module specification

AR7045 - Concepts of Space (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Concepts of Space
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 75%   4000 word essay
Practical Examination 25%   Seminar presentation
Running in 2022/23

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

Module summary

The module examines different concepts of space and their development. It explores the history of space as an object of reflection by contrasting theory with our everyday personal experience. It illuminates how our interpretation of space can change according to time, culture, ethical, and aesthetic principles, and how this change is expressed in architecture and the way we think about it.


This module explores, but also critically questions the idea that our experience of space governs the way we act, think and feel; and that our culture determines the way we see space in turn. It is less concerned with particular traditions in physics and philosophy, where the question of space occupies its own trajectory of thought, and more with everyday experiences and practices. It draws on a variety of resources, from poetry to psychology, critical theory, painting, film, sound and music. The module always aims to bring historical sources into context with positions from the recent past and contemporary architectural theory. 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 are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.
The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the student should be able to:
1. think critically and with precision about different aspects of creating and communicating meaning and their expression within architecture and architectural theory;
2. use historical and cultural materials imaginatively in the pursuit of such questions;
3. construct a clear and forceful argument, effectively expressed through prose;
4. show evidence of an ability to apply the specific subject matter of the course to other contexts.

Assessment strategy

Module assessment is based on a 4000 word essay on a topic agreed with the tutor and related to the subject material of the seminar (75%), together with a seminar report (25%). 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 Component 1 (the essay).


Anderson, S. (1995) On Memory in Architecture, The MIT Press
Bachelard, G. (1958) The Poetics of Space, Beacon Press
Bollnow, O. F. (1963) Human Space, Hyphen Press
Carroll, L. (1865) Alice in Wonderland, Macmillan
Cassirer, E. (1944) An Essay on Man, Yale University Press
Eliade, M. (1959) The Sacred and the Profane, Harper Torch Books
Foucault, M. (1967) Of Other Spaces: heterotopias, Routledge
Halbwachs, M. (1950) On Collective Memory, University of Chicago Press
Larkin, P. (1965) The Whitsun Weddings, Faber
Lynch, K. (1960) The Image of the City, The MIT Press
Piaget, J. (1967) The Child's Conception of Space, Psychology Press
Zevi, B. (1957) Architecture as Space, Ingram Publisher Services US