Architectural Design Studio (ADST) 350

Foundations of Architectural Design: Simple Habitat (Revision 1)

ADST 300

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. You may contact the FST Student Success Centre at 1-855-362-2870 for confirmation of other offerings.

ADST 350: Foundations of Architectural Design: Simple Habitat 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: APST 240, ADST 300, ARCH 330, and ARCH 350

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

ADST 350 is not available for challenge.

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ADST 350 is the fourth of ten studio courses that will prepare you for work in an architect’s office.

This course continues the development of architectural design skills, applying principles and processes of architectural design to a complex design problem. The objective is to apply good design methodology and principles to a familiar archetype and break free from conventional thinking.

You will explore the synthesis of site and program, adding material qualities, construction methods, and a broader program of human activities. Special emphasis will be placed on site analysis and the careful consideration of the effects of topography, climate, and orientation on building design, and how these considerations affect appropriate choices of form and material.

Course Outline

The course consists of four 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 virtual 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.

The virtual studios are interactive meetings held in an online environment that includes video conferencing, audio conferencing, and social media, which allows the academic expert to provide feedback in the form of sketches beside your work, or as a layer over it. The studios are intended as productive working sessions, much like you would experience in an architect’s office. Upon registration, you should have received a full set of instructions for connecting to the virtual studio. The table below summarizes the projects that students are required to complete in the course.

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you should have an:

  1. Understanding of the fundamentals of visual perception and the principles and systems of order that inform two-and three-dimensional design and architectural composition.
  2. Ability to use appropriate representational media, including freehand drawing and computer technology, to convey essential information at each stage of the pre-design and design process.
  3. Ability to make technically precise drawings.
  4. Ability to apply fundamental architectural principles in the design of buildings, interior spaces and sites, and to respond to natural and built site characteristics in the development of a program and the design of a project.

Course Evaluation

Your work in this course will be evaluated based on four projects. You are required to scan and submit your work at each stage to your academic expert via the links in the Projects section of the course homepage (unless your academic expert directs otherwise). Each project is weighted as shown below. Note that your participation in discussions, and your sharing of resources, will contribute to your grade.

Study Schedule

  Project Due Date Weight
Project 1 Precedent Study and Critical Analysis Week 3 15%
Project 2 Design Brief (Midterm presentation) Week 7 25%
Project 3 Concept and Building Design (Final Presentation) Week 13 50%
Project 4 Reflecting on What You Have Learned Week 13 10%
Total     100%

You must achieve a cumulative grade of 67% or greater to receive credit for ADST 350.

Course Materials


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

Student-Provided Tools and Equipment

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.

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.

Projects (online): The 4 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, March 15, 2016.