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The Processes of Reading Architecture

  • Module code: AR5001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 5
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: AR5002, AR5003, AR5004

Summary

Architecture is a cultural construct. Buildings have always engendered personal, cultural and/or political perspectives, the study of which reveals historical developments in philosophy, socioeconomic and environmental drivers and ‘imperatives' and theoretical ideas. An understanding of these developments in relation to precedent study opens you up to broader understandings of both physical and cultural contexts. This module introduces you to some of the theoretical ideas that have influenced and which currently direct the development of architecture, developing your practical and analytical research skills in relation to given design briefs. It develops your ability to analyse sites and their wider contexts and encourages a deeper understanding of the ways in which precedent can inform a developing design project. Through this you will be encouraged to take a position in relation to this research.

Aims

  • To introduce students to some of the theoretical ideas that have influenced the development of architecture in order to begin a dissertation;
  • To develop the skills and abilities required to survey and analyse both sites and their wider physical and cultural contexts;
  • To support students in the analytical research of precedent and the construction of coherent and well-presented arguments, which can inform a design project.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Evaluate some of the physical, social and cultural factors that have influenced the development of architecture throughout history and explore the theoretical and practical ideas that have informed its making;
  2. Undertake research into both historical and contemporary precedents, connecting primary experience and observation with relevant secondary and academic sources;
  3. Construct a coherent written argument, demonstrating appropriate referencing and editing skills, and commence a dissertation.
  4. Undertake appropriate research, utilising a range of primary and secondary sources, to analyse the conditions of a site and its wider context;
  5. Produce a comprehensive site survey utilising appropriate analogue and digital methods;
  6. Make appropriate reference to relevant precedents in support of a design project.

Curriculum content

  • Knowledge of architectural history and theory as a foundation for critique;;
  • Primary and secondary observation skills and research using precedent;
  • Skills in constructing a coherent argument, in planning and commencing a dissertation to include a literature review;
  • Site analysis skills and the identification of the cultural context of a site;
  • How to survey a complex site and record it in two and three dimensions;
  • Identification and analysis of relevant precedent studies;

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 Eg.studio-based projects, lecturers, workshops, study visits, tutorials, seminars 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 a 1500 word essay (25%) demonstrating a general understanding of a theme in architectural theory.  The 'Coursework Assessment 2' element on this module is an illustrated essay of 2500 words demonstrating a critical analysis of  a single building, which includes a CAD site plan (at A4 size) and photographs.  This illustrated essay is the first part of the dissertation (25%).

Design Portfolio (50%):

The assessment for the Design Portfolio element on this module is a portfolio of work related to the subject and context of the Design Project including a precedent study. This is reflected in Learning Outcomes 4-6.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Evaluate some of the physical, social and cultural factors that have influenced the development of architecture throughout history and explore the theoretical and practical ideas that have informed its making; Coursework Assessments (essay and illustrated essay).
2) Undertake research into both historical and contemporary precedents, connecting primary experience and observation with relevant secondary and academic sources; Coursework Assessments (essay and illustrated essay).
3) Construct a coherent written argument, demonstrating appropriate referencing and editing skills, and commence a dissertation. Coursework Assessments (essay and illustrated essay).
4) Undertake appropriate research, utilising a range of primary and secondary sources, to analyse the conditions of a site and its context, in relation to a given brief; Design Portfolio.
5) Produce a comprehensive site survey utilising appropriate analogue and digital methods; Design Portfolio.
6) Make appropriate reference to relevant precedents in support of a design project. Design Portfolio.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework Assessment 1 (1500 word essay) Coursework 25%
Coursework Assessment 2 (2500 word illustrated essay setting out the scope and structure of the dissertation) Coursework 25%
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

There will be a set bibliography for each lecture. The following are core texts:

Colquhoun, A. 2002. Modern Architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Curtis, W.J.R., 1982. Modern Architecture Since 1900. London: Phaidon

Forty, A., 2000. Words and Buildings, A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture. London: Thames & Hudson

Frampton, K., 1992. Modern Architecture, A Critical History. London: Thames & Hudson

Bibliography recommended reading

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

Information on Referencing:

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

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

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