Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Architectural Design 3: Exploration and Proposition

Course summary

Course code: ARCT1041
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Architecture, Computing and Hums
Department: Architecture and Landscape
Course Coordinator(s): Max Dewdney


Introduction and rationale

Third year design courses build directly on ideas and practices introduced established in Years 1 and 2, so that students can expand and develop their design abilities further, with an emphasis on design synthesis. By completion of Year 3 students are expected to demonstrate that they can develop a design with greater skill, sensitivity and expertise. They are also expected to be able to show that their architectural design technology research has clearly influenced their design work and demonstrate overall design synthesis.

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 & 5 courses.


• To further develop and synthesise 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 principle architectural project.
• To explore, propose, and synthesise design strategies that appraises user needs. To understand the context in which an architectural projects/buildings are sited, including a clear understanding of how architecture impacts on current and or future communities.

Learning outcomes

You will compile a portfolio; suitable for display in an end of year exhibition; in which you:

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 scaled and speculative drawings, illustrations, models (physical and/or digital), installations, films, or time based animations. All work must be appropriately documented and coherently presented.

Teaching and learning activity

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