PG Architecture Unit 07: Good Nature

Unit brief

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.

We will begin the year in search of new standards in how we construct architectural elements, addressing the ecological impact of the materials that we use, how they are sourced and fashioned and how they are brought together to make details and buildings that are both robust and beautiful. The findings will be presented in six unequivocally precise drawings with a strategic quality.

This will be followed by an investigation of architectural composition that is exploratory but acknowledges the performance requirements of the contemporary external envelope. Students will be encouraged to use rigorously conceived proportional relationships rather than dimension to determine design outcomes. It will involve making rough studies before more precise representations are made.

The first semester will conclude with a project for the design of a demountable workshop from a palette of Lean materials for the repair of consumer objects on a ‘meanwhile use’ site on the Parkside Estate in Hackney.

In the second semester, we will build upon the intentions and outcomes of earlier projects to look at the reversibility of construction at a larger scale on an extraordinary site in the Walthamstow Wetlands. Students will be asked to design a fully demountable structure of medium scale for rentable workspace. The site is on a flood plain. This is challenging, but is an opportunity to explore how cities will address future increases in the frequency and intensity of rainstorms due to global heating.

In short, this unit is attempting to reconcile both architectural and ecological intentions with many of the realities of contemporary construction and tries to do so with rigour and enthusiasm. The use of physical models to study architectural and constructional problems will be encouraged in all projects.

Silver car in carpark between railway line and trees

Image: Walthamstow Wetlands 2021 © David Grandorge


Tutors David Grandorge
Ted Swift 
Where Goulston Street
When Monday and Thursday

Architecture Postgraduate Studios