Forms and Structure - AR549

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 5 15 (7.5) checkmark-circle


This design module integrates concerns for structure, construction and form in the process of architectural design. The objective is to help and to encourage students to design with each of these subject areas simultaneously informing the others.
A series of lectures and seminar group exercises will introduce students to the principles of structural design including structural typologies; loads and forces; simple beam bending theory; mechanics of materials; and structural geometry. Students will be presented with strategies and qualitative methods of structural analysis which will support the activities of the module. Basic structural theory and the study of form and construction will be consistently related to real buildings, structures and materials.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

23 contact hours

Method of assessment

Technology (Structural Case Study) (40%)
Design (Structural Design Project Report (60%)
Both of the above assessed components must be passed

Indicative reading

Gordon, J. E. 1. (1978). Structures, or Why things don't fall down. London: Penguin
Gupta, R. S. (2010). Principles of Structural Design: Wood, Steel, and Concrete. London: Taylor & Francis.
Silver, Pete and McLean, Will. (2008). Introduction to Architectural Technology. London: Laurence King.
Williams, A. (2009). Structural Analysis - In Theory and Practice. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 A reasonable understanding of the need to critically review precedents relevant to the function, organisation and technological strategy of design proposals
8.2 A reasonably developed understanding of the investigation, critical appraisal and selection of alternative structural, constructional and material systems relevant to architectural design
8.3 A reasonably developed understanding of the strategies for building construction, and ability to integrate knowledge of structural principles and construction techniques
8.4 A reasonably developed understanding of the physical properties and characteristics of building materials, components and systems, and the environmental impact of specification choices
8.5 An awareness of the aesthetic possibilities of natural light
8.6 A basic knowledge of iterative and evidence-based approaches to design
9.1 An ability to apply a reasonably developed range of communication methods and media to present design proposals clearly and effectively
9.2 An ability to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions at a reasonably developed level in order to make and present sound judgments within a structured discourse relating to architectural culture, theory and design
9.3 A reasonably developed understanding of the alternative material processes and techniques that apply to architectural design and building construction.
9.4 An ability to work in teams
9.5 Research skills and analytical skills
9.6 An ability to produce reports which are clear, analytical and logical covering a range of technical issues and include appropriate illustrations
9.7 An awareness of the role of research in overcoming knowledge gaps


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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