DESST 2516 - Design Studio III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

Under the theme of revitalisation, this course introduces students to the knowledge and skills required to develop design proposals at an urban architectural and engineering scale. The course considers the local, national as well as international contexts. The local Urban Design Project will consider design proposals and supporting infrastructure that analyses and critiques the intellectual tradition of the city using the greater metropolitan Adelaide through drawing and both digital and physical 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
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge DESST 1506 or DESST 1029
    Restrictions Available to B.ArchDest students only.
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description Under the theme of revitalisation, this course introduces students to the knowledge and skills required to develop design proposals at an urban architectural and engineering scale. The course considers the local, national as well as international contexts.

    The local Urban Design Project will consider design proposals and supporting infrastructure that analyses and critiques the intellectual tradition of the city using the greater metropolitan Adelaide through drawing and both digital and physical modelling.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Samer Akkach

    Course Coordinator 
    Professor Samer Akkach

    Teaching Team
    The teaching team includes:
    Studio Leader, course coodinator
    Group Leaders, practising professionals
    Guest Lecturers, professional consultants
    Online Reviewers and Advisors, professional consultants
    The teaching team changes from year to year and details are provided on MyUni.
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Identify key principles of the history, theory, policies, and practice of urban design.

    2. Analyse and evaluate urban design principles: how buildings, public spaces, streets, landscapes, transport, and amenities are brought together to make a good sense of place. 

    3. Produce urban design propositions that interpret the project's physical, social, and historic contexts.

    4. Demonstrate developed collaborative skills through making creative contributions to a large-scale urban design project.

    5. Demonstrate confidence and self-motivation as urban designer with sophisticated visual and verbal communication skills.

    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Learning resources are project related and will be identified and introduced at the beginning of the course.

    Recommended Resources

    Project-specific resources will be provided as needed during the course.

    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
    Design Studio III involves three modes of teaching and learning:

    1. Workshops

    A weekly 2-hour workshop involves the following activities:
       a. 30 min. face-to-face meeting with Group Leaders to discuss key issues
       b. 30 min. review of weekly activities and discussion of key issues by Studio Leader
       c.  60 min. presentation and discussion of history, theory, and practice of urban design, both in general and in relation to selected projects.

    2. On-line Crits
    50% of studio contact time will be conducted on-line: this will be devoted to informal presentations, discussions, and feedback. The main objectives of the on-line mode of exchange are:
       a. To allow exposure of design ideas to the whole class and teaching team.
       b. To provide extended, rich, and effective exchanges with Group Leaders, Studio Leader, and on-line Advisers.
       c. To develop student independence, self-confidence, and critical abilities.

    3. In-studio Reviews and Assessments
    50% of studio contact time will be conducted in studio: this will be devoted to formal reviews and assessments. The main objectives of the in-studio mode of exchange are:
       a. To provide risk-free opportunities for formal presentations and discussions of the developed design analyses and proposals.
       b. To provide staged reviews and assessments of the development of student works.
       c. To develop student graphic, visual, and verbal communication skills.

    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 summary presents a general overview of the learning and teaching activities in the course. These are subject to slight changes according to the specific demands of the class. Detailed descriptions of learning and teaching activities will be given during the course. Please check course announcements and emails daily.

    Week Workshop Exchange Task
    Mar 1/2
    Rules, projects, tutors, and mode of teaching.


    Group work: Site visits, documentation, site analysis, program.


    Upload drawings/maps/sketches (TBA) and discuss with tutors
    Mar 8/9
    Class Consultation
    Guest talk (TBC): Arch & UD


    Group work: Site visits, documentation, site analysis, program.


    Upload drawings/maps/sketches (TBA) and discuss with tutors
    Mar 15/16
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussions
    In Studio – PP Presentation
    1st Pre-pinup presentation & review
    In Studio – PP Presentation
    Complete first stage
    Mar 22/23
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussions
    1st Pin-up and review – 20%
    Group work, parallel presentations
    1st Pin-up and review – 20%
    Group work, parallel presentation
    Mar 29/30
    Class Consultation
    Guest Talk (TBC): Arch & UD


    Group/individual work: conceptual design and programing.


    Upload drawings/maps/sketches (TBA) and discuss with tutors
    Apr 5/6
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussion


    Group/individual work: conceptual design and programing.


    Upload drawings/maps/sketches (TBA) and discuss with tutors
    Mid-semester break: Apr 10 - 21
    Apr 26/27
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussion
    In Studio – PP Presentation
    2nd Pre-pinup presentation & review
    In Studio – PP Presentation
    Complete second stage
    May 3/4
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussion
    2nd Pin-up and review – 40%
    Group/individual work, parallel Presentations
    2nd Pin-up and review – 30%
    Group/individual work, parallel Presentations
    May 10/11
    Class Consultation
    Guest Talk (TBC): Arch & UD


    Group/individual work: Final design and programing.


    Upload drawings/maps/sketches (TBA) and discuss with tutors
    May 17/18
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussion


    Group/individual work: Final design and programing.


    Upload drawings/maps/sketches (TBA) and discuss with tutors
    May 24/25
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussion
    In Studio – PP Presentation
    3rd Pre-pinup presentation & review
    In Studio – PP Presentation
    Complete 3rd stage
    May/Jun 31/1
    Class Consultation
    Review & discussion

    3rd/Final Pin-up and review – 40%

    Final Presentations UD Project with guest critics

    Specific Course Requirements

    Students are expected to undertake site visits in their own time in order to acquire spatial awareness of the context and its surrounding environs and to collect and verify contextual data. Group visits are encouraged especially in the first stage of the project. The first site visit must be undertaken in Week 1, and subsequent visits can be conducted according to arising needs. More information about site visits will be given in the first week of the course.

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The course is structured around small group discovery experience. A large urban design project will be divided among small groups to be completed in three stages. The first stage of the project focuses on the collaborative efforts among members of the small group as well as among member of several groups. Stage two shifts the focus onto individual student discovery and creative contributions within the design dynamics of a small group. While stage three focuses on design creativity, intellectual maturity, and critical ability of individual students.

  • 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 exercises (or Assignmnets) are project related and will change from year to year. Details of individual Assignment are given in hand-out sheets and generally introduced and explained in the workshops. They will also be available on MyUni.

    There are three Assignments correpondening to the three stages of the project as show in the table.

    Assignment Due DateTimeWeightTypeLearning Outcomes
    Research & site analysis

    Week 4 As advised 20% Pin-up and VP
    Concept design
    Week 8 As advised 40%

    Pin-up and VP
    Final design
    Week 12 As advised 40% Pin-up & VP
    Assessment Related Requirements

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

    Assessment Detail
    This studio will explore propositions for redevelopment of half a city block in Adelaide CBD. ‘Mixed-use’, ‘hybrid’ and other terms are used to describe single buildings or complexes of spaces housing many programs of use. These spaces have a long history in the development of cities. Urban environments have also developed suites of building types that are associated with particular programs: we can generally recognise a ‘shop’ or retail outlet, a cinema, an apartment block, an office building, a school, etc. However these types also have variations and new forms are constantly being experimented with, especially with regard to their proximity to each other in dense urban fabric and also in regard to any potential adaptive reuse or contextualisation with retained urban fabric.

    Small Group Discovery Project
    This is a group research project. Each group will be given a ‘program’ to research; an urban activity or use and its associated building type, both in Adelaide and elsewhere, now and in the past. This is a typological investigation. At the end of this assignment your work will be shared with the whole class and provide valuable information and examples of the whole suite of programs which you need to consider in the next assignment. These programs are: office building, retail outlet, residential apartment, entertainment complex, public recreation space and education environment. Review the hand-out sheet for detailed requirements and marking criteria, which will be explained in the first class and will be available in the appropriate weekly folder.

    This assignment is a large-scale design exercise focused on preliminary massing of the suite of programs you must accommodate within a designated ½ city block. You will be assigned one of 6 sites within Adelaide CBD. You will be working digitally and with physical models to experiment with various ways you can spatially – and temporally – mix and combine the required programs; armed with the knowledge of what types and sizes and shapes of spaces are needed for these programs. You must consider the existing fabric and will be required to maintain and adapt it in specified ways.

    The final assignment is a detailed proposition for the development of your ½ city block which will transform Adelaide!

    In this course there are three ungraded submissions and three graded submissions. The ungraded submissions are set up to help students prepare for the graded submission. Both types of submission involve visual and verbal presentations: the ungraded is digital, while the graded is hardcopy. The dates and locations for the six submissions are shown in the table. More details on each submission are given during the course.

    SumissionDue DateTimeWeightSubmission Method
    1st Pre-pinup PP Presentation
    Research and Site Analysis
    Week 3 Studio 0% Digital: PPoint Group Presentation
    1st Pinup & Review
    Research and Site Analysis
    Week 4 Studio 20% Hardcopy: Pinup and Group Presentation
    2nd Pre-pinup PP Presentation
    Conceptual Design
    Week 7 Studio 0% Digital: PPoint Group Presentation
    2nd pinup & Review
    Conceptual Design 
    Week 8 Studio 40% Hardcopy: Pinup & Individual Presentation
    (in groups)
    3rd Pre-pinup PP Presentation
    Final Design
    Week 11 Studio 0% Digital: PPoint Group Presentation
    3rd Pinup & Review
    Final Design
    Week 12 Studio 40% Hardcopy: Pinup & Individual Presentation
    (in groups)

    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.

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.