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Construction as Alchemy (ARCH10002)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeARCH10002
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject focuses on how design ideas are translated into built form through the process of construction. Students learn about the various professionals and trades that are involved, how construction information is communicated in contract documents, and about the structural principles and material properties that underpin the form and fabric of the built environment.

Through analysis, observation, experimentation, testing and review, students explore how designs become buildings. Site visits and model making and other exercises are used to engage students with structures (e.g. force and support systems), materials (e.g. metals, masonry, ceramics, polymers and timber) and construction case studies.

Physical and environmental properties of materials are presented together with their construction techniques and life cycle issues.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who have successfully completed this subject should be able to:

  • Convey their understanding of construction processes, detailing and the roles of various professionals, suppliers and trades;
  • Understand basic structural principles and material properties that underpin the form and fabric of built environments;
  • Explore physical measures that quantify length, area, volume, mass, weight and scale and their application to representations of objects (e.g. in drawings and models);
  • Convey basic understanding of the range of building systems in terms of structure, materials, construction and function;
  • Identify basic properties and behaviour of materials, manufacturing processes and the environmental implications of their selection and use within the constructed environment.

Generic skills

Students completing this subject will have developed the following generic skills:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals;
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution;
  • Ability to learn from experiments and through reflection and analysis;
  • Effective communication with peers and the community at large;
  • Independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning.

Eligibility and requirements


Admission into the B- ENVS (Bachelor of Environments)


Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
ARCH10001 Foundations of Design: Representation
Semester 1
Semester 2



Non-allowed subjects

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
ENVS10003 Constructing Environments
Semester 1

Core participation requirements

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


  • Preliminary site analysis report based on site visit observations and research (equivalent to 200 words) due week 3, (5%);
  • Construction design and detailing exploring mass, timber and steel construction (equivalent to 2600 words) due weeks 5, 9 and 12, (65%);
  • Two tests, conducted in class (equivalent to 400 words) due weeks 4 and 7, (10%);
  • One 45 minute exam, conducted in class (equivalent to 800 words) due week 11, (20%).

Hurdle requirements: A minimum mark of 40% must be achieved in the examination and a minimum attendance at 80% of tutorials is required in order to pass the subject.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorClare Newton
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours48 hours (6 x 1 hour lectures, 1 x 1.5 hour workshop, 10 x 3 hour tutorials)
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period24 July 2017 to 22 October 2017
    Last self-enrol date 4 August 2017
    Census date31 August 2017
    Last date to withdraw without fail22 September 2017
    Assessment period ends17 November 2017

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

Related majors/minors/specialisations

Breadth options

This subject is available as breadth in the following courses:

There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

Last updated: 15 July 2017