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. To understand and realise the possibilities of an existing building comes with its own challenges. 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.
The need to reimagine existing buildings is particularly urgent on the high street. As retail moves online and shops struggle to recover after a series of lockdowns, the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ of retail is being fundamentally questioned. Can we align ourselves with communities to act in this moment of change, and make new proposals for these buildings to strengthen the social value of the high street?
We will consider alternative community uses for the Marks & Spencer (M&S) building in Hackney Central. The site is embedded in the heart of Hackney, opposite the listed Old Town Hall, St John’s church and churchyard gardens. It stretches from Mare Street to Amherst Road, with blank retail facades to both streets. We will document the physical site in drawings and models, and the social context of the site in photographs and research.
In the first semester, you will design a meeting place for a community group that links the two streets and provides new-build internal and external spaces. In the second semester you will propose a community centre for an existing local community group of your choice, re-using the existing M&S building. To act on the existing building, you will adopt formal methods including cutting, stitching, extending and framing. This process will be developed through large models and detailed drawings in workshops with a structural engineer and sustainability consultant.
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 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.