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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Undergraduate Course: Thinking With Fire (Level 10) (ARCH10047)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn current discourse, Fire has become a powerful metaphor for understanding climate change. Activists assert that 'Our House is on Fire', while historians suggest we think of our current geological epoch as a 'Pyrocene'. Fire has long been recognised as both a constructive and destructive agent, key to the emergence of human civilisation but also a risk to it. Nonetheless, the importance of this element for both urban safety and planetary health have perhaps never been greater. This course studies the way fire has shaped our built and natural environments, but also the way this element offers explanatory metaphors for environmental change. It invites students from architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and related disciplines to reflect on the way fire has, and might, shape thinking in their own field.
Course description This course studies the ways that our built and natural environments have been shaped by fire. It does so through lectures and seminars that study texts prompted by fires in natural or designed environments; by new technologies of construction and environmental conditioning, or by natural and anthropogenic fires occurring in urban and landscape contexts. The selected texts are drawn from a range of disciplines; the history and theory of architecture, landscape architecture and engineering, but also related fields including art history, cultural studies, economics, earth science, engineering, sociology, literature, and philosophy. By studying these texts, the course will reflect on fire as a physical tool for modifying environments, but also as a conceptual tool for understanding environmental change. Reading between these texts, the course will track tensions between our physical and conceptual mastery of fire, and so between the environmental sciences and humanities. Through their own contributions to seminars, and through essays exploring selected research topics, students will be challenged to explore how fire and fire metaphors might help us to imagine a more sustainable future for our cities and wildlands.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesOpen to visiting students with undergraduate experience in Architecture, Landscape Architecture or cognate subjects
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  16
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20.5, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 0.5, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assignment 1: Course Journal
Over the course of the semester, students are to compile a reading Journal. Journal entries should be c. 500 words each in length, carefully illustrated, and appropriately referenced. The submitted Journal should include six selected readings, and total no more than 3000 words. Assessed against Learning Outcomes 1 and 3. Submitted during exam period. 50% of the student's grade.

Assignment 2: Research Project
Students are to complete a research project that investigates a theme introduced through the course. Research conducted might be historical, theoretical or by-design in mode. It should include a bibliography that engages with primary sources, extending beyond texts introduced through the course. The project should result in a textual response of no more than 2500 words in length, or a portfolio of comparable size. Assessed against Learning Outcomes 1 and 3. Submitted during exam period. 50% of the student's grade.
Feedback During the teaching period student groups will present a short reading of a selected text to the class. Students will be provided with verbal feedback on class presentations which will act as formative feedback on Learning Outcome 1.

During the teaching period, students will submit a sample journal entry on a selected text. Students will be provided with written feedback which will act as formative feedback on Learning Outcomes 1 and 3.

During the teaching period each student will present their developing research project at an individual tutorial. Verbal Formative feedback will be offered against Learning Outcomes 2 and 3.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of theories, concepts and principles employed by architects, landscape architects, and other thinkers, when addressing questions connected to fire.
  2. Develop a critical and creative work of research on a topic related to the question of fire in built and natural environments.
  3. Produce a coherent, well-written and well-illustrated academic enquiry, following appropriate referencing conventions.
Reading List
Bachelard, Gaston. Psychoanalysis of Fire. Beacon Press, 1977.
Bankoff, Greg, Uwe Lübken, Jordan Sand, and Stephen J. Pyne. Flammable Cities: Urban Conflagration and the Making of the Modern World. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012.
Bobbette, Adam. 'A Forensics of the Future: Fire Insurance Underwriting, Contingency, and Early 20th Century Materials'. Journal of Architectural Education 67, no. 2 (July 3, 2013): 285-87.
Fernández-Galiano, Luis. Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy. MIT Press, 2000.
Pyne, Stephen J. Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told Through Fire, of Europe and Europe's Encounter with the World. University of Washington Press, 2000.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The graduate will have knowledge of:
The cultural, social and intellectual histories, theories and technologies that influence the design of buildings and landscape.
How the theories, practices and technologies of the arts influence architectural and landscape architectural design.
Theories of urban design and the planning of communities.

Graduates will have a critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design.
KeywordsArchitecture,Landscape Architecture,Urbanism,Fire
Course organiserMr Liam Ross
Tel: (0131 6)51 5781
Course secretaryMrs Abbie Humphreys
Tel: (01316) 502306
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