Course specification and structure
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UDARCHIT - BA Architecture

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area Architecture
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS 7 YEARS
Part-time 6 YEARS 7 YEARS
Course leader Jane Mcallister

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The BA (Hons) Architecture course offers an outward looking, multifaceted design-based education whose successful completion provides the first stage of a professional qualification in Architecture.

The idea of ‘making’ is central to the course’s activities, influencing a socially oriented agenda and an interest in creative practice. A number of strong themes inform the students’ project work and thread through the supporting studies. These are gathered under the heading ‘duty of care’ and include: people, communities and citizens; craftsmanship and making; the environment and use of resources; cities and cultures. It involves students in visiting, working in and with, many different places and cultural contexts including live projects, real clients, current issues, and areas of social change. Students are encouraged to engage with the social, political and economic factors that influence built form.

Architecture is a mobile and extensive field of study that stretches from technical to conceptual issues, from commercial to social; it leads the student through aspects of building design similar to and in preparation for practice. In doing so the course establishes an explicit understanding as to how the design of an architectural project is defined through wide reference to historical and current practice and practice in related disciplines in including art, interior design, planning, urban design and engineering.

The course necessarily encompasses the study of different aspects of the discipline - technologies, history, professional practice - and their methods, knowledge and insights that they offer to architecture. The course approaches these fields in their own right as subject studies and draws them together under the synthetic activity of design projects.

The teaching and learning strategy is to offer a supportive, creative and critical environment for guided individual and group work. Throughout the course students are expected to complement formal teaching with self directed study and take the opportunity to use appropriate resources and technology available both within and outside the institution (e.g. weblearn, CAD software, facilities at MetWorks). Students have access to a wide variety of design facilities including making workshops (wood, metal, plastics, laser cutters), and computer suites in addition to dedicated studio space at the Spring House, Central House and Commercial Road sites. All the modules make provision for integrated learning development, specifically through weblearn/blackboard. Course and module specific sites include course, module, syllabus and project related information, links, activity based learning tests, events, self-evaluations.

The course promotes the student’s ability to self-manage and encourages them to adopt a reflective approach with a view to their future professional development and learning. The course fosters personal development planning (PDP) and the production of career-oriented portfolios.

The teaching and learning of the course is organised through a fourfold modular structure at each level and aims to achieve an integrated and holistic approach to design. At each level there are two project based Design modules, and two subject-based modules, one focusing on Technology and the other on Cultural and Contextual Studies. All the modules are year long and equally weighted.

1. Design:

The Design modules are project based. The projects are structured to deliver the designated complementary module outcomes but otherwise change from year to year in response to the changing landscape of architectural thinking and production. From the beginning projects address challenging problems, situations and issues that increase in scale and/or complexity as the course progresses. Students learn to identify what it is they have to address and develop a wide range of techniques for doing so. These involve both practical (drawing, making and digital techniques), and intellectual (conceptual, analytical, imaginative, creative) skills. Students develop their project work through a variety of different learning situations that involve real and hypothetical objects of study. These are evaluated critically in relation to social political, cultural and technical analysis, developing the student’s design judgement and communication, and contextualised within the architectural profession.

The process of design is progressive throughout each year and the course as a whole. Projects are generally rooted in contextual studies as a basis for their generation, development and appraisal. The teaching and learning strategy for the design project work involves:

  • field work (drawing, photography, surveys, mapping, interviews, precedent studies);
  • visits (practices, sites, buildings, exhibitions);
  • briefing talks from consultants and clients;
  • project development (design drawings, models, prototypes, full scale constructions, computer renderings);
  • project testing (pin-ups, interim presentations, reviews);
  • final realisation (portfolio, exhibition, oral presentations).

The whole process is supported through a mixture of seminars, workshops, tutorials, peer reviews, formal and informal presentations. Design at Level 4 is taught as a year group and at Level 5 and 6 within a choice of Studio, each of which offers a specific project framework. The Studios are ‘vertical’ and combine Level 5 and Level 6 students. They run for the whole year and act as research and development hubs processing diverse fields of knowledge and modes of understanding. They promote strategic collaborative studies as well as foster independent work. The Studio programme directs ­what kind of design process the student will undertake and the basis of their project work.

The different Studios offer a range of architectural approaches to design, allowing students to develop a particular set of issues and concerns in depth. The studios encourage collaboration and group work as well as enriching the individual design process. Students are encouraged - through practice and iteration - to improve their fluency in moving between ideas and their materialisation, across a wide range of complex parameters, and different scales of investigation. Because the work of the design modules is embodied in the individual projects developed by the students, feedback is constantly offered through the day-to-day teaching as well as in the more structured situation of reviews and presentations.

2. Technology:

One of the subject modules at each level is dedicated to technology. It introduces the professionally specific disciplines of structural, constructional and service engineering, the critical roles they play in the realisation of the design and execution of buildings, as well as the infrastructure of the built environment as a whole. Students are introduced to the fields of knowledge owned by these disciplines and learn to model the relationship between architecture and its construction in their own projects. In the process they consider the complex professional, legal and social responsibilities of this larger team in relation to the built and natural environment, particularly under the rubric of sustainability.

The teaching and learning strategy behind the technology modules is active and mixed mode. It begins with formal lectures and problem solving classes that introduce the principles involved in the specific disciplines, and ends with the student producing a comprehensive and analytical audit of the technological ideas, issues and solutions involved in their final design project. The development of coursework is supported by classes, workshops and ‘consultant’ tutorials, as well as a great deal of individual research. From level to level students acquire the knowledge and understanding they need to integrate technological ideas in their design process, as well as the practical and organisational skills needed to communicate with a multi-disciplined team. These involve terms of reference; use of quantitative techniques including costing and specification, methods of analysis and measurements; types of drawings; digital or material models or full-scale prototypes.

3. Critical and Contextual Studies:

The teaching and learning strategy behind the Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) modules runs in parallel to the design and technology modules. These modules focus on transferrable graduate skills in the field of writing and communication as well as research and informational retrieval. As part of their graduate and professional profile students should be able to deploy these skills in relation to complex and challenging topics that demonstrate their sense of judgement.

Course aims

The aim of the course is to provide the first part of a professional education in architecture. It enables students from a wide variety of backgrounds to develop their potential as designers, makers and thinkers within the architectural field. It situates their work within an ethical framework of social commitment and responsibility towards people and the environment.

The course develops graduate skills within a professional architectural framework. Students acquire a systematic understanding of the field of architecture and become intimate with its various forms of traditional and contemporary knowledge. They are able to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within architecture and form a conceptual understanding of its structure, processes and broader context. The course is fundamentally innovative and problem solving in outlook and students become skilled in presenting ideas and arguments. The teaching and learning is informed by architectural research, current practice and advanced scholarship and students constantly confront the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge in the field. As the course progresses students take increasing control of their own learning and its management, including research into scholarly and professional texts and primary sources through fieldwork.

Within the design and technology modules the course aims to enable the student to produce complex and responsive architectural designs that are conceptually and technically sustainable and creatively appropriate to their context, and are communicated through a range of media using exploratory techniques as well as accepted forms used by the profession to various audiences. Within the design and critical and contextual studies modules the course aims to develop judgement and understanding of the complex historical, theoretical, ethical, social and economic situations that influence the design of the built environment and individual buildings.

Through methods of teaching, learning and self directed work the course enables students to become increasing self-directed and motivated through their studies; gain the organisational and self-management skills to work effectively both on their own and with others, reflect on their progress and make choices about future directions for themselves and within the context of the profession.

Ultimately the course aims to empower students who want to do something positive with their skills – find opportunities to design, build, teach and write; to win competitions or clients; make a team or a policy; devise clever innovations or harness the will of a community.

Course learning outcomes

The Course learning outcomes for the BA (Hons) Architecture are designed to ensure the effective and successful achievement of the University’s academic standards and the meeting of the joint criteria for validation as described by the Royal Institute of British Architects Criteria for Validation and in the Architects’ Registration Boards’ (ARB) General Criteria for Part 1.

On successful completion of the course students will be able to demonstrate:

Subject specific skills in the ability to:

  1. Create well crafted architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements;
  2. Integrate in their architectural designs constructional and structural thinking, environmental strategies as an awareness of the regulatory requirements that apply;
  3. Sustain a conceptual and critical approach to their architectural design that balances its aesthetic, technical and social demands.

Knowledge and a systematic understanding of the key technical, cultural and political issues influencing a design proposal, in particular:

  1. Professional, legislative and statuary regulatory processes;
  2. Building technology, environmental design, construction methods, processes of assembly, in relationship to human well-being and sustainability;
  3. Architectural, artistic and design culture and history, their influence, the methodologies and ideologies involved in their theories, criticism and interpretation;
  4. A range of contexts, particularly urban design, but more generally contexts of knowledge including ideas and techniques at the forefront of architecture.

Cognitive and intellectual skills in the ability to:

  1. Evaluate and analyse the ethical and professional issues involved in the design, construction and occupancy of the building;
  2. Communicate through verbal, written and visual representations, architectural ideas and propositions at a range of scales and to different audiences;
  3. Apply appropriate theoretical concepts to studio design projects;
  4. Devise and sustain arguments whilst appreciating the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.

Transferable skills in the ability to:

  1. Work individually or collaboratively to seek, handle and interpret visual, written and verbal information for the purpose of proposing realisable and coherent solutions;
  2. Be flexible and adaptable in approaches to, and the development of, an issue, problem or opportunity;
  3. Manage learning, make use of original, scholarly and professional knowledge, and relate it to wider personal and career goals.

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Subject specific skills:
1. Create well crafted architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements:
AR5002, AR6002


2. Integrate in their architectural designs constructional and structural thinking, environmental strategies as an awareness of the regulatory requirements that apply:
AR6002
AR6003


3. Sustain a conceptual and critical approach to their architectural design that balances its aesthetic, technical and social demands:
AR5002, AR6002


Knowledge and understanding:
1. Professional, legislative and statuary regulatory processes: CP5010
AR4003, AR5003, AR6003


2. Building technology, environmental design, construction methods, processes of assembly, in relationship to human well-being and sustainability :
AR4003, AR5003, AR6003


3. Architectural, artistic and design culture and history, their influence, the methodologies and ideologies involved in their theories, criticism and interpretation:
CP4010, CP5010
AR4001, AR5001, AR6001


4. A range of contexts, particularly urban and social contexts, but more generally contexts of knowledge including ideas and techniques at the forefront of architecture:

AR4001, AR4002, AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002
CP5010, CP6010
AR5003, AR6003


Cognitive intellectual skills:


1. Evaluate and analyse the ethical and professional issues involved in the design, construction and occupancy of the building: AR4001, AR4002, AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002
CP5010
AR5003, AR6003

2. Communicate through verbal, written and visual representation, architectural ideas and propositions at a range of scales to different audiences:

AR4001, AR4002, AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002
CP4010, CP5010, CP6010

3. Apply appropriate theoretical concepts to studio design projects:
AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002

4. Devise and sustain arguments whilst appreciating the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge:

CP4010, CP5010, CP6010
AR4003, AR5003, AR6003
AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002

Transferable skills:


1. Work individually or collaboratively to seek, handle and interpret visual, written verbal information for the purpose of proposing realisable and coherent solutions:

AR4001, AR4002, AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002
CP4010, CP5010, CP6010
AR4003, AR5003, AR6003


2. Be flexible and adaptable in approaches to, and the development of, an issue, problem or opportunity:

AR4001, AR4002, AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002
CP4010, CP5010, CP6010
AR4003, AR5003, AR6003

3. Manage learning, make use of original, scholarly and professional knowledge, and relate it to wider personal and career goals:

AR4001, AR4002, AR5001, AR5002, AR6001, AR6002
CP4010, CP5010, CP6010
AR4003, AR5003, AR6003

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Architecture (2010)
Art and Design (2008)

Assessment strategy

The BA (Hons) Architecture course is prescribed by the ARB (Architects' Registration Board) and

validated by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). These professional bodies set out

‘General Criteria’ within the ‘Prescription of Qualifications’, and on successful completion of the course exemption from Part 1 will be awarded.

The course is designed to deliver a professional qualification as part of the degree award. This requires careful monitoring of standards of achievement. The professional qualification is output oriented and emphasizes the quality of achievement and demonstration of competence in the portfolio of project work. The course assessment strategy reflects this expectation.

Almost all the course modules and their component parts are assessed at the end of the academic year. The assessment and feedback strategy fosters a culture of continuous production and feedback at all levels and in all the modules. The programme for the production of work and the presentation of work for feedback is carefully structured to allow students to plan their detailed schedules. Feedback is provided to enable the student to improve their work. The summative assessment informs the student of their level of attainment.

The student is encouraged to see their work as a whole. Although each module is assessed separately against specific outcomes and criteria, the assessed items can be seen in relation to each other in the form of an overarching ‘portfolio’. This includes work in a wide variety of media and modes and is what the students take with them when they apply for work or further study.

Course specific regulations

Course Regulations for the BA(Hons) Architecture

To qualify for the award of BA(Hons) Architecture and exemption from Part 1 students must:

1. Satisfy the University’s requirements for a Degree with Honours (see Undergraduate Awards Framework; regulations for undergraduate assessment) and additionally;
2. Pass all modules at Levels 3, 4, 5 and 6 (40% pass mark); students on this course cannot carry any failed modules and progress to the next level.
3. Pass all components at 40% or above of the following modules;
• AR5003: TECHNOLOGY 2;
• CP5012: Cultural and Contextual Studies 2 (Architecture)
• AR6003: TECHNOLOGY 3 (IDA)

Part-time study:
Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, the pattern of study shall be as follows:
Year 1 – AR4001 & AR4002
Year 2 – CP4012 & AR4003
Year 3 – AR5001 & AR5002
Year 4 – CP5012 & AR5003
Year 5 – AR6001 & AR6002
Year 6 – CP6012 & AR6003

NB. An award of BA (ordinary/non-honours) in Architecture is not available.

Modules required for interim awards

All modules are core and compulsory for students to qualify for an award of BA (Hons) Architecture:

• AR 4001 Design Skills 1.1
• AR 4002 Design Project 1.2
• CP 4012 Critical and Contextual Studies 1 (Architecture)
• AR 4003 Technology 1

• AR 5001 Design Skills 2.1
• AR 5002 Design Project
• CP 5012 Critical and Contextual Studies 2 (Architecture)
• AR 5003Technology 2

• AR 6001 Design Development 3.1
• AR 6002 Design Resolution 3.2
• CP 6012 Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Architecture)
• AR 6003 Technology 3; Integrated Design Audit

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditations & exemptions

The course is validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and prescribed by the Architects’ Registration Board (ARB). Students who are awarded BA (Hons) Architecture are exempted from RIBA Part 1.

Career opportunities

Following successful completion of the course, most graduates go on to complete their RIBA Part 2 and 3, and gain a professional qualification in architecture. Previous alumni have worked for companies such as Caruso St John, David Chipperfield Architects, Macreanor Lavington, Tony Fretton Architects and SANAA in Tokyo.

Graduating with this degree provides you with the core knowledge and skills needed to work in fields such as interior design, urban design and planning. You'll leave with a high-quality portfolio of work, an understanding of relevant cultural and social issues, and the research, design, making and presentation skills valued in many design-related professions.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBB in three A levels, one of which comes from a relevant subject area such as Art, Humanities or the Social Sciences (or a minimum of 120 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in an art related subject)
  • English Language and Mathematics GCSE at grade C/grade 4 or above (or equivalent qualification)
  • potential in spatial design, a creative imagination and visual or constructive aptitude
  • a portfolio review

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS at level 6.0, with no individual component of less than 5.5. For more information about English qualifications, please see our English language requirements.

Entry from appropriate foundation and access courses will also be considered.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Architecture and Interior Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

Interviews

We normally ask candidates to attend a portfolio interview to talk about the process and ideas of their portfolio work. Please be aware that digital portfolios can't be viewed at the interview. The interview day includes a general introduction, a tour and the chance to meet a variety of staff and students.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes K100 (Architecture): 100%
Route code ARCHIT

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR4001 Design Skills 1.1 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
AR4002 Design Project 1.2 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
          CITY AUT+SPR THU PM
          CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
AR4003 Technology 1 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
CP4012 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (Architecture) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR5001 Design Skills 2.1 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
AR5002 Design Project 2.2 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
AR5003 Technology 2 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
CP5012 Critical & Contextual Studies 2 (Architecture) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR6001 Design Project Development 3.1 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
AR6002 Design Project Resolution 3.2: Comprehensive De... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
          CITY AUT+SPR TUE PM
          CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
AR6003 Integrated Design Audit Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
CP6012 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
          CITY AUT+SPR WED PM