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Digital Design (ARCH20004)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeARCH20004
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject continues the knowledge from Foundations of Design: Representation. We will examine rule base thinking in digital design through processes of modelling and fabrication. The ability to develop these thinking through contemporary techniques of abstraction, evaluation, formulation, and transformation of information as ideas and knowledge is critical in digital design.

In this subject, students will develop an understanding of design process and workflow through modelling of information, both as virtual data and physical material. We will focus on using digital and physical modelling as iterative, progressive and generative techniques in developing form and design content.

A series of lectures will introduce students to a range of processes and techniques in digital design and its implementation in architecture and design. We will explore some of these methodologies in detail through a series of exercises and design brief. Students will learn rule based design process and developed skill in parametric design software resulting in physical artefacts using digital fabrication tools. The emphasis will be on developing a critical understanding of the relationship between media and its outcomes, and how modelling and digital fabrication techniques can encourage or constrain design possibilities.

Concluding each lecture, students will be introduced to self-teaching modules that will enable further experimentation with media and techniques. At the end of the semester, students will compile their personal portfolio with precision using reflective writing to anchor and demonstrate design thinking.

Costs to Students:

  • Students will be required to purchase modelling and drawing materials for the course including cost to cover laser cutting and 3d printing; cost approx. $300 to $380 per person.
  • Rhino 3d can be downloaded free for 90 days trial. Please note that future subjects in your major may require this software; especially if you are majoring in Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) can be purchased on monthly bases. You will require Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for this subject. (See Required Resources folder for further details)
  • Grasshopper and Unreal Engine are available free to student to download.

Intended learning outcomes

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

• Develop skills in digital thinking through modelling and learning to use parametric software
• Develop skills and dexterity in using digital media and fabrication techniques
• Develop skills in communicating complex relationship within a set of information through drawings, modelling and fabrication.
• Develop techniques and rigour in constructing design ideas from gathered information
• Develop an understanding of abstract and analytical thinking and why it is pivotal in design process
• Develop an understanding of iterative modelling process and its application in contemporary design
• Develop group working skills and communication

Generic skills

Upon successful completion of this subject the student will have had the opportunity to develop the following generic skills :

• Develop precision, rigour and skills in physical and digital modelling
• To work cooperatively and professionally in group setting
• Develop communication skills through drawings, models and other media
• Developed capacity for independent critical thought, creative inquiry and self-directed learning
• Developed an understanding of how such techniques are related to creative thinking

Eligibility and requirements


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



Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Online Quiz at end of lectures or studio, during the semester (14%);
  • Module 1 containing drawings and physical model with verbal presentation. Drawings and digital model collated in draft journal format, (equivalent to 12 hours of work per student), week 3 (10%);
  • Module 2 containing drawings and physical model with verbal presentation. Drawings and digital model collated in draft journal format, (equivalent to 30 hours of work per student), week 7 (25%);
  • Module 3 containing drawings and physical model with verbal presentation. Drawings and digital model collated in draft journal format, (equivalent to 36 hours of work per student), week 12 (30%);
  • Final Portfolio submission: formatted journal containing collated and composed drawings and photography of model with reflective writing and references to lectures (equivalent to 25 hours work), due during the examination period (21%).

    Hurdle requirements:
    1. Attendance at least 75% of studio and workshop session
    2. Submission of Final Portfolio is a hurdle requirement

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorPaul Loh
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours52 hours: 8 x 1hour lecture, 32 hours studio and 6 x 2 hours workshop
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period26 February 2018 to 27 May 2018
    Last self-enrol date 9 March 2018
    Census date31 March 2018
    Last date to withdraw without fail 4 May 2018
    Assessment period ends22 June 2018

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Rhinoceros software. Note: Apple-Mac users will require Windows operating system.
    Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator
    Course reader will be provided on LMS

    Please also check the note section

  • Subject notes

    A laptop with faculty specifications found: https://msd.unimelb.edu.au/abp-specialist-it-support
    Rhinoceros 3D software. Note: Apple-Mac users will require Windows operating system.

  • Incidental costs

    Students will be required to purchase drawing and modelling materials for the course excluding software; cost approx. $250 to $300 per person. Rhino 3d can be downloaded free for 90 days trial. Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) can be purchased on monthly bases.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

Last updated: 18 September 2018