module specification

AR6001 - Design Project Development 3.1 (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Design Project Development 3.1
Module level Honours (06)
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 Friday Afternoon
Year City Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module establishes a process of research, design development and proposition that generates the design brief for Design Project Resolution 3.2: Comprehensive Design project.  It supports the student as an independent learner within the framework of the Studio. Whilst improving their practical skills and refining their ability to use them productively, the focus in this module is on developing a depth of knowledge and understanding and strengthening approaches to research and project development. 

The student has already been introduced to the basic range of constituents and conditions that pertain to the design of a building in their previous design projects, technology studies, and historical, theoretical and professional studies.  In this module the student is expected to draw on these as well as the agenda offered by their choice of Studio.  The module helps the student establish ownership of the process of research, design development and proposition that generates the design brief and its resolution in the project.  The module allows the students the opportunity to test working methods, clarify intentions, frame their project proposal and develop their design position within an evaluative and critical context, including external and professional reference points.

Prior learning requirements

AR5001 DESIGN Skills 2.1

Module aims

The module consolidates skills and knowledge gained at Levels 4 and 5.  It works in partnership with Design Project Resolution 3.2.  Its aim is to provide the context in which the student can research, generate, explore and test the parameters of their project, its central themes and features.  The module places emphasis on developing self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging externaland professional reference points. This module is complemented by Technology 3:Integrated Design Audit module, which requireshighly detailed reflection on the integration of cultural, professional, technicaland environmental issues within the design project.


Students study within a design Studio that provides the project frameworkand a supportive working environment.  Within this context students are expected to work with a greater level of independence in identifying and researching project issues and parameters, generating their detailed brief, their approach and appropriate design processes, exploring and testing their ideas, developing proposals and prototypes, and employing therequired bodies of knowledge.

Indicative schedule:
• Weeks 1- 7 research build up for project
• Week 8 field trip week, studio field trip agenda
• Week 9 preparing for review
• Week 10 formative portfolio review
• Weeks 11-14 finalizing proposal
• Week 15 formative portfolio feedback
• Weeks 16-26 finalizing building proposal
• Week 27 formative portfolio feedback session in studio
• Weeks 28-30 preparation for final portfolio presentation

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 outlines rather than determines ¬what kind of project development process the student will undertake.  The Studio programme sets out introductory and/or component projects and frames the different stages and tasks involved in the design of the project/s. The same pattern of studio based teaching and learning continues from the previous level of study but with more emphasis on tutorial feedback. Students at this level are expected to be more pro-active and responsible in their decisions they take and the work they produce, whether the design research and testing methodologies they undertake, the development of proposals, organising work schedules, meeting deadlines and presenting their work.

Together with the DesignProject Resolution 3.2, this module 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.

The development of the major project marks an important stage in the ability of the student to undertake self-directed study and use the opportunities for reflective learning embedded in the reviews and presentations that characterise studio work.

The module is supported by online 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 the student will be able to:

1. Identify, devise and manage a self-directed program of appropriate and productive research;
2. Generate a well constructed project brief for a coherent architectural design of sufficient ambition and complexity and a well described political, economic, social and professional framework;
3. Develop a well grounded outlinedesign proposal which integrates knowledge of the cultural,social, political, economic, environmental andprofessional context that guides building construction;
4. Construct a well-judged and rigorous design process including testing and reflecting on ideas and proposals through constructing prototypes, digital and 3D models, together with a range of drawings and media, both conceptual and representational.
5. Collate and document the critical design development process to a professional standard of presentation.

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 project development work, practical and critical studies embedded in this module are key in supporting the major project and producing a final exit portfolio in preparation for a student’s year out in practice.

The portfolio will normally include a complete set of drawings at a variety of scales appropriate to demonstrating the breadth of their design decisions, digital and material models of the project. Modes of documentation may include: drawings; photographic material; multi-media material; quantitative
data; qualitative data; 3D models, web-based material and prototypes. All 3D, direct action and multi-mediawork should be recorded in graphic form and explained to a standard suitable for assessment purposes.

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.


The specific bibliography is studio and project related. These titles are indicative.
Journals and e-magazines

Castanheira, C., 2009. Álvaro Siza: The Function of Beauty, London: Phaidon.
Correa, C., 2000. Housing and Urbanisation, London: Thames & Hudson.
Deplazes, A. ed., 2005. Constructing Architecture: Materials, Processes, Structures, a Handbook, Basel : London: Birkhäuser .
Holl, S., 2006. Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture New ed., San Francisco: William Stout.
Mack, G., 1996. Herzog & De Meuron: The Complete Works / Das Gesamtwerk, Basel ; Boston: BirkhäuserVerlag.
Norberg-Schulz, C., 1997. SverreFehn: Works, Projects, Writings, 1949-1996, New York: Monacelli Press.
Oliviera, O. de, 2006. Subtle Substances : The Architecture of Lina Bo Bardi, Barcelona: Gili.
Sauerbruch, M. & Hutton, L., 2006. Sauerbruch Hutton: Archive 1. Aufl., Baden: Lars Müller.
Smithson, A.M., 2001. The Charged Void: Architecture, New York ; [Great Britain]: Monacelli Press.
Steele, J., 1998. The Complete Architecture of BalkrishnaDoshi: Rethinking Modernism for the Developing World, London: Thames and Hudson.
Weston, R., 1995. Alvar Aalto, London: Phaidon.
Zumthor, P., 2006. Thinking Architecture 2nd, expanded ed., Basel ; Boston: Birkhäuser.