BSc (Hons) Architectural Design & Technology

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Course Overview

The way in which buildings are designed is changing rapidly, with innovative new building materials and techniques appearing all the time. Whilst the importance of conserving and upgrading our existing buildings has become increasingly evident, so has the need for new buildings to meet ever more stringent environmental standards. At Cardiff Metropolitan University, Architectural Design and Technology concentrates on excellence in technical detailing, coupled with a rigorous approach to sustainability and the minimisation of environmental impact; whether designing new buildings or working with our existing built heritage. ​

You may start the course with a simple desire to design buildings – but we trust you will leave with the knowledge, skills and passion to begin to change our world for the better. You will learn about different building techniques, materials, and other factors that impact on the technical design of buildings. At the same time, you will be developing an appreciation of the historical context of architectural design and becoming familiar with the values of environmentally responsive building design as you study innovative building techniques. The course will also facilitate you to gain key presentational skills, and to become proficient in the use of processes such as Building Information Modelling and Computer Aided Design. 

Your working space will be our well-equipped studios – lively and stimulating spaces where students and tutors interact in a variety of different ways; some formal, others more relaxed, but all designed to encourage creative and analytical thinking.

Accredited by the Charted Institute of Architectural Technologists, the course is structured in a way that allows you to choose a four-year 'sandwich degree' option, whereby your third year is spent on placement in an architectural practice or similar environment. You may decide – and will be encouraged – to participate in the ERASMUS exchange programme, spending several months of exciting study abroad at a European university.

Course information on this page relates to September 2016 entry.

​Course Content​

​​​The focus of​ the degree is not only to d​evelop you as a student and critical thinker, but to inspire your growth into a skilled and intellectual architectural technologist. These attributes, which are dependent on one another, combined with practical experience and an understanding of the architectural design and technology industry, will form the beginning of your career, and stand you in the strongest possible position to carry it forward.

The Architectural Design and Technology programme is taught by a dedicated team of both academics and professionals from within the spheres of architectural design and technology, as well as art and design. Staff interests and research areas range from sustainable building, and biodiversity, to urban design history and architectural conservation.

Year One:

Subject 1:
The module introduces you to the demands of architectural technology and the modes of creative and scholarly expectations of undergraduates in the discipline specific to the module as well as establishing a broader understanding of academic conduct in a University.​  

Through a series of lectures and exercises covering aspects of design, construction and servicing of low rise domestic buildings, the module identifies and helps you to understand and embody the threshold concepts of a practicing architectural technologist. You will use a range of drawing and presentation techniques including computer aided drawing and virtual and physical model making. Your assessment will be based on your studio work.

Field 1:
This is the first opportunity you will have in which to experience something of the unique experience, ethos and ambition of the Cardiff School of Art & Design undergraduate scheme. The Field module involves collaborative work with other architectural design and technology students and students from other disciplines within the School.

This module is designed to further create and generate in students a sense of themselves as being part of an expert discipline which nonetheless is part of a wider creative field of approaches to ideas, problems and concerns extends across all of the Subject disciplines.

A number of workshops provide you with the skills and confidence to collaborate with others from other Subject disciplines and more critically to become confident with their own individual creative expertise.

​Constellation 1 - Concept:
This module introduces you to a series of diverse historical and theoretical concepts and debates and also to a range of academic tools that will enable you to engage discursively with others and the wider academic community.
Through exposure to critical and contextual studies in the field of art and design, you will be encouraged to nurture independent interests and build a sound academic grounding to your studies of architectural design and technology.
A range of assessment will be offered in order to encourage you to be flexible and competent in a range of ways in which histories and theories are presented and in order to allow you to build confidence about your strengths.

Year Two:

Subject 2:
This module will develop your practice knowledge and skills in the discipline of architectural technology. Specifically, this will be through a series of lectures and exercises covering aspects of design, construction and servicing of medium rise, framed buildings. You will continue to develop presentation and technical drawing skills

Field 2:
You will be given the opportunity to engage with one or more challenging projects which will require you to negotiate and learn beyond the curriculum of your subject discipline. It may take you abroad for international study; to an existing company for work experience or voluntary social engagement; or result in working with School's leading research teams.

Designed to encourage you to explore and experiment, individual projects will be graded by a common form of assessment.

Constellation – Architectural Science:
The module's focus is on the science of architectural technology including the servicing of buildings, fire, drainage and environmental controls. You will be applying and demonstrating this knowledge through student-centred learning activities and studio projects in Subject 2.

Year Three:

Subject 3 – The Architectural Technology Professional:
This module will prepare you for the role of a professional architectural technologist and your contribution to society in the wider context. By developing an autonomous approach to your work you will actively plan ahead towards the start of your career as a professional or to engage in a higher level of further academic study.

Field 3 - Exhibition:
This module is largely student-led, built around the design and exhibition of a complex live or simulated building project. You will produce a professional presentation of your work as a culmination of your creative and technical development as an architectural technologist.

Constellation 3 - Contribution: 
Your final Constellation module will demonstrate your ability to produce a dissertation of significant value to your field, with a sense of authority stemming from thorough research and academic rigour.  Your final dissertation submission can take the form of a 10, 000 word essay or a business plan, a technical report, conference paper and presentation, or a 6000 word paper and accompanying practical piece.

Learning & Teaching

From the outset, you will gain hands-on experience in practical studio sessions and workshops – developing your core material skills. Lectures, lead by members of the academic staff, will broaden your theoretical understanding of your field, whilst smaller, targeted seminars are designed to provide guidance for meeting more individual intellectual and practical demands.

Group work will give you the opportunity to forge working relationships with your peers (collaboration which have frequently extended into extra-curricular or personal projects thereafter). As early on as in your second term, sharing a brief with students across different disciplines from within the school, you will engage with your own perspective to assert your skills and interpretations in the wider context of other mediums and creative thinking.

Allocated to you each year, your personal tutor will provide dedicated support, encouraging you to evolve a critical opinion of your work and perspective as well as the necessary skills for self-reflection and autonomous working.

Motivating yourself – from independent research and development right through to production – will be key to your academic experience. This will frequently be measured by the maintenance of a Personal Development Plan (or PDP), which is designed to start as a focal point for your aims and experimentalism, eventually serving as a comprehensive portfolio through which you can reflect upon a quality body of work.

The opportunity to showcase your designs, in specially co-ordinated programs, will provide you with practical experience in exhibiting your work. A professional emphasis, particularly in the second half of your studies, will similarly build on your vocational skills by introducing you to the industry through guest speakers, placements and experiential assignments with existing agencies. Your studies will often be enhanced through the use of the university's e-learning system.

Assessment

Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD:

SKILLS: The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

CONTEXT: Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your 'Theory and Context' modules.

IDEAS: Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress.

Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design.

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief.

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won't just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.

Employability & Careers​

Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable designer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.

As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.

Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.
Graduates from the programme are well placed to join architectural practices, working as architectural technologists. You are encouraged to continue your professional development by gaining chartered membership of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists.

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, five GCSE passes, including English and Maths at grade C or above, plus:

  • 260 UCAS Tariff Points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
  • At least 3 A Levels / Scottish Advanced Highers from relevant subjects: Science/Maths/Technology (General Studies excluded)
  • QCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction Merit Merit within a relevant subject
  • 260 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 3 x B1 grades from relevant subjects (minimum grade C2 considered)
  • Access to HE Diploma with 45 credits at Level 3 within a relevant subject
  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma considered along with grades CC at A Level within relevant subjects, General Studies excluded
  • Qualifications equivalent to the above

If your qualification isn't listed above, please refer to the UCAS website.

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels or BTEC or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered. Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements may be called to an interview with the Admissions Tutor.

If you are a UK or EU student intending to enter the first year and are confident you will meet the academic level (the tariff points) for your preferred undergraduate course, then you should apply through the usual means (UCAS in the UK) as detailed on the applications page of the Cardiff Metropolitan University website.

Selection Procedure and Interview Days:
Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application in which we consider:

i. Personal enthusiasm for the subject of architecture and/or the technologies of architecture and building
ii. Academic Achievement and ability

Applicants considered for a place will be invited to a ‘taster day’ at which you can meet staff and see at first hand some of the work carried out here.

The standards at Cardiff School of Art & Design are set very high. We have a reputation for creative academic research and student attainment to maintain. As our courses receive far more applications than we have places, you can expect that we will choose the most enthusiastic, inquisitive and able to study with us.

However, it is important to know that the way we judge real ability is not based upon exam results alone. When you apply to study for a degree at Cardiff School of Art and Design, the subject team will want to know about you as a person. They will need to find out if you are serious and well informed about your choice of subject. They will also want to know whether you are equipped with the skills and attitudes that would enable you to make the best use of your studies with us.

Interview Days are a great introduction for both parties. We like to talk to you in person about your work and aspirations, whilst also having the opportunity to show you around the school and its facilities – they will, after all, play a central role in the next three years for those whose applications are successful. The same is true of Cardiff itself, so interview days make an ideal opportunity to experience the city and hear all about what it can offer you as part of student life.

For more information about Art & Design Interview Days, please click here.

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at www.ucas.com/apply. For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/howtoapply.

UCAS Code:
W290

Key Facts

​Accredited by: Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists

Place of Study:
Cardiff School of Art & Design
Llandaff Campus

Course Length:
Three years full-time.

International Applicants:
Before making an application, international students (those outside of the EU), should contact the International Office at Cardiff Met to discuss the necessary procedures in relation to studying with us. For further information visit www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/international.

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/fees

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD 

Materials 

CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing. 

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use. 

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/additionalcosts.

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.

Bursaries & Scholarships:
The university also offers a bursary and scholarship scheme to help students whilst at university. To see if you are eligible, visit www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/scholarships.​

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email askadmissions@cardiffmet.ac.uk.

For course specific enquiries, please contact:

Subject leader, Anthony Whyman:
Email: twhyman@cardiffmet.ac.uk  
Tel:  029 2020 1558

Admissions Tutor, Nick Evans
Email: nievans@cardiffmet.ac.uk
Tel:  029 2020 5011

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Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/terms