Unit 14: Mad about Barking [and Dagenham]

Unit brief

Unit 14 has been invited by Barking and Dagenham Council to work in the borough again this academic year after a highly successful collaboration with Tamara Horbacka, the Council’s cultural policy and commissioning manager, and colleagues last year, researching and making proposals for the newly formed Creative Enterprise Zone along the River Roding.

As a result, David Harley, head of Be-First Regeneration Ltd, has provided Unit 14 students with a space at River Mill Studios, Barking to exhibit their work and where students may engage with members of the public, developers as well as Council policy makers. At a time of intense political speculation and potential upheaval owing to Brexit we would like to focus on the necessity to encourage trade in the borough. Exchange occurs naturally when individuals come together. The nature of exchange as a socially inclusive enterprise forms the basis for the complex modern economic, legal and political systems that we have created in order to regulate our democracies, to engender a sense of the civic and enhance neighbourliness at all scales.

“A part of what ecological urbanism does is expand the palette of precedents beyond landscape architecture to embrace the phenomenological and experiential sense of the city all the way to sustainability at the scale of architecture.”
Charles Waldheim

We would like to discuss the making of architecture and the city as landscape theatre in this context. 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 trips may include Witten, Germany, twinned with Barking and Dagenham, and to the Cinque Ports of Kent and Sussex, formed as an alliance to trade with Europe, and a precursor to the Hanseatic League and the contemporary EU. We would like to explore parallels for exchange between Barking and Dagenham and its potential trading partners today given its global reach, implicit in the range of ethnicities which enrich its evolving population.

Image: The Barking Short Blue Fishing Fleet. Valence House Museum

Fishing boat with sailors in stormy water with many other boats around


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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