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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE1160 Architecture and Environment

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr Louise Fletcher

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

Architectural Studies I (CIVE1800);Introduction to Sustainability (SOEE1015)

This module is not approved as a discovery module


To introduce students to the history, theories and cultural context of architecture and the built environment, and its impact on people and society. Students are introduced to the ways in which investigation and analysis are used in communication skills.

Learning outcomes
Students completing this module will have gained the knowledge, understanding, skills or abilities that contribute to achieving the following ARB General Criteria for Part 1:
• develop a conceptual and critical approach to architectural design that integrates and satisfies the aesthetic aspects of a building and the technical requirements of its construction and the needs of the user. GC1.3
• the cultural, social and intellectual histories, theories and technologies that influence the design of buildings; GC2.1
• the influence of history and theory on the spatial, social, and technological aspects of architecture; GC2.2
• the needs and aspirations of building users; GC5.1
• the impact of buildings on the environment, GC5.2a
• the precepts of sustainable design. GC5.2b.
• the nature of professionalism and the duties and responsibilities of architects to clients, building users, constructors, co-professionals and the wider society; GC6.1.
• the role of the architect within the design team and construction industry, recognising the importance of current methods and trends in the construction of the built environment; GC6.2.
• the potential impact of building projects on existing and proposed communities. GC6.3

Skills outcomes
Hand sketching, graphic composition, critical evaluation of building form, research methods for architectural precedent.

Sustainability appraisal, environmental and social impact assessment, stakeholder mapping.


The first semester of this module is centred on an introduction to architectural theory, with a broad overview of architectural history from the ancient world to the C21st. A lecture programme discusses the interaction of technology, society and architectural expression as an evolving dynamic relationship, for example in the way that pointed arches and flying buttresses were ‘invented’ at Durham Cathedral as a technical solution to a desire to increase the height and span of vaulting, then became the key aesthetic features of later medieval Gothic architecture.

As well as structural and construction influences, the increasing impetus to improve the control of the internal environment is discussed as an influence on architectural aesthetics, with Reyner Banham’s ‘Architecture of the well-tempered environment’ used to illustrate this alternative view of architectural development. There is an introduction to building construction materials, their sources and use. The role of the architect and other design team members are explained, as well as an introduction to professional responsibilities of architects and designers, including particular reference to health & safety issues and design risk awareness.

In addition to the lecture programme, students carry out a building study project, working in teams to describe and analyse two buildings. One of these is on the university campus, allowing direct observation, with the other from a given list of well-known examples. Students research the buildings’ designers and key features, preparing hand drawings and sketches instead of photographs to describe appearance, layout and operation. The findings are then put together as a visual presentation board. Students are encouraged to use the lecture content, including Clarke & Pause’s ‘precedents in architecture’ approach to inform and analyse the buildings.

In semester 2, students explore the impacts of architectural projects in the context of sustainability issues, using a hypothetical case study of a proposed building on the university campus. A programme of lectures and workshops, using case studies and examining a variety of assessment tools, investigate sustainable design impacts to include the following:
What is sustainability? Assessment methodologies and tools; Climate change; Energy Resources and waste; Water; Economic development; Society

Using these resources, students work in teams to produce a report analysing the environmental impact of the building proposal and suggesting mitigation strategies.

Typical reading materials to support this module include:
Glancey, J. (2003). The Story of Architecture. Dorling Kindersley.
Sutton, I. (2000). Western Architecture: Ancient Greece to the Present. Thames & Hudson.
Nuttgens, P. (1983). The Story of Architecture. Phaidon.
Ching, F. (1975 on). Architectural Graphics. Wiley. Ching, F. (2007).
Architecture – Form, Space and Order (3rd edition) Wiley.
Clark, R. and Pause, M. (1985). Precedents in Architecture. Wiley.
Rasmussen, S. E. (1962). Experiencing Architecture. MIT Press.
Banham, R. (1984). The architecture of the well-tempered environment. University of Chicago Press.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment11.501.50
Private study hours158.50
Total Contact hours41.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

To include literature study of architectural history based on lecture content and issued reading list. Group coursework based on building study including direct observation and analysis as well as researched materials.

Preparation for workshops; including, independent research on sustainability challenge for engineering, assessment of impacts for case study project, preparation for "town planning" meeting.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative assessment at workshops will provide feedback to improve quality of summative assessment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group ProjectBuilding analysis visual presentation25.00
ReportSustainability report30.00
PortfolioSustaainability portfolio20.00
In-course AssessmentLecture content test25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/06/2022


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