ASSIGNMENT GUIDELINES and REQUIREMENTS      Semester 2, 2014    Course presenter: Professor John Hunt


Please read the whole of these guidelines before commencing your assignment.



  • To enable you to demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which architectural knowledge may be embodied within a built work (and therefore within an architectural design.)
  • To enable you to demonstrate that you are able to develop appropriate explanations and arguments that convincingly establish the wider architectural significance of your chosen building and thus its potential contribution to architectural knowledge




Refer to section 6: “selection criteria for your architectural example”


All students are required to complete an Assignment Topic Form (available on CECIL) and post in the marked assignment box. The purpose of this submission is to assist you in the preparation of your final poster submission.


Topic approval forms must be submitted by 4pm on Monday 15th September. Topic forms will be approved (either with or without comments), or not approved, and will be available for collection from the School Office on Monday 22nd September. Students who omit to complete key details or to sign the declaration will not have their form processed. Where a topic form is not approved a revised form should be submitted to the School Office by 4pm Monday 6th October.


Any student needing topic approval prior to 22nd September should contact the lecturer to arrange an earlier submission time.


Note that in order to be able to complete the Assignment Topic Approval form it will be necessary to have completed at least recommended steps 1 to 4 in Section 9 below.




The following requirements reflect the fact that posters may be publically exhibited and that they need to be readily stacked and sorted when being submitted the School Office, when being assessed and examined and when being collected. Failure to meet these requirements may result in a grade penalty and in extreme cases, non-acceptance of the poster.


Prepare an A1 poster that uses both text and illustrations to clearly identify the significance and potential contribution to architectural knowledge of your chosen example. Further guidelines for the content of your poster are also given in Part 7 below.




  • POSTER SIZE: A1 (594mm X 841 mm). Trim poster to exact  A1 size if necessary
  • POSTER FORMAT: landscape (ie: horizontal)
  • POSTER PAPER: print your poster on matt  (not satin or gloss) paper
  • POSTER BACKING MATERIAL: 3mm foamboard. Do not use cardboard or thicker foamboard (too heavy). Do not use polystyrene sheets (too fragile). Do not submit laminated (plastic coated) sheets. It must be possible for your poster to be stacked flat. Therefore, do not include features such as relief modelling on the poster.
  • POSTER FIXING: securely mount the poster on foamboard using double sided tape. Do not use adhesive spray or staples to attach poster to backing. Please note that this is different from previous years
  • POSTER TITLE: building name, building location and approximate date of completion, plus name of architect, at or towards the top of poster and starting from left hand edge. Size and style of the building name should ensure that it is suitably prominent.  
  • YOUR NAME: include your full name (as per University student records) at the bottom right hand corner of the poster, in 18 point minimum size, positioned horizontally. Do not include your student ID number on the face of the poster.
  • ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET: securely tape the coversheet to the bottom left hand corner of the rearof your foamboard. (Tape all edges of coversheet.) It is important that your coversheet is directly behind your name on the face of the poster. Ensure that you complete all parts of the coversheet, including your student ID.
  • POSTER TEXT: ensure that all text is no smaller than 12 point, and in a simple and easily readable font (such as Arial or similar.) Do not use upper case (CAPITALS) for text (although it may be used for headings). Do not use line lengths of more than 15 words (longer line lengths are difficult to read).
  • REFERENCING: Both your written account and illustrations should be referenced as appropriate. (Refer to Part 8 below). Footnotes and references on the poster should be no smaller than 9 point
  • WORD COUNT: overall word count (excluding footnotes and references /bibliographies) should be between 1700 and 2000 words, with a maximum word count of 2200 words. Indicate the word count at the end of your written commentary.
  • SELECTION OF ILLUSTRATIONS:select illustrations that are clearly linked to the main points of your text. Illustrations may be of varying sizes, depending on their relative importance. Ensure that all illustrations are of a size that is able to be clearly ‘read’ by someone viewing your A1 sheet when mounted on a display screen. In particular, ensure that images of plans and other architectural drawings are of a size and resolution to be able to be read. Do not use low resolution images from the internet. Be prepared to locate and scan images from hardcopy publications. Do not print text over images where this reduces the legibility of either the text or the image. Do not use colours or colour contrasts that will reduce legibility.

Further guidance on the selection of graphic material is given in Section 7.1 below.




4.   ASSIGNMENT SUBMISSION (Including Turnitin submission)

Submission date:

No later than 4pm, Wednesday 29th October, at the School Office


Date and place for return of assignments:

From Monday Friday 8th  December, from School Office. (Posters will be held at the School Office until middle of first semester, 2015)




Academic Integrity:

As noted in the Course Outline, the written component of the assignment needs to be submitted to Turnitin.

For this course the Turnitin access information is: Class ID: 8367484; password: desresearch


Unless students are granted an extension via the School’s extension process, all poster texts must be submitted to Turnitin by the end of Wednesday 29th October. Students are encouraged to submit their poster text before this date in order to view their Originality Report and to make any appropriate changes on the basis of the report. Note that there is no recommended maximum Similarity Index, as extensively referenced commentaries, while these result in a higher Index score, may also result in a more scholarly account.


Originality reports will be checked as part of the assessment process, and these checks will focus on two matters: the extent to which internet material has been used versus scholarly publications, and the extent to which borrowed text taken (direct and indirect quotations) has been fully referenced.


For more information on Turnitin refer to






Assessment Criteria:

The poster will be assessed on an overall basis. However, this assessment will be guided by the following criteria:


  1. Written account: clarity and quality of the written account explaining the significant features of the architecture and offering an argument for the wider significance of the work and thus a potential contribution to knowledge.
  2. Illustrations/graphic material: appropriateness of illustrations/graphic material in relation to the written account. This includes the number and choice of illustrations and  their effectiveness in supporting the text  
  3. Referencing: comprehensiveness of sources, balance between published and web based material, demonstration of appropriate referencing of text and illustrations, plus correct formatting of references                                                                                                                                                       
  4. Poster presentation: clarity and quality of graphic design/layout of the poster, and compliance with presentation requirements                                                    


There will be no other form of assessment for this course. However, all students are required to complete the “Approval of Assignment Topic” form (refer to section 2 above.)


Please note that the summative feedback for your poster will reflect the fact that text and illustrations, while noted above as separate criteria, will be evaluated in combination.






The following CANNOT be used as the subjects of your poster:


1.     buildings discussed in lectures (refer to list below)

2.     buildings that are the subject of displayed posters (refer to list below)

3.     any buildings that was the subject of your assignment for any previous second year or third year ARCHHTC course

4.     individual houses (Note: multi-unit housing projects can be used.)

5.     corporate office buildings

6.     memorials and commemorative structures

7.     buildings by Daniel Libeskind or Santiago Calatrava

8.     Seattle Library (Rem Koolhaus)


The following will be discussed in lectures and should not be used:


  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington DC (Maya Lin)
  • Museum of Modern Art Fort Worth (Tadao Ando)
  • Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth (Louis Kahn)
  • Jorn Utzon: Sydney Opera House
  • Le Corbusier: Ronchamp Chapel
  • FJMT Archimedia: Business School, University of Auckland
  • Quinta Monroy social housing, Chile (Elemental Architects)
  • Yokohama International Port Terminal (Foreign Office Architects)
  • Diamond Ranch High School (Morphosis)


In addition, the following will be the subject of exhibited posters of previous assignments and therefore should notbe used:

  • Quinta Monroy social housing, Chile (Elemental Architects)
  • Yokohama International Port Terminal (Foreign Office Architects)
  • Diamond Ranch High School (Morphosis)
  • Larkin building, Buffalo (Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • The Bloch building (Nelson Atkins Museum of Art), Kanas City (Steven Holl)
  • Museum of Ando Hiroshige, Nasu, Japan (Kengo Kuma)
  • National Gymnasium, Tokyo (Kenzo Tange)
  • Neues Museum (restoration) Berlin (David Chipperfield)
  • MAXXI National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Rome (Zaha Hadid)
  • Rolex Learning Centre, Lausanne (SANAA)
  • Yellow Treehouse, Warkworth, Auckland (Pacific Environments Architects)
  • Walt Disney Concert hall, Los Angeles (Frank Gehry)
  • California Academy of Sciences (Renzo Piano Building Workshop)
  • CCTV Headquarters, Beijing (Rem Koolhaus)
  • Jubilee Church, Rome (Richard Meier)
  • Simmons Hall student residences, MIT (Steven Holl)



The following guidelines are offered to assist you in identifying suitable buildings for the assignment:


You should choose a building that engages with architectural knowledge in more than a superficial way. In particular, you should choose an example of architecture in which social AND/OR functional/programmatic responses, AND/OR experiential factors are a part of the reason for its wider significance, and you should be prepared to describe and explain these(ie: your chosen building should have human significance of some kind). It follows that it is not sufficient to focus on architecture that is significant only in regard to matters of technology.


Your chosen example should be from 1900 to the present time. (Examples prior to 1900 require the lecturer’s approval.) It should be a built work (although you may also refer to related unbuilt projects if these help to explain the work). It may be an addition to an existing building. The selected work may be of any type or size, noting the above listed exclusions. If you have visited your chosen building then you may wish to include your own experience of the architecture, in addition to published commentaries by others.


Note that you are not limited to architectural examples that have a broad international reputation or are the work of a “star” architect. There are many buildings that have not received extensive coverage in the architectural media but which make significant contributions to architectural knowledge (and thus deserve to have wider influence).


You should choose an example of architecture that in your view made a clear (and preferably significant) contribution to the development of architectural knowledge at the time of its completion. Such knowledge contributions are usually the result of design innovations, although you are not expected to demonstrate that your chosen example is the first or the only building to have incorporated such innovations.  You will need to explain why such innovations are significant. This will require reference to relevant “knowledge concepts”. (Refer to lectures 2 and 3 regarding “knowledge concepts” and preparing explanations). If others have written on the significance of the work or its wider influence you should quote these authors in support of your own explanations and arguments. (The exhibited poster on the National Gymnasium for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo by Kenzo Tange is a good example of the use of such references).


Be aware that while architecture and architectural knowledge have many different aspects, and may therefore be thought of as encompassing a breadthof considerations, architectural work that achieves the status of being significant and thus making a knowledge contribution will typically do so only in respect of a limited number of issues or aspects of architecture. Therefore, in choosing an example for your assignment, you are not expected to demonstrate breadth of contributions to architectural knowledge. Instead, you should focus on particular aspects of the selected project and undertake your investigations into these in some depth.


Note that where a building engages with an issue that may be understood in terms of opposites, the way in which that building resolves such apparent oppositions may represent an important aspect of its wider significance (for example, the opposition between local and global contexts, translated as an opposition between vernacular architectural traditions and contemporary design in projects such as the Karnak Cultural Centre, New Caledonia, by the Renzo Piano Workshop.)





Your submission should include the following:


1.     Photographic illustrations, drawings and possibly other graphic material (eg: sketches or diagrams by either yourself or others) describing the architecture of your selected example and illustrating the main points you wish to make.

A plan of the principal floor level (usually the ground floor) will be essential. A site plan will   also be needed where the site/context is important in understanding the architecture. These plans may also need to include legends identifying key spaces etc, where these are discussed in the text. Ensure that plans, site plans etc are legible. This will require that the image is of sufficient size and resolution in each case. As a general rule, the smallest acceptable size of a drawing will be larger than the smallest acceptable size of a photograph.


2.     A carefully reasoned and scholarly written account, outlining why the selected work is significant and therefore represents a potential contribution to architectural knowledge. This will require that you clearly identify the particular kind of knowledge contribution.


If you have identified technological innovations as part of the significance of the building, these are potential contributions to architectural knowledge so long as they have some kind of impact on architectural form and space and you are able to describe and explain this.


If you consider that the design process or some aspect is directly responsible for innovations in the resulting building, you may include a description and explanation of that process. However, you need to clearly identify how the process has enabled one or more innovations in the built outcome.


In addition to a standard of English expression appropriate for a 300 level course, you should structure your written account carefully, in order to assist reader comprehension. It is recommended that you use subheadings to indicate the overall structure of your text. Your account may comprise a number of largely independent subsections, each dealing with a different aspect of the significance of the work. (In this regard it differs from a typical essay in which there strong narrative linking each section.) You should also write a short introduction which places the example in a wider context of some kind, including a description of the overall purpose of the building, and a conclusion summarizing the overall significance of your example in terms of its potential or actual contribution to architectural knowledge. This may require briefly restating points already made in the main part of your text.


When writing your text, rely on the descriptive potential of illustrations (“a picture is worth a thousand words” anon) and minimize the extent to which you use words to describe your example. It is more effective to use words to explain the relevant characteristics of your example, and to develop arguments for its wider significance and thus as a potential contribution to knowledge.


In developing such arguments you will probably need to use the observations or explanations of other authors (appropriately referenced) as evidence for your own conclusions. Where other authors have developed their own arguments for the wider significance of the work, these may also be included (and referenced) as part of your own account. Where other authors have merely asserted (rather than explained or argued for) the wider significance of your example, you should not rely on such assertions as part of your evidence.


In developing an argument for the wider significance of your example, the first step is to identify the ways in which the example is innovative (ie: departs from conventional practices). Innovations imply wider significance.  Being able to also identify how such innovations differ from conventional practices will strengthen your argument. This may require a wider literature search, and finding such additional sources is sometimes not possible. A second way of confirming a wider significance is to demonstrate a direct influence on other projects, but this can be very hard to establish. Where an author cites or illustrates such an influence you should include it in your account. (For example, the poster on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building references several different kinds of influence of this building on the work of other architects.)


NOTE: you are not expected to provide a personal evaluation of your chosen architectural example. In this respect the assignment may differ from others you have undertaken.



3.     Carefully consider the graphic design/layout of your poster. Subject to the requirements noted in section 3 above, you may position text and illustrations on the A1 sheet in whatever way you choose, in order to clearly communicate your findings. Consider varying the size of illustrations based on their relative importance for your explanations and arguments.


Posters that are simply illustrated essays will be unable to take advantage of the graphic design opportunities that a poster format offers. Consider using text and illustrations in an integrated and complementary way, in order to make your points.


4.     After printing your poster and before mounting on foamboard, please check for completeness (including footnotes and references for illustrations). Each year a number of students find that the printed poster is not exactly the same as their digital version, and need to make corrections before reprinting.






All borrowed material must be acknowledged by way of referencing, including both direct and indirect references (in which you are paraphrasing another author’s words) as appropriate. Direct quotations in your text should be italicized.


References must be correctly formatted using the Chicago referencing styles. Refer to  for details of correct formatting. Note that page numbers are required. Footnotes should be at the end of your text (ie: on the poster itself), but the reference list (bibliography) may be taped to the rear of the poster in order to save space on the poster itself. Do not use Roman numerals for footnotes. When taking references from databases these may need to be reformatted to comply with the Chicago referencing style.


The sources of allillustrations should also be acknowledged separately from bibliographic (text based) references. Identify illustrations on the poster as fig 1, fig 2, etc, and provide a separate list of figure references on the front of your poster. Consider providing a descriptive caption for figures directly alongside the image (eg: fig 1: ground floor plan; figure 2: view of building from adjacent park,etc). Where appropriate, cross reference your text to illustrations by inserting (fig1) etcin the text. This will assist in integrating text and illustrations. Do not leave illustrations without either a cross reference in the text or a caption.


While the internet is a suitable source of images, do not rely on internet for textual material.  The majority of your references need to be to scholarly literature, recognizing that this may include material available in electronic form only. Refer to University Libraryguidelines for the evaluation of websites, at






1.     Identify an example of architecture which interests you, which you consider engages with architectural knowledge and which meets the selection criteria noted above. If your starting point is an interest in a particular architect, identify the published work of that architect in order to select a suitable example of built work. Do not ask the lecturer to confirm the suitability of your selection, as this requires a degree of detailed understanding that only you will have.


2      Carry out a preliminarysearch of the literature using an electronic database such as Avery Index (Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals) or APId (Architectural Publications Index).Note thatAPld includes both periodicals and monographs and is therefore particularly useful where books (ie: monographs) have been published on the architect of your chosen example, and possibly on the architectural example itself, if it is a very significant building.  (Refer to point 3 below). One indicator of the possible extent of influence of your chosen example on architectural thinking will be the number of scholarly commentaries that have been published in the international architectural press.


3      Confirm that there is a sufficient amount of published material on your chosen building. As a guide, at least five scholarly sources of reasonable length would be a minimum in order to carry out your investigations in sufficient depth. (Reviews in professional journals and/or internet based material would be additional to such scholarly sources.)

Start your search using the building name. Be aware that sometimes a building will be recorded on a database using more than one name, and you may need to search using all such names as keywords. If a search using the building name is not successful, broaden you search by using the architect name, or architect name and building type (eg: Louis Kahn and art museums).


Note that periodical articles or monographs on the architect in question may well include material on your chosen example that does not appear when you carry out a project specific search. For example, an Avery Index basic search using Kimbell Art Museum as keyword will identify 77 records (periodical sources), but an advanced search using both Louis Kahn and art museums will identify 131 records. You might need to check out some of the additional 54 records in case they include material relevant to the Kimbell Art Museum project.  A search using Louis Kahn as keyword will identify an unhelpfully long list and you would need to try different keyword combinations in order to reduce the list to a more manageable length.


An APl (Architectural Periodicals Index) search of books (as distinct from periodical) using Kimbell identifies 20 book records (the word Kimbell appears in the title of only five however), while a search using Louis Kahn identifies 143 book records. None of these records would appear on Avery (although Avery is more comprehensive for periodical listings than APl).  


Note that general architectural texts (for example, monographs on architectural history or theory) may include commentaries on your chosen example or architect, but often this will not appear on your database search. You may need to do some detective work and check out the contents or index of relevant history/theory texts. Where your chosen example is discussed in theoretical or philosophical publications, this may well be a further indicator of the significance of that example. However, unless you choose a very well known or influential building, it is unlikely that your chosen building will have been discussed in such general texts.


4      Quickly review (scan read) the available material in order to confirm that your chosen example looks promising as a contribution to architectural knowledge. Look for evidence  that confirms that your chosen example is significant in terms of more general architectural notions, ideas, concepts, principles, theories, etc. (Architectural knowledge is typically expressed in these more general ways.)


5      Carry out a careful and critical review of the relevant sources identified during your quick review above. Check the bibliography provided in each of these sources for other possibly relevant references. Note any illustrative material that may be useful to include in your poster. (Also refer to point 7 below.)


6      As outlined in Section 7 above, prepare a carefully structured and referenced account that clearly identifies in what ways your chosen example is significant and therefore represents a potential contribution to architectural knowledge.


7      Decide what illustrations are needed to support your text. Be prepared to search for these in other publications. Be sure to choose images that clearly illustrate your key points.


8      Decide how text and illustrations might be interrelated to best communicate your key messages. A poster format has been chosen to allow you to creatively design the layout in this way.




This assignment has been “designed” to enable you to further develop key skills that will be needed in order to successfully complete future research-based design work in the MArch(prof), and possibly in your future architectural practice. Because of the small size on this course (10 points or 1/12th of the Design Thesis) it is not appropriate to ask you to undertake personal design work. However, by developing an understanding of how another architect has managed to design in a way that represents a potential contribution to knowledge (this being the distinguishing characteristic of all forms of research), it is anticipated that this will provide insights and understandings for designing in this way yourself.


In lecture 1 a simple seven step model of a design-based research process was presented and explained. Four of these seven steps have corresponding steps in undertaking this assignment, as follows:


  1. Design Thesis: identify a research topic/research question to investigate

             Assignment:  identify a building to investigate


2.    Design Thesis: review relevant literature in the chosen topic area

Assignment: review relevant literature relating to chosen building


3.    Design Thesis: frame/define a design project/problem in response to research question

Assignment has no equivalent step


    4.   Design Thesis: establish a design approach/method of investigation appropriate for the

project conditions 

             Assignment has no equivalent step             


5.    Design Thesis: prepare a design proposal

Assignment has no equivalent step


  1. Design Thesis: explain the significance of the design in relation to the research question/topic

Assignment: explain your chosen building in relation to the question of its wider significance


  1. Design Thesis: develop overall conclusions regarding the contribution of your design project/outcome to architectural knowledge

Assignment: develop overall conclusions regarding the contribution of your chosen example to architectural knowledge






Professor John Hunt

14th August 2014                                                                            

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