Unit 14: Miniature – worlds within worlds

Unit brief

Miniature – worlds within worlds

Unit 14 is interested in working with notions of myth and fabulation in the reinvention of the countryside – the land outside our cities, both to inhabit and to use for cultivation – horticulture not agriculture. We will reference the microcosmic and macrocosmic in art – Chinese landscape painting, the Indian and Persian miniature, and study the English landscape in all its variety, with a view to designing for groups of people who have come together through kinship, friendship or common interests to found communities and forge new relationships with the land and among themselves.

Your proposals may include spaces for art, performance, production and storage as well as leisure and contemplation. You should speculate on the potential for a federation of economically interdependent settlements that co-exist with or which challenge the status quo. It will be your task to invent scenarios that question the way in which land is procured today and to propose new ways of forming communities and livelihoods through intelligent design and building strategies.

We'll ask you to research the history, ownership and use of existing landscapes and settlements in order to locate and situate your proposals appropriately. We will range across the length and breadth of the country addressing cultural, socio-economic and political issues, including the north-south divide and the concentration of capital in London, and their impact on the way we procure our built environment.

You'll consider the environmental impact of development on the land, the influence of digital technology on the way we live, work and play and its potential for social exchange. You'll also examine the means by which such projects may be brought into being.

There will be visits to Moscow and/or Copenhagen to make comparative studies of the rural hinterland surrounding both cities.

Still image of sheep walking up a staircase, from the film The Exterminating Angel by Luis Bunuel.


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture - RIBA 2
Tutor Pierre d'Avoine
Colette Sheddick
Where Central House, fourth-floor Studios
When Monday and Thursday

Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA part II)