‘While it is true that concentrating on the individual house is socially irresponsible...the little house should not be scorned’
Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, Some Houses of Ill-Repute, essay 1971
The house as a distillation of architectural thought is often overlooked in architectural education. Although often the first project encountered by new practices, it is the clearest typology to trace artistic journeys and indeed the broader changing conversations within architecture itself. It is often regarded as frivolous and indulgent - laboratory experiments to verify pet theories on the interdependence of form, function, history and /or representation.
However it is exactly the liberation from other pressures that allow the design of the house to explore and test the radical, to investigate the specific and to distil the very essence of an individual architect’s life work.
This year we will set 2 briefs: a town house; and a country house, two singular projects on sites in the UK.
These two situations will allow us to explore the themes of the house, the individual and the greater community. For the city house, living space is tighter and has to respond to shared values and decorum, context and situation. Outside of the city within a much broader landscape the house needs to define and make its own context.
Despite the limited scale of projects, our ambition for the studio is higher, requiring exacting attention to the complexity and the detail of each project. As young practitioners we will teach the studio as an open conversation, testing and exploring the radical to try and find new ground. The studio culture will be exploring the vast canon of the typology throughout history to define what a contemporary house could be.
The field trip will be to Mallorca, where we will visit the studios of some of the most exciting young European architects, for whom the house typology is formative.
Image: Grenville Place House, James Gowan, 1959. Vanna Venturi House, Scheme IVb, Robert Venturi, 1959
Studio 01: Generosity
Alex Bank and Sam Casswell
Studio 1 will explore the potential of generosity in architecture. Generosity comes from the design of real things simply expressed; the interrelation of exterior / interior spaces; the gesture of a building; structure / construction; proportions, materials, textures, colours. Practicing these fundamental aspects of architecture will require effort, intellect, humour and a good eye. We will investigate how architecture can bring a lasting sense of delight and pleasure to sites in central London.
Studio 02: After City 2 – Tolerance and Compromise
Colin O’Sullivan and Charlotte Harris
Studio 02 will continue its explorations of European rural settlements, this year in Alentejo, Portugal.
Studio 03: Crossing Cultures Industrious Edgelands: a productive threshold between town and country
Sandra Denicke-Polcher and Jane McAllister
The studio offers students to be part of a larger research group and develop architecture proposals and strategies for the depopulated mountain village, Belmonte Calabro, in Southern Italy. Working with local stakeholders, migrants and graduates, Studio 3 proposes an “Industrious Edgeland” to re-animate the town of Belmonte; preforming as an inhabited live-work threshold and engaging the surrounding landscape with the civic town centre.
Studio 04: Frame and Horizon
Anna Ludwig and Rufus Willis
Studio 4 will consider the topography of London’s city wall and how, through the good governance of urban institutions, sanctuaries in the city can be created to provide support and opportunities for its citizens. Our speculations, informed by two closely related representational conceptions: Frame and Horizon, will assert a public realm in which edge conditions become borders for exchange not boundaries of separation.
Studio 06: The Experimental House
James Payne and David Leech
"While it is true that concentrating on the individual house is socially irresponsible...the little house should not be scorned." Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, Some Houses of Ill-Repute, essay 1971.
Studio 07: Looking Outwards
Robert Barnes and Dr Bo Tang
Studio 07 offers students the opportunity to engage in a transitional setting in Europe; a migrant gateway for refugees in Eleonas, Athens, Greece.
Studio 09: The Foundation: Private Realms, Public Rooms
Jillian Jones, Ewan Stone with David Howarth
Studio 09 are interested in how buildings engage with the public life of the city. We will be working in London and Venice, examining the evolution of domestic architecture from places of living to spaces for exhibition and display.
Studio 10: Both Directions at Once: Architecture After Brexit
Kieran Thomas Wardle and Owain Williams
What will be the Architecture of Brexit? How can the way we build represent a democracy pulling in both directions at once? A flawed memory of the past and an imagined future are the basis of many voter’s reasoning for voting in the 2016 EU referendum. We will be visiting historic buildings around the UK to reimagine defunct architectures to offer a commentary on the divergent identities emerging across the UK, looking to the past to say something surprising about the future.