module specification

AR7022 - Applied Technology in Architecture (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Applied Technology in Architecture
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 40
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40% 50 Group design report
Coursework 60% 50 Individual Technical Report
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

Applied Technology in Architecture aims to address technical and practical design considerations in architecture. The syllabus aims to cover materials, structures, construction, environment, services, comfort, health and life safety and how these aspects of a design project relate to each other. Applying this knowledge to a design proposal, you will explore holistic and iterative design processes in the development of an architectural project, learning how to resolve technical problems or address practical challenges creatively. Architects need to be aware and be able to evaluate the impact their design decisions will have on quality and performance of the built environment and the health and well-being of those who use buildings and spaces now and in the future.     

In Applied Technology in Architecture, the aim is to develop and demonstrate key technical skills in architectural design. The aim of the module is also to teach skills pertaining to Health and Life Safety; Structure, Construction and Resources (‘Themes and Values’ from RIBA: The Way Ahead 2022) required both in the construction phase and in the whole life of an architectural project. Based on current best practice, the module aims to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the use of materials, detail design, structures, sustainability, environment and services, cost control mechanisms, environmental and embodied carbon modelling and user requirements. It will also offer you the opportunity to work in a team, appreciate resource management and understand the dynamics of delivering architectural projects in built form. Progress through the module will lead to the integration of knowledge and understanding of a whole building system, equipping you with the skills needed to incorporate technical knowledge in your studio design work in the corequisite module: AR7P48 Design Project: Context, Process and Proposal.

The module aims to provide a practical framework through which you can address the professional and academic discipline of architecture as outlined in the ARB/RIBA Joint Criteria ‘The Way Ahead, Education Themes and Values’ 2021 as well as ‘Guidance Notes to Institutions’ issued by the ARB in 2021 outlining the core competences expected at RIBA 2 relating to fire safety and environmental sustainability.

Prior learning requirements

Co-requisite: AR7P48 Design, Context, Concept and Proposal


The course of study for Applied Technology in Architecture comprises four parts: first, an introduction to a wide range of technical topics; second, an opportunity to apply this knowledge in an architectural design project, working in a team; third, a reflective process undertaken both as a team and individually in which you critically appraise your design and effectively communicate it with an audience; finally, the integration of technical knowledge into your architectural design project(s) in AR7P48 Design: Context, Concept and Proposal.

Your learning experience in the first part will emphasise lecture delivery and classroom teaching, equipping you with the technical and professional knowledge you will then apply to a design project. The syllabus will include but is not limited to: the principles of material selection, economy and specification including health and life safety, sustainability, recyclability and embodied CO2; established construction methods and sustainable constructional strategies including emergent and low carbon materials; study of natural ventilation, utilisation of daylight, passive solar energy techniques and relevance of intensive services provision; digital simulation of performance criteria: thermal, acoustic and structural in the design of architecture.

Thereafter you will engage in a group design project guided by a brief, specifying the parameters of the project. You will explore through drawings and models relevant technical topics and an emphasis is placed on the making of models both physical and digital, as learning tools and as a means of communicating ideas. For example, your group may specialise in structural systems and material selection in relation to perception of architectural space; building systems and construction both ‘off the shelf’ and bespoke; achieving comfort in diverse climates or renewable energy in buildings and systems for heating and cooling. You will explore the interaction of technical topics with form, placement and skin, understanding form-finding as constrained by technical choices. You will reflect on the design project both collectively and independently, guided by classroom teaching and workshops. This may include presenting the design project work you have done in an appropriate format, with a focus on the strategies and rationale for your group design project, as well as on the embodied costs of your design and the relationship between these two aspects.

In the final part of the module, which is primarily self-directed, supported by studio tutors, you will use the knowledge and skills from Applied Technology in Architecture in your architectural design project(s) undertaken for the co-requisite module AR7P48 Design: Context, Concept and Proposal. The technical submission requirements for AR7P48 are detailed in its module description.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study (research, group design charettes, individual study, designing and fabricating models, producing coursework submissions) is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks. In-class and workshop activities make use of varied appropriate student-centred approaches, 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 and the workshops in the module 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 for future development. Throughout the module, you will progressively move along the pathway of developing your technical knowledge and design project, engaging in the content of learning while reflecting on your progress.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports personal development planning. Through these initiatives, you are increasingly able – as you progress – to understand the professional environment of the discipline, the various opportunities available and how to shape your learning according to your ambitions and aspirations.

Learning outcomes

On satisfactory completion of the Applied Technology in Architecture module, a number of Learning Outcomes (LOs) will have been addressed. Each is related to the Architecture RIBA 2 - MArch Course Learning Outcomes (CLO). You will:

1. be knowledgeable about and understand technical topics relevant to architectural design including: sustainable material selection and the circular economy; structural systems and detail design; construction methods and phasing; ecologically sound building services, environmental systems and solar design; user comfort and health related to lighting, acoustics and thermal performance; health and life safety; building economy in terms of both finances and embodied carbon (CLO 11(a) 1, 3; 11(c) 4);
2. have developed the subject-specific skill of applying your knowledge of technical topics to architectural design project(s) to make both strategic and detailed design decisions in relation to parameters of climate change, context, clients, users and budget (CLO 11(b) 1, 2, 3; 11(c) 3, 4, 5);
3. be aware of your responsibilities as an ethical and professional architectural practitioner to competently design in ways which minimise impact on the environment through sustainable design and maximise the health and life safety of users (CLO  11(b) 4);
4. have the capacity to analyse and rationalise your strategic and design technical decisions and communicate such information to an audience (CLO 11(a) 2; 11(b) 1; 11(c) 2; 11(d) 1);
5. be equipped with the transferable skill of effective team work to design an architectural project, with a particular focus on model-making both digital and physical, and the ability to collaborate and manage workload with colleagues (CLO 11(c) 1; 11(d) 3, 4).

Assessment strategy

Assessment items will be based on:
• a group design report (Component 1, 40%) of 50 A3 pages and approx. 4,500 words or equivalent (drawings, diagrams, charts, photographs, sketches and graphic documentation) defined by the brief issued in-year. The report should usually contain an explanation of design rationale and strategy, design process drawings, detailed design drawings and model images. Physical models should not be submitted for assessment;
• an individual technical report (Component 2, 60%) of 20 A4 pages and approx. 3,000 words or equivalent (drawings, diagrams, charts, photographs, sketches and graphic documentation) defined by the brief issued in-year. The report should usually contain a critical appraisal of the group project and a costing and/or environmental exercise based on the group design proposal

The rationale for the development and use of these assessment items is as follows:
• Component 1: following on from and concurrent with a group design process, the organising and delivering of a report with peers will allow assessment of your assimilation of technical knowledge; your capacity to undertake appropriate design research; and your capacity to work in and manage a team. The task of rationalising and presenting your strategic and detailed design decisions will allow you to show judgement and exercise transferable skills of communication likely to be relevant to your professional career.
• Component 2: producing an individual report and critical appraisal which captures the development of the group project offers you an opportunity to demonstrate and be individually assessed upon your knowledge and understanding of aspects of technical knowledge. With a focus on a costing and/or environmental exercise based on the group design proposal, you can rehearse your responsibility as ethical and professional architectural practitioners to design in ways which minimise impact on the environment through sustainable design and maximise the health and life safety of users. You will demonstrate the capacity to analyse and rationalise your strategic and design technical decisions and communicate such information to an audience, a transferable skill relevant to your professional career.

The pass mark for the module is to be calculated as an aggregate of the components weighted accordingly, with the proviso that the candidate must pass all components.