module specification

DN5002 - Human Scale (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Human Scale
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
120 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
180 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Project Work
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Tuesday Afternoon
Year City Friday Morning
Year City Friday Afternoon
Year City Tuesday Morning

Module summary

As humans, we live in a continuous and ongoing relationship with the made world, where the former and the latter each informs the other.  This module aims to show how understanding of the human body (its scale, proportions and movement) and awareness of sociological and physiological human behaviour are key aspects of successful design. This module will examine how humans live and work together and how the body is a site for debate, performance and politics through contemporary and historical civilizations. 

Close observation of the interaction between the body and its immediate environment will be at the core of this area of study. It will show how analysis of the human being, at a range of scales, is vital to relevant, safe and ethical, innovative design that responds to physical and sensory needs. Environmental observation and reflection will be documented through a range of media, analysed to support the generation of concepts and design ideas.

Informed selection and application of material processes are an intrinsic part of the design and production of both objects and the made environment. Workshop activities will explore and test ideas, resolving design issues through modelling in traditional and digital materials and technologies. Material experimentation and knowledge will enhance both the concept and its communication.

You will normally select from a range of studio projects, working with contemporary ideas and practising designers, mentored by professional practices as appropriate to the project.

Prior learning requirements

Pass and Completion of Certificate Level

Module aims

This module seeks to enable you to;

• Heighten your awareness and understanding of the human body and its physical, social and psychological needs in designed objects and environments and the body as a site of debate, performance and politics

• Identify and develop appropriate research, observation, survey, measurement and analysis methods for the connected areas of community, inclusive, ergonomic, psychological and sensory aspects of design

• Select and apply materials, skills and processes appropriate to human-centred design, exploring concepts through model making and visualisation to develop ideas towards a professional outcome

• Develop and use relevant professional communication and presentation skills and apply professional codes of conduct and ethics to your work


The module will necessarily reflect current debate and practice concerning thinking, and use of materials, techniques and technologies appropriate to human-centred design, including 2D and 3D production processes and relevant discipline-specific skills. Through the studio projects, you will normally develop knowledge and experience of:

• Research and testing encompassing inclusive, ergonomic, psychological and sensory aspects of design
• Materials identification, testing and specification
• Sampling/model making in response to research
• Developing and testing outcomes against identified aims
• Project documentation and technical specification
• Professional analysis and diagnostic self-management techniques
• Professionally relevant software
• Advanced traditional and digital modelling techniques
• Presentation skills for exhibition and publication.
• Team and collaborative workshops developing ethical and professional awareness and codes of conduct

Learning and teaching

Studio projects will develop in relation to learning opportunities explored in lectures, seminars, inductions and online communication, with studio presentations and critiques providing opportunity for peer review and analysis of work in progress and formative feedback.

Workshop skills (traditional and/or digital) effectively develop ideas through making, while encouraging student knowledge transfer. The discussion of ideas, process and approach will develop a student resource through a blended learning facility. Peer and self-assessment, face-to-face and online, will allow reflective opportunities and the creation of a personal development portfolio. Set tasks and site visits will encourage teamwork, online community networking and communication.

There will normally be academic and technical monitoring and/or guidance within studio and workshop sessions and whilst this module works to develop the student’s capacity to work autonomously, it is also supported by individual tutorials.

Learning outcomes

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

Knowledge and Understanding
Integrate within your design practice, critical knowledge of concepts relevant to human-centred design

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
Select and explore methods of data collection and conceptual development relevant to inclusive, ergonomic, psychological and sensory design

Transferable Skills
Test a design concept through critical investigation and observation, sketching, modeling, material & process selection and manipulation illustrating conceptual thinking and critical analysis of practice

Subject Specific Practical Skills
Demonstrate understanding and use of sector skills and professional attributes in modeling and visualising for publication or exhibition

Assessment strategy

In end of project critiques, you are expected to produce a coherent visual and verbal presentation of your project concept, development and outcomes, together with an individual critical evaluation of relative successes and failures, and to communicate and discuss these with others.

2D and 3D sketching and sketch modeling, project research development work and outcomes at the end of each project will be assessed formatively and feedback will be given at regular intervals throughout the module. Satisfactory completion of relevant technical/ workshop activities and continuing independent practice (and associated health and safety procedures) will be monitored.

All students are required to undertake formal interim presentations with evidence of continuous reflective journals responding to studio critique and tutorial guidance. Work presented will be subject to formal studio feedback from a panel of disciplinary specialists. This will inform final assessment marks and must be considered and acted upon by the student.

A final mark is awarded at the end of the module, reflecting the quality of project work demonstrated (normally including presentation models, supporting visualisation and/or portfolio) for publication or exhibition. Work must be carefully organized and presented to indicate the development of work and the content clearly labeled. Summative written feedback will be provided corresponding to published assessment criteria. Students are required to attend timetabled studio and workshop sessions.


Aldersey-Williams, H (2003) Zoomorphic: New Animal Architecture, Laurence King.
Bairstow, J, Barber, R and Kenny,M (1999) Design Modelling, Hodder & Stoughton.
Clarkson, J (ed.) (2003) Inclusive Design: Design For the Whole Population, Springer.
Farrelly, L (2007) Basics Architecture: Representational Techniques, AVA Publishing.
Littlefield D (2011) The Metric Handbook, Architectural Press.
Malnar, J & Vodvarka, F (2004) Sensory Design, University of Minnesota Press.
Norman, D (2004) Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things, Basic.
Spankie, R (2009), Basics Interior Architecture 03: Drawing Out the Interior, AVA Publishing.

Additionally texts and other reference materials will be identified by studio tutors annually that support a
specific studio theme.