module specification

AR5001 - Design Skills 2.1 (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Design Skills 2.1
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
180 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
120 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Friday Morning
Year City Tuesday Morning
Year City Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module focuses on expanding and strengthening the range of skills, techniques, methods and processes needed to develop the design projects undertaken in Design Project 2.2. The skills are developed, within the projects, rather than separately. The module provides the material basis for design research, the design process and the development and testing of design propositions. The range of skills explores, analyzes and interprets the precedents, observations and ideas that apply to architectural designs, their formulation and construction. Students learn to select the most appropriate modeling techniques for exploring specific aesthetic and technical requirements.

In particular the module introduces and practices digital drawing and modeling techniques. The module includes formal introductions to the School’s digital facilities, including digital modeling at Metworks, and the acquisition of technical skills and competence.  It provides an introduction to the appropriate use of a range of software packages and their applications in the development of drawings and models.

Prior learning requirements

AR4001 DESIGN Skills 1.1

Module aims

The module aims to provide a forum for the student to develop a creative, inventive and productive design process. It expands and strengthens the student’s range of material and digital design techniques, and develops their confidence, competence and fluency in making use of these techniques in design projects. The module supports experiment, trial and error and focuses on selecting, understanding and using the best practical techniques available to help realize conceptual and creative ideas in the production and testing of design solutions. It aims to deepen the student’s understanding and knowledge of modes of representation and their application in the broader field of design, including art practice, as well as the practices, protocols and conventions that apply to the field of architecture. 


Students study within a design Studio that directs the design process, provides the project framework and a supportive working environment.  Within this context students are expected to work with some independence in developing their design processes and their application to the projects.  This includes identifying and researching project issues and parameters, generating detailed briefs, exploring and testing their ideas, developing proposals and prototypes, and employing the required bodies of knowledge.Work includes the analysis of context, the development of conceptual ideas into propositional designs, the study of material, programmatic and spatial strategies.  The syllabus includes digital workshops that introduce a range of 2D and 3D software programmes.

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

Indicative schedule:
• Weeks 1- 7 initial project set by studios
• Week 8 field trip week, studio field trip agenda
• Weeks 9-10 portfolio work
• Week 11 formative portfolio feedback
• Weeks 12-17 context related project work
• Week 18 formative feedback review
• Weeks 19-25 finalise building project presentation
• Week 26 academic portfolio conversation
• Weeks 27-30 finalising portfolio
• Week 30 portfolio submission

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategy is to offer a supportive, creative and critical environment for guided individual and group work.  Students are given 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. 

In this module the Studio programme directs ¬what kind of design process the student will undertake in order to complete their project work.  The Studio programme aligns the development of skills and techniques with the sequence of projects and frames the different methods, stages and tasks involved in their design.

This module contains specific classes and workshops in 2D and 3D digital techniques.  Otherwise it works together with the Design Project 2.2, and is introduced through projects and short workshops that address specific relationships, field-work, context and brief development. The design modules are taught through a wide variety of means. These include:

• site visits and field work;
• meetings with clients, consultants or users;
• reference to primary and secondary sources of material;
• visits (real and virtual) to related or more generally relevant events, buildings, exhibitions;
• talks and seminars on project related issues including forms of representation;
• workshops on group working and managements techniques;
• individual or group and collaborative work doing surveys, modelling contexts, developing project parameters;
• individual or group work developing a design scheme through tutorials, seminars, participatory processes;
• direct action, crits and class presentations on work in progress involving peers, tutors, subject specialists or client representatives;
• project and portfolio tutorials.

Students are required to develop their design process as part of their self-directed studies as generated by their studio programmes.  Reflective learning is built into the basic structure of the module.  It occurs during the process of design as well as when the project is complete; it is formally exercised in the several pin-ups and presentations that review the design process and projects and characterise Studio work.

The course is supported by on line resources that encourage integrated learning. These include reference material and a wide range of project related links including shared links with the Fine Art, Media and Design schools.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate practical and theoretical skill, knowledge and understanding in the uses of a wide range of 2D and 3D digital and analogue drawing and modeling techniques;
2. Read, use and apply with accuracy the appropriate tools, conventions and protocols needed to develop a complete design process, from inception to resolution;
3. Draw on a range of appropriate precedents and exemplars, compare different approaches and make informed choices in order to generate, test and realize ideas, propositions, projects;
4. Make effective use of a range of 2D and 3D digital and analogue drawing and modeling; techniques in the generation, production, presentation and communication of design projects;
5. Work, record and reflect on the development of an explicit design process.

Assessment strategy

There are three components.
(1) is submitted in the Autumn period, (2) and (3) in the Spring period:
1: A3 portfolio of 2D CAD drawings. To include a minimum of:
- plan
- two sections
- elevation
These drawings will support and be developed from studio design work.
2: A3 portfolio of 2D and 3D drawings and photographs of computer generated physical models:
These drawings will support and be developed from studio design work.
3: Process Diary. This will clearly present the process of design development. It should demonstrate the
diverse range of investigations and considerations undertaken in relation to your design work and reflect on decisions made and work produced in this and related design modules.
Project work is reviewed at the end of each project on dates published in individual project timetables.
Indicative grades may be issued during the programme.
Students are expected to attend all taught sessions.
Satisfactory attendance means that a student has attended over 60% of taught sessions.

Project work is examined at the end of each project on dates published in individual project timetables.
Indicative grades may be issued during the programme. The final assessment of work is carried out in
portfolio. The Portfolio must be appropriately ordered, edited and presented to demonstrate the learning
process, acquisition of skills and design proposals made. All three dimensional or dynamic work must be
graphically presented, through photographs or other records. Work must be titled and accompanied by short explanatory notes.
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.

The module is assessed as a whole in portfolio at the end of the academic year. 
The practical work the module covers is key in supporting the studio-based design work, however, most of the skills, knowledge and understanding gained is also generic to architectural design practice and/or transferrable.

The portfolio will normally include the range of drawings and models indicated in the module learning outcomes and in the forms required by the specific studio project briefs. The work will be evaluated in terms of range, depth, invention, creativity and originality as well as standards of accuracy and skills of execution. Although there are no independently assessed, stand-alone exercises, evidence in the portfolio is required of key stages in the development of the work, both material and conceptual, demonstrating an effective learning process.


Specific bibliographies will be produced by tutors to support their Studio programme and projects.

Software manuals and websites will be advised in the workshops to ensure currency.
The following list is indicative.

Journals and e-magazines:

Anderson, S. ed., 2004. Eladio Dieste: Innovation in Structural Art, New York : Princeton Architectural Press.
Corner, J.M., 1996. Taking Measures Across the American Landscape, New Haven; London: Yale University Press.
Dal Co, F., 1986. Carlo Scarpa: The Complete Works, Milan: London: Electa; Architectural Press.
Luna, I. & Gould, L.A. eds., 2010. Behaviorology: Atelier Bow-Wow, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto + MomoyoKaijima, New York: Rizzoli.
Mostafavi, M. & Leatherbarrow, D., 1993. On Weathering: Life of Buildings in Time, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press.
Nahum, A., 2008. Jean Prouve - the poetics of the technical object. Blueprint, 264.
Spellman, C. &Unglaub, K. eds., 2005. Peter Smithson: conversations with students: a space for our generation, New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
Tham & Videgard Arkitekter, 2009. Tham & Videgard Arkitekter., Stockholm: Arvinius Forlag AB.
Wellington Reiter, 1999. Vessels and fields: Wellington Reiter, New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
Worm, T., 2005. Olafur Eliasson: Dufttunnel: EinProjekt Fur Die Autostadt in Wolfsburg = a Project for the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Ostfildern-Ruit: Portchester: HatjeCantz.