Architectural Design Studio (ADST) 200

Foundations of Design I (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Paced online, (with eTextbook) - Group study -13 weeks- (Students are required to attend one 3 hour evening video teleconference session per week)

This course will be offered in January, May and September, however, students should contact the FST Student Success Centre, at 1-855-362-2870, for confirmation of other offerings.

ADST 200 - Foundations of Design I is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: None

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

ADST 200 is not available for challenge.

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ADST 200 - Foundations of Design I is the first of ten studio courses that will prepare you for work in an architect’s office. This course explores the creative design process through a series of composition, abstraction, and design projects. The aim of ADST 200 is to familiarize you with the creative application of sound analytical skills, imaginative conceptual thinking, and form making abilities.

You will be introduced to a design process based on original thinking, in which you will synthesize collected information and draw conclusions based on established premises. The course will also demonstrate how to generate a number of design alternatives, and evaluate and select the most appropriate one.

Course Outline

ADST 200 consists of five projects and two presentations. Each week, you will be asked to share your work-in-progress with your academic expert and the other students in the studio. This weekly session is the equivalent of a desk critique (a session during which the architecture student sits down with their instructor to review their designs) given in a face-to-face studio.

These interactive meetings will be held in an online environment that includes video conferencing, audio conferencing, and social media, and will allow the academic expert to provide feedback on your work. This type of session is intended to be a productive working session much like you would experience in an architect’s office. Upon registration, you will receive a full set of instructions for connecting to the virtual studio.

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Comprehend: Establish a basic understanding of design thinking, exploration, and communication.
  2. Analyze: Explore and examine various topics including:
    • primary elements
    • form
    • space
    • organization of primary elements, form, and space
    • circulation through space
    • program
    • proportion and scale
    • ordering principles
  3. Apply: Understand and apply basic design principles in the process of design development through critical thinking.
  4. Apply: Begin to build a community of practice by working with other students.

Course Evaluation

Your work in this course will be evaluated based on five projects. You are required to scan and submit your projects to your academic expert via the Project links on the course home page. Each project is weighted as shown below. Note that your participation in discussions, and your sharing of resources, will contribute to your grade.

  Project Due Date Weight
Project 1 Point, Line, Plane Week 2 15%
Project 2 Two-Dimensional (2D) Composition Week 4 15%
Project 3 Translation from 2D to 3D Week 7 30%
  Mid-term presentation Week 7 (ungraded)
Project 4 Exploring Solids and Voids Week 10 30%
Project 5A Final Presentation: Reflecting on What You Have Learned Week 13 10%
Project 5B Submit 2 images to the academic expert    
Total 100%

You must achieve a cumulative grade of 67% or greater to receive credit for ADST 200.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Ching, Francis D.K. (2015.) Architecture: Form, space, and order. 4th ed. New Jersey: Wiley.

Please keep the textbook, as you may need it in future courses.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

Student-Provided Tools and Equipment

You must provide a digital camera for your own use, as well as a few other tools. The items you will need to provide are listed below:

Photography tools:

  • Smartphone with camera, or digital camera (SLR preferable)

Drawing materials:

  • 35.56cm × 43.18cm (14” × 17”) Strathmore 300 series acid-free drawing paper
  • 22.86cm × 30.48cm (9” × 12”) Strathmore 300 series sketchbook
  • white or beige 2-ply card stock
  • trace paper

Drawing tools:

  • 0.30 mm precision felt pen (or similar).
  • 2H to 2B pencils or mechanical pencils
  • coloured markers and/or pencil crayons
  • compass
  • protractor
  • ruler
  • drawing board (recommended)

Modeling materials:

  • white or beige 2-ply card stock
  • clear plastic sheet

Modeling tools:

Use of Computers

While this is an online and virtual studio, you are asked not to use a computer in preparing your projects. Hand drawing and modeling skills remain essential to the development of an architect, and the first studio courses in this series are designed to help you improve those skills. It is understood that you will need to use a computer to scan, arrange, format, save, and upload your final submission for each project, but you must complete all your drawings and models for this course by hand.

Course Home Page (online): The course home page houses all the online components of your course.

Study Schedule (online): The study schedule on your course home page includes the Course Information, the five projects and links to the online readings.

Course Information (online): The Course Information provides specific information about how to proceed through the course. Read the Course Information carefully before you begin reading the Study Guide.

Study Guide (online): The 5 projects are embedded on the course home page.

Forms: Forms you may need are available through the myAU portal.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, December 9, 2015.