Applied Studies (APST) 470

Building Envelope and Assemblies (Revision 2)


Revision 2 is closed for registrations, see current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

APST 470: Building Envelope and Assemblies is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University. For those students interested in pursuing a career as a registered architect, this course also contributes to the RAIC Syllabus Diploma.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

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APST 470: Building Envelope and Assemblies focuses on the application of building science principles to the design of building enclosures. This course examines various elements that mediate between the interior and exterior environments, both above and below the ground, in manners appropriate to their intended function and performance. Case studies of building enclosures and their components illustrate the importance of having a comprehensive understanding of building materials and building processes. Wall sections and other building details are used to identify strategies to achieve sustainable and high-performance buildings in various climates.

Course Outline

Part One: Principles of Building Envelope Design

  • Unit 1: Building Envelope Design Basics
  • Unit 2: Management of Heat, Air, and Water Vapour

Part Two: Detailed Building Design – Wall Systems

  • Unit 3: Management of Water Movement
  • Unit 4: Rainscreen Wall Assemblies with Heavyweight Cladding
  • Unit 5: Rainscreen Wall Assemblies with Light-Weight Cladding
  • Unit 6: Glazed Curtain Wall Assemblies
  • Unit 7: Wall Assemblies: Other Wall Systems and Elements

Part Three: Detailed Building Design – Other Systems

  • Unit 8: Windows and Doors
  • Unit 9: Roof Assemblies
  • Unit 10: Managing Building Movement and Connections 1
  • Unit 11: Managing Building Movement and Connections 2
  • Unit 12: Construction Documents and Specifications

Learning Outcomes

After you have completed APST 470, you should be able to

  1. Design a complete high-performance building envelope system, at a conceptual level, for a given set of conditions.
  2. Design a building envelope assembly through the application of qualitative and quantitative analysis of proposed performance.
  3. Evaluate methods and materials of construction in a range of applications.
  4. Illustrate the appropriate application of construction materials and methods for a range of building design scenarios.
  5. Evaluate existing buildings conditions and identify methods for their improvement.

You will find that the assignments and the focus questions in this course are formulated to challenge you to respond in a manner that demonstrates the ability and level of understanding stipulated in these overall objectives.


To receive credit for Applied Studies 470, you must achieve a minimum overall grade of C+ (67%) for the entire course. Students who wish to be certified by the CACB must achieve and maintain a final grade point average of 2.3 (67%) or greater.

Your work in this course will be evaluated based on four assignments and the final examination. Assignments 1 is worth 15% of your final course grade.  Assignment 2 is worth 20%, Assignment 3 is worth 25%, and Assignment 4 is worth 15%.  The final examination will cover the entire course, and is worth 25% of your final grade. The minimum passing mark for the final exam is 50%. This information is summarized in the table below.

Activity   Portion of Total Grade
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 25%
Assignment 4 15%
Final Exam 25%
Total Grade 100%

Course Materials


Brock, L. (2005). Designing the exterior wall: An architectural guide to the vertical envelope. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Online Materials

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

Undergraduate Student Handbook: The Undergraduate Student Handbook contains essential information on administrative and academic procedures for students.

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 2, October 17, 2017.

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