UG Architecture Studio 01: Building and Belonging

Studio brief

"On a wet day it may look drab and forbidding, and they might scuttle away from it. On a sunny day it's magical, but then buildings are like that, they should be.”

Denys Lasdun

Studio One proposes buildings which have a deep appreciation for time, place and belonging.

Buildings can represent identity in a number of ways. Sometimes they signpost their geography through the use of native materials, locally-specific construction techniques or the presence of ornamental features which are distinct to their regional character. Sometimes, they accommodate uses that serve the characteristics or specific challenges of their surrounding landscape. But sometimes it is the stories of the people that inhabit them that are embedded in their walls that tell us their biography: their rise, their fall, and everything in between.

Hastings and its layered history form a complex backdrop for this year’s project. The town has weathered a steady decline, but a recent influx of young residents seeking respite from urban life has introduced new optimism into this coastal town.

This new wave of residents is by no means unique – the phenomena of the ‘digital nomad’ has changed the makeup of residents in cities globally. But is the apathy of this new transient resident- with little to no anchor to their home- going to sustain these faltering communities which stand on the brink of terminal decline?

This year we will be exploring the tools we have as Architects to engender a sense of belonging in the people we build for. We will investigate ways we can use buildings as cultural anchors, to spark a resonance between architecture and its constituents to develop a new sense of who we are and where we live.

To do this, we will be working with an Artist-Led Creative Organisation as our client, who have approached our studio to develop an architectural proposal for a new outpost for their work in Hastings. This collective use their work to help bring people together to learn, share and grow through exhibitions, workshops and events, with a special focus on cultivating a community.

In creating a cultural building we will propose a new work of architecture, as well as partly adapting an existing building, taking elements of its story and collaging it with the new layer you will introduce. We will teach you how to persuasively and descriptively draw, model and tell stories to generate architectural ideas. We'll use these ideas to open up new understanding of place and identity against the headwind of the emerging challenges presented by its new arriving residents.

Your learning objectives will involve developing a deep appreciation for Hastings' historical and cultural context, applying architectural thinking to address the challenges of adaptive reuse and integration, exploring methodologies that generate proposals for buildings that prioritise place, identity and belonging. You will immerse yourself in a place to tell stories that will shape the evolving narrative of the town while expanding the breadth of your architectural vocabulary.

A plaster cast model of an architectural proposal broken into three fragments



Holly Jean Crosbie
Kieran Wardle
Owen Williams

Where Goulston Street
When Tuesday and Friday

Architecture studios