Unit 06: Civic Edgelands

Unit brief

In Eleonas, Belmonte or Kaningo, you will look for places of civic solidarity and sharing, trade and exchange. You will use care and skill to craft jewel-like commodities and embed them within the metabolism of the city. You will question the need for demolition, removal and replacement; seeking rather to add, transform and re-use. Interventions will not aim to simulate what already exists, but rather to enable inhabitants to exploit its latent potential. Your investigation of context will be performative rather than formal. This strategy is intended to promote generosity in the act of making, involving craftspeople and residents in the use of materials, spatial resources and infrastructure to engage with and contribute to the culture and freedoms available to them in the changing topographical metabolism.

In each chosen physical and institutional setting, you will be concerned with loosely fitting together things which are made at different times and then endure; so that made pieces fit with both past fabric and future needs. We will consciously attempt to name the forms we design and work with. Named forms are employed to identify and articulate architectural assemblages, carrying forward formal concepts from one interpretation to another, their familiarity transcending time and scale. There is a clear relationship between recognisable form and familiarity. Linked together in place, they add to a feeling of confidence in being there, contributing to a sense of homeliness; a sense of fitting in. Conversely, if form is not recognised or appears alien and unfathomable, residents are left with a sense of alarm, of the uncanny where the unexpectedly awful might happen. Therefore, proposals will need to be spatially, materially and temporally re-grounded in actual settings and crucially re-scaled, re-validated and re-named. This requires architecture to act as a structured process of civic democracy rather than being a fossilised commodity.


Image: Community centre and classrooms constructed by volunteers and Afghan refugees in Skaramangas Camp, Athens, Greece (2016). Sam Mitchell

Community centre and classrooms constructed by volunteers and Afghan refugees in Skaramangas Camp


Architecture MA
Tutors Professor Maurice Mitchell
Dr Bo Tang
Jane McAllister
Sandra Denicke-Polcher 
Where Goulston Street
Room GS2-24
When Monday and Thursday


Architecture Postgraduate Studios


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