DA6070 - Authentic Design Inquiry

What will I learn on this module?

You will engage with authentic real life architectural projects for a variety of stakeholders, including: charities, public bodies, quangos and commercial clients (although the latter depends on the ethical validity of the project). You will not only explore the discipline as a practical and theoretical subject, but be exposed to the social function of architecture, and in some case the financial constraints that architects have to operate within. Creativity in this module is expressed as a social phenomenon as well as an artistic one. You will also develop your skills in being able to: critically appraise and develop design briefs; make assessments of and respond to, the project’s contingencies and complexities; to communicate your work to an audience other than your peers and your tutor; and develop design strategies that result in sophisticated and appropriate design solutions that embrace the full criteria of a real live architectural project.

This module will be supported by relevant and timely workshops and tutorials, and regular reviews, also including members of the client group that we are working with.
Verbal feedback is provided via tutorials, through verbal, written and drawn formats throughout the semester. This ongoing guidance will provide you with opportunities for reflection and independent learning.

How will I learn on this module?

You will work on real life projects within the studio environment and insitu within the vicinity of the project. You will learn from engagement, tackling the complexity of the project through independent inquiry supported by your tutors in a low risk environment, as well as from your peers through collaboration. By being exposed to the complexities of real projects you will learn from a wide variety of sources within, and external to, the traditional university learning environment. You will be expected to demonstrate self-directed learning skills to manage your progress and project development.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through weekly tutorials with your design tutors, where you will discuss the development of your ideas and the appropriateness of your design for the brief, as set by the client group and the teaching staff. The staff will operate as facilitators of your learning (rather than traditional teachers) where collectively staff and students form an educational community, where knowledge is generated in collaboration as equals. You will benefit from regular progress reviews as formative assessment on an individual and group basis; you are encouraged to participate in discussions with your peers regarding your work. Feedback on formative and summative assignments will be offered in verbal, written and drawn formats. Project material will be available on the eLearning Portal (ELP) so that you can access information when you need to; we operate an open door policy to help support student learning when it is needed. The university library offers support for all students through its learning and teaching initiatives, and its Ask4Help Online service.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
KU 1. demonstrate a systematic understanding of the nature of, critically appraise, and develop design briefs to ensure that the design response is appropriate

KU 2. demonstrate an understanding and application of the constraints within the discipline of architectural design through appropriate formal study of related theories, social and communal considerations, technologies, material properties, processes and legislative controls.

KU 3. demonstrate an understanding of the ethical, professional and social responsibilities of a design professional within a multi-disciplinary complex environment, and the interrelationship between people, buildings and the local and broader context.

KU 4. evaluate, propose and use appropriate visual, verbal and written communication methods and appropriate media to represent the testing, analysis, critical appraisal and resolution of complex proposals

KU 5. exhibit the skills of independent learning and research to critically examine the full extent of the design problem; evaluate alternative approaches, and propose appropriate authentic solutions.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
IPSA 1. Demonstrate a high level of ability to understand the nature of, critically appraise, develop complex briefs to ensure the design response is innovative and appropriate.

IPSA 2. Exhibit the skills of independent learning through research and scholarship to examine critically the subject area, evaluate alternative approaches, integrate sources of information from a wide variety of sources, and use advanced techniques to propose change and solve complex authentic problems.

IPSA 3. Evaluate, propose and use appropriate visual, verbal and written communication methods and appropriate media to represent the testing, analysis, critical appraisal and resolution of complex design problems.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
PVA 1. Articulate an awareness of, and critical and complex perspective on, contemporary influences on design, through study of related theoretical, social, ethical, technical, environmental, and cultural issues of architecture, the arts, urban design and related disciplines.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment will take place within regular tutorials and at interim reviews to provide ongoing developmental guidance and reflection.

Summative assessment will take place at the end of the semester. Written feedback will be provided.

Summative assessment will be moderated.





Module abstract

Within this novel design project module you will develop solutions for authentic, practice-based real project scenarios, undertaken for real clients. These projects take the form of buildings, exhibitions, feasibility studies, and sketch schemes for various stakeholders, including: charities, governmental and public agencies and on occasions commercial clients, providing you with an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to analyse, appraise, develop and communicate your own interpretation of the brief, within the constraints of the particular project. You will engage in group and individual inquiry, and will be expected to reach a high level of design and technical resolution.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 4 years part-time

Department Architecture and Built Environment

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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