Spatial Design major - Bachelor of Design

Hannah Kim

Hannah Kim: In between

Third year spatial students have a tough choice: they are given just a few briefs to choose from and their response comprises their final year project presented at AD16. For Hannah Kim, however, the choice seems pretty straightforward. Her reimagining of AUT's fairly basic visiting artist apartment is truly inspired. Kim says that her design, "connects the AUT community with the artist in residence, and creates the opportunity for exchange".

Spatial design is the design of human environments, incorporating aspects of interior design, architecture, urban design, performance, art and visual technologies. It involves studying the relationships between people and their environments, and designing ways to improve those environments. Many spatial designers work in interior architecture. Others pursue work in scenography or performance design, the creation of exhibitions and events, furniture design or virtual environments.

Our design approach is strongly driven by ideas and theoretical insights, particularly about the city, time and detail. We aim to bypass clichés and creatively question conventions about living, working and playing.

The Spatial Design major in the Bachelor of Design (BDes) enables you to develop vital industry skills, as well as the creative capacity to thrive in the changing world of spatial design. You learn from staff who are active researchers, often with many years in design practice. You study in an environment that encourages active engagement with other professionals, practitioners, groups and communities.

Key features

  • Hands-on, studio-based learning and experimentation with models, full-sized prototypes, installations, moving images, emergent technologies, and a range of graphic and computer skills
  • Includes real-world spatial design projects
  • At the end of your final year, you will have the opportunity to present your work to the media and industry through the AUT School of Art and Design festival
  • A career path in spatial design starts with this major, and continues in postgraduate study with an Honours degree or Masters degree where you can specialise in particular areas of practice or research

More information about the Bachelor of Design

Visit the Spatial Design blog
Visit the AUT Spatial Design Facebook page

Career opportunitiesSpatial-Design

Spatial designer working in:

  • Design for theatre, film, television or digital environments
  • Event design
  • Furniture and object design
  • Interior/building design
  • Urban design
  • Postgraduate study

Explore spatial design career opportunities in our career guide.

Entry requirements

  • University Entrance
  • Portfolio Guidelines
  • An interview may be required
  • Applicants for whom English or Māori is not their first language must provide proof of their English proficiency. IELTS (academic), completed within the last two years is the preferred test for entry. Minimum IELTS (academic) requirements are as follows: 6.5 overall with all bands 6 or higher


All papers are delivered over one semester and are worth 15, 30 or 45 points. You will need to complete 120 points each year and 360 points for the entire degree. In each year you will study and complete core compulsory papers within your major and selected minor.

See list of minors

Year 1

Through Fabrication Studio I in the first semester and Spatial Design Studio I in the second semester, you learn conceptual thinking, and the making skills and communication skills to become a spatial designer. The papers Theory I, Digital Techniques I, and Spatial Drawing further your creative thinking ability and visualising skills. In the second semester, you complete the first paper of your chosen minor.

Year 1 papers
Level 5:
SPAD501 Spatial Fabrication Studio I (30 points)
SPAD502 Spatial Design Studio I (30 points)
SPAD503 Spatial Theory I (15 points)
SPAD504 Digital Techniques I (15 points)
SPAD505 Spatial Drawing (15 points)
In addition you will study one paper at level 5 from the minor that you have selected.

Year 2

You deepen your design skills through Fabrication Studio II in the first semester and Spatial Design Studio II in the second semester. Both papers integrate skills from the second year of your minor. You also complete the papers Digital Techniques II and Theory II.

Year 2 papers
Level 6:
SPAD601 Spatial Fabrication Studio II (30 points)
SPAD602 Spatial Design Studio II (30 points)
SPAD603 Spatial Theory II (15 points)
SPAD604 Digital Techniques II (15 points)
In addition you will study two papers at level 6 from the minor that you have selected.

Year 3

Fabrication Studio III in the first semester focuses on creative assembly, innovative fabrication and critical construction knowledge. In your first semester you also complete your minor and the paper Digital Techniques III.

Year 3 papers

Level 7:
SPAD701 Spatial Fabrication Studio III (30 points)
SPAD702 Spatial Design Studio III (45 points)
SPAD703 Spatial Theory III (15 points)
SPAD704 Digital Techniques III (15 points)
In addition you will study one paper at level 7 from the minor that you have selected.

Click here for more information about papers.

Additional course information can also be found here.

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all prerequisite requirements and availability of enrolment space in each paper.

Please email for programme information.

Last updated: 13-Dec-2017 3.39pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.