Peter St John, James Hand and Ben Speltz

Unit 12: Hotel Sphinx

Louis Kahn - Philadelphia Masterplan

Unit brief

Hotel Sphinx

The unit will continue to examine the different conditions of London and the potential of the city's current reinvention. Parts of London today are undergoing a crisis of densification, entering new territory for which it has few models appropriate to its streets. Large and important areas of the city are being wasted in the commercial interest, with buildings that have lost all typological basis and relationship to public space. What is the future of this? Louis Kahn's plan for Downtown Philadelphia of 1951 speculated on such a step change in the scale and movement in the city centre, reinventing how object buildings would make a distinctive part of the city. His proposal for clusters of monumental buildings, with large public spaces between and generous interior public halls, emulated the freely disposed civic building forms of Ancient Rome.

This year the studio will work at Old Street Roundabout, one of the worst and most energetic examples of out-of-control commercial development in the city. We will design freestanding buildings with a civic element; hotels, university buildings and company offices for the so-called Silicon Roundabout quarter at Old Street. We will concentrate our research on the form of the city, and then the detailed design of the public ground floors. The buildings will use stone in their construction to encourage a connection between all the works of the studio.

The studio will again share a first term project with Stephen Taylor's Unit 09, where we will design a small hotel within a village of stone buildings in the Cevennes mountains. Our studio trip in November will be to Nimes and Arles in the south of France, where we will visit ancient stone buildings; temples, theatres and aqueducts.


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture - RIBA 2
Tutors Peter St John
James Hand
Ben Speltz

Goulston Street
Room GS2-31

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.