module specification

AR7047 - Digital Design Techniques (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Digital Design Techniques
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 30% 50 2D Representation - Diagramming/Technical (Students must obtain an aggregate of 50% on the first two assignments)
Coursework 30% 50 3D Representation - Diagramming (Students must obtain an aggregate of 50% on the first two assignments)
Coursework 40% 50 3D Representation - Rendered/Animation
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Wednesday Evening

Module summary

The module investigates contemporary uses and tools of digital media in relation to architecture.

The module is structured around lectures, presentations, demonstrations and computer workshops: 
1. to investigate the contemporary use and tools of digital media within design systems, modelling, and representation;
2. to consider the historical, theoretical and practical relationship between architecture/interior design and representation;
3. to consider a philosophical, ethical, and spatial understanding of digital tools within contemporary design;
4. to discuss the technology used in the practice of architecture and interior design, particularly in reference to representation but also including aspects of communication, collaborations and documentation;
5. to gain an ability to discriminate and to utilise the investigated tools of digital design, modelling, and representation in a sophisticated manner.


The module is taught in 12 sessions that will contain small theoretical lectures, group discussions and computer workshops with primary emphasis on the computer skills workshops. The workshops will focus on contemporary software modelling and representation applications and will focus on generative/design tools and their relationship to representation (instead of focusing on representational-only software). LO1,LO5

The following is a list of lecture topics that might be covered.

architectural representation (historical and theoretical)
digital design systems and mass customisation
introduction to the process of CAD/CAM
Single Building Models (SBM’s) and production information
vector vs raster graphics
complex systems and datascapes
information driven design
similarity and difference, repetitions and morphologies
architectural information dissemination (historical, practical and theoretical)
the collaborative process of architecture and modes of communication
digital systems, communication and technology
document creation, management, and databasing LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

The following is a list of workshop topics that might be covered.

basic entities, objects, and elements
line weights, fonts, colours and compositional entities
complex elements, macros, settings and customisations
document design, production and output
advanced entities and basic 3D elements
advanced 3D and object modifications
object manipulation and element associations
descriptive geometry . . . complexity simplified
basic rendering techniques
basic animation
advanced object modelling
advanced object manipulations LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

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. demonstrate advanced knowledge, conceptual ability and sensitivity within appropriate digital – design systems, modelling, and representation tools;
2. express an awareness of some basic concepts in the theory of architectural representation in relation to digital media;
3. demonstrate an awareness of the philosophical, ethical, and spatial consequences of digital design and representation and position oneself according to one’s understanding;
4. develop a general knowledge of professional implications involved in the technology of representation and its practical manifestation;
5. demonstrate the ability to utilise advanced software features efficiently; with minimal effort and maximum results, by producing different stages of modelling and representation with some group work required.


Ron K.C. Cheng (2007) Inside Rhinoceros 4, 3rd edition, OnWord Press (Acquired Titles)
Benjamin Aranda, Christopher Lasch, Cecil Balmond, and Sanford Kwinter, (2006) “Tooling,” Pamphlet Architecture, (Princeton Architectural Press)
Reiser + Umemoto, (199) Atlas of Novel Tectonics, 1st edition, (Princeton Architectural Press)
Kostas Terzidis, (2003) Expressive Form, (Spon Press)
Kostas Terzidis, (2006) Algorithmic Architecture, (Architectural Press)
Leach, Neil (2002) Designing for a Digital World (Wiley)
Callicott, Nick (2001) Computer-Aided Manufacture in Architecture (Architectural Press)
Rahim, Ali  (2002) “Contemporary Techniques in Architecture”, Architectural Design, Vol 72: issue 1, (Wiley)
Rahim, Ali (2000) “Contemporary Processes in Architecture”, Architectural Design, (Wiley)
Lars Spuybroek (2000), “Off the Road - 5 Speed”, in Architectural Design (Wiley) pp.56-61