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Unit information: Understanding Architecture in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Understanding Architecture
Unit code CENG20005
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Mrs. Rachael De'Ath
Open unit status Not open

CENG11700 or equivalent level Structures unit


CENG25100 Structures and Materials 2 if CENG11700 Structural Engineering 1 has not be taken

School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


As civil engineers we are regularly required to work in teams with architects. This course will teach engineers about the design process and how we can work together with architects to realise our collective vision when designing buildings. It will teach students the “language” of architecture. It will build their confidence in applying architectural principles to real design problems.

This unit will run in parallel with Understanding Building Services and students will be required to collaborate to create a realistic learning experience.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will:

  1. Demonstrate an appreciation of the history of architecture.
  2. Explain what an architect does and what role they play in shaping our world.
  3. Have successfully participated in the architects process – from imagination to reality – and understood the role of the engineer within that process.
  4. Be able to confidently communicate architectural concepts and ideas, through words, drawings, photos, models and verbal communication.
  5. Show a passion and excitement for the built environment and a specific interest in a particular architect, architectural style, movement, material or technique.

Teaching details

Lectures 18 hours (some will be joint with Understanding Building Services), workshops 4 hours, design meeting 1 hour and optional site visit during reading week

Assessment Details

100% Coursework (60% report and presentation submission joint with Understanding Building Services, 40% individual article).

Reading and References

  • Building: 3,000 years of Design, Engineering and Construction, Bill Addis, Phaidon
  • Why Architects Still Draw, Paolo Belardi, The MIT Press
  • Modern Architecture Since 1900, William Curtis, Phaidon
  • Inspiration and Process in Architecture, various authors, Moleskine SpA
  • The Elements of Modern Architecture, Understanding Contemporary Buildings, Antony Radford, Selen Morkoc and Amit Srivastava, Thames and Hudson