems.
6.       To introduce relevant construction legislation, codes of practice and issues surrounding design and constructional health and safety.
7.       To highlight building and constructional realisation as being a fundamentally collaborative and group endeavour.

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       At the start of the lecture ‘series’ the Design and Technology module separation within the K100 Programme is explained and, with reference to various examples, students are introduced to various ways in which design and technology over-lap, relate and are integral to one another. In addition, and with reference to various Architects and Engineers, a textual and visual overview of ‘details and detailing’ is undertaken – reinforcing the sense that ‘Construction in Detail’ is essentially design-centred. The very real ‘fear’ and anxiety that many students have regarding construction and technology learning is also addressed, various reasons for this are considered, and strategies are suggested that may help address this. Some of these specifically focus on similarities between design and technology.
2.       In addition to the lecture material, there is a focus is on encouraging students to realise the potential they all have to make a difference, especially in the real-world and specifically with regard to environmental and climate emergency-related issues. Whilst this relates primarily to their on-going learning (and it is hoped that this acts as a motivator for some to engage with the current module more fully) it also contextualises this within broader architectural student skills and attributes, in order to show how well equipped they will become to act as effective advocates (especially for clients and other members of the design team) for future change. Whilst there is a teaching focus is on presenting examples and highlighting issues, students are also invited to consider that their future choices and decisions inevitably mean that they are either part of the environmental ‘problem’, or part of the ‘solution’.
3.       Focussing on articles and key precedents, it is proposed that, to be truly impactful architectural design often needs to simultaneously encompass consideration of both the ‘whole’ and the ‘parts’, and to allow each to inform the other.
4.       Various common constructional systems are considered and compared (including their history and development, material implications, common dimensional issues, reasons for their choice, and current and future applications). The bringing of elements and materials together is examined, not just in a constructional sense (although there is a focus on Movement, Waterproofing, Thermal Performance, and Fire Protection and also to ‘Fabric-First’ thinking), but also with consideration for design ‘language’ and, especially, ‘tectonics’ (the bringing together of materials and forms in a way that heightens and validates a broader architectural concept or idea).
5.       Structural assembly processes and sequences are considered, alongside the spatial implications that structural systems often suggest or dictate.
6.       Some common constructional roles and responsibilities are introduced, & the consequential need for clear and effective communication and coordination (often between many different parties) is considered.
7.       Building Regulation Approved Documents are used to focus consideration on how building users can be kept safe when entering buildings (Part M), when moving around buildings (Part K) and when exiting buildings in an emergency (Part B), and to consider ways in which these can impact on building design, construction and use.
8.       In addition to the core assessed syllabus outlined above, a series of Symposiums take place in Semester 1, each addressing one or more specific current or on-going technology & design related issues, or themes. For example, during the 2021/22 session, the symposiums focussed on a related set of Climate Emergency related themes, during which, students were invited to consider how elements of the core ARC2009 syllabus might be best integrated within their on-going ARC2001 studio design projects.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion44:0016:00S2
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture42:008:00S1 Large Group Seminar/Symposium - follow on and relate to 'lecture' videos - live - recorded
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials360:2012:00S1 Videos - 36 x 20 minute videos
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion95:0045:00S1 The assessment takes the form of a portfolio format, compiled throughout the Semester.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials90:203:00S2 3 weeks of 3 x 20 minutes.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities60:202:00S2 3 weeks of 2 x 20-minute research activity themed to support weekly lecture topics.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00S1 Module Talks - fortnightly signposting talks and general Q&As - fed back via Canvas
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities180:206:00S1 Research activity themed to support lecture topics
Guided Independent StudySkills practice23:006:00S1 Digital modelling skills & construction information gathering exercises, in support of assessment
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion21:002:00S2 3 weeks of a non-synchronous Q&A sessions run over a day on Canvas discussion board.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00S1 workshops - in support of the coursework assessment.
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion41:306:00S1 Lecture/Research Q&A Sessions - (1/week of ‘lecture delivery’), 1 day on Canvas discussion board
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00S2 Present-in-person workshops in support of the coursework assessment.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity21:002:00S2 Workshop preparatory sessions (2/workshop) in support of the coursework assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00S1 Drop-In Sessions - for post-induction, pre-assessment, post-assessment, queries/clarifications
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity61:006:00S1 Workshop Prep - discussions, peer review, formulation of group questions and themes for workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00S2 Drop-In Sessions - post-Induction, pre-assessment and post-assessment queries & clarification
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study116:0016:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study145:0045:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00S2 Fortnightly signposting talks + general Q&A’s present-in-person – recorded & fed-back via Canvas
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
ARC2001Architectural Design 2.1
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The rational for the 2022/23 teaching methods has grown from the experiences of delivery and feedback received during the 20/21 and 21/22 sessions. The timetabling of ARC2009 teaching and learning for 1 day/week (every Thursday) during Semester 1 has proved very popular and the pace and structure afforded by a Canvas-focussed approach, linking to a series of specifically prepared 20-minute lecture videos, supported by weekly sign-posting talks, workshops, and on-going Canvas discussion boards, together with drop-in/surgery sessions, has proved successful. The outcomes from Semester 1 (in particular) show no diminishing of knowledge or application from previous years. Indeed, the lecture videos have been extremely well accessed and the learning material has been far more widely and generally referenced in the coursework assessment material than in the years prior to 20/21.

The proposal for 2022/23 is based around re-deploying the recently prepared video resources, along with some of the associated scaffolding activities (mainly structured research and reading), all delivered non-synchronously. The module ‘sign-posting’ talks are anticipated to take place as live ‘in-person’ sessions and in Semester 1, each of these will link to live ‘in-person’ Symposium sessions (forming a series of 4 in total). Each of the Symposium sessions will address a current Technology and Design related issue and these will each relate to the ongoing non-synchronous lecture videos and supporting research and reading material – each Symposium is likely to include contributions from guest speakers (some of them remote geographically) and to incorporate elements of student group discussion and presentations.

Following feedback from the current and previous cohort, the workshop provision will be increased slightly, although, following very positive feedback from the staff in relation to levels of student preparation and interaction, they are likely to continue to be delivered on-line. Supporting on-line student-led workshop preparatory sessions will also be retained.


Summary of ‘live’ provision:
The module has 33 hours of live contact time. Drop-in/Surgeries, Module Talks, Symposium Sessions and Assessment Workshops will all be scheduled as ‘live’ (present-in-person) sessions.

Summary of Synchronous v Non-synchronous Hours:
There are both synchronous (33 hours in total across the 2 semesters) and non-synchronous (31 hours in total across the 2 semesters) Learning & Teaching Activities. The core lecture material will be delivered non-synchronously (as a series of 45 x 20 minute videos).

Summary of Plan ‘B’ – i.e. Fall-back position in the event of future lock-downs etc:
All the Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities (i.e. ‘live’ or ‘present in person’ activities) – a total of 33 hours across the 2 semesters) can be moved to become scheduled on-line activities, delivered via Teams/Zoom, if the need arises.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M75An illustrated report, focussing on detailed construction and design
Case study2M25An illustrated report, focussing on the relationship between design and technology and the application of the UK Building Regulation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

In the light of the intended knowledge and skills outcomes the 100% coursework assessment allows a strong linkage between technology understanding and the personally developed design work in the studio. The Semester 1 assessment is intended to be a portfolio submission, with students submitting sections at different points throughout Semester 1.

Reading Lists