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.
We will continue our interest in thinking about how a modest but ancient settlement such as Florac can grow sustainably without losing its identity, urban morphology and architectural character. In studying its public spaces, the streets, lanes and squares, its urban and architectural fabric, their edges and thresholds, figures and forms, your projects will look to redefine a series of small infill sites, in ways that tell the story of this place, in a contemporary architectural manner.
The population of this town is growing and the demand for additional dwellings has become a priority for the Mayor. Whilst in recent years, towns like this have addressed housing growth by expanding their boundaries and pursuing loose patterns of suburbanisation, there is now a prevailing view that this is not a sustainable way forward. Instead, lessons from the past, observing urban forms of compactness, density and a closer proximity of dwellings brings with it interdependent economies, better community cohesion and the chance for an urban conviviality found in the old town. These are ancient ideas but are only part of the efforts we need to consider as architects today in seeking answers to our energy and climate crisis.
How we source materials and assemble our building fabric in the modern age is also critical as is a wider societal reflection upon and readjustment towards the global marketplace. We will consider the means to make things locally again and in particular the growing of food. As part of the design of housing we will look at the need and requirement of personal amenity space, gardens and terraces as having a role to play in the individual and collective production of food.
During Autumn Semester we will travel to the site, visiting interesting places of reference on the way. We will stay in the town of Florac and make observations, both urban and architectural, that will culminate in a series of drawings that capture the town’s genius loci.
During Spring Semester we will select sites from our urban analysis and will work with the Mayor’s office to make design proposals that will be presented to the town.
Image: Saint Germain de Calberte, aerial view
|When||Monday and Thursday|
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.