module specification

DN7010 - Interior Contexts (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Interior Contexts
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
161 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Illustrated Document (2500-3000 words)
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The module analyses and reflects upon the interaction of people, space and things that is at the root of interior design. This module explores ways to analyse, contextualise and interpret their relationship in relation to a specific interior.
To achieve this there are three aspects to the module; first the drawn analysis of the space; second the reading and responding to texts, films and other media that help establish a contextual perspective; and third through the combination of these approaches, the production of an interpretative narrative that offers a new visual and textual reading of the space.
The module aims to develop students’ ability to synthesize the spatially analytic understanding of an interior space with the contexts in which it was produced and has subsequently developed. Through this, students should extend and refine a range of representational skills to describe the composition of an interior.


Using London, the module will explore the composition, scale and experience of the interior in the city and the social and cultural context in which it was produced and has since been occupied.

Context for the interior is a complex discourse. At the scale of the city, the urban and architectural setting and the historical and socio-economic circumstance of the space’s production and subsequent development have not always been prominent in either the design or critique of interior design. At the scale of inhabitation, the fabric of the interior - linings, utilities, furniture, artefacts - needs to be understood on its own merits but also, critically, as choreographed elements that, through the space they occupy, are in dialogue with the scale of the city. LO4

The interrogation of these interior spaces in relation to the cultural conditions of the occupiers and their inhabitation enables a more rigorous understanding of material, technology and innovation and notions of ownership, value and public and private space. LO1,LO2

In considering ‘designed spaces’, students will look at the real or perceived disparities between the intended and/or completed interior and its subsequent inhabitation and use this as a stimulus to interpret the space. LO3

Through a series of case studies, together with texts, films and visits, students will develop spatial and textual narratives as a means of testing notions of space, inhabitation and value. LO2

The narrative is textual and graphic and, whether reflective or interpretive, presents an individual commentary and critique of the interior chosen for analysis. LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

As a taught postgraduate module, all of the teaching and learning strategies promote reflective learning, enquiry, and independence of thought, rigour of research and testing, and professionalism in presentation.

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and practice-focused learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able to engage and challenge the intellectual and professional environment of their discipline, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module students will be able to:

1. offer an integrated analytical, contextual and speculative interpretation of an interior space;
2. employ a range of interpretive and theoretical positions in the written exploration of interior space;
3. represent the composition of an interior through the drawn/visual analysis of spatial, material and artefactual elements;
4. demonstrate an informed and critical understanding of the cultural context of an interior, its production and inhabitation.

Assessment strategy

The module submission consists of an illustrated document. This proposes an integrated narrative interpretation of an interior, consisting of visual analysis of an interior and textual commentary (2500-3000 words)

The work will be assessed in relation to:

• the quality of investigation, thinking and understanding in the analysis of an interior;
• the demonstration of intellectual clarity and creative rigour in the narrative interpretation of the design and context of an interior;
• the appropriateness of theoretical and interpretive positions considered or employed;
• the graphic quality, imagination and clarity of the spatial compositional analysis;
• the ambition shown in integrating visual and textual analysis, reflection and speculation in construction of the narrative.

Students are expected to maintain appropriate records of their work as it develops and to contribute to discussion of their own and others’ work. Students therefore have the opportunity to learn from feedback given throughout the course and continuously improve their portfolio of work for the final summative assessment.


The following are indicative only.  Refereed journals/ articles and electronic resources: issued according to syllabus

Essential Reading:

Brooker, G. and Weinthal, L. (eds), (2013) The Handbook of Interior Architecture and Design, Bloomsbury: London
Hollis, E. (2010) The Secret Life of Buildings, Portobello Books: London
Scott, F. (2007) On Altering Architecture, Routledge, London
Taylor, M. and Preston, J.  (eds), (2006) Intimus; Interior Design Theory Reader, John Wiley: Chichester
Weinthal, L. (ed.), (2011) Toward a New Interior; an Anthology of Interior Design Theory, Princeton University Press: New York

Recommended Reading:

Auge, M. (2009) Non Places, Verso: London
Bachelard, G. (1992) The Poetics of Space: Beacon Press
Benjamin, W. (1995) One Way Street and Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century, in Reflections, Random House: USA
Boyer, C. (1996) The City of Collective Memory: Its Historical Imagery and Architectural Entertainments, MIT Press: Boston, Mass.
Kant, I. (revised edition 2008) The Critique of Judgement, OUP: Oxford
Kern, S. (2003), The Culture of Time and Space 1880-1918, Harvard University Press: Boston, Mass
Lichtenstein, R. and Sinclair, I. (2000) Rodinsky’s Room, Granta: London
Miller, D. (2009) Stuff, Polity Press: London
Perec, G. (2008) Species of spaces and other pieces, Penguin Classics: London
Rasmussen, S.E. (2nd ed., 1962) Experiencing Architecture, MIT Press: Boston, Mass.
Tanizaki, J. (2001) In Praise of Shadows, Vintage Books: London