module specification

AR7P24 - Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Proposition (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Proposition
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 40
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 400
328 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Dissertation 100%   Portfolio to be submitted in Week 15 of Spring Semester *FC*
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning

Module summary

Module title: Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Proposition
Description: This module establishes a specialisation and through it develops a design proposal.
Semester: Autumn/Spring
Prerequisite:  Design Level 4: Subject and Context; ADP030N, Design Level 4:
Subject and Context
Corequisite:  Design Thesis Project: Resolution
Assessment: 100% Portfolio

Prior learning requirements

Prerequisite: ADP 021N, Design Level 4: Subject and Context; and, ADP030N, Design Level 4: Subject and Context
Corequisite:  ADPP25N, Design Thesis Project: Resolution

Module aims

This double module synthesizes the advanced design process and applied technical skills honed in the previous year and orients the student towards the professional practice of architecture.  This is measured through their independence in managing the design process and their ability to relate this process to external and professional worlds. 
The premise of the module is that design skills at this level are inherently transferable and that they are best developed through highly focused work that demands a detailed understanding of a complex set of problems.  This premise reflects the contemporary practice of architecture.  All the design modules are located in design units which work in a similar way to practices in that each has a specific set of interests in the built environment which may be described as ‘specialised’.  The aim of this module is to focus this sense of specificity, encouraging the student to take responsibility for the direction of your work in relation to the agenda of a unit and the broader context of the academic and professional field.  In doing so, this module rehearses their ability to act as an independent learner and tests their ability to operate within the complex environment of contemporary architectural practice.
The module represents the first part of the integrated final design project undertaken at level 5.  It requires a student to have developed an appropriate design process and generated an outline proposition for a coherent architectural design, which can be fully resolved in Semester B.
The module runs in Semester A and B of Year 5 and is assessed at the end of the Semester. 
The emphasis of the module is on developing self direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging external and professional reference points. In Semester A, level five 'specialism” option modules are offered by a range of specialist MA Courses within the Department allowing students to engage with specialists in a wide range of related areas.


The detailed syllabus for this module rests with the individual student. The design unit remains responsible for setting the broad agenda to the design project/s and for sourcing general learning material, however, in this module the student will take responsibility for developing their own brief, identifying and researching project issues, developing appropriate design processes, securing the required bodies of knowledge and so forth.  Establishing more explicit external models as references and extending students knowledge of the variety of models available within the built environment field encourage this.
Therefore, specifically the student will position themselves and their emergent design project with respect to the following professional concerns:
• Regulatory requirements of building proposals including development control, building  control legislation, health and safety.
• The environment, human well-being, energy consumption and sustainability.
• Structural, material and cost implications
• Social, political and ethical consequences

The module builds on the advanced skills and capabilities developed in the Year 4 design modules and synthesizes them into a new, professionally oriented mould.  This new formulation is not distinguished by a return to conventionality but should build on the strengths of the previous, year. 
Students at this level should be applying the skills and ambitions they have acquired in a more outward looking way, forging new ideas and ways of working with the ‘external’ world of architecture and the societies it serves.

Learning and teaching

Teaching and Learning methods include:
· Introductory talks and discussions on a range of design processes and their relationship to different specialist fields;
· A studio project set out through an outline brief or theme; site or theme related visits; talks by/discussions with parties involved in project or related issues; reference to primary and secondary sources of material; workshops on different design processes;
· Individual or group work developing the design brief in detail through research and design processes using a range of media and techniques;
· Individual or group work developing the project through tutorials, seminars, crits and presentations on work in progress involving peers, tutors and subject specialists;
· Individual or group development of a portfolio that documents the research and design processes and their management.
· Strategic research into issues of environment, materials, structure and construction.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:
1. Devise and manage a self directed program of appropriate research.
2. Develop a well grounded and detailed project brief and outline design  proposition for a coherent architectural design which integrates knowledge of  the social, political, economic, cultural and the arts, environmental and  professional context which guides building construction
3. Construct a well judged and rigorous design process.
4. Work effectively with the skills and knowledge involved in an area of  specialization.
5. Collate and document the critical design development process to a professional  standard of presentation.


Assessment strategy

Module assessment will be based on the presentation of a portfolio, which will demonstrate through appropriate modes of documentation:
• A well constructed project brief for a coherent architectural design founded on relevant  research;
• A well managed, thoughtful and productive design process;
• A focused body of work that identifies and integrates within the design proposal,  specialist issues and skills, and understanding and knowledge of the context of  professional architectural practice and urban design;
• Evidence of self-determination and self-management;
• Visual and Verbal Communication skills in representing work to professional standards.
• Evidence of an outline design proposition at a sufficient level of ambition and  complexity to allow development and resolution as the thesis design project in Semester  B

Modes of documentation may include: drawings; photographic material; multi-media material; quantitative data; qualitative data; 3D models or prototypes; web-based material.  All 3D and multi-media work should be recorded in graphic form and explained to a standard suitable for assessment purposes.


Provided by the unit tutor and is specific to the project briefs