An undergraduate 'studio' is a smaller study group taken by Year 2 and 3 architecture students at the University's School of Art, Architecture and Design. A postgraduate 'unit' is a smaller study group taken by students of the Architecture RIBA 2 – MArch course. Each studio or unit 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 and unit 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 then it doesn't run – so our academic staff work hard every year to make sure that they are appealing, engaging, challenging and relevant.
Image credit: Communal living and working in the Casa, Italy. Documentation by Ian Apolis Bugarin and Joe Douglas, 2021
Our studios evolve year on year. You can see details of older studios in our studio archive.
Studio 01: Another Place
Out of a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective, emerges another place. It is neither new, nor fixed in time, but it has remained unexplored, scarcely documented – piles of lime and useless cicadas.
Studio 02: The Critical Thinker’s Guide to You: Making Sense of Writing in Creative Cultures
This studio focuses on the relationship between creative practice and criticism – and how theories and cultural and social networks help shape and define the creative process.
Studio 03: Fashioning the African Diaspora
Elli Michaela Young
Exploring the fashioning of the African diaspora and with a particular focus on the Caribbean Island of Jamaica, this studio aims to think through how fashion and dress is used to grapple with ideas of self.
Studio 04: 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 05: Thinking with Ruins
Thinking With Ruins begins with the idea that to think about ruination allows us to approach subjects that are of interest materially, aesthetically and politically and it allows us to work across scales - from dust to debris to object to landscape.
Studio 06: The Practice of Space – Writing Atmospheres in Art and Architecture
Nico de Oliveira
Dissertation Studio 06 looks at space as practice, since each location is a mutable entity framed as a moment in time, populated by individuals and shaped by their actions as artists, musicians, curators, designers, architects, writers and spectators.
Studio 07: Suck it up
This studio takes a sideways looks at the intersection of youth culture and late capitalism considering the impacts and influences of desire, the cartoon, consumerism and cuteness in shaping our lived contemporary experience.
Studio 08: 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 09: Paths of Desire
“Design needs to be plugged into human behaviour. Design dissolves in behaviour.” Naoto Fukasawa
Studio 10: The Hammer without a Master
Studio 10 explores the strange space between individual and collective, ecological action. It embraces the idea that we think, remember and decide ‘in the world’, rather than in our heads; that we are connected in unexpected ways; and that this connection may be a key to navigating life in an increasingly paradox present.
Studio 11: Sport and Aesthetics
Dissertation Studio 10 will examine the concept of aesthetics as applied within that most everyday activity: sport.
Studio 12: Curating Interiors: The Studio Becoming Museum
This studio explores key concepts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – from questions of knowledge, history and nationhood, through to authenticity, agency and value – by means of an exploration of the particular interiors worked in by artists, makers and other practitioners.
Studio 13: Visualising the Future
Cultural history, from high art to kitsch, is littered with visions of the future; some inspiring, some ridiculous, almost all of them wrong.
Studio 14: Technical Pitches: Outside is free
Outside is indeed free, but you need the skills, the kit, the knowledge and ideally ‘the look’ to fit into this world. This Studio will investigate how architecture, furniture, clothing and product design shape the work, living and leisure cultures they support. How these have influenced our relationship to our environment and indeed how this relates to resources at a local and geo-political level.
Studio 15: The Voice of Things
This studio will offer a challenge to the idea that objects are unruly things and need to be brought to heel by labelling, categorising, taxonomising. Instead, it offers an invitation to give voice to the mute and invisible, by listening to objects and treating them as allies.
Studio 16: “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 17: A History of Efficiency
There is nothing inevitable about the way we organise our societies, and we now recognise that transnational and historically embedded structures of economic efficiency are killing the habitable planet. This Studio explores the trade-off between efficiency and creative flourishing in structures of extraction, production, property, commerce and law; and asks where these efficiencies sit in our bodies, behaviours and feelings as both long-standing cultural legacies and contemporary harms.
Studio 18: A Material World
The Studio will consider how textiles in fashion, furnishing, art, and beyond are embedded in our cultural traditions and give us insight into ourselves and our society. We will ask about their relevance in terms of the environment, gender issues, wellbeing and consumption.
UG Architecture Studio 01: Leaving the City
Jillian Jones and Kieran Wardle
This year we will consider the complex, shifting patterns of rural and urban life post-pandemic. We will be exploring the architectural possibilities to redefine and reactivate the towns on the edge of London as distinct places with their own sub-urban identity.
UG Architecture Studio 02: City | Building | Detail
Charlotte Harris and Colin O’Sullivan
Studio 2’s final year of three working in East London. Tower Hamlets local authority is about to release its second round of sites that it has ear-marked for self-build groups to construct their own homes. We will seek to propose schemes that focus on ‘not just’ housing. You will design homes for a range of generations and family types and propose additional uses that can enhance the places in which they are sited. We will take great care to focus on scales of city, building and detail.
UG Architecture Studio 03: Parallel Farming – In an Age of Alternative Industries
Sandra Denicke-Polcher and Jane McAllister. Academic Facilitator for Calabria: Rita Elvira Adamo
Never demolish. Transformation is the opportunity of doing more and better with what is already existing. The demolishing is a decision of easiness and short term. It is a waste of many things — a waste of energy, a waste of material, and a waste of history… (Lacaton and Vassal, winners of Pritzker Prize, 2021)
UG Architecture Studio 04: Here tomorrow
Katherine Nolan, Alex Butterworth, Liam Ashmore
Architecture is always situated in a specific context. Increasingly, in the current climate crisis, that context includes an existing building that will need to be reimagined, remodelled and reused, rather than demolished. As architects, we will need to study not only the built fabric and social infrastructure of a particular place, but we must also critically evaluate the building itself, including its past and present as well as its potential and constraints.
UG Architecture Studio: Design Technology – Live Build Project
Robert Barnes and Siân Moxon
A Design and Build Live project for a Climate Change Exhibition Pavilion in the National Forest, created in partnership between SAAD, South Derbyshire District Council, the Burton and South Derbyshire College (Construction) and the National Forest in the East Midlands, England. To be constructed using 100 Ash Tree Thinnings harvested locally and replanted in the local High Street to promote discussion and debate around issues, highlighted during the COP26 conference in Glasgow 2021.
PG Architecture Unit 02: Something Wonderful
Tony Fretton and Jillian Jones
The Royal College of Art building in Kensington Gore is a subtle building in that it is from the modern movement yet takes formal motifs from its surroundings. Unit 2’s project is to design a new building next to it for the Royal College of Art (RCA) according to the brief of Herzog and De Meuron’s new RCA building in Battersea. The objective is for you to design something wonderful!
PG Architecture Unit 03: Folkestone Fun Palace
Pippa Nissen, Marie-Lise Oulmont, Andrea Hickey, Kate Coghlan
This year we are designing a contemporary museum and venue, inspired by Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price’s theoretical designs for a "laboratory of fun" in the 1960’s, to bring culture to a mass audience. A flexible series of events or exhibitions – a machine for culture, within a permanent building that houses other functions that will form the spine of the building and extend to a masterplan for the town. This continues our explorations to reinvent museums.
PG Architecture Unit 04: Hyper Campus of Redundant Parts
Jonas Lundberg, Nate Kolbe
We are redesigning the London Met north campus as a collective work of many hands. We use generative and multi-authored tools to help construct the work of many hands as we see design and architecture a collective process.
PG Architecture Unit 06: Lines Through The City
Professor Maurice Mitchell, Dr Bo Tang
We will look at urban lines and change impenetrable boundaries into shared open borders. We will assemble a piece of social infrastructure on sites at Loughborough Junction along a railway line which cuts through the city from Brixton to Peckham. Unit 6’s working methods will be introduced during a field trip to the Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales. We will encourage you to find new ways of looking, imagining and representing your ideas, whilst cooperating with fellow students.
PG Architecture Unit 07: Good Nature
David Grandorge, Ted Swift
The idea of Good Nature reflects a desire by this unit to make buildings in the city for human occupation that do not thoughtlessly or unnecessarily displace other forms of life but attempt to co-exist with them.
PG Architecture Unit 08: Measurement – Arrangement – Intuition
Takero Shimazaki, Paolo Emilio Pisano and Karabo Turner
Unit 8 will investigate the importance of mathematical measurements in architecture. Careful studies will inform exercises in proposed architecture within existing buildings and places. Through repetition, adjustment, trial, and error, we will compose and compare architectural arrangements against the backdrop of what already exists. We will identify tensions and compromises between mathematical measure and the imperfect existing, and consider how the resulting forms affect the wider context.
PG Architecture Unit 09: The Artful Vernacular
Stephen Taylor and Theodoros Thysiades
In the spirit of Luigi Snozzi’s urban rules for Monte Carasso, Switzerland we will work in the small town of town of Saint Germain de Calberte, in the south of France. We will study the existing town fabric and local vernacular forms and propose ways to extend it. We will add new buildings and spaces, made sustainable by their timeless quality and contribution to public space. In the first semester you will each design and make a big model of small timber house and one piece of furniture.
PG Architecture Unit 12: The Garden
Peter St John, Fabienne Sommer, Ben Speltz and James Hand
Sebastian Marot’s book "Taking the Country's Side" speculates on the future relationship of the city and the countryside. His idea of acceptable (and modest) growth is for lower greener development in the city, together with small dispersed centres in the countryside that are self-sustaining. We will work on a brownfield site in rural Suffolk, looking at the architectural possibilities of a small community that brings back together the basic functions of living, working and food production.