Unit 14: Roding Riverfront

Unit brief

Unit 14 will study the Roding River in Barking, East London this year and contribute to the wider research currently being carried out by Barking and Dagenham Council. We will engage with a variety of protagonists with interests in the area to evolve proposals for the Roding riverfront and environs. The aim is to contribute to the revitalisation of the borough for the benefit of local residents as well as newcomers. Our agenda includes designing scenarios which resist ‘big development’ which we understand as restrictive and limit opportunities for local enterprise as well as diminishing the public realm.

We will look at the history of land ownership and its economic impact on the lives of ordinary people and ask how we may procure and design urban settlements in which to dwell more equably. Thinking about and engaging in making architecture inevitably has political implications and we would like students to actively engage in the discussion about the role of the architect in society.

Denise Scott-Brown and Robert Venturi have written that "learning from popular culture does not remove the architect from his or her status in high culture. But it may alter high culture and make it more sympathetic to current needs and issues." We will study and reflect on ethnographic writings by James Clifford including The Predicament of Culture to help us discover the means to broaden and deepen our investigations and design outcomes.

The unit trip will be to Berlin to visit Baugruppe initiatives, and possibly to Hanover, Kurt Schwitters’s home city to contemplate the bourgeois interior, the Merzbau and the birth of installation art, and also to the Rococo pilgrimage church of Die Wies by the Zimmermann brothers which had a powerful effect on Helen Chadwick’s work especially the Oval Court.


Image: Roding River From Above [Google Maps 2018]

Aerial view of river estuary


Architecture MA
Tutors Pierre d’Avoine
Pereen d'Avoine
Where Goulston Street
Room GS2-31
When Monday and Thursday

Architecture Postgraduate Studios


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