Studio 7: Raw Materials

Studio brief

Raw Materials

“All material in nature, the mountains and the streams and the air and we, are made of Light which has been spent, and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow, and the shadow belongs to Light.”– Louis Kahn

This suggests that it is the architects’ use of material and its placement that forms a fundamental quality of architecture. It is primarily the study of materials and light, in the context of London and Nepal, that will form the basis of this year’s studio programme.

You'll engage in a six-week preliminary project to investigate the effects of sunlight and shadow on a site in London. Using modelling, drawing and photographic techniques, students will examine how interior and exterior spaces can be modulated with a focus on the section of a building, and how the placement and articulation of light and dark can create a distinctive architectural language.

For the major project, we will continue our investigation of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. We will begin by spending 10 days exploring, surveying and understanding the physical and cultural topography of the historic hilltop village of Kirtipur on the outskirts of the city of Kathmandu.

Following the devastating earthquake in April 2015, heritage areas within Kathmandu and historic villages surrounding the city have been deeply affected, socially, culturally and economically, as well as the physical and material fabric itself. We will be returning to raw materials, to address issues of rapid urban development, seismic construction, vernacular heritage and scarce resources – all factors that are affecting the changing topographic landscape of Kathmandu. Individual design projects will emerge from unique observations and experiences gathered, and sites chosen by students, during the field trip.

Image: Urban development in the historic hilltop village of Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal (Image credit: Corina Tuna)

Urban development in the historic hilltop village of Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal


Course Architecture BA (Hons)
Tutor Robert Barnes
Dr Bo Tang
Where Central House, third floor studios
When Tuesday and Friday

Architecture Studios