Last year, the studio pursued the idea of Good Nature, a strategy to make buildings for human occupation that do not thoughtlessly or unnecessarily displace other forms of life but attempt to co-exist with them.
This year, the studio will continue to address how global heating impacts upon the practice and production of architecture, in this case, through the design of low and medium-rise housing for social rent in east London.
Hackney Council has the ambition to build one thousand new social rent homes over the next four years. The council’s development team has identified eight hundred infill sites in the borough, of which fifteen have been chosen to analyse further against parameters of site area and developmental volume, their proximity to other buildings or spaces and the impact of this on overlooking, egress, rights to light, party wall negotiations, ‘heritage’ and the safety of residents.
The studio will be undertaking detailed feasibility studies of five of these fifteen sites in order to see what can be achieved in this sector through the prism of poetic pragmatism. This will require rigour in addressing the interrelated parameters of cost, buildabilty and embodied energy, but also curiosity, so as to engage the architectural imagination.
We will start the year investigating a number of existing European housing types to understand different modes of dwelling. They will then be interrogated further, addressing how they could be built using contemporary building techniques and how they would meet contemporary performance criteria and codes.
Alongside this, we will read and discuss some literary, philosophical and pragmatic texts by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Tim Ingold, Bruno Latour, Georges Perec, Norman Potter and Alison and Peter Smithson.
We will encourage you to take a path that embraces both analogue and digital techniques and interweave them in the design intentions, processes and outcomes.
Architecture Postgraduate Studios
PG Architecture Unit 02: Building in the Landscape of the City
Tony Fretton and Jillian Jones
To design an Embassy in Park Square, a large enclosed garden in the south of Regents Park, consisting of a Chancellery, the offices of the Embassy and a Residence, the home of the Ambassador and their family, and a place of social and political gathering. There is space enough on the site to allow design in radically sustainable materials and processes.
PG Architecture Unit 03: New Ways of Seeing
Pippa Nissen, Marie-Lise Oulmont, Andrea Hickey, Kate Coghlan
This year our studio will be designing a major public building in East London by the Regent’s Canal. The brief will be to design an art gallery or museum, that includes an archive and learning spaces around a collection of objects or art. The response will need to challenge traditional display; discussion, debate and learning embedded in the whole. The studio’s theme builds on our work at Nissen Richards Studio, where we have a particular focus on cultural buildings and narrative spaces.
PG Architecture Unit 04: The Palimpsest of Futures Past
Jonas Lundberg, Nate Kolbe
Working on several UNESCO world heritage sites in Sicily as an integral part of provincial and rural development in collaboration with invested actors. You are asked to imagine, design, and develop a time-based architecture adding a layer to the historical palimpsest of an UNESCO world heritage site. Unit04 urges you to regain the agency of architecture as the harbinger of change, delight and vision adding equally precious layers to the present and the near future to the palimpsest of the site.
PG Architecture Unit 06: After the Arrival City
Dr Bo Tang and Robert Barnes
“Never demolish, always transform. 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. Moreover, it has a very negative social impact. For us, it is an act of violence.” Lacaton & Vassal, Winners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2021. Unit 06 will explore housing and social infrastructure in Athens
PG Architecture Unit 07: Poetic Pragmatism I: Housing in the Hinterlands of Hackney
David Grandorge, Ted Swift
The studio will continue to address how global heating impacts upon the practice and production of architecture, in this case, through the design of low and medium-rise housing for social rent in east London.
PG Architecture Unit 08: 余白と間 – yohaku and ma
Takero Shimazaki, Paolo Emilio Pisano and Karabo Turner
Starting from the concepts of 余白と間 – yohaku and ma, we will focus on existing sites in London – proposing a future life for overlooked buildings, structures, and landscapes to incorporate new public programmes. We will continue to work with the notion of re-use – challenging ourselves to propose ambitious, civic architecture using an economy of means within our current climate crisis.
PG Architecture Unit 09: HOUSE AND GARDEN
Stephen Taylor, Giles Townshend
This year Unit 9 will undertake live projects, focusing its attention on the remote hill town of Florac in the French mountains of the Cevennes National Park. Working with the local mayor we will design a cluster of houses, gardens and workshops.
PG Architecture Unit 12: Second Life
Peter St John, Fabienne Sommer, Ben Speltz and James Hand
The studio will investigate the theme of Second Life in the context of the design of buildings. Our interest is wider than the theme of Reuse and will address the broader question of a Renewal of our approach to construction, moving towards a future where buildings are indivisible components of a regenerating ecological system. With an interest in imagining alternatives to our problematic present, our main project will be the design of a timber building for a Housing Collective in south London.