AAMAD1-Architectural Design 1

Module Provider: School of Architecture, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Izabela Wieczorek

Email: i.z.wieczorek@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This is the first in a series of related postgraduate design modules providing students with an opportunity to apply design skills and knowledge gained across the undergraduate curriculum to design projects of increasing complexity. This module introduces the fundamentals of design research methods, exploring their potential to develop new forms of architectural production and practice.  These design research methods will include site analysis, brief development and relevant site precedent studies to inform subsequent design projects.

A series of project-based workshops will prompt students to develop critical positions in response to the specialised area of study and current architectural issues. Throughout this module, students will acquire specific skills and knowledge that will inform their choice of research question and the development of an independent design project. 


The module aims to provide students with a foundation in design research methods and techniques, critical and conceptual thinking as well as making with a strong emphasis on independent learning. This will be evidenced in a studio design project. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of this module, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate 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

  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the application of appropriate theoretical concepts to studio design projects, demonstrating a reflective and critical approach; GC2.3

  3. Demonstrate knowledge of how the theories, practices and technologies of the arts influence architectural design; GC3.1
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the creative application of the fine arts and their relevance and impact on architecture; GC3.2

  5. Demonstrate the creative application of such work to studio design projects, in terms of their conceptualization and representation; GC 3.3

  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the influence of the design and development of cities, past and present on the contemporary built environment; GC4.2

  7. Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of buildings on the environment, and the precepts of sustainable design; GC5.2

  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the need to critically review precedents relevant to the function, organisation and technological strategy of design proposals, GC7.1

  9. Demonstrate 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; GC 7.2

  10. Demonstrate an understanding of the investigation, critical appraisal and selection of alternative structural, constructional and material systems relevant to architectural design; GC8.1

  11. Ability to evaluate and apply a comprehensive range of visual, oral and written media to test, analyse, critically appraise and explain design proposals; GA2.2

Additional outcomes:

Students will also be able to demonstrate: 

  1. Ability to identify individual learning GA2.7

  2. Ability to show originality in the application of knowledge, and understanding of how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research;

  3. Conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in architecture;

  4. Ability to communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;

Outline content:

Students will address and engage with a variety of active research themes at UoR, to develop a portfolio of responses which critically and creatively applies a range of appropriate design research methods.

Alongside this, students will be introduced to a comprehensive range of methods to test, analyse, critically appraise and explain design and research proposals. Students will utilise traditional skills as well as skills related to the use of digital technologies to explo re and develop their design capabilities.

Projects and themes to be explored will build on existing research and expertise within active research groups at UoR. Opportunities will also be sought to engage students in live projects either in the UK or overseas and in relevant design competitions.

Global context:

The skills and knowledge which the student will acquire from this module have universal application. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will predominantly be taught within a dynamic research-driven and project-based learning environment working in a design studio, by tutors working with small groups of students over the duration of a project. The development of the projects will be guided through a series of workshops, lectures and seminars, providing students with the opportunity to gain specialised knowledge as well as to discuss design challenges. Students will generate design proposals in studio, making use of workshop facilities and technical support. These design projects will involve working collaboratively in small groups to respond to design briefs set by the studio.  Such activities will be supported by group discussions and tutorials which will incorporate ‘review’ sessions. The module will involve experimentation and the development of visual representations both by individual exploration and knowledge-sharing and collaboration, providing extensive opportunities for peer to pe er learning. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5
Seminars 5
Tutorials 10
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Supervised time in studio/workshop 20
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Other 100
    Preparation for presentations 5
    Preparation for seminars 5
    Group study tasks 10
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Portfolio 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

There will be a series of assignments/project stages that will be assessed summatively through Portfolio by the week 11 of the autumn term.

Formative assessment methods:

This module includes formative assessments from both lecturer(s) and peers participating in review sessions, tutorials, workshops and group discussions. 

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall 

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment will be by coursework to be completed August/September 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1. Required text books: Required and recommended textbooks are usually available in the University Library.

2. Specialist equipment or materials: Drawing and model making materials: £100 

4. Printing and binding: £50

5. Computers and devices with a particular specification: There is access to computers with specialist software, however, students may also wish to buy their own computers.

6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence: Travel costs of the required field trips will be covered. There might be additional costs for trips which are optional.

Last updated: 17 August 2020


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