Introduction to Programming for Architecture and Design - ARCH8540

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 7 30 (15) Tim Ireland checkmark-circle


This module will introduce students to the basics of computer programming to take them from beginners through to intermediate programmers, using Processing, a Java-based language created for visual designers, architects and artists. Through the course, students will learn how to use core Processing methods, and transferable programming techniques, to create architectural spatial formations.

Students will be taught the fundamentals of computer code through a series of workshops, which are studio based to emphasise a design ethos and promote exchange between learning code and application. Students will learn how to write short programs that create dynamic patterns and then, having grasped the fundamentals of coding, will study Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and Agent-Based Modelling (ABM). The module will shift from taught workshop demonstrations initially to tutorial/studio oriented sessions in which the students will develop a short ABM program generating architectural space and form as a result of interaction.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 36 hours
Private study hours: 264 hours
Total study hours: 300 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Report (100%) (2000 to 4000 words)

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Reas, C. and Fry, B. (2015). Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists. The MIT Press, Cambridge: Mass.
Shiffman, D. (2012). The Nature of Code: Simulating Natural Systems with Processing. The Nature of Code.
Shiffman, D. (2015). Learning Processing: A Beginner's Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction. Morgan Kaufmann, Amsterdam, 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 comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of the Processing computer programming language.
2 A comprehensive understanding of the principles of computer code and Object-Oriented Programming.
3 A comprehensive understanding of agent-based modelling.
4 An ability to read and adapt computer code, to produce a different outcome.
5 An ability to think spatially and behaviourally through code.

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

1 A comprehensive understanding of the principles of programming and writing computer code.
2 An ability to thinking algorithmically.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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