Architectural Design Studio (ADST) 400

Foundations of Architectural Design: Collective Habitat (Revision 1)

ADST 400

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 400: Foundations of Architectural Design: Collective 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: ARCH 320, APST 340, and ADST 350

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

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ADST 400 is the fifth of ten studio courses that will prepare you for work in an architect’s office.

This course continues the development of architectural design with an emphasis on communication skills. It focuses on functional and expressive qualities of structure, materiality and building technical systems, and how they affect the design of meaningful space. Studies of the development of visual communication skills emphasize the presentation of the technical aspects of building with precision and clarity.

The course outline provides a brief project description, and an outline of a functional program for a collective habitat. The intent is to wean you from dependence on the provision of a complete program and encourage critical analysis and validation of any program you are supplied with.

You will submit a Design Brief, including a summary of precedents for this building type, outlining important organizing principles, site relationships and the project design parti. After the mid-term presentation, you must complete the project and prepare for presentation of the work and its documentation as outlined in Assessment and Evaluation.

Course Outline

This studio course consists of two 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 in the form of sketches, beside or as a layer over your work. This is intended to be a productive working session much like you would experience in an architect’s office. 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. Understand the fundamentals of visual perception and the principles and systems of order that inform two- and three-dimensional design and architectural composition, and urban design.
  2. Ability. Use appropriate representational media, including freehand drawing and computer technologies, to convey essential information at each stage of the pre-design and design process.
  3. Ability. Make technically precise drawings and develop an outline specification for a proposed building.
  4. Ability. 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.
  5. Ability. Prepare a comprehensive program for an architectural project that accounts for client and user needs, appropriate precedents, space and equipment requirements, relevant laws and standards, and site selection and design assessment criteria.

Course Evaluation

Your work in this course will be evaluated based on two projects. You are required to scan and submit your work at each stage 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.

Study Schedule

 Project Due Weight
Project 1A: Design Brief Week 3 15%
Project 1B: Schematic Design Week 7 30%
Mid-term presentation Week 7  
Project 1C: Final Project Week 13 45%
Final Presentation Week 13  
Project 2A: Final Collection Week 13 10%
Project 2B: Gallery Submission Week 13  
Total   100%

You must achieve a cumulative grade of 67% or greater to receive credit for ADST 400.

Course Materials


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

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, April 27, 2016.