An undergraduate 'studio' (or postgraduate 'unit') is a smaller study group taken by Year 2 and 3 undergraduate students in art, architecture and design and postgraduate architecture student at The Cass. Each studio is led by a member of academic staff, often in association with a professional practitioner or organisation. At the start of the year, the leaders of each studio present their studio's themes, position and approach to all students during a market day. Students then choose their preferred studio from the wide range of issues, methods of working and types of projects available.
The studio approach brings many benefits including smaller and more focused teaching groups, a joined-up approach to modules, experience of professional practice, collaboration and teamwork, opportunities to exhibit and even an element of healthy competition. If a studio isn't popular enough with our students it doesn't run – so our academic staff work hard every year to make sure that they are appealing, engaging, challenging and relevant.
Image: Jon Rafman, 9-eyes, 2009-ongoing; online artwork
Our studios evolve year on year. You can see details of older studios in our studio archive.
Studio 3D 01: Stock Take
Cathy Stack (studio Lead), Will Smith and Peter Marigold
London is far from plain. What makes something special? What makes something different and more desirable than something else?
Studio 3D 02: Engage = React
James Hunting, Claire Whelan, Sam Wingate, Gina Pierce and Marianne Forrest
It is your future, professionally, socially and culturally. How is the work you produce going to help you shape this? The question should never be…’is this enough?’ It should be ‘ do I feel I have done enough’ and ‘does this situate my work where I want to it to be?’
Studio 3D 03: Black Mountain
Karen Coughlan (Studio Lead), Claire Whelan, Sam Wingate, Gina Pierce and Simone ten Hompel
Following in the footsteps of John Andrew Rice's legendary Black Mountain College, famous for the schools notable faculty and students alike and Influencing countless future generations of artists, creative minds and educators.
Studio 3D 04: Evocative Objects
Marianne Forrest, Simone ten Hompel and Heidi Yeo
The ingredients are in your hands. To create an authentically new mix requires a discussion with yourself and others about the tensions between the body as the canvas and the messages you send.
Studio 3D 05: FRUIT MACHINE
Steph Aman (Studio Lead), Roisin Dunne, Theresa Hewlett, Jolanta Cerniauskiene and Marianne Forrest
This is a space to let rip and live big! Dream no longer, here imagination knows no bounds. Experiment and make new discoveries, explore what it means to be free and alive; passion and fear are all key ingredients for this fruit salad.
Studio 01: ideas in places
This studio prescribes a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective.
Studio 02: Narrative and Storytelling
This studio focuses on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We will particularly consider how narrative intersects with, and informs, identity.
Studio 03: The Conquest of Joy
This studio encourages dialogues around the cultural production at a time when narratives founded on certainty have ceased to make sense.
Studio 04: Bullshit, propaganda and post-truth
This studio will look at the emergence of the notion of ‘post truth’ and explore links between other ideas around propaganda and Harry Frankfurt’s argument about ‘bullshit’. We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 05: Meaningful Work
This studio will consider the value of making -in itself, independent of the product or outcome, exploring the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 06: Writing Rough
What are the outer limits of the essay? Write on the edge of the possible in a rich, researched and evidenced discussion which creatively explores the expanded field of the essay.
Studio 07: Thinking with Ruins
This studio pays heed to these cultural forms and persuasions but asks, how might we productively think with ruins in the present?
Studio 08: The things you can tell just by looking (or, Oriented Writing)
Writing tells us who we are and how each of us thinks and interprets the world.
Studio 09: Le Marteau Sans Maître
Digging through the deepest layers of archaeological time, André Leroi-Gourhan (La geste et la parole, 1964) concluded that for millions of years, human culture and technology evolved without complex language, rational planning or abstract ‘thinking at a distance’.
Studio 10: Globalism
For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place?
Studio 11: Performative Acts: Art, Architecture and Writing
Nico de Oliveira
In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond.
Studio 12: Decay, Repair and Back Again
Things break down and decay. In this studio you will experiment repair as strategy to negotiate breakdown, and you will practice mining patina and weathering for information and stories.
Studio 13: ‘If I stay silent nothing will change’: Identity, Politics, Social Change and Creative Culture(s)
This cross-disciplinary studio considers how power, culture, politics, identity, representation, activism, social media, and mass culture theory intersect with a range of arts practices, including photography, architecture, design and fine art, film studies, fashion and music, sound, pop art, and theatre.
Studio 14: A Material World
As the title suggests, this Studio will be based on the processes that are intrinsic to the design and making of textiles, however it will also be looking at the materiality of these textiles as objects.
Studio 15: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.
Studio Art 01: We, the Contemporary
Andrea Medjesi-Jones and Karen David
What is ‘Contemporary’ about painting? That's a question this 2D studio tackles from multiple directions.
Studio Art 02: Art and Non-Art
Galia Kollectiv and Joseph Noonan-Ganley
Allan Kaprow described non-art as “whatever has not yet been accepted as art but has caught an artist’s attention with that possibility in mind”.
Studio Art 03: The Black Box
Patrick Ward and Dr Jonathan Whitehall
Increasingly artists are confronted with technologies and systems whose internal operation appears mysterious to its users.
Studio Art 04: The Thingy World
Rosemarie McGoldrick, Olga Koroleva and Jessie Flood-Paddock
The critic Viktor Shklovsky's striking words a few months before the Russian revolution over 100 years ago were against the attrition of routine.
Studio Photo 05: UN/staging the UN/staged
Heather McDonough and James Cant
UN/staging the UN/staged considers image making through a critical lens of the constructed and unconstructed image. It sets out to challenge the binary distinction between photographic works that are considered staged and those works that are considered unstaged.
Studio Photo 06: Disrupting Borders: the Personal to the Universal
Ania Dabrowska and Yiannis Katsaris
Disrupting Borders: the Personal to the Universal, responds to timely contemporary issues supporting students in making works that embrace speculative visions, deconstruct cultural and political myth-making and forecast new contemporary photographic subjectivities.
Studio Photo 07: Shifting Glances
Paola Leonardi and Lee Brodhurst Hooper
A fleeting stream of images passes on our screens: everyone has a camera, we snap photos on our phones, we upload them to the cloud, we like them on Instagram, we search them on online platforms, we send them to friends, we snapchat them to strangers.
Studio Int 01: Meanwhile in the city
Laura Encinas and Luigi Simione
The urban landscape is lately defined by the rapid evolution of technology, uncertain economy, globalisation and the increase of world population.
Studio Int 02: Joie De Vivre
Kaye Newman and Janette Harris
The Joy of Living, a feeling of happiness or excitement about life.
Studio Int 03: Retail is dead – long live retail!
Cecilia Sjoholm and Iain Hales
As widely acknowledged, the retail industry and particularly the high street has been struggling for some time, much of this can be attributed to a rise in online shopping.
Studio Int 04: Radiate
Andrew Siddall and Suzanne Smeeth-Poaros
Until 2002 the Boiler House worked tirelessly and under intense pressure to pump, push and persuade heat and hot water around the Holloway Campus, occasionally letting off steam from its single imposing tower.
Unit 02: Low in energy, high in style
Tony Fretton and Katherine Nolan
1. In a location in Regents Park: Design an Embassy, consisting of a Residence, the house of the Ambassador, and a Chancellery, as well as the offices of the Embassy. 2. Concurrently, study aspects of the location, and an architect from a list given.
Unit 04: The Space of Event
Nate Kolbe, Jonas Lundberg, Andrew Grant
Our course of study and proposition takes on the mutable and adaptable spatial and architectural strategies around events, gatherings, demonstrations, spectacles and large-scale societal interchange.
Unit 05: The tectonic language of timber
Alex Ely and Michael Dillon
This year’s programme considers the implication construction methods and materials have on the landscape. We will explore the tectonics of timber construction to form tactile and expressive collective housing, buildings with a civic gravitas and urban gardens. Cement is prohibited.
Unit 06: Arrival City
Professor Maurice Mitchell, Dr Bo Tang, Jane McAllister and Sandra Denicke-Polcher
This year Unit 06 will focus on the contribution that architecture can make to the integration of refugees into a host community. Students will be offered a choice of: Athens, Greece; Calabria, Italy; or Freetown, Sierra Leone (Year 5 only). All three are migrant gateways, and transitional settlements for the uprooted.
Unit 07: Absurd Pragmatism: Pragmatic Absurdism
David Grandorge and Colin Wharry
This year’s major design project, run in parallel to a program taught by Professor Geir Brendeland to students at NTNU, will address the future life of a former submarine bunker - Dora II - in Trondheim, Norway. The Unit has also been invited by the city to design and build an ambitious timber structure within the bunker that will perform the dual functions of exhibition space for archival photographs and a gathering place for organized and more informal events.
Unit 08: Lightness and Weight
Takero Shimazaki, Paolo Emilio Pisano and Karabo Turner
Unit 08 will explore lightness in architecture, crucially as a disposition that favours touching the earth lightly. We will pursue an architecture that is irreducible – one containing urbanity and continuity within the lightness of its approach. We will propose buildings with a civic dimension in the complex urban fabric of Battersea, overlaying education and public use within a singular project, and deploying lightness and weight toward a renewed civic life.
Unit 09: Between room and city
Stephen Taylor and Theodoros Thysiades
This year Unit 09 will explore the potential of the architectural facade to make a meaningful contribution to the streets of London. Against a current of introverted and commercially minded co-working and co-living developments, that have emerged across the city in recent times, our design research will investigate the design of buildings with a figurative presence on the street and of spaces that promote social interaction and collaboration for living and working.
Unit 12: Everything is Transformation
Peter St John, Fabienne Sommer, Ben Speltz and James Hand
The studio will make propositions for a new architecture school for The Cass at its site in Aldgate. The year’s work will focus on a transformation of the existing buildings.
Unit 14: Mad about Barking [and Dagenham]
Pierre d’Avoine and Pereen d'Avoine
Unit 14 has been invited by Barking and Dagenham Council to work in the borough again this academic year, after a highly successful collaboration last year researching and making proposals for the newly formed Creative Enterprise Zone along the River Roding. This year we invite students to speculate on what constitutes an inclusive public realm and to design scenarios for exchange which impact positively on the extensive new mainly commercial development under construction in the borough.
Unit 15: The Land We Live In
Assemble w/ OMMX
Unit 15 will explore how architecture can respond to challenges facing society and the environment today through collaborative research and projects in Bridport, Dorset. Working with the local think-tank Stir to Action, Wessex Community Assets and the environmental arts group Common Ground, we will use detailed contextual research and material investigations to develop projects on two sites – the first in an industrial context in the town and the second on a rural site on the edge of Bridport.
Studio 01: Character
Alex Bank and Sam Casswell
Essential characteristics of architectural space will be explored throughout the year in design work, seminars and visits to buildings in London and Berlin. Students will learn to comprehend the poetics of architecture through understanding buildings as sequences of spatial figures and by searching for the less-tangible ‘immeasurable’ qualities of space.
Studio 02: City Rooms – Big and small, fast and slow
Charlotte Harris and Colin O’Sullivan
Following two years of exploring the potential of contemporary rural landscapes in Germany and Portugal, Studio 2 returns to London. Our projects for the year will be located in our borough of Tower Hamlets where Poplar HARCA, a major housing association, have invited us to work collaboratively with them to identify opportunities to add non-residential amenity to their estate. They will act as your client for the year and you will present your proposals to their regeneration teams.
Studio 03: Crossing Cultures – Skills Exchange
Sandra Denicke-Polcher, Jane McAllister, Rita Adamo (Academic facilitator in Calabria)
Our aim as a studio is to rethink architecture in order to address how the responsible use of resources shapes our environments as Skills Exchange. We will be provocative in live situations and share our knowledge with local stakeholders in the form of ideas, drawings, models and experiences, and through these, actively shape local discussions and reveal new opportunities to initiate and empower change.
Studio 04: Edgelands
Anna Ludwig and Rufus Willis
Studio 4 will consider notions of settlement and density on the Becontree Estate, East London. Engaging with Barking and Dagenham Council we will contribute to wider ethnographic research and community initiatives to celebrate the estate’s centenary.
Studio 07: Open City
Robert Barnes and Dr Bo Tang
Studio 07 is the degree studio within the Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR). Working collaboratively with MArch Unit 06 over the last 16 years in countries such as India, Nepal, West Africa and Eastern Europe, the studio allows for individual approaches to define self-motivated programmes supported by an extensive knowledge of techniques and investigative methodologies developed within ARCSR.
Studio 09: High Street: After the Shops
Jillian Jones, Ewan Stone and David Howarth
Studio 09 are interested in the potential for public and community buildings to fill the empty spaces left when the shops have closed. We will be developing new typologies of cultural and community buildings to redefine the High Street and enrich people’s lives.
Studio VisCom 01
Sara Carneholm and Angharad Lewis
Design for Art Direction is all about visualising concepts in emotive ways, reaching audiences by provoking emotional and intellectual reactions
Studio VisCom 02
Kieron Baroutchi and Emily Evans
Stories are found everywhere! Not simply in the realm of literature and entertainment. From television and advertising to religion, science, folklaw, business and politics, narratives shape our world.