Cass Cities Research

Cass Cities champion the rich array of urban research that happens here at Aldgate. Across the school, there is a remarkable cluster of city engaged people, busy with action to reveal, advocate, promote and influence. Each of them are focused on affecting as well as understanding - being part of it, not just watching.

The team are working to give more visibility to all this, as we discover ever more of it for ourselves, nurturing links as we go along. We have realised, for example, that the work of Patrick Brill (aka Bob and Roberta Smith), making an alliance between the art world and the public realm, engaging in public debate, sits well alongside the efforts of Mark Brearley’s small team, shouting out about London’s places and the importance of shaping them well.

Superb urban projects that have emerged for decades from Florian Beigel and Philip Christou’s Architecture Research Unit, following their careful reading of places, is at one with the spirit of the East End Archive and Uncertain States. The nimble approach to adjusting cities that East keep strong through their practice and their explorations with students is a happy match with the constant flow of remarkable for-real projects by students, such as Alex Sarafian’s Wedding Arch casting in Tottenham, and the ongoing engagements with Hayes and London’s Lee Valley. The work of the Cass Cities team to expand understanding of London’s industry, to map and celebrate it and to catalogue over 2000 manufacturing businesses, marries nicely with the practical interests of our furniture designers and makers, our fine metalworkers, jewellers, our product, fashion and textile designers, and more.

The greater part of this throng of sparky research concentrates on London and its challenges, explaining how it is and how it could be, embracing the idea that the city is our library, helping deliver informed urban change, instigating discussions, events and initiatives on the ground. Keen interest is also taken in the world beyond our city’s dotted boundary on the map, with work going on about, and of relevance to, places near to us here in Europe as well as far away, for example Sao Paulo, Moscow, Seoul, Miyagi, Sierra Leone and Saemangeum Island City.

The Cass Cities team itself is led by Mark Brearley. He is a cheerleader for this whole cluster of urban investigations at The Cass. He also pushes forward research by the Cass Cities team and a group of collaborators; Making the case for a city of high streets, for a more extrovert economy, for clearer intent to guide London’s future, putting more dynamism into the reshaping of the city’s vast public outdoors.

Much of Brearley’s work continues the focus he had while leading the Design for London team (at the Greater London Authority, from 2008 - 2013). There he defined and pushed forward city-wide initiatives including the London Green Grid, the Mayor’s Great Spaces and the Outer London Fund. He has been closely involved with hundreds of live projects, helped craft the growth of over 90 London localities, worked on the formulation of policy and the creation of planning frameworks and master plans. He initiated the Mayor’s work focused on high streets, led research on their significance and steered the programmes that followed.

Mark Brearley’s Office is now located in a room at the Cass, overlooking Whitechapel High Street. There too is Lara Kinneir’s Urban Research Projects London The former has also been much involved in consideration of urban issues elsewhere in Europe, particularly Flanders and the Netherlands, and the latter has been working on research into London’s Olympic legacy area, including commissions from the London Legacy Development Corporation to consider lessons learn and propose a network of temporary uses.

We expect the research sheltered by the Cass Cities umbrella to be further revealed, and get stronger still, as the coming months pass. This will be helped by the widening of the MA by Project option, by being closely intertwined with the Cass Cities MA and with the PhD in Architecture programme, led by Peter Carl, and by collaboration with teaching groups across the school.


Cass Cities is thankful to the following people

  • Jane Clossick
  • Mark Brearley
  • Peter Carl
  • Robert Mull
  • Adam Towle
  • Fenna Haakma Wagenaar
  • Sarah Considine
  • Lara Kinneir
  • Patrick Lynch
  • Christoph Hadrys
  • Louis Schulz
  • Finn Williams
  • Dann Jessen
  • Julian Lewis
  • Jess Ferm
  • Joachim Declerck
  • Jan Zaman
  • Roeland Dudal
  • Tim Rettler
  • Lee Mallet
  • Moira Lascalles
  • Lucinda Rogers
  • Tobias Goevert
  • Ellis Woodman
  • Oliver Wainwright
  • Charlotte Kokken
  • Jan Vermeulen
  • Daniel Rosbottom
  • Myfanwy Taylor
  • Maria Lisogorskaya
  • Rowan Moore
  • Alex Marsh
  • Tina Jadav
  • a special thank you to our superb external examiner over recent years, Graham King
  • Fred Manson

Our apologies to all we have forgotten!

Contact

Get in touch with Mark Brearley and Cass Cities.

Old Kent Road, 2015/16 student research

Old Kent Road

Model

Space for Economy on the Old Kent Road

Old Kent Road Audit Area

Old Kent Road Hairy Existing Site

By Hollie Deverell

Old Kent Road Industrial Conditions

By James Berk

A city needs mixed typologies

Research projects

Audit of the depth of Tottenham High Street

London Legacy Development Corporation

Action Research Project

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Audit of the depth of Tottenham High Street

London Legacy Development Corporation

Action Research Project

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Here are some examples of the extensive urban research we have been undertaking.

Related courses and studios

Free Unit

Robert Mull, Catrina Beevor & Peter Carl

The Cass Cities Unit

Mark Brearley, Lara Kinneir, Fenna Haakma Wagenaar and Adam Towle

MA by Project

This unique research degree is tailored to opening new opportunities in creative practice, professional and academic fields.

PhD Architecture

Focuses on civic culture and urban research under the rubric of ‘practical wisdom’.

Unit 3

EAST Julian Lewis, Dann Jessen, Judith Loesing, Richard Hall

Unit 9

Stephen Taylor and Pepijn Nolet

Unit 10

Signy Svalastoga, Jonathan Cook & Nina Scholz

Recent news from The Cass

Cass at the London Festival of Architecture 2018

The Cass to exhibit at Europe’s largest annual architecture festival.

City Bench Success

Cass architecture alumnus is one of ten winners in design competition from London Festival of Architecture

Aardman animator masters his art

Top animator Richard Haynes to exhibit postgraduate project exploring nostalgia at The Cass Summer Show

Cass celebrates as Art at London Met is ranked 4th in University league tables

Art courses at The Cass ranked fourth in The Guardian’s University League tables 2019.

Brady Clubs at The Loom

25 May- 5 July

A selection of photographs and memorabilia from the Brady Clubs Archive exhibited at Aldgate gallery

Peer-reviewing postgraduate research

Postgraduate students from across the University had the opportunity to present their research findings to students from other areas, promoting cross-collaboration and peer-review.

Public Pratice

Cass Architecture Lecturer is selected for groundbreaking scheme pacing new generation of planners in local government

New Senior Appointments at the Cass: Peter St John and Dr Matthew Barac

The Cass is delighted to announce two high level appointments at the school: Peter St John as Professor of Architecture, and Dr Matthew Barac as Reader in Architecture.

Clerkenwell Design Week

Cass furniture students exhibiting their work at two events during celebrated annual design festival.

Cass Foundation course shows to open on 22 May

Senior lecturer Chi Roberts shares some exciting news about this year's Cass Foundation course shows.

London Nights

18 May-9 November 2018

Work by Cass Photography alumni features in major exhibition at Museum of London Metropolitan University.

Cass Fashion Show 2018

Thursday 7 June 2018, 2pm and 6pm

The Cass Salon 2018 promises a “beautifully wrong, sublimely scandalous" live interactive installation of new fashion talent.

Cass Summer Shows 2018 – dates announced

Students from London Met’s Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design showcase their talent with a season of summer events.

London Met graduate designs artwork for Big Issue Royal Wedding edition

Cass graduate David Tovey discusses his remarkable life and his latest projects in the week his artwork is featured on the royal wedding edition of The Big Issue magazine.

Project Red catwalk show at The Cass

Fashion designers of the future showcase their designs in third annual fashion show.