Modern House - ARCH3220

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Jef Smith checkmark-circle


The concept of building type is crucial in developing an understanding of the built environment as a coherent endeavour. Recurrent plan types are important in establishing order in architecture and interiors. Equally, divergence from the norm is important in rethinking established spatial types. The most ubiquitous building type is the house, and its analysis comprises the essence of this module. We shall be studying the house as an example of vernacular design, as a response to the particular environment of a region, as well as analysing key examples of the modern house. By this means, the key periods and events in the development of modernism may be charted. Students will gain an understanding of the modern house by reading relevant literature and architectural drawings and photographs, in addition to making scale models of particular houses, and writing illustrated essays.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 23
Private Study Hours: 127
Total Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay (2,500 words) (80%)
Model (20%)
Both of the above assessed components must be passed

Reassessment methods
Like for like

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Davies, Colin. (2005). The Prefabricated Home. London: Reaktion
Dunster, David. (1990). Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century. Butterworth: London
Muthesius, Stefan. (1982). The English Terraced House. Yale University Press: London
Sherwood, Roger. (1981). Modern Housing Prototypes. Harvard University Press
Smith, Elizabeth A.T. (1999). Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses. Cambridge, Mass: MIT
Walker, John. (1989). Design History and the History of Design. Pluto: London

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 A basic knowledge of the cultural, social and intellectual histories, theories and technologies that influence the design of buildings
2 A basic knowledge of the influence of history and theory on the spatial, social, and technological aspects of architecture
3 A basic knowledge of how theories, practices and technologies of the arts influence architectural design
4 A basic knowledge of the creative application of the fine arts and their relevance and impact on architecture
5 An understanding of the need to critically review precedents relevant to the function, organisation and technological strategy of design proposals
6 An understanding of the concept of unconscious, 'vernacular' design, and knowledge of housing as opposed to the one-off designed house
7 A knowledge of the concept of building typology, and understanding of the house as a representative type
8 A knowledge of key modern houses representing a variety of twentieth-century design
9 An ability to write clearly, using academic conventions and appropriate illustrations in a well-designed format

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 An ability to apply a basic range of communication methods and media to present design proposals clearly and effectively
2 An ability to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions at a foundational level in order to make and present sound judgments within a structured discourse relating
to architectural culture, theory and design
3 An ability to research historical and theoretical topics


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage 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.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.