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Design for Future Living with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

We live in a time of rapid social, economic and environmental change. Demand for housing is increasing, but not enough new homes are being built. Not only that, home ownership is out of reach for a lot of people. The type of housing we need is changing, and this course will give you the opportunity to meet these challenges head on....

Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses.  Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.  

 

Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

We live in a time of rapid social, economic and environmental change. Demand for housing is increasing, but not enough new homes are being built. Not only that, home ownership is out of reach for a lot of people. The type of housing we need is changing, and this course will give you the opportunity to meet these challenges head on.

Design for Future Living aims to develop exciting and innovative design thinking, questioning preconceptions about how society lives now and into the future. Developed in collaboration with TV architect George Clarke’s Ministry of Building, Innovation and Education (MOBIE), the course places you at the forefront of the next generation of designers tackling the design and delivery of new homes. You could break new ground through an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to designing for future living.The course prepares a new model of creative, skilled and disruptive designer with knowledge of home, digital technologies and creative design.

About foundation courses

Studying a Foundation within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is about ideas, concepts and creativity integrating various disciplines. This additional year has been designed to give you the skills needed to ensure you’re successful on the BA (Hons) Design for Future Living course.

In this Foundation year you will be working on a multidisciplinary basis with students on different courses from the School, giving you the opportunity to experience a dynamic learning environment that embraces our ethos.

After successful completion of your foundation year you will progress onto the BA (Hons) Design for Future Living degree.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

How we live affects us all. Housing is a basic human right but what we produce doesn’t always meet today’s needs. Our homes should be smart, well designed and affordable; they should create a sense of community, respect the environment and support changing family structures. We urgently need new design thinking to revolutionise how we live.

The BA (Hons) Design for Future Living is a unique opportunity for you to lead the way in designing how and where we live. Through innovative ideas, new design methods, advanced technologies and entrepreneurial skills, you will critique, challenge and disrupt traditional thinking around the idea of ‘home’ and develop radical alternatives.

Design - the course embodies our ethos of “design through the scales”, from product design, furniture, interior spaces and architecture to urban design. In the final year, you will have the opportunity to pursue your own interests through a major project.

Make – we have a tradition and pre-occupation with “making”, inspired by Birmingham’s industrial and artisan heritage, making this an ideal setting for exploring new approaches to the production and manufacture of homes. Using our workshops and the city beyond, you will explore advanced materials, digital and analogue fabrication and technology transfer from product design, manufacturing and industry.

Live – we see houses not as ‘one size fits all’ units but as homes for specific users in specific places. Throughout the course, you will be challenged to consider the implications of your designs on how people live.

The course prepares a new model of creative, skilled and disruptive designers with knowledge of how new understandings of home, digital technologies and creative design can shape the places we live.

George Clarke

Why Choose Us?

  • Work on a wide range of briefs from product design, to architecture, to urban design.
  • You will gain unique knowledge of how new understandings of home, digital technologies and creative design can shape the places we live.
  • Developed in collaboration with TV Architect George Clarke’s MOBIE, offering a unique opportunity to engage with industry leaders.
  • You’ll gain real industry experience through a valuable work placement.
  • Take part in Co.LAB, our interdisciplinary live project initiative based within the School.
  • Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is highly respected and has a rich history of providing education and opportunities. It celebrated its centenary in 2009.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

88 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • No level 2 equivalent qualifications can be accepted
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)

See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Maths at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment

IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CCD / 88 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 88 pts

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 with 18 credits at merit or distinction
  • Construction, Planning, Built Environment subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMM

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Merit
  • Can be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 88 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 88 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 88 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma MMM
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 88 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
T-Levels
  • Pass overall (C or above on the core)
  • Design, Surveying and Planning T Level considered
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit overall
Other qualifications

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Extra information for EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities, including safety boots at an estimated cost of £40.

Media consumable items (mandatory)

This course requires the use of consumables, including a basic 'art kit' of pens, pencils, sketchbook, craft knife/scapel, scale ruler and compass.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

This module focuses on developing the 2D design skills and techniques required to communicate and visualise design concepts around space and form. You will work on a series of mini projects using predominantly manual techniques such as freehand sketching, technical drawing, and physical model-making. You will also be introduced to some digital techniques such as Photoshop and Desktop Publishing via InDesign.

This module is designed to develop your academic skills and make the transition to degree level study. It specifically focuses on your ability to critique, reflect and verbalise your thoughts and concepts through channels such as presentations, blogs and live journals.

You will learn how to use research methods to inform your practice and have the opportunity to advance your academic writing and referencing skills.

This module is designed to give you an introduction to the design processes used by the various disciplines and includes appraisal of design briefs, understanding context, design drivers, and the development of concepts and visuals through design feasibility studies. You will begin to understand how to turn your ideas into designs and the level required to reach a professional standard.

Underpinning the practice, you will explore and discuss fundamental concepts, particularly relating to human scale, ergonomics and anthropometrics, looking at design and its relationship to the physical aspects of the environment.

This module is designed to encourage you to make connections between theory and practice and engage further in critical analysis. You will explore the historical aspects across the two design disciplines (a major and minor) and scales and current practices.

You will further explore the use of precedent studies, which will provide you with the tools to respond to the challenges and changes in different environments and habitations.

This module focuses on developing presentation skills, from visual and graphic presentation techniques to pitching and presenting ideas.

You will have opportunities through workshops and online tutorials to learn Adobe Creative Suite and 3D software such as Sketch-up.

Hands on workshop practice will be introduced across a range of materials.

The aim of this module is to develop a concept design within your chosen discipline. You will document the design process, reflect on the experience and the final outcomes and the reasons for selecting your chosen field. The project will culminate in a comprehensive presentation, which will capture the whole design process via a design portfolio.

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

This module engages with the key design ideologies of the 20th Century. The History of Western Architecture has an on-going complex relationship with Modernism. Despite having moved beyond Modernism and post-modernism, at the beginning of the 21st Century, the designed environment we live in; buildings, furniture, interiors and the public realm, still holds traces of and responds to elements of the Modernist ideologies. (VAM, 2006)

The past decades have seen profound shifts in how we live. Patterns of life are changing; new forms of living, social change, digital media and advanced technologies are challenging traditional models of home. Demand for housing is not being matched by supply, and many of the homes built are either in the wrong place or not the types of home we need. Expectations of what a new home is and does are also changing.

Through weekly lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to an overview of the evolution of current housing markets and the conditions affecting contemporary housing design and delivery. Starting from a historical perspective, the module explores theories and models of home ownership, development patterns, regulations, legislation and planning policy affecting housing delivery, illustrating the complexities of designing homes fit for the future.

In this module, you will explore the growth of offsite manufacture and parallel industries with potential to transfer technology into the house building sector. Since the 1998 Egan Review ‘Rethinking Construction’, prefabrication, off site manufacture or Modern Methods of Construction have been seen as a key approach to boosting innovation and productivity in the construction industry. While a recurring theme, its potential has yet to be fully realised.

Through seminars and practical workshops, you will gain an understanding of the principles and processes used in factory based and off site manufacture across a range of industries. This module will introduce basic principles and considerations when designing for various scales of manufacture, helping you to develop an awareness of the impact of economies of scale on design thinking.

Inhabit introduces students to design for an inhabitant, considering scale and ergonomics in the development of design proposals.

It introduces a broad range of skills for communication and representation of design through the use of basic design projects. These projects and tasks provide solution-based opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of the design process. This could include research methods, design thinking, brainstorming, brief analysis, and human factors, explored through an iterative, non-linear design cycle reflecting the nature of the built environment. The module will introduce mechanisms of expression, exploration and representation and will enable you to develop ideas and identify future creative directions.

This studio-based module develops your skills in three-dimensional design at the scale of the single dwelling. It uses the design of a single home as a vehicle to challenge preconceptions about what a home is and how we live. This is explored at the scale of retrofit or adaptation of a single existing dwelling and a new build dwelling. Design studies within this module will typically relate to representing spaces and their relationships, inhabitation, experience, scale, privacy, environment and material quality.

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Through seminars and practical workshops, the module explores how processes such as building information modelling (BIM), virtual reality, digital fabrication and off-site manufacture are revolutionising the procurement and construction of homes. As well as learning about software used in production of components and buildings you will explore the impact of different approaches on design teams, project timescales and on site.

This studio-based module builds on Future Homes 1 to introduce concepts of urban design through the design of multiple homes and the relationships between them. Working at the scale of a housing development, the module asks you to design a number of different house typologies and combine these into a housing development. Through design studies you will explore concepts and principles of best practice urban design, for example public and private space, thresholds, overlooking, access, context and sustainability.

Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, practiced, embodied, or realised. Praxis may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realising, or practicing ideas.

We understand that not all of our graduates will go on to become practicing Architects. An architectural education, particularly the degree course, is a well-rounded education that can lead into numerous other career paths as well as the route to professional qualification. With this in mind we have a clear roadmap for our students in terms of professional knowledge, business awareness, and transferrable skills.

The Birmingham School of Architecture and Design occupies a distinctive interdisciplinary territory between the study and practices of the creative arts with the built environment professions.

Links with the professional context are reinforced through alumni, renowned tutors, events and live research projects. Equally, the School’s position within ADM means that students and staff are well connected to the creative scene of the city.

CO.LAB (the Collaborative Laboratory) is a vehicle for a range of projects that seek to directly engage students with this dynamic context. It is an opportunity for students to work with individuals and groups outside of their discipline area, engaging in a broad creative network.

This studio-based module will introduce you to the principles of co-housing design. Learning from exemplars across the UK and beyond, you will carry out design explorations at the scale of the home and community to consider the dynamics of individual and collective experiences of future living.

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

The module asks you to develop a research process through analysis of a case study in a rigorous academic format before developing your own systems, made and tested at a large scale. Case studies, related to the overarching theme of Year three modules, are used to develop questions around current and future systems for the production of places to live. You will then use the physical and/or digital workshop facilities to fabricate, assemble and analyse your design response in practical, strategic and/or architectural terms.

The module introduces you to the business of design and the role of design management. It involves you in a series of engaging lectures and workshops which explore the world of design practice and how complex design problems can be addressed. The teaching and learning will cover design business structures, business planning, entrepreneurship, collaboration and leadership, psychometric design strategy, design thinking and innovation.

Throughout the module, you will work both independently and collaboratively, with students from a range of design disciplines to research and investigate how to set up and sustain a design business. You will study the practice of design and explore a range of models and theories, whilst conducting primary and secondary research methodology, applying analysis, synthesis and critical argument.

The emphasis of the teaching and learning will be based on design project management, design finance, project finance, intellectual property rights, personal professionalism, and presentation skills, whilst demonstrating how to create a proposal. You will apply these models, theories and principles to your studies and utilise your research skills developed throughout the course to formulate a highly structured and well-narrated and convincing project proposal.

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.

Designing across the scales from product design to architecture to the city, you will have unique skills making you ideally placed to develop new approaches to the homes of the future.

Your projects will explore objects, spaces for living and future homes and communities. Through hands on experience you will understand the potential of new technologies and technology transfer. Working individually and in team-based activities, you will develop your professional and entrepreneurial skills ready for industry.

The course goes beyond lectures and gives you great opportunities. Interdisciplinary working is part of our ethos; you'll be part of Co.LAB, a collaborative architecture and design initiative within the School working on live projects. This engagement with one-to-one scale interventions and real-world practice helps you to become a more rounded and responsive designer.

As part of the Praxis module, you will undertake a work placement during year two, with options including design practice, construction, manufacture, developer, and more. This engagement with one-to-one scale interventions with students and staff from various disciplines, external partners and real-world practice helps you to become a more rounded and responsive professional.

The collaboration with MOBIE brings a wealth of knowledge and industry connections to the course.

Employability

The BA (Hons) Design for Future Living programme is located within the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.

The course builds upon the School’s employability driven reputation, by providing students with the knowledge and skills to work in industry.

The collaboration with MOBIE brings a wealth of knowledge and industry connections to the course.

As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.

Allied with these course-specific experiences, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:

  • Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
  • Career planning and decision making
  • Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
  • Developing portfolios
  • Networking with employers
  • Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship

Placements

As part of our commitment to developing the essential skills required as part of the BA (Hons) Design for Future Living, we have continued to develop the two-week, assessed work placement scheme in Year Two. The placement is part of the PRAXIS (Management Practice and Law) module and takes place towards the end of the academic year.

While on placement, organisations are encouraged to provide you with a wide range of activities, including meetings, site visits and design reviews, as well as developing additional writing, CAD and graphic skills.

More about our placement opportunities

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities and Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the exceptional quality of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will be based in our multi-million pound Parkside building – a state of the art facility located within our City Centre Campus. Here you will have full access to our recently upgraded, high spec CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) workstations situated within our dedicated computer labs and open access areas. We also provide access to leading edge digital design software, enabling you to explore technical drawing, graphics, 3D modelling, visualization, animation, computation, simulation, and virtual reality.

The Parkside Building is also home to our digital fabrication labs, where you will be able to explore 3D printing, laser cutting, water-jet cutting, CNC machining, ceramics, glass and traditional model-making, guided by our team of expert technicians with access to our on-site material store, and professional printing facilities.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Physical and digital library
  • Loanable laptops
  • Dedicated social spaces
  • Café’s

Photo Gallery

From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our dedicated teaching teams and expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion.

Our staff

Dr Matthew Jones

Head of School

Matthew is Associate Professor and Head of Birmingham School of Architecture & Design. He is an architect and academic with expertise in making places and communities. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Design Council Expert.

A graduate of the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA), Matthew worked at the Young Architect of the Year Award finalists Design Research Unit Wales (DRU-w) and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects before founding his practice, Coombs Jones. He held academic positions at the Welsh School of Architecture and the University of the West of England (UWE) before joining BSoAD in 2019 as Director of Technical Studies. Matthew developed the innovative BA(Hons) Design for Future Living degree in Collaboration with the educational charity MOBIE before becoming Head of School in 2021.

Matthew’s expertise is in practice-led research. His research focuses on the role of design in creating thriving and resilient towns and high streets. He completed a practice-led PhD exploring place specific approaches to the development of rural towns and he has expertise in community-led place planning. In his recently published book ‘Transforming Towns: Designing for Smaller Communities’ (RIBA Publishing, 2020), he explores the role of architects and designers in transforming our towns to help them thrive. He has developed these themes through artist residencies, events and workshops, co-design activities, architecture, urban design, university-community collaborations, community-led planning and academic research and teaching.

More about Matthew