module specification

AR4001 - Design Skills 1.1 (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
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%   Portfolio
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

Design Skills 1.1 is designed to introduce you to ways of thinking, communicating, and developing ideas about a subject and within a context. You will be introduced to basic processes of design for architecture, from conceptual idea to a three-dimensional realisation. You will learn to produce a range of drawings and modelling techniques that enable you to creatively explore and engage in the design process and begin to see the relation between intention, process and outcome through actively producing work.

Practically the module introduces you to a range of drawing and modelling techniques and establishes the need for you as a designer to think critically about working with different media at different scales. It encourages you to explore possibilities of evocative, analytical, and measured drawing in the representation of existing and proposed spaces and their 3D and material qualities. In terms of drawing, the techniques involved range from measured drawings and models to conceptual sketches and evocative representations of your precedents and designs in both 2D and 3D. It links with art practice and examines the role played by drawing, making and representation in design.

Critically, the module introduces you to: the application of research of precedents and their role in a design project; techniques of making and prototyping, workshop practice and the creative use of materials in producing a design.

The module includes formal introductions to the School’s 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.

The aims of the module are to teach skills pertaining to Design Processes and Communication (‘themes and values’ from Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): ‘The Way Ahead’, 2021). The module also aims to provide a practical framework through which you can address the academic discipline of architecture as outlined in the RIBA document ‘The Way Ahead, Education Themes and Values’ 2021 as well as ‘Guidance Notes to Institutions’ issued by Architects Registration Board (ARB) in 2021.

Prior learning requirements

Co-Requisite: AR4002.

Available for Study Abroad: NO.


The syllabus of Design Skills 1.1 establishes the conceptual exploratory nature of drawing and visual communication in parallel with a series of recording and analytical drawing and modelling activities based on selected existing spaces (LO 1, 2).

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 and are interwoven with conceptual and design processes and outcomes, e.g., analytical, creative and lateral thinking (LO 3, 4).

These techniques are used to make intellectual and practical explorations of investigations into, and propositions for, materials, artefacts, constructs, and spaces, within a cultural and theoretical framework (LO 5).

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching on Design Skills 1.1 provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and can, 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

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask you to reflect on your progress, receive help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes and make recommendations to yourself for future development. Throughout the module, you will build a body of work, including written reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports your personal and career development planning. Through these initiatives, you are increasingly able, as you progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of your discipline, the various opportunities available to you, and how to shape your learning according to your ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On satisfactory completion of Design Skills 1.1, a number of Learning Outcomes (LOs) will have been addressed.

You will:

1. Appropriately and productively employ a range of 2D and 3D techniques to explore and fabricate design ideas;

2. Demonstrate skills in a range of 2D drawing, recording, and rendering techniques that analyse and interpret material and spatial qualities;

3. 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;

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.