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Syllabus for

Academic year
ARK123 - Matter, space, structure 1
Materia, rum, struktur 1
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-04 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPARC
22,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Architecture, Architecture and Engineering

Course selection in architecture has a separate process. Please contact Director of Studies Anna Knutsson if you have questions.
Teaching language: English
Application code: 05127
Open for exchange students: Yes
Maximum participants: 32

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0117 Project 9,5 c Grading: TH   9,5 c    
0217 Project 13,0 c Grading: TH   13,0 c    

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ARK120   Matter, space, structure 1A ARK121   Matter, space, structure 1 ARK122   Matter, space, structure 1


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

Qualification for the master programme.


Architecture is matter formed into space. The studio course aims to augment UNDERSTANDING and EVALUATION through the architectural design SYNTHESIS.
Emphasis is put on the iterative design process driven by physical representations such as model making and drawing, and informed by experiments in computational design.
Attention is focused on sustainability in its wider sense, including its ecological as well as social aspects.
Furthermore the design projects are rooted in Gothenburg in close dialogue with the community to give the studies a democratic perspective.
The architectural discourse is placed in an international context with a wide network of professionals and academics.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

Demonstrate knowledge about a variety of methods to obtain understanding of the context after the course.
Demonstrate basic understanding of a conceptual design process and knowledge to control of the design process and maintain the initial conceptual properties in the final design proposal.
Refer to relevant knowledge of the topic and demonstrate a critical understanding of architectural history and theory in general 

Synthesize ideas and intentions into physical models and make an informed selection among alternative design proposals.
Apply various techniques of the conditions that frame the site such as modelling, collaging, diagramming.
Practice the iterative method from the alternative design concepts, the spatial sketches, to the designs presentation
Prove prolificness in conventional drawings and model skills along with experimental abilities in alternative representations. 
Use the informed drawings and models as evocative arguments in the contemporary architectural conversation.

Use the design as a rhetoric approach based on a clear set of values
Put forward arguments for the discourse in the project itself.
Reflect chosen approaches, values and evaluation criteria associated with the design iterations


MATTER SPACE STRUCTURE is an architectural design studio. We celebrate architecture as the artistic expression of our material experience.
Chalmers is committed to sustainability. In the Matter Space studio we are determined to think cradle-to-cradle in all our courses. 
All Matter Space courses are project based design investigations. In the studio our projects pivot around people and stuff in the shape of architectural design proposals. 
An active studio is paramount. We demand ambition and presence of each student, yet provide an attentive and flexible environment supportive of individual desires and needs. 

ARK 122 is an architectural design course within the Matter Space Structure studio for fourth or fifth year students with a accomplished bachelor study in architectural design. The course is concluded within the semester with a finalized design project and a reflective project portfolio.
Although the ark 122 is planned as a fully completed project in the autumn semester it is intended as the first in a sequence of two followed by ark 131 in the spring semester. The two courses progress from an initial design project with the emphasis on material concepts and place specific contexts to the succeeding design project where the emphasis is put on building technologies and architectural detailing.

After the course the student will be able to design with augmented confidence in a critical methodology and apply the acquired skills in architectural representations. 

An architectural design project begins with its context. The context is understood in its wider sense including not only the spatial environment of the site, but also the social, the cultural and the historic framework around the project.

The presumption of a design methodology is complexity. In the Matter Space studio the projects are iterated from alternative conceptual proposals, over sketch models, to design presentations.
In the first cycle the student iterate a variety of alternative conceptual design proposals expressed in physical models. Simultaneous, the student establish an outline of evaluation criteria based on a prepared functional program and pre-defined conditions to narrow the number of proposals.  
In the second cycle based on the chosen concepts a smaller number of competing sketch proposals are developed along with an expanded list of evaluation criteria. The sketches are made as scale models articulating the spatial empathy of the design proposal where the student will obtain an understanding of spatial qualities and particular sizing around the life of the intended users.
In the third cycle the final design proposal is communicated as an overall architectural design emphasising the organization of volumes, spatial relationships and alignment to the program along with daylight, orientation and accessibility. After the course the student has obtained a basic understanding of a conceptual design process and knowledge to control of the design process and maintain the initial conceptual properties in the final design proposal.

The architectural design project is a contribution to the academic and professional discourse. The student will seek related material from academic research and architectural examples to inform the design process and frame the project, consequently expanding the relevant knowledge of the topic and obtaining a critical understanding of architectural history and theory in general.

Mapping the contextual constraints the student needs to have an explicit and value based approach to balance the incommensurable conditions of the project site Particularly the evaluation criteria associated with the design iterations reflect the student's own approaches and values. 

In the iterative method the number of alternative design proposals are gradually narrowed down from concepts, sketches, to presentations. The parallel-generated sets of evaluation criteria develop the student's explicit approach and values for the project.


During the course the student will experience a teaching primarily based on weekly tutorials and monthly class critiques in various formats.

The tutorials are organized in small response groups. Each project will be tutored individually, however the teacher will address shared issues to the entire group. Between tutorials the students in the response groups will meet for interim critiques on their own. These interim critiques will be documented and available for the teacher.

The monthly class critiques and conducted with the examinator and the tutors and the entire class present. The intention of the critiques is to prepare the students for the examination and ensure a steady pace of the design process.

Along with these two core activities lectures, seminars, excursions and workshops are offered in the course to inform the project. 


The course always contains theory seminar focusing on architectural theory and design precedents along with material and sustainable technologies. The relevant literature will be linked to the specific architectural design projects chosen and will therefore be announced prior to the beginning of each course.

Examination including compulsory elements

The learning outcome of the student will be examined at the final project critique as well as the review of the project portfolio in the very end of the course.

In the final critique the student will display a comprehensive board with drawings, diagrams, text, illustrations and model photos along with a display of the physical models generated during the design iterations and a optional slide presentation. Both manual and digital techniques are examined.

A jury that includes the examinator, the tutors, and an invited external juror examines the student after the presentation. The examination begins with a question round followed by comments.

The execution of the boards and models show immediately the student's abilities and skills. During the closer scrutiny of the material and subsequent examination the student's knowledge and understanding is demonstrated along with the methodological approach and value based decisions.

The examination has the character of a conversation where the student responds with an open mind. During the dialogue the student ground the project in the academic/professional discourse using quotes from written texts as well examples from architectural design projects.

In the portfolio review the student will present a personal reflection of the architectural intention, the design process and the personal reflection of the quality achieved by the proposal.  Especially in the portfolio review the student's approaches and values are recognized.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.