Studio 03: Crossing Cultures – Skills Exchange

Studio brief

This year’s project is informed by Studio 03’s previous design and practice-based research; Re-imagining Campus and Industrious Edge-lands. It will focus on a live project, dedicating its energy to the design of a Skills Exchange for the medieval hill-top village Belmonte Calabro, leading you through the design development in three stages: Iterations, Insertions and Alterations.

The teaching context for this is Crossing Cultures, having started in summer 2016 and since expanding in scope, we collaborate with the municipality of Belmonte, local stakeholders, migrants, recent graduates and postgraduate students from Unit 06. Together we have shaped an architectural dialogue and revealed new opportunities for the village, where its socio-political context hosts a frontier for migration from countries south of the Mediterranean, as well as it being an emptying vessel for the local population migrating north. In our times, when familiar notions of EU citizenship are being questioned, Studio 3 views this project as an opportunity to have a positive influence on migration by enabling skilling, empowering local networks and helping people to settle.

The first project, Iterations, runs until the Christmas break. During this period, we will collaborate with Stepney City Farm on a live project to reclaim land currently occupied by Crossrail's site works. Here, we explore how walls and courtyards can unite social spaces and enable a dialogue between different realms, related to animal habitats and human recreation. We will examine the site through precedents in order to build your skills and confidence with scale, modelmaking, analogue and digital drawings. Referencing the work of Louis Kahn, we aim to form an architectural tool box which you will take to the next stage of design, Insertions.

After our field trip to Belmonte in week 8, we complete the semester by inviting you to critique your first project, Iterations, by making Insertions into the village of Belmonte with your models and drawings.

The final project after the Christmas break, Alterations, will run for the majority of semester 2. Here, you develop your Insertions within the village site, provoking a negotiation with the existing spaces and methods of construction, re-thinking, re-modelling and re-socialising habited, uninhabited, derelict, public and private spaces.

Our aim as a studio is to rethink architecture in order to address how the responsible use of resources shapes our environments. 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 revealing new opportunities to initiate and empower change.

Image: Axonometric of Belmonte Village by Estelle Hobeika

Axonometric drawing of Belmonte Village showing housing, green spaces and other developments


Tutors Sandra Denicke-Polcher
Jane McAllister
Academic Facilitator for
the Calabria Project
Rita Elvira Adamo
Where Goulston Street
Room GS1-22
When Tuesday and Friday


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