Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Design Think Tank Project
Code LARC502
Coordinator Ms J Muszbek
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2022-23 Level 7 FHEQ Whole Session 20


• The module seeks to empower students with the skills to explore the spatial consequences of how the world is changing and the architect’s role within that.
• It aims to enhance a student’s ability to identify, evaluate and pursue innovative and projective research topics, and gain experience and show professional judgement in synthesising complex forms of information into design proposals.
• The module seeks to develop in students the ability to work collaboratively and the skills to communicate visually and verbally with a wide variety of audiences.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Create architectural design proposals of a scale, complexity and type appropriate to the Design Think Tank Project, represented using a range of media, and in response to a research- generated brief

(LO2) Demonstrate relevant knowledge of the histories and theories of architecture and the related arts, technologies and human sciences and ways in which they have influenced the spatial, social and technological qualities of architecture.

(LO3) Analyse past and current precedents of function, typology, organisation and technological strategy to prepare the programme and brief for design projects

(LO4) Design proposals that meet building users’ requirements, UK legislation, performance standards and health and safety requirements

(LO5) Solve problems, form professional judgements and make proactive and appropriate decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances

(LO6) Identify a set of research methods for their design practice.
Students should understand and be conversant on methods across five LSA areas and should have practised at least two

(S1) Creativity & problem solving skills: analyse, evaluate and synthesise information, and present creative solutions

(S2) Research & information literacy skills: source, critically evaluate and attribute information with clarity and rigour

(S3) Communication skills: express ideas clearly, as well as listen to, present, challenge and defend ideas effectively both orally and in writing to meet the expectations of a professional working environment

(S4) Team work & interpersonal skills: work well in groups, be adaptable, able to discuss and debate and respond to constructive feedback, show respect for diverse values and beliefs

(S5) Entrepreneurial skills: planning and organisation, recognition of strengths and weaknesses, track own personal development

(S6) Critical thinking skills: open-mindedness, critical awareness, ability to question, reflect, propose



Design Think Tank Projects are a rare opportunity for practices to speculate about architecture beyond the confines of commissioned design projects, and an opportunity to take ideas that arise in practice and explore them in a rigorous academic setting. The research agendas are developed and proposed by the practices in the Design Think Tank and approved by the Design Director. These agendas will emerge in response to the most pressing issues of the time - social, economic, ecological, technological and so on – and as such will vary each year.

All Design Think Tanks will have to specifically address the architectural repercussions of such issues, and topics should be developed with an awareness of the LSA’s five core values: Propositional; Relevant; Innovative; Metropolitan; and Entrepreneurial. The Design Think Tank Project is led by a Practice Leader(s) within one the group’s participating practices (who may or may not also be a Practice Mentor), who see s their students every fortnight and manages their direction. Design Think Tanks should identify potential collaborators, and additional consultation with relevant groups or individuals including policy makers, communities or disciplinary experts is encouraged.

The initial briefing will introduce members of the Design Think Tank to research methodologies, identifying strategies to develop applied research ethically and with academic rigour. Every four to six weeks each Design Think Tank will present their work at school-wide crit days to faculty, Practice Network members, visiting critics and peers. The Module Booklet will establish procedures and/or guidance in relation to: the selection of group members; the role and responsibility of group members; feedback/monitoring stages; the conduct of group meetings; dealing with conflict; the requirements of the assessment task e.g. any requirements for all group members to speak during a group presentation.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Students will learn through the following range of teaching and events –

• An introductory briefing introducing the key learning principles of the module, which could include a symposium of the previous year’s Design Think Tank Projects;
• Group tutorials led by a practice leader from within the Practice Network;
• Formal presentations of work to an expert panel at symposia;
• First-hand research through self-directed consultation with relevant experts, stakeholders or user groups.

Scheduled learning and teaching –

Description – Briefing, Group tutorials, Symposia
Learning hours – 28.5% – 57 hours

Guided independent study –

Description – Directed activities and self-managed learning
Learning hours – 71.5% – 143 hours

Total Learning Hours for the Module – 200

Attendance – 100%

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           57

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 143


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Publication Resit available– Yes, capped at the pass mark of 50% Design Think Tank Project Publication – Students produce a document that develops a research question to a propositional design outco    70       
Visual presentation Resit available – Yes, capped at the pass mark of 50% Group presentation – Students collectively prepare and deliver a presentation that succinctly and effectively communicates   30    30       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.