Unit 5: A Place of Type

Unit brief

A Place of Type “A successful urban type correlates the complex urban reality in its entirety. Urban types, one might say, are the quintessence of a city’s architecture”1. This year we will develop housing types that offer pleasure in use and resolve some of our social, environmental and economic challenges.

A type is not invented but developed in the course of a long optimisation process. We will therefore start by studying housing from the 50s through to 70s (in London and Vienna) and consider how these can be evolved to meet today’s needs and in so doing create original work. We agree with Rafael Moneo that the ‘most intense moments in architectural development are those when a new type appears’. We will explore how to combine our culture’s preference for vertical living (ie in houses) with today’s demands for efficient land use and small footprints in the form of high density.

We will look at the relationship between type and place; how cities and public spaces are made with housing and how type can create character of place, whilst acknowledging its context. And how a home can be planned as a series of spatial thresholds in the same manner as a city.

The themes of ‘Fabrication’ and ‘Communication’ will weave their way through the year: We will work with a ceramist to explore extruded clay construction and façade element fabrication and we will be rigorous with how ideas are communicated, avoiding rhetoric and jargon, so that the clients and residents of our proposals can understand the value of our ideas.

1Emmanuel Christ, Christoph Gantenbein ‘Typology’

Darbourne and Darke, split-level living


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture
Tutor Alex Ely
Michael Dillon
Marina Polycarpou
Where Central House, 4th Floor Studios
When Monday and Thursday

Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA part II)