Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Architectural Design 2: Exploration and Proposition

Course summary

Course code: ARCT1039
Level: 5
Credits: 30
School: Architecture, Computing and Hums
Department: Architecture and Landscape
Course Coordinator(s): Max Dewdney


Introduction and rationale

This course builds upon Year 1 design courses to further develop abilities in design. ARCT 1039 Exploration and Proposition may be developed as a complete project in its own right or it may be seen as the prelude to the major project in ARCT 1040 Architectural Design 2: Resolution. Students are asked to address themes of the units by developing speculative design proposals and that can be resolved in their major building project. It allows year 2 students to experiment with forms of visual representation that can be deployed in the major architectural project.

Within Exploration and Proposition course students are asked to investigate themes of the unit by designing a speculative proposal; either a building, installation or object or other method of investigation during Semester 1. The investigation could consist of design and field research or beyond the discipline of architecture, such as art practice, urban design, technology, or literature or social sciences.

Pre and co requisites

Successfully passing all level 4 courses.


• To develop iterative design skills in a range of mediums, appropriate to the ideas being explored within the unit.
• You will investigate physical sites through drawings and models, these observational drawings, models and other site investigations will inform your strategy for your design proposals.
• To explore and propose design strategies that appraises user needs. To understand the context in which an architectural project/building is sited, including an understanding of how architecture impacts on current and or future communities.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1. Produce design research from fields inside and outside of architecture that are relevant to the unit brief and design projects, being aware of other designers working in the field.
2. Explore different approaches to architectural design and forms of representations in order to find an appropriate method of working and communication ideas
3. Visual descriptions of the physical location in which the project context(s) are located. These should include site plans and section and physical / digital models at an appropriate scale.
4. Design architectural spaces while negotiating issues of scale, composition, structure and
programme of occupation.
5. Investigation of ideas in context to scale using appropriate media. To move from an idea to a design, then to critically reflect upon that design and to modify the idea and then move on to a modified design proposal. This is a process of design iteration and is central to the design. An ability to develop ideas by hand, digitally, physically as the process evolves is central to this process.

Indicative content

Students will be required to demonstrate the development their Design Project with reference to their research course work and will present their project through a design portfolio that may include drawings, illustrations, models (physical and/or digital), installations, films, animations, interactive and devices. All work must be appropriately documented and coherently presented.

Learning and Teaching Activities
Design teaching takes place though project work based in Design Units consisting of a mix of year 2 & 3 students. Students will work individually guided by their design tutors.

The design portfolio will be provisionally assessed through an interim and final crits, against
the learning outcomes and assessment criteria for the course. Where models, videos, full-scale constructions, or animations are to be assessed, these must be also documented in the portfolio.

There will also be an Interim Portfolio review at the end of Semester 1, followed by a formal portfolio examination at the end of Semester 2.

There will be plenty of opportunities for formative assessment. This takes place at ‘crits’, at mid-year portfolio reviews, and during design seminars and tutorials. (Note: a ‘crit’ is usually a public project review of the student’s work discussed by tutors, invited external critics from academia or practice, and students).


Portfolio Assessment - 100% weighting, pass mark of 40%. Outline Details: Portfolio of Design Work.
Formative assessment: Written feedback from student presentations (crits), design seminars and individual tutorials.