In 1968, Luigi Snozzi was asked to design a new school building in the outskirts of Monte Carasso, a small village in the canton of Ticino, in Switzerland. He radically refused the commission and suggested instead that new buildings are borne from within the settlement limits. He proposed a series architectural rules about how the town could grow in a robust and humane manner, as time passed. These rules were simple and effective; line streets and thresholds with inhabitable walls or buildings; keep buildings close to each other; do not make building higher than three storeys unless by exception. There were no rules restricting the architectural language of new additions. This way, in his view, the town would be able to renew itself without losing its existing urban character.
We will test these principals, in the small town of Saint Germain de Calberte, in the south of France. We will study the existing town fabric and local vernacular forms and propose new buildings and spaces, made sustainable by their timeless quality and contribution to public space. Our main project for the year will be to work closely, with the mayor, identify sites and spatial structures that have potential for small scale infill projects or concentrated growth in the edge of town, to host schools, clinics, guesthouse accommodation and workspaces.
In preparation for the main project in France, we will begin by designing a small timber house, on three different sites in East London and one piece of furniture for its occupants. We will define what is expendable and in doing so transform conversations about cost, expediency and performance into a cultural exercise. We will think about how a repeatable and simplified kind of contemporary timber construction could be designed as art.
For both projects, we will test how architectural relationships at different scales, from furniture to landscape, could be established and made visible. Emphasis will be given to model making, drawing and the use of colour.
Our study trip will take us on a tour through the Dordogne region of France where we will visit a number of Bastide town settlements.
Architecture Postgraduate Studios
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.