module specification

AR4001 - Design Skills 1.1 (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Design Skills 1.1
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
138 hours Guided independent study
162 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   A portfolio of student-produced work addressing the tasks and criteria as set in the assessment brief
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year (Spring and Summer) City Monday Morning
Year (Spring and Summer) City Monday Afternoon
Year (Spring and Summer) City Thursday Morning
Year (Spring and Summer) City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Monday Morning
Year City Monday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning
Year City Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

The module introduces the basic processes of design for architecture/interior architecture, from conceptual idea to a three-dimensional realisation. Students learn to produce a range of drawing and modelling techniques that enable them to creatively explore and engage in the design process and begin to see the relation between intention, process and outcome through actively producing work.
The module is designed to orientate students through the introduction ways of thinking about and communicating ideas about subject and context, introduces a range of drawing and modelling techniques necessary to represent and communicate design ideas and establishes the need for designers to think critically in their use of different media and working at different scales. It encourages students to explore possibilities of evocative, analytical and measured drawing in the representation of existing and proposed spaces and their 3D and material qualities.
The module introduces the use of research, precedents, modelling and testing ideas in a design project through techniques of making and prototyping, workshop practice and the creative use of materials in producing a design. In terms of drawing, the techniques involved range from measured drawings/models, to conceptual sketches and evocative representations of the design in both 2D and 3D. It links with art practice and examines the role played by drawing, making and representation in design.
The module includes formal introductions to the School’s making workshops, the acquisition of basic technical skills and competence, sound studio practice and health and safety considerations. It provides a basic introduction to the appropriate use of materials, related processes and technical applications in the development of ideas, models and prototypes.

Prior learning requirements

AR4002 (co-requisite)


The syllabus establishes the conceptual exploratory nature of drawing and visual communications in parallel with a series of recording and analytical drawing and modelling activities based on selected existing spaces.  It establishes the process of development from idea to a prototypical material outcome and relates this to designing through a series of three-dimensional projects of increasing size and complexity. Examples of making processes and outcomes will vary but are based on methods of casting, wasting, forming and constructing and are interwoven with conceptual and design processes and outcomes, e.g. analytical, creative and lateral thinking. This is used to make intellectual and practical explorations of, investigations into and propositions for materials, artefacts, constructs and spaces.

The detailed syllabus is project based and varies from year to year.  The following programme is indicative:

• Weeks 1-5 Initial skilling project  LO: 1,2
• Weeks 6-11 Workshop based making project  LO: 1,2,3,4
• Week 12-14 Case study / AAD organised competition  LO: 1,2,3,4
• Week 15 field trip led by design team or CCS team  LO: 5
• Week 16 formative portfolio feedback
• Weeks 16-28 context related major project
• Week 28 main portfolio submission and formative feedback  LO: 1-5
• Weeks 28 final model preparation and photographic studio
• Weeks 28 exhibition preparation

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

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.

Material specific to the studio teaching including talks and brief information is available on Weblearn.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. use a range of making and modelling techniques to explore and explain the development of a project, and that show an understanding of materials and the process of making as well as their spatial and representational value;
2.  demonstrate skills in a range of 2D drawing, recording and rendering techniques that analyse and interpret material and spatial qualities;
3. appropriately and productively employ a range of 2D and 3D techniques to explore and fabricate design ideas;
4. read, understand and use the basic orthographic conventions of precisely drawn plans, sections, elevations, perspective and axonometric conventions in freehand and technical drawings to accurately measure, represent and communicate a given 3D space at different scales.
5. demonstrate an awareness of the place of making, drawing and representation within a cultural and theoretical framework and appreciate its creative role in the design process

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed as a whole in portfolio at the end of the academic year.
The assessment criteria are based on how well the student has fulfilled the learning outcomes.

The portfolio will normally include the range of drawings and models indicated in the module learning outcomes as developed for the project briefs, set exercises, design processes and project presentations. These will be evaluated in terms of range, depth, creativity and originality as well as standards of accuracy and skills of execution. In addition, evidence in the portfolio is required of key stages in the development of the work, both material and conceptual, demonstrating an effective learning process.

In the portfolio, all three-dimensional work (models etc.) must appear in two-dimensional format as photographs and drawings. The development work should also be included in the portfolio to show how the design process has informed and progressed the projects, their source and reference material, ideas and experiments. The portfolio must be carefully edited and organised and the content clearly labelled.
Students are expected to attend all taught sessions.

Students are expected to attend all taught sessions. Attendance will be reviewed as part of the assessment process and a ‘mark’ of either satisfactory or non-satisfactory will be awarded. Satisfactory attendance means that a student has attended over 60% of taught sessions.


Ching, F., (2008) Building Construction Illustrated, Chichester: Wiley
Dernie, D., (2010) Architectural Drawing, London: Laurence King
Diller, E. and Scofidio, R., (1994) Flesh1: 1: The Outermost Surface of the ‘body’ Bordering All Relations in ‘space’, London: Triangle Architectural Publishing
Dubery, F., (1983) Perspective and Other Drawing Systems, London: Herbert Press
Dunn, N., (2010) Architectural Modelmaking, London: Laurence King
Kovats, T. (ed.), (2007) The Drawing Book: A Survey of Drawing - the Primary Means of Expression, London: Black Dog
Lee, P.M., (2000) Object to Be Destroyed: The Work of Gordon Matta-Clark, London: MIT Press
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Tanizaki, J., (2001) In Praise of Shadows, London: Vintage
Tufte, E. R., (1991) Envisioning Information, Cheshire, Conn: Graphics Press
Waldman, D., (1992) Collage, Assemblage, and the Found Object, New York: H.N. Abrams


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