CE1HBE-History of the built environment: space, design, and technology

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Martin Green

Email: m.s.green@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to recognise and distinguish developments in relationships between space, design, and emerging technologies. By contextualising developments in architectural engineering in the built environment, a conceptual and critical approach that bridges aesthetic and technical requirements will be explored. The module seeks to establish styles of architectural engineering and relate these to the emergence of new technologies in sociocultural contexts of the built environment. 


This module aims to introduce students to the history of the built environment through a collection of historical developments that illustrate relationships between space, design, and technology, and applies historically grounded approaches to understanding contemporary challenges in the built environment.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

  • Describe historical developments in architectural engineering

  • Identify significant stages in the development of architectural engineering design

  • Describe the key characteristics of developments in architectural engineering design

  • Identify relationships between the conceptualisation of space, design, and technology

  • Demonstrate t he value of historically grounded approaches to contemporary approaches to architectural engineering design

  • Distinguish between the main styles and types of architectural engineering design

  • Examine the relationship between engineering and architecture and its impact on the space, design and technology

  • Evaluate and assess the social, geographical, and technological contexts of architectural engineering

Additional outcomes:

  • Students will have gained an insight into relationships between design, space, and the technology in relation to the practice of architectural engineering

  • Students will have improved their understanding of how theory can inform the design of architectural engineering in relation to space, design, and emerging technologies

  • Students will also have gained an understanding of the application of historical contexts to contemporary challenges in architectural engineering design projects, demonstrating a reflective and critical approach

Outline content:

An introduction to history of the built environment

Space, design, and technology in ancient Egypt and Greece (2000 BC – 600 AD)

Roman craftwork (750 BC – 500 AD)

Medieval Megaprojects (500AD – 1500AD)

Urban infrastructures (1600-1800 AD)

Standardised materials during Industrialisation (1750 - 1850 AD)

Mass production: the Chicago School and Bauhaus (1850-1900 AD)

Electricity demand (1850 -20 20 AD)

Heating and cooling technologies (1900 - 2020 AD)

Digital Design and communication (1960 - 2020 AD)

Global context:

The skills and knowledge that students will acquire from this module have global applications.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is lecture and seminar based. Guided study also provides students with a practical approach towards understanding the history of the built environment.

Independent study hours needed depend on the learning style of each individual. The following guide for independent study hours is just an example.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 10
    Wider reading (directed) 3
    Peer assisted learning 5
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation for presentations 10
    Essay preparation 30
    Reflection 2
Total hours by term 100 0 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Group work presentation of a historical case study by the end of week 8

An essay (2000 words) should be submitted online by the end of week 11

Formative assessment methods:

This module will include formative assessment related to written assignments, presentations, and throughout the seminars which are designed in line with task-based approaches to teaching and learning.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A mark of 40%.

Reassessment arrangements:

Students who have failed in their first attempt will be provided with an assignment brief related to the history of the built environment and should prepare an essay (2000 words) to be submitted online. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Cost Amount
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: 29 May 2020


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