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The Principles of Making Architecture

  • Module code: AR4004
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 4
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: AR4001, AR4002, AR4003

Summary

Architecture is a material practice. The act of making a building is described tectonically, in the relationships between the materials it is made from, the methods of its construction and the structures that support and stabilise it. The physical character of a building and the ways in which it is made are fundamental to its architectural quality and atmosphere, its relationship with its environment and the ways in which it is inhabited by its users.  This module introduces students to the consideration of architecture as a material condition, and begins to ask students to consider how a building is made as a fundamental part to a wider architectural conversation. It asks students to investigate materials first-hand, to explore their qualities, and considering how they may be brought together and employed within an architectural project. It begins to explore how a building can offer a comfortable and sustainable environment for its users.

Aims

  • To introduce a range of materials and strategies for the materialisation of architectural projects;
  • To give students an introduction as how the making of a building, its material, construction and structure, defines its architectural quality, its relationship to its environment and its user;
  • To support students through the detailed resolution of aspects of their design projects.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of material, structural, and environmental considerations involved in the making of architecture;
  2. Through primary experience and research, develop an understanding of the origins, use, environmental impact, and qualities of particular architectural materials;
  3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of how materials can be brought together at a strategic and detailed level.
  4. Begin to resolve some of the detailed aspects of an architectural design project;
  5. Employ particular materials to define the character of an architectural design project;
  6. Communicate the spatial, material, tectonic and environmental qualities of the final studio project, and speculate upon how the resultant building might be inhabited.

Curriculum content

  • The construction industry;
  • A range of strategies, methods and considerations for sustainable construction;
  • Materials and their tectonic character
  • Primary experience of working with construction materials;
  • Structural principles and methods;
  • The ways that materials define the character of a work of architecture;
  • The principles of environmental servicing, light, air and human comfort;
  • The detailed design phase of a design project;
  • The development of detailed drawings.

Teaching and learning strategy

The module has two supportive/contextual based elements (Coursework) and one design based element (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 two assessed elements and these are 'Coursework Assessment 1' and 'Coursework Assessment 2'. The 'Design Portfolio' is a separate element and is synoptically assessed across all 4 modules.

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

Within the Design Portfolio element 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 Assessments (50% in total):

The Coursework consists of two elements and these are 'Coursework Assessment 1' and 'Coursework Assessment 2' which are reflected in Learning Outcomes 1-3. The 'Coursework Assessment 1' element on this module is an illustrated A4 report submitted with a 1:5 model. This is an individual submission which is based on a reflection of a group construction project (30%). The 'Coursework Assessment 2' element on this module is an illustrated A3 report submitted with a 1:20 model. This assignment is carried out and is assessed individually (20%).

Design Portfolio (50%):

The Design Portfolio is one element and this relates to aspects of assessment tested through design studio projects reflected in Learning Outcomes 4-6. The assessment for the Design Portfolio element of this module is a portfolio of work related to the strategy and detail for material resolution and construction of the Design Project. A typical example of this element will include drawings and may include physical models expressing the materiality and structure of the design project.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Demonstrate a basic knowledge of material, structural, and environmental considerations involved in the making of architecture; Coursework Assessments (illustrated A4 report with model and illustrated A3 report with model).
2) Through primary experience and research, develop an understanding of the origins, use, environmental impact, and qualities of particular architectural materials; Coursework Assessments (illustrated A4 report with model and illustrated A3 report with model).
3) Demonstrate a basic understanding of how materials can be brought together at a strategic and detailed level; Coursework Assessments (illustrated A4 report with model and illustrated A3 report with model).
4) Begin to resolve some of the detailed aspects of an architectural design project; Design Portfolio.
5) Employ particular materials to define the character of an architectural design project; Design Portfolio.
6) Communicate the spatial, material, tectonic and environmental qualities of the final studio project, and speculate upon how the resultant building might be inhabited. Design Portfolio.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework Assessment 1 (illustrated A4 report documenting a 1:1 construction project submitted with model) Coursework 30%
Coursework Assessment 2 (illustrated A3 report submitted with model) Coursework 20%
Design portfolio Coursework 50%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

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

Bibliography core texts

Norberg-Schulz, C., 1980. Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli

Rasmussen, S.E., 2000. Experiencing Architecture. 28th ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

Von Meiss, P., 1998. Elements of Architecture, From form to place. London: Spon Press

Deplazes, A., 2008. Constructing Architecture: Material Processes Structures, Basel: Birkhäuser

Ching, F.D.K., 2008. Building Construction Illustrated, 4th ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons

Delaney, M., and Gorman, A., ed. Lappin, S.A., 2011. Studio Craft & Technique: The Architecture Student's Handbook. Dublin: UCD

Bibliography recommended reading

To be developed in line with discussions about course content.

Tanizaki, J., 2001. In Praise of Shadows, London: Vintage Classics

Pallasmaa, J, 2009. The Thinking Hand. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons

Gordon, J.E., 1990. Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down, London: Norton

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

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