module specification

AR6030 - Design Level 4 Subject and Context (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Design Level 4 Subject and Context
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
Coursework 100%   Portfolio to be Submitted in Week 15 of SEM2 (Local Submission) *FC*
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Monday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning

Module summary

Module code: AR7030
Module title: Design Level 4: Subject and Context
Description: This module asks the student within an individual design unit to engage with the wider context and establishment of a rationale for a design proposition.
Semester: Autumn/Spring
Corequisite: AR7021 Design Level 4: Subject and Context: Process and Proposal
Assessment: 100% Portfolio

Prior learning requirements

Corequisite: ADP021N, Design Level 4: Subject and Context: Process and Proposal

Module aims

In this module the student will engage with the rationale for design proposition and will define, test and justify how a proposal is appropriate and relevant in a particular physical, social, economic and environmental context.

The single module runs throughout the level 4 design unit programme (across semesters A and B). It is supported by a parallel module - Design: Process and Proposal - which examines how a designed proposition can be realised effectively through spatial, material, formal and organisational adjustments and transformations.

The aim is to become increasingly familiar and confident in seeking out and finding an appropriate way of acting as an architect within a given context or situation; one which is complex, multi-layered and unpredictable. This means that the emphasis will be placed on achieving a detailed, precise and sophisticated understanding of the constituent parts of a particular context :its economic, social, ethical, political, environmental and emotional infrastructures. The means of achieving this understanding will be through a direct engagement with the context or situation: this will involve developing ambitious ways of engaging with the situation as found. Visual, physical, organisational, covert, emotional and material forms of engagement will help generate the raw material for analysis and action.

The directness and precision of this understanding will allow the student to generate a range of issues, or places to act within that situation, such that there is a genuine value and relevance to the designed scenarios that develop. They will be asked to justify and be self-critical about their various methods of working in order to test the 'design' process that they have developed.

This advanced level design module rehearses the student's ability to construct an ambitious, sophisticated and appropriate brief, programme and conceptual rationale for their design proposition.

In this sense the scope, scale and remit of the proposition will be a direct result of your methods of engagement and research, and will therefore be particular to each individual student's work. The aim of the module is to prepare the student for the final year comprehensive design project by promoting a self-conscious and clearly articulated understanding of how ideas and agendas developed within this module can be consolidated within the thesis project in the following year.


The student will study this module through one of the eight design units. Each design unit will state an overall agenda/interest/context within the built environment and also a project or related set of projects. These vary from year to year. The outline programme for the design unit is presented at the start of the first semester by the different design units and students may select which design unit and programme they wish to work with.

The programme set by the design unit runs throughout semester 1 and 2 and is assessed at the end of semester 2

Learning and teaching

The student will learn through the following range of events:
· discussions and seminars in studio on a range of methods of engagement with existing found situations, people and environments, where one is proposing alterations to take place.
· introductory talks, discussions and workshops on a range of different design processes that can be initiated from the engagement above.
· individual and group work developing a process of design using an appropriate range of media and techniques
· individual and group critical evaluations on the methods of engagement and design process and the effectiveness and value of the process, to the society and environment they seek to serve.
· individual development of an illustrative portfolio that fully documents the rationale of intentions and the design process

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. develop and evaluate appropriate and relevant  method(s) of engagement and
observation of a given situation
2. develop systems of analysing, interpreting, using and spatialising researched material  in order to speculate on possible designed scenarios that intervene in and adapt that  given situation
3. construct effective processes that can be used to rigorously test ideas in terms of  their relevance to the given situation
4. formulate and communicate clear and well founded conceptual frameworks that  underpin designed scenarios;
5. critically reflect on the implications of intentional and unintentional outcomes
embedded in a designed scenario
6. communicate effectively  the ideas and intentions of the designed scenario through  an appropriate range of conceptual and representational techniques.
7. develop a personal attitude toward the process of design and an agenda  (independent of the design unit) which can be clearly expressed as a set of aims and  ambitions for the final design project in level 5.

Assessment strategy

The student will be assessed as follows:

1. On presentation of a Portfolio which will demonstrate the learning outcomes above through appropriate forms of documentation and representations. 100%
Modes of documentation may include: drawings; photographic material; multi-media material; quantitative data; qualitative data; 3D models or prototypes; web-based material, written commentary. All 3D and multi-media work should be recorded in graphic form and explained to a standard suitable for assessment purposes.


Provided by the unit tutor and is specific to the project briefs