module specification

AR7P67 - Major Design Thesis Project (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Major Design Thesis Project
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 600
375 hours Guided independent study
225 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30% 50 6,000 word illustrated Integrated Design
Oral Examination 10%   Design Portfolio Presentation to be submitted in the Week 15 of Spring Semester
Dissertation 60% 50 Portfolio to be submitted in the Week 15 of Spring Semester
Running in 2024/25

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

Module summary

This module runs in parallel with Design Specialisation and Proposal, and is concerned with enabling students to take forward themes developed there, into a major thesis design project. It combines a fully resolved design proposal with a well-argued written thesis report, which integrates the key fields of architectural knowledge in support of their design work.

Prior learning requirements

Design Level 6: Subject, Context and Communication; and, ADP021N  Design Level 6: Process and Proposal

Module aims

This 60 credit module represents the last performance of academic design, completing a student’s architectural education to MA standard.  It aims to demonstrate the student's ability to deliver a coherent architectural andurban design that integrates theory and practice. The student should be able to demonstrate a command of the knowledge and different conceptual, professional and technical skills that they have learnt in a highly resolved architectural design that should work as an integrated solution to a clearly defined set of issues.

The module will also promote and demonstrate the integration of key fields of professional architectural knowledge in the design work, through an accompanying research thesis - the integrated design study. The student will be required to demonstrate that within their comprehensive design project they have knowledge, understanding of, and ability, within the following four areas:

A. cultural context and communication,
B. professional context
C. construction, materials, structures, environment and sustainability.
D. urban context

Whilst design work will be undertaken through the studio units, all students will also be supported in their integrated design study  through separate tutorials with a specialist lecturer.


Students undertaking this module will study within a design unit but will be expected to work with a high level of independence in developing their final architectural design. The detailed syllabus will therefore be generated primarily by the student within the overall context and with the support of a design unit. The outcome for the module will focus on the design of a complex building. However, the final project may be weighted towards a strategic scale as found in urban design or a more detailed scale as appropriate to a technologically focused design. It is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate an equivalence in output between their project and the requirement to undertake a complex architectural design as part of a strategic understanding of their role as architects. Students wishing to take this option can do so only with the prior agreement of the Dean of the Moscow Architectural School.

In addition, students will be expected to investigate, communicate and appraise each of the following as they have informed and are realised within the comprehensive design project; through both the development of a design research diary, and a 6,000 illustrated thesis report, the integrated design study. This should include:

A. Cultural Context and Communication:
• The social political economic and professional context that guides and supports the design
• The histories and theories of architecture, urban design and the arts that have informed the design.
• The use of precedent and case studies in the development and resolution of the design.
• The use of visual, verbal, written, multimedia and participatory methods of communication in the development and communication of the design.
• The influence and relevance of the practices, technologies and creative application of the arts on architectural design in terms of conceptualization and representation
• The relationship between the forms of communication used and different stakeholders: lay, professional and academic involved in the design.

B. Professional Context:

    The relationship between the design and regulatory requirements including the needs of the disabled, health and safety legislation, building control and planning legislation.
    The way the design would be financed, procured and realised including a discussion of emerging trends in the construction industry such as partnering, integrated project processes, value engineering and risk management in as much as they relate to the design.
    The role of the architect implied by the design and the management, organisational and practice structures necessary to realise it.

C. Construction, Structures, Materials, Environment and Sustainable Design.

    The structural and constructional strategies and theories employed by the design.
    The construction techniques and processes necessary to realize the design
    The provision and integration of building services
    The physical properties and characteristics of the building materials and components used in the design
    The visual, thermal and acoustic principles which guide the design.
    The relationship between the design and the wider environment including the life styles promoted by the design and the energy it consumes.
    The way building technologies, environmental design construction methods, materials and components have been integrated into the design in relation to: human well-being, the welfare of future generations, the natural world, the sustainable environment.

D. Urban Context:

    Morphologies and typologies of the urban fabric and buildings
    Patterns of land use planning, zoning and building codes
    Transportation and servicing systems
    Public space and Landscape
    Urban and regional ecologies

Learning and teaching

Teaching and Learning methods include:

  •     A studio project developed from 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;
  •     Individual or group work developing a design scheme in detail using a range of media and techniques;
  •     Individual or group work developing a design scheme through tutorials, seminars, participatory processes, direct action,  crits and presentations on work in progress involving peers, tutors and subject specialists;
  •     Individual or group development of a portfolio that documents the final design scheme.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Propose a role for the practice of architecture and/or urban design within a specific and well-described political, economic, social and professional framework.
2. Advocate a coherent architectural design that responds convincingly to complex cultural and urban conditions.
3. Construct a coherent architectural design that is explicit about how it may be realised technically, politically, economically and creatively.
4. Integrate an advanced knowledge, understanding and ability of design, environment and sustainability, construction, materials and structures, cultural context and management and professional practice into a well-resolved coherent architectural design.
5. Propose a coherent architectural design that navigates a route through ethical issues: environmental, cultural or economic.
6. Propose an architectural design that responds effectively and creatively to the urban context
7. Understand the influence of budget on the design process.
8. Present and communicate a complex architectural design effectively and elegantly.
9. Demonstrate an ability to gather, process and make use of the information, processes and strategies necessary to develop a complex design proposal within the four key areas of creative and professional competence described in the module.
10. Demonstrate an ability to research across a variety of appropriate sources, in support of design development and to maintain an ongoing record of research development
11. Demonstrate an ability to communicate strategic design decisions through a sustained piece of writing with lay, professional and technical audiences and allied professionals.
12. Understand and use effectively protocols for applied academic research and professional report writing


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