PG Architecture Unit 07: Poetic Pragmatism II: FACTORY

Unit brief

This year, the studio will continue to address how global heating impacts upon the practice and production of architecture through the lens of Poetic Pragmatism, this time, in the design of a low embodied and operational energy factory on Frog Island, Rainham, Essex.

To begin the year, students, in groups of two or three, will undertake rigorous drawn and modelled analysis of one of six exemplar factories (including research and storage facility buildings) built at different moments in the twentieth century. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of the context in which the factories are (or were) situated, their setting out, their spatial and structural configuration and the material elements employed in their wall, floor and roof build-ups.

Back-of-envelope calculations (parametrics with a pencil?) will then be made of the embodied energy per m2 of each of the precedents and it is hoped that comparisons between them will produce enlightening results.

Students will then undertake precise drawn and photographic descriptions (a survey) of the land uses, transport routes, energy infrastructure, building types, ground conditions, ecologies and histories of the broader terrain in which the major design proposal is to be sited.

The major design proposal will address the design of a factory for the fabrication of engineered timber components and the pre-fabrication of timber planar elements for use in the construction of low embodied energy housing. We will address how formal inventions can come about by embracing restraints. We hope that it will be a joyful challenge.

Alongside this, we will read and discuss some philosophical and pragmatic texts by writers who are more intelligent than us. As always, this studio will be taught with energy, enthusiasm and generosity.

landscape photo with sail boats on a stretch of water and light industrial structures on an island


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

Architecture Postgraduate Studios