Discourse and Theory of Bio Digital Architecture - ARCH8550

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Module delivery information

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


This module aims to develop the student's overall understanding of contemporary scientific theories pertinent to avant-garde architectural design methodologies. Students will develop an interdisciplinary and contemporary understanding of architecture, architectural design, and how people perceive and interact through the study of concepts from other fields relevant, yet traditionally separate, to architecture; such as biology, psychology, computer science and philosophy.

The module consists of lectures that introduce and describe contemporary concepts and theories applicable to bio digital architecture, and seminars in which students will debate and analyse propositions to critically reflect on architecture, architectural design and the quality of the built environment. The aim of the module is to develop the student's ability to write in a way that deals with complex issues, and that addresses the outcomes of the module.


Contact hours

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

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay (5000 words) (100%)

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Gruber, P. (2011). Biomimetics in Architecture - Architecture of Life and Buildings. Springer-Verlag, Wien.
Mertins D. 2007 Where Architecture Meets Biology: An Interview with Detlef Mertins. In Interact or Die! (eds J Brouwer, A Mulder), pp. 110–131. V2 Publishing
Kwinter, Sanford. (1992). "Emergence: Or the Artificial Life of Space", in Anywhere. New York:
Rizzoli, 1992.
O'Keefe, J. and Nadel, L. (1978). Chapter 1. Remembrance of places past: a history of theories of
space, in The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Pinter-Wollman, N., Fiore, S. M., Theraulaz, G. and Penn, A. (2018). Interdisciplinary approaches for uncovering the impacts of architecture on collective behaviour. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Noa Pinter-Wollman, Stephen M. Fiore, Guy Theraulaz and Alan Penn (Eds.). Volume 373, Issue 1753. 19th August 2018.
Terranova, C.N. and Tromble, M. (2017). The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. Charissa N. Terranova and Meredith Tromble (Eds.). Routledge.

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 theories of space and spatiality.
2 An ability to establish a position and to reflect critically on different theories in relation to the student's idiosyncratic perspective.
3 An awareness and comprehensive understanding of contemporary biological theory and its relevance to architecture.
4 A comprehensive understanding of theories and models in the sciences, and influence on art and design.
5 A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between people and buildings/their environment.
6 An ability to think critically and cross-disciplinarily about the relevance and transfer of concepts and theory between disciplines.

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

1 A comprehensive ability to think in terms of space, form and order from both a biological and architectural perspective.
2 An ability to undertake independent cross-disciplinary research in the areas of biology and architecture and to formulate reasoned and critical judgements.
3 Ability to independently define and appraise ideas and make reasoned judgements.
4 An ability to write an essay and present a coherent argument dealing with knowledge and understanding of complex issues.


  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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