module specification

AR6023 - Advocacy: Practice Beyond Aesthetics (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Advocacy: Practice Beyond Aesthetics
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 20
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 30%   1 Hour Written Test
Coursework 70%   4000 Word Essay *FC*
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module looks at the practice of architecture as a complex form of advocacy, the different manifestations of which promote different values. Students are encouraged to examine an existing form of practice (either traditional or non traditional) and the way real buildings and their ideas are procured and explore alternative forms of managing the process. The module deals with implicit and explicit codes and different forms of argument and evidence. The final essay will advocate a particular role for architects within society, arising from the study of a current piece of architecture and understanding of legal (planning/contractural) economic and political constraints. There will be a short test of the students' knowledge of professional codes and legal issues with feedback prior to the final submission.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The module exercises the students capacity for professional judgement, in preparation for RIBA Parts 2 and 3, whilst retaining the critical freedom of the academic framework. It provides a threshold for the development of social, political and commercial skills appropriate to the identification and procurement of state or privately funded work related to the activities of the construction and property industries, the legal and financial professions and regulatory bodies


'A work of architecture is invariably an advertisement of a point of view. It is never either pure form or pure function, nor can it be simply a mixture of both; but always, either forcibly or feebly, it involves an act of judgement. It is an attitude taken up with regard to society, history and change, the nature of pleasure, and other matters quite extraneous to either technique or taste.'

Colin Rowe, from the Cambridge Review, October 31, 1959.

The formal syllabus will examine a number of topic areas that are seen as critical interfaces within the profession. They will act as a guide to students selecting and developing their own framework and incorporating previous work or academic experience. Typically these will include:
- introduction to the variety of roles that architects might and do take
- the ethics of architecture (professional codes and liability)
- management practices (different forms)
- legal practices (planning/agreements/contracts/employment)
- financial practices (politics/economics)
- regulatory practices (sustainability/energy/health and safety.)

Learning and teaching

Methods will include:
- Formal lectures from a range of voices in practice and academia
- Seminars and class presentations of work in progress
- Workshops to develop communication skills
- e-tutorial support
- practice based research
- Formative written feedback will be given on the visual,oral and written draft submissions when proposals will be formally approved, and summative written feedback on the final essay.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the students should be able to:

  1. identify different modes of advocacy and decode implicit and explicit value systems;
  2. construct or reconstruct the processes involved in procuring a building and analyse  the
  3. values they advocate or support;
  4. demonstrate the knowledge of theories of urban design and the planning of  communities, the influence of the design and development of cities, past and  present on the contemporary built environment and produce a cogent document of professional interest.

Assessment strategy

The assessment will be based on the presentation of a professional practice thesis equivalent to 4000 words or equivalent numeric and technical data; and the successful completion of a written test demonstrating knowledge of professional codes and the law as it relates to architects.