module specification

AR5001 - Design Skills 2.1 (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Design Skills 2.1
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
228 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Portfolio: Skills and Representation
Coursework 50%   Portfolio: Project
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Friday All day
Year City Tuesday Morning

Module summary

Design Skills 2.1 aims to expand and strengthen the range of skills, techniques, methods, and processes needed to develop the design projects undertaken in Design Project 2.2. You will learn to select the most appropriate modelling techniques for exploring specific aesthetic and technical requirements from digital and analogue techniques. The module acts in two ways, firstly to provide you with the material basis of skills, knowledge, and representation and secondly as a research tool to develop your design propositions.

You will be introduced to a range of skills which allow you to explore, analyse and interpret precedents, as well as using this knowledge to apply your observations and ideas to architectural designs, their formulation and construction.

You will gain competence in digital and analogue drawing and modeling techniques involving including studio CAD suite and fabrication workshops. These introductions will allow you to acquire competencies to further explore your design modules and develop your skill, fluency, and readiness for industry.

The module supports experiment, trial and error and focuses on selecting, understanding, and using the most appropriate practical techniques available to help realise conceptual and creative ideas in the production and testing of design solutions. It aims to deepen your 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.

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

Pre-Requisite: AR4001 or equivalent.

Co-Requisite:  AR5002.

Available for Study Abroad NO.


Teaching on Design Skills 2.1 will support your design studio project, the latter providing a project framework to critically to explore the techniques. The process of transferring and applying your skills and knowledge to studio design practices requires you to work with some independence within the supportive environment of the studio.

In the first semester, you will embark upon ‘Skills and Representation A’. This introduces you to digital drawing skills, primarily using 2D CAD, desktop publishing software and vector-based mapping software. Alongside these digital platforms, you will be instructed on analogue drawing and making techniques (LO 1, 2, 3). At the same time, project(s) A are set by the design studio, and provides the critical framework to explore the techniques from ‘Skills and Representation’, using project-based briefs, within a context and setting (LO 3, 4, 5).

In the second semester you will undertake ‘Skills and Representation B’. This further develops digital drawing skills towards working with 3D CAD programs and understanding their role in 3D digital and analogue model making. Alongside these digital platforms, you will be instructed on analogue drawing and making techniques employing the AAD workshop facilities (LO 1, 2, 5). Meanwhile, project(s) B are set by the design studio and provides the critical framework to further explore and represent the techniques from ‘Skills and Representation’, using project-based briefs, within a context and setting (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching on Design Skills 2.1 ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. You are expected to, and can, continue with your 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 and assessment tasks, its contents and delivery, are regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach not only to pedagogic practice and appropriateness to the profession.

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 you 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 2.1, a number of Learning Outcomes (LOs) will have been addressed.

You will:

1. Demonstrate practical and theoretical skill, knowledge and understanding in the use 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 to generate, test and realise ideas, propositions, projects;

4. Work, record and reflect on the development of an explicit design process;

5. Make effective use of a range of 2D and 3D digital and analogue drawing and modelling techniques in the generation, production, presentation, and communication of design projects.