Architectural Design - ARCH5580

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Spring Term 6 30 (15) Ambrose Gillick checkmark-circle


This module, the final design project of the BA programme, focuses on the detailed design of a significant new piece of architecture that responds to sustainable urban development objectives and the environmental, social and built context. The module develops and assesses a student's capabilities, skills, knowledge and understanding of the relationships and intersections between new building work, existing urban fabric and the principles of architectural sustainability within the broader cultural context and theoretical discourse. Central to this is the development of a responsive design brief that supports, develops and enhances the existing use of a site towards improved and new uses and enhanced environmental, social and economic sustainability, integrated into the urban context. Two key design skills will be demonstrated: the integration of the conflicting demands surrounding a proposal that successfully balances the requirements of client, user and the public with the cultural, technical, urban and environmental pressures encountered; and the thoughtful engagement with and application of the principles of sustainability to architectural design in the built environment. The design and integrated technical proposals must therefore be contextual and developed with reference to historical and social aspects of the existing built environment, as well as broader environmental concerns. This practical design project is supported by both lectures, seminars and workshops on the technical and environmental specification of sustainable architectural design, including illumination, acoustics, heating and cooling strategies and material specifications. Additionally, lectures, seminars and tutorials addressing regulatory, historical, theoretical, ergonomic, spatial, formal and aesthetic principles of architectural design are provided.


Contact hours

Total contact time: 65 hours
Total private study: 235 hours
Total study hours: 300 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Design (70%)
Technology & Environment (30%)
Both of the above assessed components must be passed

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Bizley, Graham. (2007). Architecture in detail. Architectural
Deplazes, A. (2002). Constructing architecture: Materials, processes, structures: a handbook.
Lechner, Norbert. (2008). Heating, Cooling & Lighting – Sustainable Design Methods for Architects (3rd ed). Wiley.
Pelsmakers, Sofie (2014). The Environmental Design Pocketbook. London: RIBA Publishing.
Roaf, Sue. (2004) Adapting buildings and cities to climate change. London: Architectural Press
Sassi, Paola. (2006). Strategies for Sustainable Architecture. London: Taylor and Francis.
Schittich Christian (2004). Solar Architecture : Strategies, Visions, Concepts. Basel: Birkhauser.

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 An ability to prepare and present building design projects of diverse scale, complexity, and type in a variety of contexts, using a range of media, and in response to a
brief. [GC1.1]
2 The ability to understand the constructional and structural systems, the environmental strategies and the regulatory requirements that apply to the design and
construction of a comprehensive design project. [GC1.2]
3 An ability to develop a conceptual and critical approach to architectural design that integrates and satisfies the aesthetic aspects of a building and the technical
requirements of its construction and the needs of the user. [GC1.3]
4 A knowledge of the creative application of such work (the fine arts) to studio design projects, in terms of their conceptualisation and representation. [GC3.3]
5 An understanding of the needs and aspirations of building users. [GC5.1]
6 An understanding of the need to critically review precedents relevant to the function, organisation and technological strategy of design proposals. [GC7.1]
7 An understanding of the need to appraise and prepare building briefs of diverse scales and types, to define client and user requirements and their appropriateness to site
and context. [GC7.2]
8 An understanding of the contributions of architects and co-professionals to the formulation of the brief, and the methods of investigation used in its preparation. [GC7.3]
9 An understanding of the investigation, critical appraisal and selection of alternative structural, constructional and material systems relevant to architectural design.
10 An understanding of strategies for building construction, and ability to integrate knowledge of structural principles and construction techniques. [GC8.2]
11 An understanding of the physical properties and characteristics of building materials, components and systems, and the environmental impact of specification choices.
12 A knowledge of principles associated with designing optimum visual, thermal and acoustic environments. [GC9.1]
13 Knowledge of systems for environmental comfort realised within relevant precepts of sustainable design. [GC9.2]
14 Knowledge of strategies for building services, and ability to integrate these in a design project. [GC9.3]
15 Skills to prepare designs that will meet building users' requirements and comply with UK legislation, appropriate performance standards and health and safety
requirements. [GC10.3]
16 An ability to relate the concepts underlying one's own design to themes in contemporary theory. [B5]
17 An understanding of the alternative materials, processes and techniques that apply to architectural design and building construction. [GA3]

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

1 An ability to generate design proposals using understanding of a body of knowledge, some at the current boundaries of professional practice and the academic discipline
of architecture. [GA1]
2 An ability to apply a range of communication methods and media to present design proposals clearly and effectively. [GA2]


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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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