DESST 1508 - Environment I

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

The course explores the notion that designers respond to pressing environmental, cultural, social and economic issues in the design and creation of our built environments. The course introduces the historical, political and ethical contexts and processes of environmental design. The relationship between climates, environments and design as both built structures and landscapes is explored at a variety of scales. This course introduces students to the complex built environment and engineering contexts for the development of projects destined to shape our inevitably changing built environments.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DESST 1508
    Course Environment I
    Coordinating Unit School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Restrictions Available to B.ArchDes and B.E(Arch) students only
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description The course explores the notion that designers respond to pressing environmental, cultural, social and economic issues in the design and creation of our built environments. The course introduces the historical, political and ethical contexts and processes of environmental design. The relationship between climates, environments and design as both built structures and landscapes is explored at a variety of scales. This course introduces students to the complex built environment and engineering contexts for the development of projects destined to shape our inevitably changing built environments.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Katharine Bartsch

    Room 456a, Level 4, Barr Smith South, School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Email: (preferred mode of contact)
    Course Website:
    School Website:
    School Website (Unified): 
    This is a School specific portal with news and events about the School.

    Contact Protocol: Course-specific queries should be raised with your tutor.
    If queries cannot be resolved in your tutorial, please contact the course coordinator via email.
    If you have a non course-specific query refer to the Student Handbook 2015 or Student Advisor.
    I currently work part-time and I am on campus Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays.
    My drop-in time for Environment I is 3-4 Fridays (Room 456a).
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Full timetable details, including the dates and times of face-to-face lectures and tutorials, are available in the Learning Activities Summary.

    Full details of the assignments and resources are provided in the appropriate folders on MyUni.

    Lectures: Fridays, 9-11am, Darling West G14.


    Friday 11-12noon: Tutorial 01 21707, BSS 528 (DCRE),  Lyrian Daniel (26)*

    Friday 11-12noon: Tutorial 02 21708, BSS 511 (DCRS), Gavin Chow (26)

    Friday 1-2pm: Tutorial 03 21709, BSS 511 (DCRS), Namrata Vishwasrao (27)

    Friday 1-2pm: Tutorial 04 21710, BSS  509 (LArch 4th Year Studio), Katharine Bartsch (26)      

    Friday 2-3pm: Tutorial 05 21711, BSS 510 (LArch 5th Year Studio), Mizanur Rashid (24)

    Friday 2-3pm: Tutorial 06 21712, BSS 511 (DCRS),  Gavin Chow (25)

    Friday 2-3pm: Tutorial 07 21713, BSS 509 (LArch 4th Year Studio), Katharine Bartsch (14)

    BSS = Barr Smith South

    *   This number refers to the number of students enrolled in that tutorial at the beginning of term.

    You may choose to re-enrol in Tutorial 07 which currently has fewer students.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    The course learning outcomes for Environment I—which is created as an introduction to the relationship between climates, environments and designs in preparation for subsequent courses in the environment stream of the Bachelor of Architectural Design —are specifically aligned with the thematic content of the lecture series, the tutorials, the required and recommended reading, and the objectives of the assessable tasks.

    Thus, the student will develop the following knowledge and skills and be able to:
    1. Identify key aspects of the historical, political and ethical context of sustainable development
    2. Identify the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability
    3. Gain an understanding of sustainable processes, relating especially to biodiversity and water
    4. Broaden their understanding of how designers can contribute to sustainable development
    5. Apply independent research skills to interpret the relationship between climates, environments, and design
    6. Analyse and evaluate (textually and graphically) a site
    7. Interpret, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources to form and express a qualified critique of a sustainable design
    8. Compare and contrast the opinions of different scholars
    9. Write clear and concise analytical texts which structure evidence for and against (a point of view)
    10. Demonstrate the appropriate use of referencing
    11. Develop appropriate skills in the manipulation of text and image to communicate ideas
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3, 4
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 5, 6, 7, 8
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 2, 3, 4
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4, 5, 6, 7
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 10, 11
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Christopher B. Daniels and Catherine J. Tait (Eds.). (2006). Adelaide: Nature of a City: The Ecology of a Dynamic City from 1836-2036. Adelaide: Biocity: Centre for Urban Habitats with the support of the Adelaide City Council, University of Adelaide (School of Environmental and Earth Sciences), The Department for Environment and Heritage and the Royal Zoological Society of South Australia.

    Christopher B. Daniels (Ed.). (2010). Adelaide: Water of a City. Adelaide: Wakefield Press.

    These 2 textbooks can be purchased from Professor Chris Daniels, the author (and his assistants) at the University of South Australia, Playford Building 4-39.

    They are available for sale at the following days/times (only):

    12.00-2.00pm: Tuesday 21st July

    01.00-2.30pm: Wednesday 22nd July

    01.00-3.00pm: Tuesday 28th  July

    03.30-5.00pm: Thursday 30th July 

    The cost is $70 for the two books, strictly Cash Only.

    These texts will be useful throughout the Environment stream offered at Levels I, II and III. Compulsory reading material for lectures, tutorials, or assignments will be available in the corresponding folder on MyUni.

    Recommended Resources
    Detailed information about further resources will be available on MyUni in the assignment folders.

    Academic Support
    Consult “The Writing Centre” for on-line resources re: essay writing guides, study guides, referencing.

    Face-to-Face writing support is also available from Hub Central, Level 3. The Writing Centre provides academic learning and language support and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at
    the University of Adelaide. The Writing Centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, and referencing techniques for success at university. Please note, the drop-in service is not an editing or grammar checking service but the Centre can help you develop your written English. No appointment is necessary. For greater assistance, please bring your course guide, assignment question, comments from your lecturers/tutors, and drafts of your writing.

    Speaker Series: The School has a fortnightly lecture series where respected practitioners and academics from the field deliver a public lecture on contemporary architectural practice. In order to expand your knowledge of contemporary directions in design it is recommended that you attend these sessions. The exact detail of dates and speakers is available from the School website and the Front Office.

    Online Learning
    In addition to the above textbooks, further assignment resources are available on MyUni

    MyUni is an essential online tool which will be used to communicate information regarding the course including details of assignments and interim grades. There are many other learning resources and assessment pieces that rely
    on the MyUni system for delivery. Therefore it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the various functions of MyUni and employ it to its fullest extent.

    Students are expected to familiarise themselves with all the available content on MyUni.

    University Email: The school uses the University email system to get in touch with the students. So it is imperative
    that you check your email regularly and keep up to date with any new announcements.

    Noticeboard / Handbook: General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at the online portal for the School:

    All students should familiarise themselves with this valuable portal.

    Students can access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link:

    Lecture Recording: An audio recording of the lectures is made available in electronic format through the MyUni system for students to listen to in their own time and make notes. Please note that while these audio recordings are a useful resource for revision they should not be considered as replacement for lecture attendance. The lecture sessions may include activities and discussions on visual material that cannot be captured properly in the recording. Furthermore, technical issues cause delays in the availability of recordings which might affect your ability to complete ongoing tasks, not to mention technical failures which might result in certain recordings being unavailable.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Environment I focuses on student-centred learning and teaching. In “What the Student Does: Teaching for Enhanced Learning” Biggs (1999) advocates a systemic approach which takes into account all aspects of the teaching context—course objectives, teaching and learning activities and the assessment tasks—as a strategy to move away from passive, uni-directional, teacher-to student transmission of knowledge. This is the aim of the teaching and learning mode of Environment I. Importantly, Biggs stresses the need to embed the course objectives in the assignment tasks. Thus, formative and summative assessment tasks are designed to engage students in activities which will develop their knowledge and skills which are aligned with the course objectives (most significantly, foundational knowledge of sustainable development as a basis for future courses in the Environment stream at Levels I, II and III and an understanding of the synergies between design and the environment in preparation for future design studios as well as the ability to the ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources to prepare clear and concise analytical texts).

    The knowledge base begins with the lectures and the required reading material. However, these are intended as a point of inspiration and a starting point for students’ independent learning which is demonstrated in the assessable work. They are not intended as a comprehensive, finite review of the content.

    Knowledge, skills, and assessable work are carefully integrated to achieve the intended holistic approach to learning and teaching. Moreover, according to Biggs, assessment must generate higher level cognitive learning activities, specifically, theorising, applying, relating, understanding or explaining distinguished from describing, note-taking or memorising. Student-focused learning strategies, embedded in the assessable work, are essential to bring about higher level cognitive learning.

    Biggs, J. (1999). “What the Student Does: Teaching for Enhanced Learning.” Higher Education Research and Development Journal, 18 (1): 57-78.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (ie. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote at
    least 48 hours per week to their studies. Accordingly, students undertaking this 3 unit course are expected to devote 12 hours per week to contact activities and self-guided studies.

    Based on this framework here are some figures that might assist workload management:

    Total workload hours:         12 hrs per week x 13 weeks: 156 hrs
    Total contact hours:             3 hrs per week x 12 weeks: 36 hrs
    Total self-guided study:    156 hrs –36 hrs: 120 hrs

    These 120 hours should be used towards preparation of weekly tasks and for completion of the various assignments associated with the course, including development of various skills required
    to complete the same. Please organise your time wisely.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Details of the   Learning Activities will be available in the Course Outline on MyUni.

    Assignment  1  Poster Essay (30%) Individual Assignment                     

    Assignment  2  Immersive Learning Environment (30%) Individual Assignment                                 

    Assignment  3  Masterplan (30%) Group Assignment                  

    Small Group Discovery (Online Modules, 10%) Individual Assignment           

    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no specific course requirements relating to field trips for this course.

    However, students may choose to visit a sustainable house as part of Sustainable House Day 2015.

    It is expected that students will conduct in-situ site analysis in preparation for Assignment 2+3 (Norwood Primary School and environs), in their own time. If students choose to do so, it is expected that students will exercise a responsible duty of care at all times and be respectful of the properties/sites they visit. All queries relating to Sustainable House Day 2015 or the requirements for Assignments should be discussed with your tutor or the Course Coordinator.

    The study site for Assignments 2 and 3 is Norwood Primary School.
    Students must not visit Norwood Primary School during School hours.
    Students must not take photos of Norwood Primary School students at any time.

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Each assignment requires the student to undertake research. However, Assignment 2 and 3 are underpinned by a small group discovery opportunity which is actively promoted by the University of Adelaide. This is mentored by Course Coordinator and Senior Lecturer, Dr Katharine Bartsch as per Learning Activities Summary (Page 5 Course Outline on MyUni).

    The union of teaching and research, combined in a search for impartial truth, was fundamental to the modern research university ideal. A small group of students, meeting to work at the discovery of new knowledge under expert guidance, was the centrepiece of the university experience. Yet in Australian and UK universities from the 1980s, with the massive growth of university enrolments and the addition of many applied disciplines, research became increasingly detached from teaching, and a division was created that has widened ever since. Today despite oppressive research pressures on staff, research is almost wholly absent from Australian undergraduate teaching.

    The University of Adelaide promotes small group discovery and aims to become a model of the teaching/research union, to show how universities can recapture what was once the defining characteristic of the research university. This does not mean merely inviting students to study an individual topic in depth, with initiative and creativity. In a true research university, the study of existing knowledge is secondary to the making of new knowledge. Moving away from knowledge delivery, now increasingly eroded by the universal availability of free online content, a university should focus on the essence of what research offers: the rigour of the scientific method, the search for empirical evidence, the beauty of logic and of patterns, the value of innovation, the creativity of problem solving and the intrinsic worth of knowledge. The University of Adelaide will return research to undergraduate teaching, so that every student in every program comes to experience the scholarship of discovery as the highlight of their learning experience.

     For many undergraduate students, this will take the form of an individual research project in their final year, for which the preparatory research skills and experience necessary will be built through smaller exercises in the earlier years of their course. As a key format for delivering undergraduate research, the university will commit to increasing the centrality of small-group learning, in which students address the scholarship of discovery with other students and a staff mentor. While content will increasingly be delivered in other formats, every student in every program should experience such small-group discovery as a key part of their learning experience.

    Each assignment in Environment I requires students to undertake research in consultation with their tutors.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    All details about the individual assignments including an overview of each assessment task, the task type, due date, weighting, and identification of the learning objectives addressed by the assessment task are provided in the relevant assignment folder on MyUni. The course is not exempt from any requirement of the Assessment for Coursework Programs policy

    If there are any concerns about the due dates or conflicts arising with those of other courses these concerns must be communicated to the course coordinator by Monday of Week 2 (Monday 3rd August). The course co-ordinator will take these into account and notify the class of any changes via MyUni.

    Assessment Assumptions
    The following skills are assumed: literacy; word-processing; use of powerpoint; ability to prepare an oral presentation; basic image processing (scanning, cropping, saving, re-sizing etc); initiative; remembering to REGULARLY SAVE YOUR WORK done on the computer and to BACK-IT-UP on portable hard-drive, CD, flash-drive or similar. Neither the course coordinator nor the tutors will undertake proof reading of assignments prior to submission.

    It is assumed that students are aware of the time required to print their work, or upload it to MyUni, given the number of students in the School and often competing deadlines across different year levels. Students, therefore, must MANAGE THEIR TIME appropriately to allow for such conflicts and timely submissions.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students are expected to attend all lectures and tutorials. Class rolls will be maintained to monitor attendance. Membership of
    tutorial classes is to be finalised by the end of the first week of semester 1. Students wishing to swap between tutorial classes after this time are required to present their case to the coordinator (Katharine Bartsch), but should be aware that such a request may not be approved. It is important to maintain a good staff to student ratio of approximately 1:20.

     There are well publicised School policies for registering non-attendance for legitimate reasons, and you are strongly encouraged to formally acknowledge non-attendance reasons as soon as is practicable prior to planned absences or after your non-planned absence. The Medical and Counselling services, as well as the Education and Welfare Office of the University, are available to assist you free of charge in regard to medical or counselling matters.

    Students are expected to attend all scheduled teaching; and lectures, tutorials and other classes will proceed on the assumption that students have done so. Attendance at tutorials, seminars, practical work and studio sessions is taken into account in decisions about offering Replacement/Additional Assessment and/or examinations.   Students who regularly do not attend sessions and do not carry out the associated work may be precluded from and regarded as having failed the course.

    Students should take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by all classes, including the opportunity for interaction, and learning from each other. Compulsory attendance is necessary at all practical work sessions for a number of reasons: to achieve this interaction, in particular in group work; because of the sequential nature of work in some courses; because of the need for students to provide an audience and feedback for other students presenting work; and to ensure the authorship of project work on which assessment is based.

    Assessment Detail
    All details about the individual assignments including an overview of each assessment task, the task type (e.g. summative, formative), due date, weighting, and identification of the learning objectives addressed by the assessment task are provided on MyUni.

    Final results for the course will only be available through Access Adelaide and students should not contact the course coordinator or the tutors for the same.

    Most assignments will be marked within 3 weeks of the submission and the interim grades will be made available through the My
    Grades system. Students are expected to inform the Course Coordinator if there are any errors with the marks entered on the system.

    The best examples of students’ work will be included in the All-In Exhibition to be held at the end of term alongside the best works from other courses and year levels.

    The best examples of Assignments 2 and 3 will be displayed in an exhibition at Norwood Primary School.

    Submissions must be made according to the School policy on late submissions and re-submissions as detailed in the Student Handbook 2015.

    Submission requirements for each assignment are detailed on MyUni.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.