DESST 3513 - Design Studio V

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

Theme: impression/modularity/system This course explores the design possibilities of the cultural, environmental and programmatic contexts for a mixed-use, medium to large scale building in a dense urban context. Beginning with impressions of the site, students create propositions that explore meaning, space, form, structure, modularity, engineering systems and materiality. The course provides the necessary knowledge and skills to generate complex, resolved designs. It develops critical skills required to attain a high level of architectural and construction judgement. Students will develop ambitious designs through advanced digital and 3D modelling articulating proposals that comprehensively represent the intellectual and physical attributes of their schemes. This course assumes advanced knowledge of Rhino.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code DESST 3513
    Course Design Studio V
    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 2519 or DESST 2501
    Restrictions Available to B. ArchDes, B.E(Arch), B.ConsMgmt, B. ConsMgmt(Hons) and Assoc. Deg.ConsMgmt students only
    Quota A quota will apply
    Course Description Theme: impression/modularity/system
    This course explores the design possibilities of the cultural, environmental and programmatic contexts for a mixed-use, medium to large scale building in a dense urban context. Beginning with impressions of the site, students create propositions that explore meaning, space, form, structure, modularity, engineering systems and materiality. The course provides the necessary knowledge and skills to generate complex, resolved designs. It develops critical skills required to attain a high level of architectural and construction judgement. Students will develop ambitious designs through advanced digital and 3D modelling articulating proposals that comprehensively represent the intellectual and physical attributes of their schemes. This course assumes advanced knowledge of Rhino.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Mirai Morita

    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. Conceptualise building program and narrative
    2. Think creatively with building, site and planning constraints
    3. Strategize relationship between building program, structure and experience
    4. Develop design skills that work systematically but outside the box with modularity
    5. Discuss and develop design in section
    6. Explore building relationship with its urban context and ground plane
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    - You will need continual access to MyUni for regular updates and course material
    - The lectures will also facilitate discussion to course related matters.
    - All students are expected to read and be familiar with all provided course information available on MyUni.

    Specific information on the development of the City of Adelaide is available through the Government of South Australia’s website. The development plan can be obtained at:

    The Building Code of Australia can be found through following link:

    Further relevant information is given when appropriate, and made accessible through MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    Recommended Reading
    Agkathidis, Asterios. (2009) Modular Structures in Design and Architecture. BISPUBLISHERS
    Brunner, Margit. (2015) Constructing Atmospheres: Test-Sites for and Aesthetics of Joy. Spurbuchverlag.
    Di Mari, Anthony. (2017) Conditional Design: An Introduction to Elemental Architecture. BIS Publishers B.V.
    Di Mari, A. Yoo, N. (2018) Operative Design: A Catalogue of Spacial Verbs. BIS Publishers B.V.
    Kulper, Perry. Chard, Nat (2014) Fathoming The Undathomable, Pamphlet Architecture 34. Princeton Architectural Press.
    Mathur, A. Da Cunha, D. (2006) Decan Traverses, The making of Bangalor’s Terrain. Rupa & Co, New Delhi.
    Pallasmaa, Juhani. (2009) The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    R. Tufte, Edward. (1990) Envisioning Information. Graphics Press.
    R. Tufte, Edward. (1983) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press.
    Steenbergen, Clemens. (2008) Composing Landscapes. THOTH Publishers, The Netherlands.

    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
    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.

    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.

    Discussion Board:
    The MyUni Discussion Board can be used to interact with other students and tutors and is an essential tool to discuss information and increase your understanding of issues.

    Lecture Recording:
    The recordings of the lectures are made available in electronic format for students to listen on their own time and make notes, and is provided through echo360 in MyUni system. The presentation content is subject to copyright and not to be shared or used outside of the course and is for educational purposes only.

    Archistar Academy:
    Free online tutorials for computer software. To enrol, go to the following link here enter your details and you will be ready to go. The email address you use will have to end in or for ArchiStar to register your account.

    Noticeboard / Handbook:
    General information about the activities at the School is available online from the Student Noticeboard which can be accessed at current-student
    Students can also access a copy of the Student Handbook at the following link:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Lectures: lectures to give an outline of work to be covered and strategies to approaches to design approaches

    Tutorials: studio workshops consisting of exercises and project work; scaled or prototype production of design objects. Students are required to present their work each week in tutorials, subjecting it to analysis, critique and response by staff and fellow students.


    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 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 = 726 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
    Lectures are on Thursdays 9-10am online. Tutorials are on Fridays in BSS 510,511,528 (Wk 4 in Arch computer suite).

    Wk01   Thu Lecture  Course introduction
               Fri   Tutorial  impression, swap, interrogate, create

    Wk02   Thu Lecture  modular vs non-modular
        Fri   Tutorial  3D module, scale and spacial qualities

    Wk03   Thu Lecture  program, structure and architecture
               Fri   Tutorial  module to system 

    Wk04   Thu Lecture  site analysis
               Fri   Tutorial  system to building on site < in computer lab

    Wk05   Thu Lecture  Building Narrative I by Drew Joyce
               Fri   Tutorial  MID REVIEW (30%) 

    Wk06   Thu Lecture  private vs public
               Fri   Holiday  

    Mid-Semester Break

    Wk07   Thu Lecture  Lecture by Guest
               Fri   Tutorial  section and program development

    Wk08   Thu Lecture  Lecture by Nasi Lazarou
               Fri   Tutorial  resolving form, circulation and program

    Wk09   Thu Lecture  Building Narrative II by Drew Joyce
               Fri   Tutorial  Drawings, Project development and structure < Task02 

    Wk10   Thu Lecture  Section Incredible
               Fri   Tutorial  final presentation draft

    Wk11   Thu Lecture  No lecture
               Fri   Tutorial  FINAL PRESENTATIONS (50%)

    Wk12   Thu Lecture  No lecture
               Fri   Tutorial  FINAL SUBMISSION (50%)
    Specific Course Requirements

    For this course you will need the ability to construct physical models as well as digital software including but not limited to Rhino, Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator.

    Software Prerequisite: This course expects that students have advanced knowledge of Rhino. If you are not confident with your Rhino skills you MUST do the online lesson available on ARCHISTAR ACADEMY: To enrol, enter your details, the email address will have to end in or for ArchiStar to register your account.
    You are expected to have the equivalent knowledge/skill to ARCHISTAR ACADEMY Rhino Advanced. If you are confident that you have the skill equivalent to Rhino Advanced you are not required to do the online course. However, if you have forgotten or need to brush up your skills, you must do the available online course. Students are recommended to do Rhino Essentials, Designer and Advanced. We will not be covering these software skills in class, you will be expected to know. If you don’t know, you will not succeed in this course. Along with Rhino, you will be required to produce digital rendering images and presentations. If you are not familiar or lacking in the rendering skills, there are lessons available on ARCHISTAR as will. Adobe software will also be used, such as illustrator, photoshop and indesign, also available on ARCHISTAR.

    Students must present their work in Week 11 to Pass the course; a schedule will be provided on MyUni.
    Students are expected to listen to the presentations by all their peers.

    It is highly recommended that you own a personal laptop computer which can support computer software such as Rhino, photoshop, illustrator, indesign. Ideal spec for student laptop: 17 inch, Windows 64 bit, minimum of 16 gig of RAM, Intel i7 (or equivalent). Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon HD 4890 or better.

    Failure to attend teaching due to medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances is dealt with the School Policy, administered by the School Office. Submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration together with the original signed medical or other relevant officer, to the School Office. If you foresee a problem contact the Course Coordinator BEFORE the problem actually occurs. Otherwise, contact the Course Coordinator as soon as possible and submit the appropriate application for supplementary consideration to the School Office.

    If you choose to visit the site , ensure that you exercise respect for the owners and patrons, obtain permission to enter the building if required, and observe an appropriate duty of care during your visit.

    Students who miss more than 25% of the scheduled teaching (lectures, studios, field trip) and whose overall mark is below 45 will not automatically be granted extensions and/or replacement examinations, even if the application is submitted.

  • 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

    The Project: to develop a mixed-use building on the chosen site. The mixed-use building, comprised of two or more ‘modules’:

    • Some form of residential accommodation/use, such as a hotel, retirement living, apartments, disaster-relief housing, student housing, guest housing, night shelters, assisted-living housing, public housing, prison, homeless shelters, etc.
    • Some form of commercial, institution or public use, such as a zoo, library, school, courthouses, factories, religious institution, new-age offices, market, laboratories, gyms, theatres, farms, museums, graveyard, observatory, etc.

    Further details regarding the project will be provided through MyUni and/or in Class.

    Assessment Task 
    (No. & Name)
    Due DateWeightSubmission MethodLearning Outcomes
    (being assessed)
    LECTURE QUIZ each lecture 10% MyUni 1,2,3,4,5,6
    each week 10% In Tutorial 1,2,3,4,5,6
    MID REVIEW week 5 30% In Tutorial 1,2,4,5,6
    FINAL REVIEW week 11, week 12 50% In Tutorial 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

    Grading is based on a comparison with current and previous student work, and with the instructors’ expectations relative to the objectives of the course.

    A cumulative assessment, agreed on by all critics, will based upon the strength of the following criteria: (1) coherence (2) concept/resolution (3) communication (4) construction (5) innovation, i.e. the intangible factors which go beyond talent or gifted physical/mental abilities

    Assessment Related Requirements

    Attendance is compulsory at the Monday lectures (where also each session / assignment is introduced) and at the weekly studio pin-up. Weekly tasks are specified in handouts.

    Although the teaching–staff aim to accommodate (where possible) the wide variety of ‘personal issues’ that can impinge upon a student’s ability to attend all lectures and tutorials throughout the semester, attendance to all lectures and tutorials are mandatory. This requirement has been instigated in order to aid students in gaining appropriate competency standards in the subject matter, and aid in the student’s ability to apply this knowledge through set assessment tasks.

    It is expected that you will come to tutorials prepared with equipment, materials, and ongoing work for discussion

    You must keep every sketch, text, concept model, to assist your practice of thinking and making; these are part of the process of design, and can be crucial to the final outcome; studio staff will often ask you to show them this work, and sometimes this work becomes relevant at the oddest moments.

    You are expected to produce work between one studio session and the next. If you do not have work to discuss with staff in studio then there can be no feedback; research and process are the methods of a design practice. Part of the process is showing, sharing, and talking.

    Do not sit in studio waiting for someone to come and talk to you, studio is a place for you to work, (that’s what it’s for), this can be drawing, writing, reading, making – and the library is one of your prime resources

    Assessment Detail
    Lecture Quiz (10%)
    There will be quiz to be completed for each lecture. The quiz will be based on the lecture that is given on the day. Results of the quiz will add up to 10% of the total course mark.

    Weekly Progress *Assesment Hurdle* (10%)
    You are required to complete 9 compulsory tasks designed to help you complete your submissions on time. Completed tasks are expected to be used in the production of your presentations for mid-review and final submission.

    Your tasks will be used to monitor your progress and provide evidence of performance and standard of work for assessments. The quality of your formal submissions are expected to be consistent with the quality of the completed exercises. Any discrepancies will be subject to investigation and possibly additional assessment by the teaching team.

    The tasks will not be marked individually, you will receive complete or incomplete for each task submission.

    In order to receive ‘complete’ on each task, you will need to meet all of the following criteria:
    - Meet the requirement for the given task
    - Present to class publicly, live.
    - Show progress since previous week (cannot show same material as previous week)
    - Must be in attendance in class

    If you do not meet all of the above criteria’s, you will receive incomplete for the task.

    Failing to present/submit a task on time, or not attending and presenting your work, or submitting inadequate work will result in incomplete. You are allowed 2 incomplete prior to Mid-Review and 2 incomplete after mid-Review without incurring penalties.

    If you get 4 Incompletes, your eligibility for assessment will be determined by your tutor in consultation with the Course Coordinator and your maximum mark will be 50%. If you receive 5 or more Incompletes, you will fail the course.

    Tasks must be uploaded on MyUni or pinned up in class at instructed deadline each week. If your task is deemed inadequate, your tutor may give you an opportunity to complete and resubmit in order to avoid receiving an Incomplete.

    In case you accumulated more than 5 incomplete, student may challenge eligibility to have their final presentation/submission assessed by providing appropriate documents which provides evidence for each incomplete task.

    Mid Review (30%)
    Using the shadow prints produced from the first class, develop a building concept. Incorporating site research and personal interest, develop a story and strategy on how to compose your project. Propose building programs and structure strategy to deploy through your project. Further details to be provided in tutorials.

    - Due wk05 in tutorial presentation
    • Digital slides presentation (A3 Landscape) including:
    - Project Title & your name,
    - Narrative and concept
    - Development process including painting and mapping
    - Site analysis
    - Project brief – your own
    - Plan drawings scale TBC
    - Section drawing in digital and hand sketch scale TBC
    - few experiential images
    - What’s next

    - submit presentation as PDF file on MyUni by 9am on due date.

    Assessment Criteria
    - Coherence: Convincing inquiry, narrative, argument addressing wider context
    - Concept: strength, energy, intensity, effort
    - Communication: Articulate graphic representation/investigation of the design
    - Innovation: Risk, Courage and originality of the investigation and design proposal

    Final Presentation (50%)
    Further developing the project since Mid-review, students are to develop the building concept, incorporate building codes and regulations into resolving the program. Resolve the building better with program distribution, circulation materiality and structure. Further details to be provided in tutorials.

    - Due wk11 in Tutorial as presentation
    • Physical model scale TBC
    • 3xA1 printed poster presentation including:
    - Project Title & your name,
    - Narrative and concept
    - Development process
    - Series of diagrams explain how building works
    - Section and Plan drawings scale TBC
    - Experiential/atmospheric images

    - submit presentation as PDF files on MyUni by 9am on due date.

    - Students will submit final version of the poster in wk12 on MyUni.

    Assessment Criteria
    - Coherence: Convincing inquiry, narrative, argument addressing wider context
    - Resolution: Critical and rigor in design development, investigation, response to wider issues
    - Communication: Articulate graphic representation/investigation of the design
    - Construction: attention to detail, model stability and durability of physical model
    - Innovation: Risk, Courage and originality of the investigation and design proposal

    **Details of the assignments may change during the semester. It will be announced in class, email or through MyUni.**

    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.

    Presentations may be public. Due to the guests varying time schedules the date for the presentation might change, and notice will be given via MyUni. Presenting in your work should be considered as part of the submission, failing to present will result in loss of marks.

    In week 14 a selection of the most innovative work from this studio be exhibited in the School of Architecture and Built Environment’s ‘All-In’ public exhibition. Details of which will be provided at a later date.


    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.

    • 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:

    • Early submission is not accepted without prior agreed arrangement with the course coordinator.

    • 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 17th June 2022, unless other arrangement has been agrees with the course coordinator.

    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.
    • Students will be required to use the form that is accessible online:;field=data;id=7446;m=view and submit via email with supporting documentation to the Course Coordinator and cc
    • Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance and the Course Coordinator will inform the applicant if the application is accepted. 

    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 course coordinator 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 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.