How to score A for your design thesis

A Design Thesis must have a “Thesis”.

We find many definitions out there for a “thesis”, such as the following:

An unproved statement put forward as a premise in an argument

A statement supported by arguments

What it clearly shows is that there is a ‘statement’ and it has to be supported or put forward by ‘argument/s’.

That is when we come up with statement or problem. And we have called it problem statement. So when we have a crit session, the students will have to come up with argument/s to support the problem statement.

The statement is often like this: when I do *this* and *this* I would solve *this*; or this concept has fulfilled *this* and *this* design objectives based on these issues.

There are so many ways to state the problem.

Back to the question of how to score an A for your design thesis.

Your thesis must firstly be clear and concise. And your thesis must provide enough challenge for the year’s project and the learning outcome levels.

Let us revise what are the learning outcomes for BAES 5275 again.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

1)    Interpret the Conceptual Design by a series of processes that includes ideas generation or/and visualization or/and idealized sketch.

2)    Justify the Scheme of the Design Thesis by using architectural diagram and parti drawing.

3)    Originate the concepts and ideas into architectural design by drawing base plans, sections, elevations, perspectives and models showing the Detail Design aspects that illustrates the Concept clearly.

4)    Influence the Crit Panel during Interim Crit and Final Presentation by justifying and defending the Design Thesis into a Workable Design with ideas on the Special Study.

The Concept must be strong. The keywords that define the concept must be correct.

Students of Architecture must be able to come up with the Concept. Thesis Ideas can be translated into Architectural Ideas and form the Concept. The Concept can be shown in the drawings and models. There will be key drawings and/or models to show the Concept clearly.

To score an A for your design thesis, first of all, your Concept must be strong. Strong means it is clear what the concept is, first. Secondly, it is the right concept and it provides a strong argument for the thesis. Thirdly, your work and skill in terms of graphic and verbal presentation is excellent.

Well, I think everyone knows this. But we need to remind everyone again and again.

Of course I explained earlier about the passing requirement as per below. This is bottom up clarification which starts from a C. What I have explained before this is top bottom clarification, which starts from an A.

>>>>> earlier explanation >>>>>>

1. Building Programme & 2. Site Analysis / Site Response (both 1 & 2 are always together)

(1) Under Building Programme , it is clear what is the brief and where the brief came from (the original brief). State the client’s brief and how you have changed that brief. The programme is complex enough to be acceptable and challenging enough at a “design thesis” level. That is why students when they have ‘keywords’ or ‘concepts’ must really know the definition and turn the thesis (definitions) into architectural ideas. (We have gone through this yesterday with many of you). What we do not want is we cannot defend for you that you have a ‘design thesis’ and what you have is not complex enough for a design thesis. That is why we dealt with issues, ie thesis issues; building type, site or/ and issues/problems.

(2) Under Site Analysis / Site Response , students must have site response clearly worked out, ie why they decide what they decided, the entrance, drop-off, main elevation, site responses, such as east-west facing, wind direction, noise problem etc (by their design solutions) clearly explained ie through site analysis / site plans, master plan, studies. Site analysis results in solutions, so it can be explained through your design via your responses, ie drawings and models.

Both (1) & (2) must be solved to have a minimal PASS.

What makes it complete and takes you from a PASS (C grade) to a better grade is the following:

(3) Appropriate Technology : this is shown through your work illustrating that you have worked out the ventilation, thermal comfort, structure, construction, planning requirements, technical requirements and so on. You can explore these aspects through your bigger details and sections (1:50 & 1:20) as well; This does not mean that for your Semester 1 work, if you do not show 1:50 section and 1:20 sections / details and you will pass. You must illustrate your competence to show a workable scheme, so Appropriate Technology also have to be completed as a requirement to Pass but can also give you a higher grade if explored well. In other words, 1:50 section and 1:20 sections / details are compulsory requirement for a workable scheme.

(4) & (5) are optional depending on your subject matter. Sometimes you may not have much of (4) or (5) but you explore deeper (3). This always helps get a better grade.

(4) Sustainability: (similar as no 3) through your bigger details and sections (1:50 & 1:20) but is added requirement to score higher than C.

(5) Phenomenology : (similar as no 3 but more usage of perspectives and captions / images) and also added requirement to score higher than C.

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