DESST 2516 - Design Studio III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

Under theme of revitalisation, this course introduces students to the knowledge and skills required to develop design proposals at an urban scale. The course considers the local, national as well as international contexts. The local Urban Design Project will consider design proposals which analyse and critique the intellectual tradition of the city using the greater metropolitan Adelaide through drawing and digital modelling.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DESST 2516
    Course Design Studio III
    Coordinating Unit School of Architecture and Built Environment
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Assumed Knowledge DESST 1506 or DESST 1029
    Restrictions Available to B.ArchDest students only.
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description Under theme of revitalisation, this course introduces students to the knowledge and skills required to develop design proposals at an urban scale. The course considers the local, national as well as international contexts.

    The local Urban Design Project will consider design proposals which analyse and critique the intellectual tradition of the city using the greater metropolitan Adelaide through drawing and digital modelling.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Jo Russell-Clarke

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    No information currently available.

    University Graduate Attributes

    No information currently available.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    There are no set or prescribed texts or resources for purchase in this course. Much material of use to you will be available online or via the library.

    Recommended Resources

    More detail of specific references will be provided for each weekly lecture and tutorial with links to online material also available via MyUni. Your first year of study has identified and even provided you with key texts which it will be useful to return to, consolidate and expand upon. It is expected that you shall consult your old course profiles and other material to re-familiarise yourself with these works.

    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 sessions are scheduled for Tuesday 6pm at the Horace Lamb Lecture Theatre, and the exact detail of dates and speakers is available from the School website and the Front Office.

    Academic Support:
    The Professions Learning Centre (PLC) provides postgraduate coursework students of the Faculty of Professions free academic skills advice on critical analysis and structuring assignments, paraphrasing, referencing, oral presentation skills and other skills to assist with success at university. You are encouraged to take advantage of the service to enable you to improve your performance in your studies. To contact a Learning Advisor please send an email to

    Online Learning

    Lecture summaries, image pdfs, hand-outs, links for further reference and additional material considered of interest will be posted on the MyUni website following the relevant class.

    A Discussion Board and ability to share and build Group work will also be a feature of work for this Course.

    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.

    General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at Students can also access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link: 

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    An introductory lecture will background the diverse range of understandings and practice of ‘urban design’, its historic role and its recent pre-eminent importance in government policy at all levels.

    Lectures in following weeks from both academic staff and guests will examine aspects of the designed and spatially organised operation of cities from a variety of perspectives. The 2-hr Wednesday lecture time will also include different activities in some weeks including student presentations and interactive workshops.

    Lecture content will employ case studies identifying mechanisms for exploring, collecting, ordering and communicating urban design ideas through the examples of others’ projects. Lectures will provide an introduction and overview of urban design history and theory, surveying the mutual impacts of city design and socio-economic development down to the present day and recapitulating current principals and practices concerned with addressing interrelated issues of climate change, resource depletion, population growth, pollution, economic stability, poverty, obesity and social justice.

    A variety of resources including texts and websites links will be provided on MyUni. Students will be required to source relevant material and undertake investigations their own particular eventual project focus. The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide outlines the objectives of urban design for Adelaide. The now-defunct Integrated Design Commission and 5000+ websites and press releases, and Renewal SA website and documents uploaded there illustrate the sorts of projects that urban design might include. These provide material for critical examination, both of projects (existing and proposed built works) and of the strategies and policies that they respond to. Federal initiatives including the recent Urban Design Protocol provide a further framework for critical examination.

    Initial smaller assignments will be workshopped and presented in tutorials to develop student’s familiarity and skills with common analytical and communication tasks in the examination of urban environments.


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

    This is a 6 unit course. Students in this course are expected to attend 6 hours of lecture/tutorial/seminar each week and allow for 18 hours of self-directed learning each week. That is a total of 24 hours a week for 12 weeks. The tutorials and other activities, including reviews of work in progress are an important component of learning in this course. The communication skills developed by regularly and actively participating in activities and discussions are considered extremely important by the School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies.

    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 6 unit course are expected to devote 24 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: 24 Hrs per week x 13 weeks = 312 Hrs
    Total contact hours: 6 Hrs per week x 12 weeks = 72 Hrs
    Total self-guided study: 312 Hrs – 72 Hrs = 240 Hrs

    These 240 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

    The following is subject to change, particularly with regard to guest lecturers. Please check MyUni for latest schedules and check email daily.

    Week Lecture Tutorial Weekly Task
    Mar 6/7
    Overview: Riverbank Precinct brief
    Hand out, discuss and mock-up Illustrating a vibrant city 
    and News Discussion Board
    Site visits/documentation
    Illustrating a vibrant city
    Mar 13/14
    Guest practitioner (TBC) A practitioner’s overview of UD practice opportunities and presentation of projects. Present Illustrating a vibrant city
    Hand out Aspects of UD and Mapping 
    Wkshop: how to research for design projects
    Site visits/research
    Work on Aspects of UD and Mapping
    Mar 20/21
    ODASA representative
    Urbanised (film)
    Urbanized Discussion/debate
    Aspects of UD desk crits
    Work on Aspects of UD and Mapping
    Mar 27/28
    Utopias & future visions
    Manifesto workshop
    Present Group Aspects of UD
    Peer critique. In-class ‘defence’ or response.
    Apr 3/4
    Guest Lecture: Mobilities: Equity, access and linkages Mapping desk crits Mapping
    Apr 10/11
    Guest Lecture: Indigenous presence Present Mapping
    Hand out Precedent invasions and Final UD Project.
    Prelim. Exercise: precedents
    Precedent invasions
    Mid-semester break: Apr 15 - 28
    May 1/2
    Lecture: Hydrology ecology & UD Present Precedent invasions Rework/adaptation for final UD Project
    May 8/9
    Guest lecture: Art & UD Response to presentation critique/reworking desk crits UD Project
    May 15/16
    Guest Panel debate: ‘for’ & ‘against’ arguments presented on a pre-given UD project desk crits UD Project
    May 22/23
    Guest lecture: TBA (Dr Jo unavailable) Pin-up/wall crits UD Project
    May 29/30
    The final lecture time will be devoted to identified issues to assist students desk crits UD Project
    Jun 5/6
    NO LECTURE Final Presentations UD Project with guest critics
    Specific Course Requirements

    As the Riverbank Precinct is the subject of examination, it is expected that students undertake ‘site visits’ in their own time. Collaboration and group visits are encouraged in preparation for the tutorial exercises and assignments.

  • 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

    Assessment criteria for exercises are detailed in the individual Assignment hand-out sheets and are generally introduced and explained in lectures and will be available on MyUni.

    Task/Assignment No. & NameDue DateTimeWeightTypeLearning Outcomes
    #1 Illustrating a Vibrant City Mar 13/14 Tute 6% Individual/Summative 2
    #2 News Discussion Board May 31 Online midnight 4% Individual/Summative 1, 3
    #3 UD Agendas Mar 27/28 Tute 14% Group/Summative 1, 2, 3
    #4 Mapping Apr 10/11 Tute 16% Individual/Summative 2, 3
    #5 Precedent Invasions May 1/2 Tute 20% Individual/Summative 1, 2, 3, 4
    #6 Final UD Project June 4 3pm 40% Individual/Summative 1, 2, 3, 4
    Assessment Related Requirements

    There are no compulsory assessment-related requirements for this course.

    Assessment Detail

    Assessment criteria for exercises are detailed in the individual Assignment hand-out sheets and are generally introduced and explained in lectures or tutorials. They will be available on MyUni.

    #1 Illustrating a Vibrant City
    The first of the State Government’s seven strategic priorities in the SA Strategic Plan is ‘Creating a Vibrant City’. As you undertake this assignment, keep in the background the question ‘Why?’. UD projects are typically large, complex and long-term commitments. Many UD Projects effectively begin before anything is designed. They begin with a media announcement of identified opportunity and intent: they are ‘aspirational’. This assignment starts at the end – what do you want to see as the result of your final project? What is your ideal image of a Vibrant City for the Riverside Precinct? What do you need to show to ‘sell’ the concept? What are synonyms that can help give you clues to real as well as metaphorical or symbolic elements to depict in the real site (colourful, active or moving, vibrating, bright, reflective, exciting, thrilling, electric...). An in-class tutorial exercise will be followed by development of an individual response in the form of a single image developed on a photograph of a site within the Riverside Precinct. You are to consider all the possible ways you could depict ‘vibrancy’.

    #2 News Discussion Board
    A discussion board will be created for each tutorial group. Students will be required to contribute a minimum of one weekly ‘news’ item relating to UD, as well as make a comment upon one per week posted by a colleague – so, 10 entries + 10 comments = once a week from week 1 to week 10 of the semester. ‘News’ may include daily media bulletins from local, national and international press, or announcements of events including conferences, seminars, exhibitions, book launches, project announcements or completions, etc from blogs or online newsletters. A list of preliminary websites will be provided but you are encouraged to search for more, especially as you identify and focus on areas of particular interest to you, and of likely relevance to the principal agenda of your final UD Project proposition (e.g. anything from broader interests to very specific obsessions: student accommodation, WSUD, urban food, public art, festivals, the elderly, small business incubation, street lighting, skateboarding, water sports, chess, choral singing, knitting, pet training, indigenous flora, plane-spotting, etc, etc). You cannot post an item that has already been posted by someone else in your group. You must provide a title, have a link to an online source, upload a relevant image and make a short statement as to why you found this interesting and how it may be relevant to Adelaide or the (existing or possible future) Riverside Precinct. In addition to a weekly post of your own, you must provide a weekly comment on someone else’s post. You must write a statement, providing further information or comparison, or raising an issue or point of detail. You must also provide a link to an online resource that expands on your statement or gives an example supporting it.

    #3 UD Agendas
    This is a small group project (2-3 students). Each group will be assigned a particular urban design ‘agenda’ or area of interest to investigate. The ‘agendas’ might equally be thought of as areas of study, layers of typical mapping, zones, categories or areas of consideration. To call any particular interest an ‘agenda’ is just to indicate the primary importance of that consideration. Many particular interests overlap easily with others (e.g. dealing with stormwater can have implications for where open space and floodways are located or how wide roads may be). All have implications for physical design and also have histories of design exploration including many precedents of both built and speculative projects. The agendas include:

    • Public/civic vs private space (ownership, access, recognition, legal standing...)
    • Spatial programming, use or zoning (number of uses, mix, physical and temporal overlap...)
    • City layout geometries, patterns (scale, legibility, purpose, historical development...)
    • Streets: typologies (size, traffic type, sectional profile, surfacing, vegetation, edge conditions...)
    • Water: typologies (UG and overland or ‘daylighted’, stormwater, sewerage, potable water, WSUD as an approach to these, etc...)
    • ‘Green’ space: typologies (open space, parks, gardens, nature strips, balcony pot plants...)

    On two A1 boards the groups shall present specified research findings into their nominated agenda including definitions, identification of key persons associated with it, as well as key project examples, indicating relevance to the Riverbank Precinct.

    #4 Mapping
    ‘Mapping’ is a fundamental tool for data collection as well as targeted analysis and also projection of project proposals. This assignment will require you to undertake some ‘typical’ site analyses (e.g. figure-ground, massing, vegetation, fauna/biodiversity, hydrology, energy & telecommunication infrastructure, commercial and other economic activity, etc). You must then produce a series of maps for representation of less typical data. Anything can be mapped – that is, compared and contrasted, categorised and spatially located. What is it about the site you investigate which is unusual or interesting to you and which typical mapping does not register? How do you map smells or fear or textures or the sound that shoes make on different surfaces, or shades of the colour red, flying or crawling insects, access to WiFi, or many other things? The subject matter or data sets for the second map series should suggest possible new criteria and logic for site development. The aim is, in part, to uncover or help focus interest for the final design proposition. The final proposition is not bound to use the ideas discovered or the maps produced, however even in rejecting them you shall be better identifying your final design interest and objective.

    #5 Precedent Invasions
    ‘Precedents’ are indispensable sources of ideas and arguments for design propositions. When as designers we look at a site and consider its opportunities for improvement, we consider how other projects have dealt with similar situations. In other words, we consider ‘precedents’. In an important sense, gathering and analysing precedents is the same as a literature review inconventional text-based research: We consider the ‘state of knowledge’ of our discipline and how others have approached, tested and solved similar problems to what we face in our own current project. There is a wide variety of possible precedents for any given site – just as there is a wide variety of types and scales of UD project. Linked to the idea of the architectural or design ‘canon’, precedents are typically thought of as exemplary or best practice examples of a particular type or genre of design project: eg Central Park, New York as an major urban park offering experiences of naturalised open space in contrast to the densely built-up surrounding city fabric. This general appreciation of precedents is a useful one, however there are very many more ways to examine and use other’s projects so that they provide both a ‘precedent’ or evidenced argument for your own project ideas as well as inspiration for new ideas that necessarily respond to new contexts. In this assignment you are required to find and choose three project examples from particular types of precedent (e,g, urban infill, waterfront rejuvenation, post industrial reuse, etc) and then try to physically locate or insert them within the Riverbank Precinct, adjusting, manipulating and visualising how they might fit and how they will change the surrounding fabric. You must help them invade. How do the invading project precedents establish themselves? How do they affect the adjacent areas and the rest of the site? What happens when two or more invade at the same time and affect each other??...

    #6 Final UD Project
    The final assignment will be an urban design proposition located within the Riverbank Precinct. It may comprise the entire site or a particular site within it, although it must be shown how this smaller location will have an effect or catalyse development or other activity across the Precinct. The project must deliver a proposal for the physical city or a physical intervention, not an unapplied process or principal or other abstraction. Of course you will develop and work with these too, but the project must show probable physical outcomes. Many issues will inevitably be addressed in developing the proposition but the work should demonstrate rigorous research and application of a primary concern – i.e. it must understand a hierarchy of interrelated issues and develop a proposition that recognises potential conflicts and contradictions. It cannot make general and shallowly researched claims to address many issues equally. It cannot be an uncritical application of project ‘precedents’ but must use them to argue application specifically to the context of the site. These contexts – investigated through the mapping and earlier assignments – will be political, biophysical, climatic, demographic, formal (about built form) and spatial, amongst others. The project will be a design proposition that argues for a specific, clearly envisaged and material instance of urban development, revitalisation or intervention. New form is generated by proposing form/s alternative to the existing ones; forms which may be borrowed and must be adapted for Adelaide’s Riverbank Precinct from projects elsewhere.

    • Marking & Feedback (General)
      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.
    • Feedback for in-class submissions will only be available during the tutorial as oral critique in the style of studio wall-crits. Students should arrange with peers to make notes for reference.

    NOTE: Please be aware that selected superior works from the studio will be chosen for the School’s public ALL-IN exhibition to be held at the end of each semester. Exhibitions are a prestigious means of professional dissemination of work for public perusal, critique and celebration and you are encouraged, as a learning goal, to aspire to have your work exhibited.

    The submission dates and locations for various assignments associated with this course are:
    Task/Assignment No. & NameDue DateTimeWeightSubmission Method
    #1 Illustrating a Vibrant City Mar 13/14 Tute 6% Hardcopy pin-up
    #2 News Discussion Board May 31 Online midnight 4% Online contribution
    #3 UD Agendas Mar 27/28 Tute 14% Hardcopy pin-up
    #4 Mapping Apr 10/11 Tute 16% Hardcopy pin-up
    #5 Precedent Invasions May 1/2 Tute 20% Hardcopy pin-up
    #6 Final UD Project June 4 3pm 40% Hardcopy hand-in

    Submissions (General):

    • All submissions must include Student Name and Student ID Number. Submissions without Student Name or ID Number will not be considered for marking, and will receive zero marks in accordance with the guidelines.

    • In addition, all assigments need to have an Assignment Cover Sheet which must be signed and dated by the student before submission. Please attach the cover sheet in front of the document, to the top left hand corner.

    • Please adhere to submission deadlines and follow instructions provided.

    • Students must not submit work for an assignment that has previously been submitted for this course or any other course without prior approval from the Course Coordinator.

    • On occasion, the lecturer/tutor may wish to retain students’ work for future reference and the relevant student will be informed at such a time.

    Early Submission:

    • There is an early submission box located on Level 4 which is cleared out daily at 10am. Please mark your submission clearly before placing in box.

    • Models for in-class presentation cannot be handed in early.

    Late Submission:

    • The school will NOT accept late submissions and any such assignment will receive zero marks. This also applies to electronic submissions.

    • Printing delays & hard disk crashes will not be entertained as legitimate causes for delay, so please ensure that the work is finished in advance.


    • The school has a resubmission policy whereby students can redeem failed work by submitting additional work for a maximum of 50%.

    • The deadline for all re-submissions is 12pm on Friday 14th June 2013.

    Good practice:

    • Students should ensure that they regularly backup their work on multiple locations as hard-disk crashes are an unfortunate reality.

    • When relying on community printing facilities, students should attempt to finish their work in advance to avoid unnecessary delays.

    • Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted (digital or hardcopy), as originals may be lost during the submission process.

    For modified arrangements of submission and assessment due to special circumstances see the following Assessment Task Extension(s) & Additional Assessment guidelines.

    Modified Arrangements (General) 

    • Students can apply for extensions or modified arrangements based on Medical conditions or other Extenuating circumstances. However, students need to submit their application along with supporting documents within 5 business days of the condition becoming applicable.
    • The application forms are available from the Front Office and at and need to be submitted at the Front Office along with any supporting documentation.
    • Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance and the Course Coordinator will inform the applicant if the application is accepted. Please DO NOT contact the Course Coordinator directly.

    Medical Reasons:

    • In case of an extended medical condition which makes it impossible for the student to submit the work on time, an Application for Assessment Task Extension due to Medical Circumstances may be lodged with the Front Office along with a doctor’s certificate within 5 business days.

    Extenuating Circumstances:

    • If the student is unable to submit the work on time due to extenuating circumstances an Application for Assessment Task Extension due to Extenuating Circumstances may be lodged with the Front Office.
    • Please note that this is only available for certain military, religious, or legal obligations and does not extend to minor personal problems. (Refer to Student Handbook at for further details or contact Student Advisor).

    Compassionate Grounds:

    • In case of certain extraordinary personal problems students can apply for extensions based on compassionate grounds. However, these must first be discussed with the Course Coordinator in person through appointment during the assigned office hours.
    • To maintain privacy relating to personal issues students can contact the University Transition and Advisory Service at 8313 0100 or, or approach the Counselling Service on 83035663 for an individual appointment.

    Additional Assessment:

    • If a student receives a Fail grade for the course with an overall mark between 45 and 49, they may be eligible for an Additional Assessment which would allow them to get a maximum of 50 Pass for the Course.
    • Additional Assessment offers are made by the School and the student will be informed directly once these are made available.


    • Students who have a disability and wish to seek modified submission or assessment arrangements need to contact the University Disability Services at 83135962 or for supporting documentation and then communicate these to the Course Coordinator in person through appointment during the assigned office hours.

    Elite Athlete:

    • Students who have national/international sporting commitments and wish to seek modified submission or assessment arrangements need to register with the University Elite Athlete Support Scheme at and then communicate this to the Course Coordinator in person through appointment during the assigned office hours.
    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.

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