AA1STI-Construction Technology: an Introduction

Module Provider: School of Architecture, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: AA1DS1 Architecture and Design - An Introduction to Studio AA1DS2 Architecture and Design - An Introduction to Site AA1HTI History and Theory of Architecture: an Introduction AA1IPI Industry and Practice - the Business Context of Architecture and AA1VCI Visualisation and Communication in Architectural Design – An Introduction
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Timothy Lees

Email: t.j.lees@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module provides an introduction to key concepts related to materials, structures, construction technologies, environmental science and services relevant to the design of buildings. It is the first in a series of related science and technology modules, to be provided over three years within the Architecture programme, and is closely related to other modules including the studio-based part of the curriculum. It may also be of relevance to other programmes.

Students will gain a working knowledge and understanding of the following core subject areas relevant to the design of buildings:



3.Construction technologies;

4.Environmental science;


As the module progresses, topics will generally be considered in relation to the design of small, individual buildings, an approach which relates to the scale of first year design module projects within the undergraduate architecture programme, and which provides an appropriate foundation to the related second year module. There is an emphasis on environmental resilience throughout this module and in related modules which follow.

Aims will be achieved using a variety of teaching and learning methods: the module includes experimental work and ‘hands-on’ activities.

Assessable learning outcomes:
1.Students will understand and be able to describe, using appropriate vocabulary, aspects of the core subject areas outlined below, and will be able to demonstrate the application of this knowledge and understanding in experimental work, assignments and examinations.

2.They will also be able to demonstrate in assignments and examination an understanding of alternative materials, processes and techniques in relation to architectural design and the technical requirements of building construction and the needs of the user in relation to small, simple buildings.

Additional outcomes:
1.Students will have gained an insight into relationships between science and technology and the history, theory and practice of architectural design; and relationships between people, buildings and the environment.

2.They will also have gained an awareness of the needs and aspirations of building users in relation to the science and technology of architecture and building.

3.Students will have an understanding of the alternative materials, processes and techniques that apply to architectural design and building construction; culture, theory and design.

Outline content:
The module is structured around the following topic areas:

1.Materials: physical and chemical properties and characteristics of materials generally; including the properties of masonry, timber, concrete and steel; the environmental impact of specification choices; critical appraisal and selection of alternative materials;

2.Structures: an introduction to structural principles; structures in nature and in vernacular and traditional buildings; the design of walls, beams, columns, floors, roofs and portal frames; critical appraisal and selection of alternative structural components and systems for small buildings;

3.Construction technologies: the technologies of small buildings; the technologies of vernacular and traditional buildings; critical appraisal and selection of alternative technologies for small buildings;

4.Environmental science: an introduction to concepts relating to light, heat, ventilation and sound, power, water supply and drainage; responding to climate; principles associated with designing optimal visual, thermal and acoustic environments within relevant precepts of sustainable design;

5.Services: an introduction to systems and strategies associated with the provision of optimal visual, thermal and acoustic environments, ventilation, power, water supply and drainage; the integration of services in the design of buildings within relevant precepts of sustainable design.

Global context:
The module is focused on the UK but has a global dimension, notably in relation to the technologies of vernacular architecture and on responding to climate.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching within this module will be by means of lectures, tutorials and lab-based sessions. These sessions will be complemented by guided independent study and by studio-based project work within related modules.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 20 2
Tutorials 10 10
Practicals classes and workshops 15 15
Fieldwork 5 5
Guided independent study 58 60
Total hours by term 108.00 110.00 2.00
Total hours for module 220.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Report 20
Project output other than dissertation 20

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
This module will include formative assessment related to tutorial sessions such as on-line multiple choice questions; practice questions and quizzes as well as practical exercises.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    2 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment will be by examination/coursework to be completed by August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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