UG Architecture Studio 03: How will we live in urban cities and rural areas post-Covid?

Studio brief

"Our bustling cities have been eerily quiet for months. It’s reminiscent of the post-apocalyptic horror film, 28 Days Later. For many cafes, pubs, shops and restaurants, the pandemic could be terminal, yet this is about more than jobs and tourism; it raises questions about the value we put on cities. Others cite London as a social, cultural and economic drain on the life of our country. They believe that declining big cities give us an opportunity to revive towns, to end the suburban commuter crawl, restore lost industries, embrace home-working and cut carbon emissions."
(BBC4, 29 August 2020)

Given the recent experience of the Covid pandemic and lock-down experience, we will explore the future of living in London and in a rural setting in Calabria, Italy. Many people, recently forced to work from home, have wondered why they are paying high urban prices for dense living conditions, if they could also live in the countryside and “dial” into meetings.

We want to work with you on two very different sites and ask you to design new concepts of future living:

  1. A London-specific inner-city site located at the river Thames, close to the docklands. This formerly industrial area has seen rapid change towards dense urbanisation. It is now time to rethink if dense working and living schemes are the right future for some of the last open inner-city sites still left in London. With new social distancing measures, you will develop alternative proposals to make our cities more liveable. 
  2. A rural town in Calabria, south of Italy, located at the Mediterranean Sea. The site is an important frontier for migrants and refugees from Africa attempting to gain access to Europe, but it is also a frontier for locals attempting to sustain their towns against the magnetic pull of the large cities in the north of Italy. The task of this project will be to create reasons for a new local young generation – which might include you – to stay and build up the community by bringing purposeful activities to the area. 

You will analyse and understand both sites, develop two proposals, for at least one site, and join a discussion with your peers:, are large cities an unquestionable moral good, worth preserving in their current state, and small rural villages only for holidays and a few hippies who decide to drop out? Or are there better ways of organising the way we will live in cities and villages in a new post-Covid world?

Split image with bathers at Thames beach on left and barges on Thames with tower blocks on right


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


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