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ARC2010 : Architectural Technology 2.2: Construction and Energy Efficiency

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Toby Blackman
  • Lecturer: Mr John Kinsley, Mr Simon Hacker
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module seeks to develop climate literacy in architectural practice, and support the ongoing development towards the competency and confidence to practice architectural design with material, technical, environmental and structural responsibility, awareness and understanding.

This module builds upon the foundations of knowledge, understanding and skill established in Stage 1 of the BA Architecture degree programme, to develop understanding of the embodied and operational energy associated with design and construction of the built environment, and foster skill in the material and technical aspects of architectural practice.

This module runs in parallel to the ARC2001 Architectural Design module, ie concurrently, and at a similar pace in terms of complexity, process, and project stages. The intention is that knowledge and understanding gained from the module will be applied to the technical development of the architectural design project (eg structure, material, enclosure) through workshop-based practice of professional competencies and skills.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module introduces construction methodologies related to medium- and large- scale buildings and thereby supporting the developing scale and complexity of the Architectural Design module projects, whilst building upon prerequisite modules in Architectural Technology in Stage 1 and Stage 2 and previous studies in the field of materials and technology, structures, and environmental design.

The syllabus covers the following topics through in-class analysis of exemplar case studies, statutory documents and governing bodies, architectural project documentation, methods and practices, and textbook extracts:

Ecological Functionalism, and the relationship between design, construction, material, and site;
Embodied and operational energy in the design and construction of the built environment;
Fabric First design principles for energy conservation, Cradle to Cradle design and materiality, and Passivhaus design and construction;
Principles for passive low-energy environmental design, from site to fabric enclosure and opening (eg window and door) design and performance;
Structural logic, materials, systems, and paradigms for the design of structured space;
Principles of Fire Safety Design: ignition, development and spread of fire; fire performance of construction materials; design for fire safety;
Methods of environmental performance simulation and calculation (eg thermal performance and lighting);
Site-wide and building-specific principles for water management, reuse, and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDs);
Renewable energy technologies for site-wide, campus/community and building-specific design;
Natural and mechanical ventilation strategies and heat recovery;
Dimensioning and setting-out of works on site, spatial geometries, and material arrangements;
Technical, environmental and creative criteria for material selection, processing/fabrication, and construction;
Methods of integrating material matters in spatial design development (both written, eg annotation and specification writing, and drawn/modelled, eg geometry and linework).

The relationship between statutory processes and routes to approval, codes of practice, BS/EN Standards and Building Regulations and architectural design practices will be outlined, and the ethos of holistic sustainability reinforced [from the energy embodied in the building fabric, to the operational energy of the constructed building].

Knowledge of the syllabus is developed in a core lecture format, each introduced by reading extracts prepared for study in advance. Understanding and skill is developed through discussion of the topics, and application of the models and methods in small group workshops, and non-assessed, formative sessions.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00Synchronous teaching: 14 x 60-minute lectures, delivered in pairs.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture16:006:00Synchronous, full-day symposium.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Preparation and production of the report submission.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching72:0014:00Synchronous workshops.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study126:0026:00Guided Reading (prepared) and Individual Research.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module seeks to support technically rigorous, climate literate architectural design practice, employing practical workshops to support the students' application of knowledge and understanding to the design project, and the development of skill through formative practice. Teaching fosters development of the confidence and competency to work across the sites of meaning-production in contemporary architectural practice – drawing, building, model, text – which are many and varied in form, content, process, and practice. Teaching and learning is delivered in a variety of formats to create a field of study at the intersection of these sites, and foster the development of knowledge, understanding and skill in spatial design processes informed by climate literacy and developing technical competence by seeking application of technical processes to an architectural design project. The nature of this symbiotic practice is introduced in the teaching through critical discussion of archive design material (working drawings, specifications etc), environmental simulation (modelling and calculation), documented translation (fabrication and construction processes), and a series of case studies and constructed assets (prototypes, finished buildings, landscapes and infrastructure elements). Clear, succinct assessment criteria are introduced, setting out the intended learning outcomes and signposted throughout the teaching in order to frame the subjects and objects of study both practically and intellectually.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M100Technical Report (comprising written and drawn/diagrammatic analysis, annotation and dimensioning, and technical calculation)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment rationale is founded on the principle that architectural practice represents the exchange of ideas, methods, and lessons of creative material practice and the technical aspects of material matters.

The assessment calls for students to synthesise research and practice, to develop individual design through weekly technical skills workshops and to prepare a report which intellectually and contextually frames, documents, and evaluates workshop-based practice in defined and discrete ways.

The assessment criteria require students to demonstrate practical knowledge and understanding of the material and technical dimensions of building design, and to demonstrate developing skills related to exemplar levels of building performance, responsible material sourcing, efficient structural systems, and to understand the relationship between embodied and operational energy in the design and construction of the built environment.

Reading Lists