Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit investigates the rapidly changing conceptions of “Matter” or material innovation in design, through digital fabrication and 1:1 prototyping. Within this context, students will engage and apply new digital or robotic fabrication methods and technologies, prototyping methods, and experimental material development, culminating in 1:1 prototypes or assemblages exhibiting bespoke properties. Students will research the relation between material properties and specific prototyping methods (CNC, 3D printing, robotic fabrication, etc.) and apply this research towards ‘learning by making' to design, develop and prototype functional or “responsive” material assemblies. Project development and outcomes will explore and apply contemporary topics relating to material craft, digital fabrication, and emerging technologies such as robotic fabrication and smart and responsive materials.

The overall academic objective of the unit is to develop a critical rethinking of “Material,” towards a new approach to design and making, combining both analog and digital craft. Material innovation and prototyping topics and projects provide a critical and practical foundation for students to engage twenty-first century design practices, whereby the designer is involved in the development of new tools, processes, materials and prototypes.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Architecture A major sequence

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an awareness of current material innovation in design practice

; (2) synthesise research findings to design and produce full scale functional prototypes and responsive material systems

; (3) demonstrate an advanced level of understanding of the iterative process of drawing and making

; and (4) develop critical and practical skills to interrogate and advance the making of physical prototypes.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) report; (2) prototype; and (3) final assembly. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Santiago Perez
Unit rules
ARCT3040 Advanced Design Thinking
Approved quota: 25—first come, first serve basis
Incidental fees
Incidental student fees and charges are costs incurred by students as part of their studies at UWA that are in addition to their tuition fees (further information is available here).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s): (1) Materials + Hardware required for project development and prototyping (estimated cost - $100-$350). (estimated cost - $250).
Contact hours
Up to 3 hours per week.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.