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The Practice of Reading Architecture

  • Module code: AR6001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 66
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: AR6002, AR6003, AR6004

Summary

Buildings and cities embody attitudes. Architecture strategically engages individuals, communities and society with the issues of place in practical, personal, cultural and political ways. Through a process of primary and secondary research across a broad range of subjects, architects appraise the fundamental conditions of site and context, in order to inform a strategic design approach for a particular place. The detailed study of buildings and places from other times and contexts, develops an architect's ability to critique these complex interacting conditions.

Establishing a foundation for lifelong learning and practice, this module supports you in the practice of reading and interpreting architecture through 2 capstone projects; a final thesis design project and a dissertation.

A thesis design project is a design portfolio with a theoretical foundation that demonstrates a critical and individual line on inquiry that results in a unique architectural proposition. This capstone project is the culmination of learning throughout the course.

 

 

Aims

  • To enable students to demonstrate the skills and abilities required to survey a site and to analyse the physical aspects of a particular place.
  • To engage students in a detailed critical analysis of a particular place, within its context and a wider understanding of architecture and precedent.
  • To research and critically appraise architecture in relation to a broad physical and cultural context through the dissertation and design project thesis.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Undertake appropriate primary and secondary research in order to critically appraise a site, considering its particular conditions and some of the practical, social and cultural strategies that have determined it;
  2. Translate a body of research into a coherent set of ideas;
  3.  As part of a dissertation, develop a rigorous and clearly argued piece of academic writing that is appropriately researched, presented, illustrated and referenced.
  4. Critically analyse a site and represent it appropriately, utilising relevant conventional, scaled documentation techniques, and analogue and digital methods;
  5. Appraise an existing site considering its environmental, economic, social and cultural context, and the physical relationship of the immediate site to its wider context, such as the city or the landscape.
  6. Declare a 'thesis' for a design project based upon research into the subject and context of that project.

Curriculum content

  • Primary and secondary observation skills and research to support a dissertation thesis;
  • How to develop a coherent thesis, integrating history and theory;
  • A dissertation;
  • Skills in site analysis including physical site survey;
  • How to research and integrate relevant precedent study analysis and the social, cultural, and economic context of a site;
  • Subject and context analysis skills used to define the terms of a design project.

Teaching and learning strategy

The module has one supportive/contextual based element (Coursework) and two design based elements (Design Portfolio). The Coursework and the Design Portfolio parts of the course are taught in relation to each other through a combination of studio based projects, lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and study visits.

The School employs various learning technologies to support the teaching and learning strategies. Canvas is used to support teaching and learning in all modules, and other aspects of the courses and School as a whole. It is used at a modular level as a repository for all module documentation, such as the module guide, briefs, lecture handouts, support material, and links to web-resources. It is also used for tutorial and workshop sign-up lists and discussion forums where appropriate.  Students should check this site on a daily basis.

All courses based in the Kingston School of Art offer students free access to the online video tutorial platform Lynda.com. This provides a wide range of subjects to choose from, many with downloadable exercise files, including software tutorials covering photography, graphics, web design, audio and music, CAD and Microsoft Office software, as well as courses on Business and Management skills. Some of these are embedded in the curriculum and offer additional self-paced learning, others may be taken at will by students wishing to broaden their employability skills in other areas.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Studio-based projects, lectures, workshops, study visits, tutorials, seminars. 75
Guided independent study 225
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Assessment for this module has three elements of assessment. The 'Coursework' consists of one assessed element. The 'Design Portfolio' consists of two assessed elements and these are 'Portfolio Assessment 1' and 'Portfolio Assessment 2'. 'Portfolio Assessment 2' is synoptically assessed across all 4 modules.

Within the Coursework element, feedback/feed forward is given in different forms depending on the nature of the work. There will however be the opportunity for at least one group or individual tutorial and formal written feedback following submission, within the prescribed timescale.

Within the Design Portfolio elements ie. in Studio the following strategies for feedback/feed forward apply:

  • Weekly tutorials, either group or individual as appropriate to the project stage
  • At least one formal presentation and review, with written feedback, within each teaching block
  • Formative feedback on a submitted portfolio at end of teaching block 1
  • Formal written feedback on a submitted portfolio at end of teaching block 2

Coursework Assessment (50%):

The Coursework on this module consists of one element and this is a 2500 to 3500 word illustrated dissertation that includes interpreting primary and secondary research and critical writing. This element develops on the building study initiated in "Coursework Assessment 2" of AR5001. This is reflected in Learning Outcomes 1-3.

Design Portfolio Assessments (50% in total):

The Design Portfolio on this module consists of two elements and these are 'Design Portfolio Assessment 1' and 'Design Portfolio Assessment 2'. The assessment for the 'Design Portfolio Assessment 1' on this module is a set of A1 drawings (10%).  The assessment for the 'Design Portfolio Assessment 2' element on this module is a portfolio of work related to the subject and context of the Thesis Design Project (40%). This is reflected in Learning Outcomes 4-6.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Undertake appropriate primary and secondary research in order to critically appraise a site, considering its particular conditions and some of the practical, social and cultural strategies that have determined it; Coursework Assessment (illustrated dissertation, 5000-7000 words).
2) Translate a body of research into a coherent set of ideas; Coursework Assessment (illustrated dissertation, 5000-7000 words).
3) As part of a dissertation, develop a rigorous and clearly argued piece of academic writing that is appropriately researched, presented, illustrated and referenced. Coursework Assessment (illustrated dissertation, 5000-7000 words).
4) Critically analyse a site and represent it appropriately, utilising relevant conventional, scaled documentation techniques, and analogue and digital methods; Design Portfolio (site drawings and Portfolio of work relating to the Thesis Project).
5) Appraise an existing site considering its environmental, economic, social and cultural context, and the physical relationship of the immediate site to its wider context, such as the city or the landscape; Design Portfolio (Portfolio of work relating to the Thesis Project).
6) Declare a ‘thesis' for a design project based upon research into the subject and context of that project. Design Portfolio (Portfolio of work relating to the Thesis Project).

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework (5000-7000 word illustrated dissertation) Coursework 50%
Design portfolio Assessment 1 (site drawings) Coursework 10%
Design portfolio Assessment 2 Portfolio of work relating to the Thesis Project). Coursework 40%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It is a requirement that the element of assessment for Coursework is passed separately and it is a requirement that the elements of assessment for the Design Portfolio are passed on aggregate in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Pears, R., 2008, Cite them right: the essential referencing guide, 7th rev. ed. Newcastle upon Tyne: Pear Tree Books

Referencing page which includes a link to the Harvard referencing guide for students within Kingston School of Art.

Peers, R., and Shields, G. 2016. Cite them Right: The Essential Referencing Guide. 10th ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Dissertation tutors will provide specific recommended reading lists relevant to each dissertation subject.

Bibliography recommended reading

Studios will provide specific recommended reading lists relevant to each project.

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