module specification

DN5004 - Design Details (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Design Details
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
150 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
150 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

Materiality (form, colour, surface and texture) affects meaning and value in all design. This module requires your critical attention to subtle and implicit design details, expressed through materials and construction, considering how material-selection and manipulation inscribes quality and value onto the artefact and/or interior.

You will explore both physical and virtual material representation, drawing on concepts and ideas originally generated within the studio. Outcomes will be developed through material and/ or constructional experimentation including full-scale interventions or working prototypes. You will realise relevant design solutions for studio briefs, in response to specific end-users and/or sites.

Through in-depth practice-led research, you will consider the social, functional and environmental impacts of material choices and the performance of these upon designed-spaces or objects.

You will learn to work to a high level of professional presentation. You will develop a logical and creative approach to design problem solving, appropriate to the needs of users and clients.

Prior learning requirements

Pass & Completion of Prior Level

Module aims

This module seeks to enable you, through discipline-specific practice, to:

• Research, explore, analyse and consider the materiality of designed environments and artefacts.
• Examine and undertake materials-selection with regard to relevant issues of values and significance, cost, aesthetics, ethics, and performance.
• Experiment with materials in your design practice, in order to make sound and appropriately flexible judgements, taking account of technical, aesthetic, ethical and economic constraints
• Manipulate a variety of scaled and detailed realisations, prototyping industry methods accurately, to convey appropriate design solutions.
• Show critical awareness of ethical and environmental dimensions of design choices in your work in relation to professional standards within the industry,
• Engage in responsible design with awareness of relevant social obligations as well as the end-user’s personal, physical, and sensory needs.


Through projects, students will normally develop knowledge and experience of:

• environmental material issues: scarcity, sustainability, recycling and social impact
• aesthetics and economics of material/process selection, maintenance, energy requirement, disposal, whole-life costing
• materials-specification methods
• construction methods and practices found in commercial practice
• technical conventions of construction and detail drawing appropriate to industry standards
• subcontracting industries
• 2D and 3D production techniques and technologies
• prototyping/ scaling systems
• research & analysis techniques via site visits and user testing

Learning and teaching

Projects will seek to enable a range of learning opportunities such as:

• study groups, face-to-face and on WebLearn
• student discussion blog
• online personal portfolio to encourage reflective practice
• digital log of progress through the module and its projects
• students develop resource library online
• team working projects
• contextual site and industry visits
• lectures, seminars, demonstrations, in-class exercises, homework assignments and peer critiques

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
Research and make sound material, construction or process choices for a range of contexts, defending your choices

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
Consider and balance the complex and competing demands made by the practical, ethical, economic and aesthetic issues linked to material, construction or process selection.

Transferable Skills
Accurately express your design intentions in respect of materials through a range of industry standard professional realisation and communication techniques, informed by users, clients and social context.

Subject Specific Practical Skills
Acquire and apply to a professional standard, appropriate detailed and scaled techniques and technical competences for material, process and construction-investigation, testing and experimentation

Assessment strategy

In the ‘end of project’ reviews, students are expected to produce a coherent presentation, demonstrating project development, process and findings, together with individual critical evaluation of relative successes and failures, and to be able communicate and debate these with others.

Project work will be formatively assessed and reflected upon in feedback throughout, including continuing independent practice and associated health and safety procedures.

The final mark is given at the end of the module, demonstrated through a portfolio of project work (as specified in project briefs). Work must be carefully organised and presented to indicate the development of work and the content clearly labeled. Students must attend timetabled studio and workshop sessions.


Blanc, A. (1994) Internal Components, Longman
Brepohl Prof. Dr. E, (2003) The Theory and Practice of Goldsmithing, Brynmorgen Press
Clarkson, J (Ed.) (2003) Inclusive Design, Springer
Colchester,C (2000) The New Textiles, Thames & Hudson
Fuad-Luke A (2003) The Eco-Design Handbook, Thames and Hudson

Hawkes, D. and Forster, W. (2002) Architecture, Engineering and Environment, Lawrence King
Jackson, A. & Day, D. (1995) Collins Good Wood Handbook, Harper Collins
Mazza S (1996) In the Bag, Chronicle Books 

Papanek, V. (2003) The Green Imperative, Thames & Hudson
Reed, R. (2010) Color + Design: Transforming Interior Space, Fairchild
Schittich, C. (ed) (2002) Interior spaces: space, light, material, Birkhauser
Smith, P. (2003) Sustainability at the Cutting Edge, Architectural Press
Stoller, D (2000) Stitch & Bitch Nation, Berg
Thomson, R (2007) Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals, Thames and Hudson

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