module specification

AR7045 - Concepts of Space (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Concepts of Space
Module level Masters (07)
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 25%   Seminar Report
Coursework 75%   Essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City - Morning

Module summary

AR7045 Concepts of Space.


The module examines different concepts of space and their development.


Spring Semester. Assessment:  Essay 75%; Class presentations 25%; Satisfactory Attendance 0%

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This module 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 human space – how spacegoverns the way we act, think and feel; and howhuman culture determines the way we see space inreturn through a number of key readings. It is less concerned with particular traditionsin physics and philosophy, where the question ofspace occupies its own trajectory of thought, andmore with everyday experiences and practices. Itdraws on a variety of resources, from poetry topsychology, 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.

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategy is to employ theoretical understanding to help motivate a considered but imaginative response to the task of writing about architecture. The module comprises a mixture of seminars that include introductory talks, close readings and discussion of set texts, alongside workshops that discuss a looser range of ideas and consider examples of writing, including student writing.


The module uses weblearn as the central resource where readings and other module information is made available to students online.


A number of short writing exercises encourage students to explore the module’s topic independently early on and form preliminary ideas for their final written essay. Exploratory seminars (sound walks, visits to museums, galleries, archives) complement the close study of theoretical writing.


Opportunities for pdp are available through research for the essay assessment, supported by individual tutorials.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the student should be able to:


1. think critically and with precision about different concepts of space 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 module to other contexts, specifically critical and creative processes in urban design and architecture

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%)


1. Anderson, Stanford, On memory in Architecture (1995)
2. Bachelard, Gaston, The Poetics of Space (1958)
3. Bollnow, Otto Friedrich, Man and Space (1964)
4. Carroll, Lewis, Alice in Wonderland (1865)
5. Cassirer, Ernst, An Essay on Man (1944)
6. Eliade, Mircea, The Sacred and the Profane (1959)
7. Foucault, Michel, Of Other Spaces: heterotopias (1967)
8. Halbwachs, On Collective Memory (1950)
9. Larkin, Philip, The Whitsun Weddings (1965)
10. Lynch, Kevin, The Image of the City (1960)
11. Piaget, Jean, The Child's Conception of Space (1967)
12. Zevi, Bruno, Architecture as Space (1957)