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ARC2017 : Construction, Energy, Professional Practice

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Ivan Marquez Munoz
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module examines the context, process, and detail of architectural design and production.

• Context: this module examines the conditions of design and production, within the wider context of the construction industry and delivery of construction projects.
• Process: contract frameworks, responsibilities and agency, costs and funding, development of aesthetic and technical requirements, translatory medium.
• Detail: management of design and production – intersections of context, process and detail, constraints and opportunities.

This module aims to introduce students to the issues involved in being an architect within the context of the construction industry. 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 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. It is designed to develop students’ awareness and understanding of the profession of architecture, the ethics of being a professional, the role of architects in society and their obligations to the wider environment with respect to environmental sustainability and climate change, fire and life safety design, the regulations and procedures involved in translating design concepts into safe buildings and integrating plans into overall planning. The module also introduces students to issues associated with managing the process of design and the business skills required in the practice of architecture.

The module is based around the intersection of the ARB/RIBA syllabus for professional practice, and ethical/ecological design and construction. It is assessed via a 1,000 word report based upon the design and production of a 1:1 surface or detail, and examining the translation of design notation in the material construction proposed in the co-requisite Architectural Design module, ARC2001, and a 2,000 word report examining detail design and construction in the context of Professional Practice and Management.

This module runs in parallel to the ARC2001 Architectural Design module, i.e. 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 (e.g. structure, material, enclosure) through workshop-based practice of professional competencies and skills.

Outline Of Syllabus

The topics covered by the module are drawn from the subject areas dealing with professional practice in Architecture, which include:

• Professionalism.
Clients, users, and delivery of services.
• Legal framework and processes.
• Practice and management.
• Building procurement.
• 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 (e.g. 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.
• Site-wide and building-specific principles for water management, reuse, and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDs).
• 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, e.g. annotation and specification writing, and drawn/modelled, e.g. geometry and linework).

This module introduces construction methodologies related to medium- and large- scale buildings 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.

Appropriate case studies or examples are used to illustrate the topics in practical applications through in-class analysis of exemplar case studies, statutory documents, governing bodies, architectural project documentation, methods and practices, and textbook extracts.

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).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00Series of lectures supporting knowledge and understanding of climate-literate detail design and construction, and professional practice
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:0090:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical38:0024:00Full day, creative-practice based sessions and 1:1 making
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading104:0040:00Guided reading to support development of deeper understanding of the lecture topics and to prepare for creative practice and coursework preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops82:0016:00Online workshops supporting the development of the skills and preparation of the coursework (detail design notation)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00To introduce the module and provide guidance on assessment
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
APL3017Construction, Energy and Professional Practice
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Teaching methods include scheduled learning and teaching activities (module talk, lectures, workshops and practical sessions), and various guided independent study activities.

The module talks, which will be delivered at the start and end of teaching, will situate the context of the module in relation to the BA and the profession of architecture, and provide guidance on assessment. The lectures will present and discuss key concepts underpinning the learning outcomes and will be structured to allow the scaffolding of ideas to facilitate learning. The workshops and practical sessions will facilitate an in-depth exploration and application of the concepts presented in the lectures.

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).

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. Clear, succinct assessment criteria are introduced, setting out the intended learning outcomes and signposted throughout the teaching to frame the subjects and objects of study both practically and intellectually.

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.

The above-average number of contact hours are required to ensure adequate coverage of the syllabus for this module.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M50A 1000 word report based upon the design and production of a 1:1 surface or detail, and examining the translation of design notation in the material construction.
Report2M50A 2000 word report examining detail design and construction in the context of Professional Practice and Management.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

There are two, non-compensable components of assessment (i.e. both must be passed to pass the module):

Assignment One
Creative Practice, presented in a report.
This component requires a 1:1 design junction, detail or material surface proposed in the co-requisite Architectural Design module(s), ARC2001 and APL2006, to be drawn through the processes and practices of Architectural Technology. In preparation, particular attention is paid to the forms of professional, practice-based design notation—geometry and text—establishing design 'for' the medium, before the creative practice project draws material matters—opportunities and constraints—into a simulation of design and construction and third party completion of the design in practice.
This 1:1 project is to be documented and form the core subject of a 1,000 word report.

Assignment Two
Assignment two enables students to analytically reflect on the process of 'managing' a project proposed in the co-requisite Architectural Design module(s), ARC2001 and APL2006, through the lens of Professional Practice and Management, and contextualise this more broadly in an examination of Architectural Practice, and the Professional Practice and Management of design.
2,000 word report.

Reading Lists