Architecture (ADST) 300

Foundations of Architectural Design: Elements (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Paced online, 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 300: Foundations of Architectural Design: Elements is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University.

Credits: 6

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: ADST 205, ARCH 200, APST 220, APST 230, ARCH 330

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

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ADST 300 is the third of ten studio courses that will prepare you for work in an architect’s office. This studio introduces you to the principles and processes of architectural design. The focus will be on understanding and designing with basic architectural elements and on the organization of habitable spaces in plan and section. Habitation and basic shelter are key topics in architecture, as they relate to the basic architectural elements, and are explored in depth in this studio.

The design process will be presented as the realization of an architectural idea that arises in response to both the context, which is the natural and built environments in which the building will exist, and the program, which is the functional and experiential requirement of the human activity to be supported and enhanced by the building.

Course Outline

The course is divided into five projects, each of which introduces an important skill that will enhance your abilities as a designer and provides opportunities for you to develop your own approach to design. You will also want to use your paper sketchbook to sketch in, take notes, answer study questions, state personal learning goals, and jot down ideas. Key pages can be scanned and stored in your Personal Archive.

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: Understand the basic principles of shelter, site, and the human dimension of a program.
  2. Apply: Apply fundamental architectural principles in the design of simple buildings and interior spaces, and respond to natural and built site characteristics in the development of a project.
  3. Apply: Apply appropriate representational media, including freehand drawing and basic computer technology, to convey essential elements at each stage of the design development process.
  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 Precedent Study Week 2 15%
Project 2 Disaster Relief Shelter Week 6 30%
  Midterm presentation Week 7  
Project 3 Sleeping Quarters Week 8 15%
Project 4 Sleeping Quarters Reimagined Week 12 30%
Project 5A Final Presentation: Reflecting on What You Have Learned Week 13 10%
Project 5B Submit 2 images to the academic expert Week 13  
Total     100%

You must achieve a cumulative grade of 67% or greater to receive credit for ADST 300.

Course Materials

Although there is no textbook for this studio, the academic expert may assign readings as they deem appropriate during the course.

Resource Materials

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

You may use computers to design and complete your projects for this studio (except where noted), but remember that hand drawing and modeling skills remain essential to the development of an architect and we encourage you to use those skills wherever possible.

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 10, 2015.