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Unit of study_

DESC9200: Introduction to Architectural Science

This unit aims to explore the scientific concepts of heat, light and sound, and from this develops foundational principles and methods applicable to buildings. It is divided into five topics: climate, thermal environment, mechanical services, lighting, and acoustics. Students will gain an understanding of the terminology, physical values and metrics in each of these topics, and how they apply to the design and function of buildings. Theoretical models to predict key physical values in buildings are presented and used in assessments. Learning is supported by measurement exercises. This unit has a focused pedagogy intended for all graduate students in Architectural Science. It is a common core unit for all of the programs (Audio and Acoustics, High Performance Buildings, Illumination Design and Sustainable Design). Students within these programs should undertake this unit in their first semester of study if possible.


Academic unit Architectural and Design Science
Unit code DESC9200
Unit name Introduction to Architectural Science
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Block mode
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Jungsoo Kim,
Lecturer(s) Jungsoo Kim ,
Wendy Davis,
Richard de Dear,
Daniel Ryan,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment group assignment Group report
40% Week 09 No more than 12 pages in A4 size
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Individual report
60% Week 13 No more than 20 pages in A4 size
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Group report: The goal of this assignment is to understand how to apply the principles of building physics (heat, light and sound) to the evaluation of a building’s performance. Students will be working in small groups (4-5 students) to analyse different physical properties of a building.
  • Individual report: Students will be working individually to improve the performance of the building they have selected for assignment 1.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed.


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the learning outcomes assessed.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to program in Architectural Science; 2. Introduction to the unit; 3. Heat transfer in buildings Lecture (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Small group activity - building heat transfer and thermal mass Tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 02 1. Energy and buildings 2. Climate and microclimate 3. Urban microclimate and buildings Lecture (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Small groups activities - urban microclimate Tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 06 1. Introduction to lighting design; 2. Lighting technologies and lighting standards Lecture (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
1. Small group activities - lighting 2. Group presentations and feedback Tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 07 1. Basic physics of sound. An introduction to soundscape design 2. Controlling background sound and sound intrusion - standards and guidelines. Lecture (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Small group activities - acoustics Tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 10 1. Building services 2. Building retrofit strategies 3. Case studies Lecture (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

The School’s requirement of 90% attendance is waived. Participation in this unit is required via online components.

Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.


Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the fundamental principles of Architectural Science (including heat, light, wind and sound)
  • LO2. understand the principles of measurement and of selection and calibration of instrumentation
  • LO3. understand the principles of prediction of performances through calculations and simulations and how to apply those principles to case studies analysis
  • LO4. demonstrate an improvement in the ability of critical thinking and of critical analysis of evidence
  • LO5. integrate the knowledge in the field of Architectural Science and apply it in the individual areas of interests through collaboration
  • LO6. improve the ability to critically and synthetically analyse the issues, and to efficaciously communicate the technical information.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
The unit has been updated reflecting the USS feedback received in the past years.


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