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
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.