Alex Ely, Michael Dillon and Lydia Johnson

Unit 05: The Infrastructure of the Street

Gartenstadt Staaken, Berlin, Paul Schmitthenner. 1931

Unit brief

The Infrastructure of the Street

Developments within English cities seem dictated by archaic systems of infrastructure. This year we are interested in how changing the infrastructure of a singular street and the housing within it can alter the urban contribution. We look at past street conditions that have become aspirational; garden city suburbs to town and village structures. We look for the first time outside of London, at a town that at present attracts the tired Londoner, but through time and infrastructural improvements will become a very important node of the great city's life. We study development models abroad and critically analyse the contextual approach of expansion to date in such satellite towns. We are always concerned with building at density, providing beyond the need rather than purely catering for it. This is not a project in the pastiche or the suburban low-rise, we will set challenging density that feels at present uncomfortable in its context as an immediate provocation of a potential future.

Teaching structure

Task 1: The Porch

The exterior room that mediates the street and dwelling. Themes we are interested in are threshold, linings, weight and light.
The brief will be tested in very large-scale model making and painting.

Task 2: The Dwelling

We study the utilities of a dwelling, what serves modern day life and how this dictates a particular spatial condition. Much as the hearth was focal to the medieval home; what can service modern living and how can this reorganise its forms? The brief will be tested through large models and drawing.

Task 3: The Street

The make up of the street, the users, the vehicle, the pedestrian, the services. How might this be repurposed to free up collective space to the street/town? The offering of these may be urban space but also spaces of civic assembly that project ideas on the growth of the town.

This project is focused on a street and is purposefully not a master-planning task. The multiple sites as a collective will formulate a critical stance on the projected development.

Projects could be individual and collective. We are interested in the use of video from detailed physical spatial modeling, supporting traditional methods of representation.


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture - RIBA 2

Alex Ely
Michael Dillon
Lydia Johnson


Goulston Street
Room GS2-35

When Monday and Thursday

Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA part II)

Unit 02: Classicism, modernism and architecture in the present time

Tony Fretton

Unit 02 will run this year as a project in three parts at Somerset House London.

Unit 04: Building Laboratory | Frozen Timber

Jonas Lundberg, Eva Diu and Andrew Grant

Unit 04 aims to participate in the debate on environmental adaptation, design and development of the new town of Kiruna, which is forced to move three kilometres to the east of its current location.

Unit 05: The Infrastructure of the Street

Alex Ely, Michael Dillon and Lydia Johnson

Unit 05 are interested in how changing the infrastructure of a singular street and the housing within it can alter the urban contribution.

Unit 06: Civic Fit

Professor Maurice Mitchell, Francesca Pont, Dr Bo Tang, Jane McAllister and Sandra Denicke-Polcher

Unit 06 offers students a choice of three settings: Athens, Greece; Belmonte, Calabria; or Kirtipur in the Kathmandu Valley.

Unit 07: A Lean Architecture

David Grandorge and Paloma Gormley

Unit 07 will begin the year with an ambitious project, Timber Translations, re-imagining the industrial structures depicted in the photographs of Bernd and Hilla Becher in timber allowing us to and explore languages of jointing, supporting and bridging in a single material at a large scale.

Unit 08: Midland Cities II – Nottingham Translations

Takero Shimazaki (t-sa) and Summer Islam

Unit 08 will continue to focus on the urban development of cities in the Midlands and propose architectural interventions as opportunities for civic renewal.

Unit 09: Making Urban

Stephen Taylor and Theodoros Thysiades

Unit 09 will continue its two Semester / project structure this year.

Unit 10: An Architecture of Relationships V

Signy Svalastoga, Jonathan Cook and Edward Simpson

Unit 10 will again start the year with two linked short projects aimed to develop and fine-tune spatial and social observations, explored through drawing, making, mending and repair.

Unit 12: Hotel Sphinx

Peter St John, James Hand and Ben Speltz

Unit 12 will continue to examine the different conditions of London and the potential of the city's current reinvention.

Unit 14: Dis-place

Pierre d’Avoine and Pereen d’Avoine

Unit 14 will work in the East End this year, specifically in Tower Hamlets and will be concerned with diaspora displacement and the indigenous.

Unit 15: Building Society

James Binning, Ellie Howard and James Pockson

Unit 15 will redefine the terms of the self-build movement and transcend the trope of homes made by home makers, exploring instead self-build as a powerful economic and urban alternative to developer-driven housing.