Studio 5: Permanence and Change

Studio brief


This year, Studio 5 will continue our investigation into ways of living with proposals for precise, well detailed and characterful architecture. The question of permanence will be one of the main aspects of research, how can we design buildings now that might form part of the city in 100 years time? The technical questions as well as the cultural questions of the longevity of an urban building will be our departure point. We will look at historical and contemporary examples of robust, large buildings - from warehouses to palaces - to understand their construction, capacity to support flexible accommodation and to contribute to the context and lasting culture of the city. 

Life cycles, exterior and interior

We will consider the economic, environmental and political implications of building for a longer lifespan, both in terms of the exterior expression and urban scale and the interior and inhabitation scale. The design project will unfold over the year in two distinct stages; the arrangement and materials of the interior will be considered after the design of the external facade and shell. The differing life cycles of components of a building will be considered as well as the potential for radical ways of life within these large urban buildings.

Student and young person’s housing

The projects will be tested with a main programme of housing for students and young people, not as a discrete campus but as a building fully integrated into the city to provide young people with a more positive introduction to living and working in the city than the shared rented flat or cellular student housing. London has seen an explosion of student housing recently, cynically designed to ‘cash in’ on students and provide pre-packaged ‘luxury’ student housing experiences.  We will question this investor-led approach and the negative implications it has at an urban and inhabitation level. 

Study trip

We will investigate contemporary projects in Copenhagen and in Geneva, spending half our time in each city. Both cities are at the forefront of producing radical and robust communal housing. We will visit projects and some of the architects involved and take these lessons to London.

Studio 5

We will continue our interest in precise materiality, atmosphere, structure and character. As we have done every year we will ‘mine’ architectural culture in a creative and transformational way and use a detailed making project to bring technical and material rigour to each project.

The research and work of Studio 5 has been compiled into a website:

Hornbaekhus, Copenhagen, by Kay Fisker


Course Architecture BA (Hons)
Tutor Nina Lundvall
James Payne
Where Central House, 3rd Floor Studios
When Tuesday and Friday