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 Critical Practice – Placement
Code LARC505
Coordinator Ms J Muszbek
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2022-23 Level 7 FHEQ Whole Session 40


This module is the work-based component of the two inter-related Critical Practice modules. While Critical Practice – Theory asks for students to articulate an ideal of how they would like to practice in the future, this module grounds their speculations in an examination of how they are currently practicing. Using the student’s workplace as the principal site of investigation, it studies the relationship between process and product, ideas and outcomes. The collation of a Critical Practice Manual by the student will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their practice experience alongside a detailed analysis of one of the practice’s projects.

Taking place within a 12-month part-time placement, this module aims to provide students with the opportunity to critically examine the actual process of creative and commercial decision- making within a practice environment.

With a particular focus on the forces that shape client-focused / commissioned w ork – from cost constraints and regulation to environmental performance – the module aims to enhance a student’s ability to process and prioritise complicated and competing demands.

By supporting discussion about and reflection upon their twin perspectives as active participant and objective observer, it seeks to develop in students a mature awareness of the negotiated nature of contemporary practice and the professional judgement to operate successfully and ethically within it.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Critically evaluate the impact of buildings on the environment within the context of sustainable design principles

(LO2) Analyse the issues and principles of designing optimum visual, thermal and acoustic building environments

(LO3) Illustrate active and passive systems for the sustainable design of environmental comfort

(LO4) Illustrate strategies for building services and the ability to integrate them in a design project

(LO5) Compare the financial implications of varying building types, constructional systems and specification choices, and the impact of these on architectural design

(LO6) Judge the cost control mechanisms that operate during the development of a project

(LO7) Demonstrate design strategies to meet the requirements of building users’, UK legislation, performance standards and health and safety legislation within cost constraints

(LO8) Appraise the fundamental legal, professional and statutory responsibilities of the architect, and the organisations, regulations and procedures involved in the negotiation and approval of architectural designs, including land law, development control, building regulations and health and safety legislation

(LO9) Determine the professional inter-relationships of individuals and organisations involved in procuring and delivering architectural projects, and how these are defined through contractual and organisational structures

(LO10) Assess the architect’s role within the construction industry, including in the processes of procurement and building production, and under legislation

(LO11) Analyse different organisational structures for operating ethically and successfully in practice, demonstrating knowledge of the management and business aspects of running both an architect’s office and architectural projects, within the context of a changing construction industry

(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



Students are employed three days per week in a practice placement and are managed by their Practice Mentor, who oversees their progress. Students will work on commissioned projects, as the practice sees fit, and naturally there will be a wide variety of experiences within the cohort.

A shared perspective is provided outside of the placements, through evening seminars, where students share their critical reflections on given topics, guided by the Module Leader and tutor, and further enriched through peer group discussions.

This module assesses a student’s critical understanding of their time in practice, evidenced by the production of a Critical Practice Manual. This research-led document could take a number of forms – from thematic essay to diary narrative – but all should include a case study of a project designed by the practice, which is both an area of in-depth study in its own right and the prism through which the student interprets, measures an d judges their own experiences in the office.

In order to become mindful not only of the decisions they themselves are making, but also of those being made by others, students will be expected to talk with the key decision-makers on a project (or projects), both within and external to their office. The manual should be evidenced with documentary material from the practice – working drawings, specifications, meeting minutes, even emails.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

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

• Briefing introducing the key learning principles of the module;
• Seminars and peer presentations of work in progress;
• Carefully selected practice-based events (e.g. key meetings, briefings and site visits); Practice-based experience.

Scheduled learning and teaching –

Description – Briefing, Seminars with LSA tutors, One-to-one contact with Practice Mentor
Learning hours – 11% – 44 hours

Guided independent study –

Description – Directed activities and self- managed learning and extensive placement experience
Learning hours – 88% – 352 hours

Placement –

Description – Twelve month part-time (3 days / week) placement: to include regular contact with Practice Mentor, meetings and site visits etc
Learning hours – 12 month practice place ment, 3 days per week

Total Learning Hours for the Module – 400

Attendance – 100%

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours   44


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 352


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Manual – Final submission in the form of a written illustrated manual (3000 words) Resit available – Yes, capped at the pass mark of 50% Coursework – Students draw upon teaching in the briefing and     100       

Recommended Texts

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