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UDINADES - BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design (Top-up)

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 120
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS 2 YEARS
Part-time 2 YEARS 4 YEARS
Course leader  

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

The teaching and learning strategies applied in BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design aim to provide the students with an accumulation of knowledge and skill in preparation for entering the design profession in one of the following areas: interiors, commercial design and development, theatrical, exhibition or any form of spatial design and for entry into other architecture or interior design courses at MA level.

Consideration has been given to the following: the Subject Benchmark Statement (Art and Design 2017), the HE Qualification Framework, the University’s Strategic Plan and Student Charter, the University’s Undergraduate Regulations, the views and feedback of students, external examiners and employers/ clients, developments within the subject area, and the changing needs of the cultural/ commercial sectors and professions. Due consideration has also been given to inclusivity in course and assessment design.

Embedded in the Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, the course draws on the strengths of teaching staff from across the School and the wide circle of academic and cultural contacts and collaborators attached to the School and University.

The course seeks to provide and foster:

• learning through direct experience, connecting academic and creative studies;
• student choice in subject and style of learning;
• a culture of independent and critical thought, encouraging the challenging of received ideas and practice;
• employability attributes, through live projects engaging with external partners, institutions and companies that create a realistic environment of professional expectations for students, preparing students for graduate-level employment;
• engagement across the School and University, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study;
• individualised learning and study support opportunities, that cater for different learning styles;
• awareness of the duty of all to understand the impact of their decisions and actions as interior designers and to strive to act responsibly.

The course operates within a programme of related interior design undergraduate awards, bringing together best practice from related fields. Three cognate BA awards (Interior Architecture and Design, Interior Design, Interior Design and Decoration) enable students to explore the fundamental aspects of design for interiors, through the particular lens of the built environment, the client, and/or decoration and detailing.

The idea of “designing” 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 ‘socially responsible design’ and include: people, communities and citizens; craftsmanship and making; the environment and use of resources; cities and cultures. It involves students in visiting and working in different places and cultural and social 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 how new spaces are designed and existing spaces are re-imagined.

Interior architecture and design is a mobile and extensive field of study that stretches from technical to conceptual issues therefore, the course necessarily encompasses the study of different aspects of the discipline - technologies, history, professional practice. 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 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 or subject studies and the other on critical and contextual studies. All the modules are year-long and equally weighted.

The design modules account for 50% of the course. Design is taught using hands-on project-based working methods in studios. The process of learning how to design is progressive throughout each year during which projects are devised for the student to develop the context for design based on observation, creativity, research and testing through various representational media.

Design skills are demonstrated and practised through group and individual tutorials and by attending lectures, seminars, critiques and pin-ups, by making precedent studies and by participating in field trips, competitions, workshops and by visiting exhibitions and external lectures given by leading design practitioners. There is an emphasis on completing live projects where opportunities arise.

Specifically, interior architecture and design skills involve the process of drawing, modelling, testing and communication, both by hand and using a variety of specialised but industry standard computer software. Students are encouraged, through practice and iteration, to improve their fluency in moving between design ideas and their materialisation across a wide range of parameters and to operate at different scales of investigation.

Design skills are evaluated critically by tutors, external critics and student peers as well as by the students themselves in relation to social, political, cultural and technical analysis. This evaluation develops the student’s judgement and communication contextualised within the design and architectural profession.

Design is taught in a year group at the beginning of level 4 and then moves to a studio-based system with level 5 and 6 students sharing design studios with other interiors courses so that opportunities for peer-to-peer learning are maximised. Design project briefs develop from year to year in accordance with contemporary practice and production techniques and the developing research interests, project opportunities and ethos of the School.

Technology, Subject Studies and Professional Knowledge
Technology introduces the specific disciplines of construction and service engineering, materiality and product specification and the critical roles they play in the realisation and design of interiors as well as understanding the infrastructure of the existing built environment as a whole, and this module is shared with rest of the interiors cluster. Students also consider the complex professional, legal and social responsibilities the designer holds in relation to the built and natural environment, and to their future professional practice. The modules involve lectures, seminars, precedent research and practical components, including elements of live testing such as trips to manufacturers and built projects. There are components of individual research and an emphasis on learning through recording of experiments and reflection upon the results. There is a requirement for students to consider the detailed and material resolution of their interior projects using the technology briefs.

All significant materials will undergo a sustainability evaluation relating to national and European associations, governing environmental and ecological processes and material specification. Students will be asked to explore material libraries, taking into account a circular economy through ideas of using sustainable resources, recycling, upcycling and reuse. Graduates will be able to articulate a clear personal position in relation to sustainability and other ethical considerations attaching to the industry.

Course Progression

Level 6 is dedicated to more complex and self-directed projects within the studio-oriented culture. Growing experience enables the student to develop more complex research and design projects. Accumulated skills and learning from all areas of the course become integrated allowing the student to explore and to demonstrate their understanding of the discipline of design practice as a holistic process. The body of work accumulated at level 6 is significant, making up an academic portfolio that demonstrates the full range of attributes that are required for employment in a design or architecture office or for entry to MA level courses.

In carrying out all academic work, students are introduced to and are expected to take the opportunity to use all the available facilities and all of the IT platforms that are used for sharing communication and to enhance blended learning. Our facilities include dedicated studio spaces, IT labs, the library and specialist workshops located within University premises.

The teaching team comprises of University staff who have expertise both in teaching and in the profession as well as specialist consultants from industry. All design tutors are experienced design professionals who possess comprehensive design expertise and knowledge. The use of teaching staff with current practice allows students to be introduced directly to the commercial environment of design and to learn to be able test their judgments and communication in an educational context that is comparable to acting within the interiors, architectural and design professions.


Course aims

The overall aim of the course is to enable students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to develop their full potential as interior designers, designers and self-directed learners. We aim to provide a high quality design-based education that integrates the development of appropriate creative, technical and academic abilities and introduces students to professional skills and to the cultural, ethical and social context in which they will operate. This position facilitates students to become fluent in both the creative act of design and its expression whilst also supporting the student in becoming fully conversant with all aspects of professional practice. Furthermore, the School is committed to design practice that is actively engaged with the socially orientated and ethical dimensions of design through linking with local and wider communities in design activity.

Interior architecture and design is a distinct, rigorous practice that requires a specialist way of thinking about how we occupy complex spaces and how the elements and materiality of these spaces are brought together at a human scale both to accommodate and to delight, however it is rarely carried out independently. Specifically, by studying in close proximity with designers, architects and other disciplines we open up opportunities and provide an atmosphere where students can become creative partners and gain insights about how it will be to practise as specialists in their field whilst actually encouraging multi-disciplinary design practice as a flexible, adaptable, and creatively rich route for delivering design projects.

The course will prepare students to develop specialist skills in the areas of observational and spatial drawing, computer drawing, model making, and technological and material investigations. They will develop individual lines of enquiry, unique creative approaches, abilities in critical thinking and a deep understanding of the design process. We teach students how to comprehensively research, analyse and articulate the culture and context in which their design thinking is being applied. We encourage students to combine intellectual and creative ambition with detailed resolution and to test the communication of their ideas for interior spaces and the re-configuration of existing buildings effectively with their peers and in the wider world.

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

1. promote risk-taking, exploratory and innovative strategies for designing interior architectural environments and control their narrative, function and experience, through evidence-based design;
2. encourage penetrating research and analysis, developing a rigorous and professional approach to the practice and challenges of the interior design and architecture profession that will develop entrepreneurialism and career opportunities;
3. ensure responsible ethical practice in relation to cultural, environmental, material and social circumstances and the needs of peoples and communities;
4. develop understanding of the working practices, roles and regulatory environment of the sector;
5. foster critical enquiry and understanding of the cultural, psychological, emotional, political, technological and economic factors related to the design, production, and use of aspects of the built environment and its component artefacts;
6. develop curiosity, independent enquiry and capacity to reason, critique and reflect upon practice through an integrated approach to practice and theory, research and analysis;
7. through working with 2D and 3D material/s in both traditional and digital processes and platforms, develop design and realisation skills for professional practice aligned with sector requirements.
8. combine intellectual processes, personal creative vision and technical skills in detailed design resolutions to test proposals for interior architecture spaces with peers, clients and agencies;
9. develop confident and persuasive presentational and communication skills utilising multidisciplinary approaches and production techniques;
10. produce graduates who can work independently, manage their own time and tasks and those of others, reflect objectively on their own performance, and plan effectively for the future, including for their careers;
11. support the growth of the individual; fostering self-reliance and commitment to personal and professional development, ensuring that graduates remain well-informed about current and developing thought and practice, and therefore maintain their employability.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students will:

Subject Specific Skills:
be able to:
1. create well-crafted designs for interiors that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements (CA 1,7,8);
2. integrate in their spatial designs constructional and structural thinking, environmental strategies as an awareness of the regulatory requirements that apply (CA1,3,8);
3. sustain a conceptual and critical approach to their spatial designs that balances its aesthetic, technical and social demands (CA 2,3,5).

Knowledge and Understanding:
be able to demonstrate knowledge of:
4. professional, legislative and statuary regulatory processes (CA 3,4);
5. building technology, environmental design, construction methods, processes of specification and assembly, in relationship to human well-being and sustainability (CA 3,4,8);
6. architectural, artistic and design culture and history, their influence, the methodologies and ideologies involved in their theories, criticism and interpretation (CA 5,6);
7. a range of contexts, particularly relating to the existing building; but also to urban and social contexts, and more generally contexts of knowledge including ideas and techniques at the forefront of design (CA 2,4,5).

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities:
be able to:
8. evaluate and analyse the ethical and professional issues involved in the design, construction and occupancy of the building (CA 2,3,5);
9. communicate through verbal, written and visual representations, design propositions at a range of scales and to different audiences (CA 7,8,9);
10. apply appropriate theoretical concepts to studio design projects (CA 5,6,8);
11. devise and sustain arguments whilst appreciating the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge (CA 6,8,11).

Transferable Skills:
be able to:
12. work individually or collaboratively to seek, handle and interpret visual, written and verbal information for the purpose of proposing realisable and coherent solutions (CA 8,9,10);
13. be flexible and adaptable in approaches to, and the development of, an issue, problem or opportunity (CA 1,6,10);
14. manage learning, make use of original, scholarly and professional knowledge, and relate it to wider personal and career goals (CA 10,11).

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Module Title Module Code Learning Outcomes
CCS 3: Dissertation CP6015 LO1, LO5, LO8, LO9
Integrated Design Practice DN6029 LO3, LO4, LO6, LO8, LO12
Project Design and Development for Interiors DN6020 LO1, LO2, LO4 ,LO5, LO6, LO9, LO10
Major Project Realisation: Interior Architecture and Design DN6017 LO2, LO3, LO6 ,LO7, LO9, LO10, LO11

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statement: Art & Design (2017)
Subject Benchmark Statement: History of Art, Architecture and Design (2017)

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for the course has been designed holistically, to ensure manageable timing, workloads and clarity of expectations for students, and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes.

The assessment regimes for the modules and tasks are designed together with the briefs, prior to the start of the year, taking into account student, external examiner, professional collaborator and colleague feedback from previous instances. The requirements of briefs and their components, the assessment criteria, grading scheme and descriptors are published and explained to students at the start of the year and are designed to be used as consistently as possible, to avoid unnecessary complication. Assessment is related to the achievement of learning outcomes; qualification frameworks and subject benchmark statements are consulted to ensure clear language that is appropriate to level of study. Students are informed of the procedures for first, second and parity marking, and external examiner scrutiny of the assessment process and marks, to ensure that they understand and have confidence in the probity of the process and security of the final marks.

In every case, there is required formative assessment and feedback prior to summative assessment at set points. This is recorded so that it can be used by both students and staff to track further progress and engage support where it is required. Feedback follows good pedagogic practice in that it is constructed as ‘feed-forward’, with a focus on specific actions and strategies as to how to improve, not only on what requires improvement. Challenge to students is managed, so that students performing well in-year are encouraged to strive for excellence, while those performing less well experience clear, targeted and structured guidance, including notice of where they are doing well or are showing potential.

The course adheres to the University’s requirements for assessment and feedback turnaround times and to academic regulations for marking and second making sampling. Additionally, the course engages in Subject and School parity exercises to ensure that assessment standards are consistent. This is especially important in relation to studio delivery through which students on the same modules will be undertaking differing projects.

• Assessment and feedback practices are informed by reflection, consideration of professional practice, and subject-specific and educational scholarship.
• Staff and students engage in dialogue to promote a shared understanding of the basis on which academic judgements are made.
• Students are provided with opportunities to develop an understanding of, and the necessary skills to demonstrate, good academic practice.
• The volume, timing and nature of assessment enable students to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes.
• Formative assessment supports students in developing for summative assessment.
• Feedback on assessment is timely, constructive and developmental.
• Processes for marking assessments and for moderating marks are clearly articulated and consistently operated by those involved in the assessment process.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work-related learning is embedded in the course through live projects, industry visits, visiting speakers and events such as ‘Making a Living’ and ‘Celebration’ weeks.

The majority of tutors and lecturers on the course are practitioners and share their knowledge and experience with students throughout their course of study. The studio delivery of the course means that opportunities for work related learning through collaboration with external companies, agencies, institutions, competitions and professionals can be taken up as they arise, if appropriate to the programme of study.

Studios function as simulations of professional workplaces, with expectations of professional standards, conduct and delivery building as students progress. During their final year, students are expected to work independently towards completion of professional portfolio of projects, culminating in exhibition of these in the annual summer show and associated events.

Course specific regulations

Level 6: In order to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each Level 6 module at 40% or above.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 120-credit course will be 2 years. The prescribed pattern of study in this instance shall be as follows:

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, the pattern of study shall be as follows:

Year 1 (year 1 of Top-up course) – DN6020 & DN6017
Year 2 (year 2 of Top-up course) – CP6015 & DN6029

Modules required for interim awards

To achieve the award of BA (hons) Interior Architecture and Design, the following modules must be completed and passed:

• DN6020 Project Design and Development for Interiors
• DN6017 Major Project Realisation: Interior Architecture and Design
• CP6015 Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (Interiors)
• DN6029 Integrated Design Practice

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The School’s studio system of curriculum delivery embeds reflective learning and personal development planning throughout the course.

Most summative assessment is at the end of year-long modules, with several formative assessment points formally instituted in the course of the year. At these interim formative assessment and feedback points, students reflect on their progress to date with their peers and course staff (with the benefit of feedback from professional partners), seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. The feedback and student reflection is recorded and forms an action plan for the next period of study.

This system is highly individualised, but also benefits from peer engagement in studio critiques. The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Throughout the modules and the course therefore, in this way, students build bodies of work, including reflections on progress and achievement, and planning for their future achievement of targets.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Careers advice is integral to the course. Design related employment agencies are invited to lecture and support the review of student CVs and portfolio surgeries are carried out through which the student is given encouraging and specific advice in regards to their presentational focus. Students are mentored by industry professionals and are encouraged and supported to seek internships and work experience. Competition, exhibition and publicity opportunities exist throughout the course and external exhibitions and trade fairs enable students to develop further career opportunities. Students are supported throughout to reflect upon their own practice so that they are able to progress successfully to their chosen field within the professional interior design sector.

Successful completion of the course offers enhanced career opportunities in the design industry. Students leave with a high quality portfolio of work and a range of practical, professional and academic skills, providing an excellent base for both work and further study. Most of our graduates go on to practice in interior architecture and interior design, design more generally or are employed within architectural practices or progress to postgraduate study. Graduating from the BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design is the start of lifelong learning and an exciting and varied career in design. It provides graduates with core and transferable knowledge and skills that enable individuals to seek work in a wide variety of areas connected to the built environment and other related professions.

Students can also benefit from support and guidance from the Careers and Employability services and the University’s business incubator unit, ‘Accelerator’.

Career opportunities

The collaborative nature of this course prepares you to work with confidence as a specialist in design or architectural practice where interacting with other professionals and construction industry processes requires a range of skills and experience beyond the purely creative.

Recent graduates have been employed by design companies including Brinkworth, Casson Mann, Claudio Silvestrin, Conran Design Group and Softroom.

Other graduates have chosen to continue to study architecture or design at postgraduate level.

Entry requirements

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

  • 240 credits from a Higher National Diploma (HND), Foundation Degree (FdA/ FdSc) or equivalent international qualification in a relevant subject.
  • 240 credits from years 1 and 2 of an undergraduate degree (BA/BSc) in a relevant subject at a different institution
  • a portfolio interview

You must pass a portfolio interview where you'll be required to demonstrate an interest in, aptitude for and knowledge of the field of architecture. If it is not possible to attend the interview, you'll be required to submit a portfolio of work by email.

Please be aware that digital portfolios cannot be viewed at the interview.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective, but have enough work to show a range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.

If you cannot bring certain pieces of your work to your portfolio interview, please take photographs and include them.

Physical portfolio

If you are coming in person to your interview we strongly suggest bringing a physical portfolio of work.

Things to bring:

  • Sketchbooks– we love to see your sketchbooks with ideas and notes, even if they are messy.
  • Examples of the development of a project from start to finish and the final outcome.
  • Some work that you are really proud of and want to talk about.
  • Some work that shows you experimenting with different processes.

Digital Portfolio

If you are submitting an online application, please follow these guidelines.

Things to include:

  • Scans or photographs demonstrating items from the list above.
  • Storyboarding for motion-based work.
  • Also include scans of sketchbook pages showing development.
  • Be sure to check the resolution and overall quality of your image to ensure submissions are not pixelated.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2019/20 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 30 May 2019 Last validation date 30 May 2019  
JACS codes 101316 (interior design and architecture): 100%
Route code INADES

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6015 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
DN6017 Major Project Realisation: Interior Architectur... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI PM
DN6020 Project Design and Development for Interiors Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
DN6029 Integrated Design Practice Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM