module specification

AR7021 - Design Level 4 Process and Proposal (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Design Level 4 Process and Proposal
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
161 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module invites the student to engage, from within an individual design unit, with the substance of making a design proposition; it develops a student's ability to effectively realise a proposal. The 20-credit module runs throughout the year 4 design unit programme (across semesters 1 and 2) in parallel with AR7030: Design: Subject and Context which addresses the architectural skills, activities and processes required to establish a project brief.

In this module the student will engage with the means by which a designed proposition can be realised effectively. Spatial, material, formal and organisational adjustments and transformations of a particular context or situation will be employed and tested as methods of embodying and conveying design ideas. The aim is to become confident in designing through a development of the student's skills, understanding and ability in the design process. Students will exercise their abilities to propose design schemes that embody clear and appropriate conceptual frameworks against which proposals can be tested. The conceptual frameworks should be derived from the detailed and precise understanding of a particular context as emphasised in parallel module AR7030: Design Level 4: Subject and Context.

This advanced level design module rehearses a student's ability to deliver a well-developed, ambitious and resolved design proposal which has taken into account the complex and unpredictable conditions of a particular context and embodies within its rationale, scale, scope and remit, a coherent ambition for architecture. The aim of the module is to prepare the student for the final year (for full-time students) comprehensive design project by promoting a self-aware and clearly articulated understanding of how ideas and agendas developed within this module may be consolidated the following year.

Prior learning requirements

AR7030 Design Level 4: Subject and Context (co-requisite)


You will study this module through one of the MArch design units. Each design unit will state an overall agenda/ interest within the built environment and also a project or related set of projects.  These vary from year to year. The outline programme for each design unit is presented in turn at the beginning of the Autumn term (Semester 1) at which time students will have an opportunity to rank their choice of design unit and programme they wish to work with.

The unit programme, within the academic framework of the course and module set by the Unit Tutors, runs throughout Autumn, Spring and Summer terms, and is assessed at the end of Semester 2. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students have the opportunity to study outside of scheduled classes. A range of learning strategies are deployed and individual learning styles accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, are regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive pedagogical approach.
The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning. Peer-to-peer communication is fostered in seminars and tutorial support provided at key points in the calendar. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment tasks and formative feedback. Students are encouraged to reflect on their progress and engage in sequential decision making through staged submissions and worksheets, and to make recommendations to themselves for future development.
The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able – as they progress – to understand the professional environment of their discipline, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions and aspirations.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the student should be able to:

1. develop systems of interpreting, using and spatialising research material in order to develop designed scenarios that intervene in and adapt a given context or situation;
2. test the rationale for design proposals with respect to their relevance and appropriateness to a given context or situation, and adjust the design accordingly;
3. direct and manage an appropriate design process to achieve a convincing and well worked through design proposition that skillfully manipulates spatial, material, formal, environmental and organisational conditions at a range of scales;
4. communicate effectively the ideas and intentions behind a design proposal through an appropriate range of representational techniques.


Each design unit will provide its own bibliography to suit the unit themes and interests for the year in question. The following reading list is designed to address the generic aims of the module at the level appropriate to the course of study.

Beigel, F. and Christou, P. (2015) Translations: Architecture Research Unit (Christoph Merian Verlag)
Curtis, W. (2009 [1982]) Modern Architecture since 1900 (Phaidon)
Davies, C. (2017) A New History of Modern Architecture (Laurence King)
Gelernter, M. (1995) Sources of Architectural Form: A Critical History of Western Design Theory (Manchester University Press)
Hatherly, O. (2010) A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, (Verso)
Till, J. (2009) Architecture Depends (MIT Press)
Weston, R. (2008) Materials, Form and Architecture (Laurence King)
Zumthor, P. (2006) Atmospheres: Architectural Environments - Surrounding Objects (Birkhäuser)

Online resources:
The RIBA website’s ‘Explore Architecture’ pages: