Module Descriptors

Year 1 modules

Freehand drawing

This module introduces and equips (via numerous assignments) students with the essential skills needed for freehand drawing (i.e. drawing done by hand without the use of tools or aids such as templates, stencils, tracing). It emphasises the ability to have good command of the use of the hand, the ability to concentrate to achieve better accuracy, and ways to improve observation skills, which help train the eye for better accuracy in estimating lengths and foreshortenings.

Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD)

In this module, students will learn to digitise their visual communication skills learnt in ARCH101 (Freehand drawing) through variants of image processing and editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Then students will be introduced to the fundamentals of computer drafting and the tools used in this technique. Students will learn a basic computer drafting vocabulary, and line weights and values, as well as the skills necessary to produce floor plans, building sections, elevations, and reflected ceiling plans. The module also includes an introduction to architectural desktop basic 3D drawing and rendering.

Introduction to Sustainability

The module introduces the fundamental principles of sustainability including avoidance or minimisation of negative impacts on the environment; conservation and efficient use of natural resources; preservation of cultural patterns; and ecological harmony and respect for biodiversity. It emphasises the importance of creating a liveable environment and the practical goals towards which our interaction with the natural world should be working.

Physics 1

This module is similar to the introductory Physics modules offered in many universities but it is modified to place heavier emphasis on those topics pertinent to architecture, specifically forces, reactions, thermal properties of matter, heat transfer, and insulation. The module covers units; vectors; Newton’s Laws of Motion; applying Newton’s Laws; work; energy; conservation of energy; momentum; impulse; collisions; rotation; equilibrium; gravitation; periodic motion; fluids; temperature; heat; thermal properties; and the first law of thermodynamics.

Year 2 modules

Architectural Design 1

This is a studio-based module that aims to widen students’ perceptions of architecture and architectural space, within both historical and contemporary contexts. The module introduces techniques to develop students’ presentations skills.

Architectural Technology 1

This module will introduce students to the principles and applications of building technology at a domestic scale. It will explain the connection between creativity and technique in architectural design. Concept of design for technical performance will also be introduced to students.

History of Architecture

This module will introduce students to a representative range of vernacular buildings world-wide. The module aims to develop an understanding of how buildings modify climate; to develop an awareness of the constructional potential of traditional building materials; to introduce ideas of culture and settlement; to explore techniques for drawing and modelling the physical form and performance of simple buildings; and to develop the ability to define a topic and write a well-structured, appropriately referenced academic essay.

Design Theory

This module introduces students to foundational concepts of theoretical notions as well as historical thinking that have been relevant throughout the history of design, such as form, technology, programme, benefaction, and site. This module presents a selected range of concepts developed by philosophers, historians and theorists to explain the production and experience of the discipline ranging from product design to the design of an urban space.

Islamic Architecture

This module offers comprehensive coverage of Islamic building typologies, their influences, and the context (historical and geographic) within which these types can be found. The module also covers the cultural context as both determinant and modifier of the built form. Its scope includes Islamic art and architecture since 650 AD and surveys works from the Middle East, Spain, northern Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Indian subcontinent.

Post-Renaissance Western Architecture

This module follows on from the History of Architecture module. Through it students will develop their knowledge of the architectural history of Europe and North America from the early nineteenth century up to 1939. In the course of the module students will investigate the relationship between architecture and ideology and will develop their ability in critical analysis.

Communication and Management 1

The module aims to clearly and effectively represent and convey design ideas and proposals. It will teach students how to combine architectural representation and contextual knowledge. It will provide further opportunities for students to develop practical skills in architectural representation and communication. It will build on knowledge of appropriate communication and management skills employed within a professional context.

Year 3 Modules

Architectural Design 2

This studio-based module focuses on the theme of Housing and Society by exploring the relationship between living, working, and other milieux which architecture organises in its construction of social contexts.

The programme will investigate a unit of the city exploring the relationship between the structure of built space and the creation of social environments.

Architectural Technology 2

This module introduces students to the architectural technologies and techniques necessary to create medium-span buildings, multi-storey housing, and library/school-scale buildings. It extends the concepts of designing for technical performance whilst maintaining and improving the connections between design creativity and technique in architectural design.

Modern Architecture

This module aims to excite students about architecture by introducing key concepts in the study of architecture as a discipline and as a form of cultural expression. The modules provides a broad introduction to the major figures, movements, ideas and changes in architecture since 1940, and situates these in a broader cultural context.

Communication and Management 2

This module builds on the Communication and Management 1 module. It focuses on the use of building information modelling (BIM) tools in the construction industry.  It continues to address and add to the core skills that underpin architectural activity. The activities contained within the module are designed to reflect, draw on and where possible support the experience of the design studio.

Issues in Cultural Architecture

This module will develop students’ abilities to describe, name, outline and explain social and cultural issues as well as issues that are referred to as ‘theoretical’, particularly when participating in design modules and visits relating to design module requirements. The module aims to develop a basic understanding of the relationships between people and buildings and the world we live in.

Professional Context 1

This module looks initially at two areas of constraint and opportunity. The first is ourselves: what characteristics and expectations we bring to the employment market; how our skills, knowledge and values match against our chosen career paths, whether they are in architecture or an aligned profession; and how we might increase our levels of employability. The second area covered by the module looks at some of the most important issues that shape and form the built environment – those of legislation and regulation.

Year 4 Modules

Architectural Design 3

This is a studio-based module which aims to develop architectural design ability to an advanced level. Through this module design projects in the first term will prepare students for a major piece of design work that starts in the second term and is finalised in the third term.

Architectural Technology 3

This module aims to introduce students to the application of building technology to the design of medium rise skeletal complex buildings and complex internal systems. It intends to extend the concepts of design for technical performance and provides an understanding of how to maintain the connections between design creativity and technique in architectural design.

Cities and Landscapes

This module focuses on city urban design, introducing students to elements of designing within an urban context and its landscape. The course concentrates on the analytical methods, representational techniques, and speculative approaches that lie at the foundation of urban design and physical planning. A series of small design exercises introduces tools for interpreting, envisioning, and implementing city and landscape plans including its surface, material and elements.

Professional Context 2

This module builds upon the knowledge and skills developed in Professional Context I by introducing students to key issues which they will encounter in their professional lives, developing an understanding of the context in which the architect operates. In parallel with this professional awareness, students will also be equipped with key professional skills (project programming and computer aided design/drawing) in preparation for employment.

Professional Context 3

This module will develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the systems and processes of control, planning and co-ordination and of the contractual frameworks which they will need to initiate and direct, and also be subject to, during their professional life. The basic principles of initiation, team working, management and control can also be transferred to other related professional activities which the student may wish to explore.

 Technical Studies

In this module, students will obtain knowledge and gain experience related to a wide range of architectural learning, thus approaching architecture from its multi-disciplinary themes and learning how to come together in a common complete architectural setting. The module tutor will collaborate with specialists from practice (government and private) to provide a complete architectural professional experience from the real world.

The British University in Dubai

Block 11, 1st and 2nd floor, Dubai International Academic City PO Box 345015, Dubai, UAE

Tel: +971 4 279 1400

Whatsapp: +971 50 701 2843

Email: [email protected]