Course syllabus

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Course syllabus


ACE465 Urban prototypes lp2 HT23 (15 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering


Contact details

Joaquim Tarrasó, Architect. Course Examiner & Tutor

Carl-Johan Vesterlund, Architect. Course Tutor

Maja Hjertén Knutsson, Architect. Course Tutor

Louise Didriksson, Landscape Architect. Course Tutor

Kengo Skorick, Architect. Course Tutor

Marco Adelfio, Urban Planner and Geographer. Lecturer adelfio@chalmers,se


Course purpose


The Aim of the course is to develop the student's ability to intervene in complex urban environments using design as an integration tool and in pursuit of sustainable urban models.
The urban space is a result of countless overlapping layers of different character, all of them with implications in terms of social, cultural, environmental, and economical parameters. That situation has important consequences in the Urban physical environment, both in the fields of Architecture, Urban Landscape and infrastructure Landscape. To understand and address such a complexity in the course the student will work with a transverse approach through different scales and complementary disciplines.

Urban prototypes focus on the development of alternative proposals for spatial configuration from the preparation of selective cartographies of a given context and through an experimental process of spatial translation. The purpose of our design method is to create a prototypical architectural system that is almost a literal manifestation of the cartographies. The most essential aspect of prototyping is the development of rich and unexpected spatial qualities.


The course focuses on the development of urban structures and spaces in an open and inclusive way, working from the perspective of spatial design beyond disciplines and typologies. By exploring the interface between buildings, landscape, and infrastructures in search of hybrid typologies, new forms of Public Spaces and coexistence.

The course promotes an experimental and creative research-by-design approach, based on a strong knowledge of facts and contexts. The learning process holds on all the working stages of space design, from preliminary analysis, an understanding of the site from specific and relevant parameters, that are mapped and articulated in intentional cartographies which are transformed in spatial structures through modeling. An iterative process resulting in spatial strategies and finally in design of Urban prototypes.


Course design

Urban Prototypes is a Design studio starting on Monday 30th October 2023 and ending on Friday 12th of January 2024. The course is project-design based.  During the course lecturers and experts will provide information and knowledge in relation to specific studied locations and contribute with a broader interdisciplinary perspective. 

The design process is assessed and monitored throughout the course, based on weekly supervision sessions, as well as partial reviews linked to seminars and workshops. The course also fosters the student's analytical and critical capacity through peer review sessions. The course concludes with final presentations and exhibition.

The course is organized in four phases. All combine group and individual work and are developed through a series of assignments, together with lectures, visits, seminars, and workshops. All activities are intended to support the design process.

Regarding the four course Phases, all of them promote an experimental research based on a knowledge of facts and contexts. Every phase is carried out to inform and be developed in the next step: the site analysis and mapping will help to define the basis for working strategy, not merely as a descriptive product.  

Phase 1: Case Studies & Mappings 

2 weeks of team work to explore elementary concepts related to urban prototypes that will continue being developed along the course.

Phase 2: Spatial Explorations 

2 weeks of team + Individual work for methodically and experimentally generate schematic designs.

Phase 3: Project Definition  

3 weeks of Team + Individual work for development of schematic ideas and formatting of coherent proposals.

Phase 4: Exhibition & Publication

3 weeks of Studio and self study work about dissemination of our work to generate new knowledge and impact discourse.



See Canvas calendar


Course literature

A list of literature will be provided in the course description and will be available before the beginning of the course.


Changes made since the last occasion

ACE465 Urban prototypes is a new course


Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate theoretical and critical understanding of models and references of urban design based on transverse approach in terms of complementary disciplines.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the different layers defining public space, and the scales they relate to.

Competence and skills

  • Describe and analyze urban systems by mapping and modelling from developing strategies to detail design.
  • Design in relation to complex contexts and regarding existing values and demands from different users perspectives and in relation to sustainable development
  • Use an iterative and speculative method to design a project.
  • Systematically apply knowledge and understanding of physical, technical and process principles in design.
  • Fulfil qualified projects within urban design; independently, creative, and critically with adequate methods and syntheses.
  • Demonstrate the capacity for teamwork
  • Be able to communicate and present own work using the entire repertoire of architectural media and methods, and to present the reasoning and work conclusions.

Judgement and approach

  • Use critical thinking to assess and constructively evaluate projects, from initial concepts to design and in relation to professional and social impact.
  • Be able to interpret, question and develop given prerequisites based on achieved knowledge and experience and create unexpected or not demanded values in proposals


Examination form

The course examination form is based on continuous assessment through different course components. To pass the course is required active participation in scheduled activities and group work. It is expected presence in a minimum of 80% of all scheduled activities, including lectures, visits, seminars, supervision, pinups, and presentations. Some absence can be accepted if there are legitimate reasons, and they are communicated in advance, to compensate, supplementary assignments may be handed in.

The review of the submitted final project work weighs heavily in the collective assessment that forms the basis of the examination. Supplementations will be asked when the students’ work does not fulfil the course objectives and presentation requirements)

Course summary:

Date Details Due