module specification

DN4008 - Interior Materials and Technologies (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Interior Materials and Technologies
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Practice Journal
Coursework 25%   Series of Models & Material Experiments
Coursework 25%   Set of Analytical and Annotated Drawings
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Tuesday Morning

Module summary

By progressing from the scale of the building to that of interior components and materials, this module provides an introduction to technologies, materials and the communication and making practices of designers working with the Interior.

It specifically establishes an understanding of key building technology by introducing typical building construction for historic and contemporary buildings. The principles of building services and environmental design in the design of interior spaces will also be introduced. Materials, their properties, selection and application will be considered and tested.

Additionally, students will develop communication techniques appropriate to the diversity of information designers’ use and audiences targeted. These will include the use of different orthogonal drawing conventions, diagrams and sketches, and a range of modelmaking types and making processes.

The module will use different methods to establish this knowledge; site visits and surveys, case studies, making and drawing workshops, as well as lectures, seminars and the utilisation of a wide variety of published sources.

Module aims

The module aims to prepare students for the complex task of getting their work built by:

  • Familiarising students with the scope of the interiors industry and the different disciplines involved the design and delivery of interior spaces; all of which have their own knowledge base, consultants, specialists, manufacturers, resources and forms of communication.
  • Providing the means to understand material properties and to test these in their selection and application
  • Utilising a range of drawing conventions, material experimentation and model making techniques to communicate precise ideas and information in the design of a large scale interior component (for example, a stair)
  • Providing an overview and understanding of historic and contemporary building and interior technologies
  • Establishing the principles of building services and environmental design for the interior
  • Introducing the use of case studies, site visits and surveys as a means of connecting ideas for interiors and their built manifestation
  • Establishing a critical, personal practice of recording, documenting and interpreting approaches to making interior space


A series of lectures, seminars and case studies introduce the characteristics and design intent of materials, construction and environmental services.

Interior Construction. An introduction to simple construction and material technologies, informing the construction of interior spaces and components. The efficient use of construction, materials, sequence and performance are considered as part of the design process and aspects of user comfort, safety, protection and escape are evaluated.

Materials. An introduction to architectural and interior materials through a developed understanding of their sources, processes of production, characteristics and properties. Methods of making appropriate selection and application are introduced and evaluated.

Environment. An introduction to active and passive systems of ventilation, acoustics, thermal performance and their impact on human comfort.

Services. Am introduction to the principles of providing and removing water, air, power and waste using physical, mechanical and electrical systems.

Building Structure and Construction. An outline of historic and contemporary principles and techniques.

A series of workshops develop drawing, material and modelmaking techniques to support the testing and communication of knowledge arising from the lectures and seminars and their application to studio projects.

Drawings will include scaled analytical drawings in two and three dimensions, the use of diagrams to summarise ideas or exiting conditions and annotated drawings will introduce the use of symbol and the integration of text. The subject of these may be case studies or the studio module project work.

Models will develop students’ workshop skills by developing familiarity with a range of materials and processes. The models will be used to test material and constructional principles and to test these in the application of the students’ ideas developed in studio practice modules.

Learning and teaching

As a module that introduces and develops a variety of learning methods a key aspect of the learning and teaching strategy is to establish students’ method of recording, managing and reflecting on the knowledge and skills introduced.

The module uses lectures to introduce key principles and the subject knowledge base. The seminars reflect on this and on the case studies, site visits and surveys that extend this knowledge and establish the students’ use of reference, critical analysis and interpretation of precedent buildings and interiors.

The drawing, material and modelmaking workshops enable students to develop the practice of using 2D and 3D visual communication skills to communicate specific types of design information. The information described will be particular to this module but complimentary to the studio design modules.

Successful learning in this module is dependent upon regular attendance and engagement in the scheduled teaching and the level of self-managed study undertaken. The tool to manage and achieve this is the ‘Practice Journal’. The Journal will record each module event – lecture, seminar, workshop etc - and the students’ participation, contribution and reflection upon these, and is the principle assessment item.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the position of the designers’ practice within the Interiors industry
  2. Identify principle historic and contemporary structural and constructional methods functionally and conceptually, and use practical terms of reference to classify different structural, environmental, constructional and material systems
  3. Identify materials and their properties to demonstrate methods of appropriate selection and application
  4. Employ precise and appropriate modelmaking and drawn techniques to communicate design ideas and information in a study of the technology involved in a simple small-scale design proposal
  5. Identify principle factors of building services and environmental design effecting the interior
  6. Employ a variety of referencing, research and recording methods to understand the relationship between ideas and built spaces
  7. Demonstrate a careful, methodical and imaginative approach to recording knowledge and ideas about the Interior

Assessment strategy

The Practice Journal records the students’ progress through each element and activity of the module. The understanding and critical enquiry demonstrated in the journal is key to its success. The consistency of the record of learning, the care with which the journal is produced and the consequent effectiveness of its communication of the knowledge and skills acquired will be assessed.

The series of material experiments and models will demonstrate the students’ skill in material understanding and modelmaking and their understanding of the use different techniques to convey ideas and information and to convey particular and appropriate information.

The set of scaled drawings will demonstrate students’ development in using drawings as a tool to analyse an interior through the clarity which they select the subject of the work. The annotated drawings will demonstrate their understanding of the use of different drawing types and the use of symbol and integration of textual information.


Ashby, M.F. & Johnson, K. (2014) Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design 3rd ed. Butterworth-Heinemann.
Brown, R. & Farrelly, L. (2012) Materials and Interior Design (Portfolio Skills), Laurence King
Farrelly, L. (2008) Basics Architecture 02; Construction & Materiality, AVA Publishing
Gagg, R. (2011) Basics Interior Architecture 05: Texture + Materials, AVA Publishing
Plunkett, D. (2010) Construction and Detailing for Interior Design (Portfolio Skills), Laurence King