Studios and units 2018–19
An undergraduate 'studio' (or postgraduate 'unit') is a smaller study group taken by Year 2 and 3 undergraduate students in art, architecture and design and postgraduate architecture student at The Cass. Each studio is led by a member of academic staff, often in association with a professional practitioner or organisation. At the start of the year, the leaders of each studio present their studio's themes, position and approach to all students during a market day. Students then choose their preferred studio from the wide range of issues, methods of working and types of projects available.
The studio approach brings many benefits including smaller and more focused teaching groups, a joined-up approach to modules, experience of professional practice, collaboration and teamwork, opportunities to exhibit and even an element of healthy competition. If a studio isn't popular enough with our students it doesn't run – so our academic staff work hard every year to make sure that they are appealing, engaging, challenging and relevant.
Image: Musarc shifting earth at Odrathek to Joseph Kohlmaier and Claudia Molitor’s Die Gedanken Sind Frei, May 2018. Photo: Yiannis Katsaris
Our studios evolve year on year. You can see details of older studios in our studio archive.
Studio 3D 01: London Plain
Cathy Stack, Peter Marigold and Will Smith
London is far from plain. What makes something special? What makes something different and more desirable than something else?
Studio 3D 02: The Asylum
Steph Aman, Roisin Dunne, Karen Coughlan, James Hunting
"The lunatics have taken over the asylum", Fun Boy Three
Studio 3D 03: The Lab
Steph Aman, Roisin Dunne, Karen Coughlan, James Hunting
“I find beauty in the continual shaping of chaos, which clearly embodies the primordial power of nature’s performance”. Iris Van Herpen
Studio 3D 04: Respect
James Hunting, Gina Pierce, Heidi Yeo, Sam Wingate
This studio has at its heart the need for engagement, a questioning mind, a desire to experiment, a willingness to make mistakes in order to learn and an integration of reflective practice within each experience.
Studio 3D 05: Unravelled
Karen Coughlan, Sam Wingate, Marianne Forrest, Simone Ten Hompel
We as a studio fervently believe great design requires great understanding. Our aim will be to untangle, demystify and decipher the extremely complex and ever changing world of design. Thus providing you, our students with the most realistic and industry-ready educational experience.
Studio 01: Generosity
Alex Bank and Sam Casswell
Studio 1 will explore the potential of generosity in architecture. Generosity comes from the design of real things simply expressed; the interrelation of exterior / interior spaces; the gesture of a building; structure / construction; proportions, materials, textures, colours. Practicing these fundamental aspects of architecture will require effort, intellect, humour and a good eye. We will investigate how architecture can bring a lasting sense of delight and pleasure to sites in central London.
Studio 02: After City 2 – Tolerance and Compromise
Colin O’Sullivan and Charlotte Harris
Studio 02 will continue its explorations of European rural settlements, this year in Alentejo, Portugal.
Studio 03: Crossing Cultures Industrious Edgelands: a productive threshold between town and country
Sandra Denicke-Polcher and Jane McAllister
The studio offers students to be part of a larger research group and develop architecture proposals and strategies for the depopulated mountain village, Belmonte Calabro, in Southern Italy. Working with local stakeholders, migrants and graduates, Studio 3 proposes an “Industrious Edgeland” to re-animate the town of Belmonte; preforming as an inhabited live-work threshold and engaging the surrounding landscape with the civic town centre.
Studio 04: Frame and Horizon
Anna Ludwig and Rufus Willis
Studio 4 will consider the topography of London’s city wall and how, through the good governance of urban institutions, sanctuaries in the city can be created to provide support and opportunities for its citizens. Our speculations, informed by two closely related representational conceptions: Frame and Horizon, will assert a public realm in which edge conditions become borders for exchange not boundaries of separation.
Studio 06: The Experimental House
James Payne and David Leech
"While it is true that concentrating on the individual house is socially irresponsible...the little house should not be scorned." Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, Some Houses of Ill-Repute, essay 1971.
Studio 07: Looking Outwards
Robert Barnes and Dr Bo Tang
Studio 07 offers students the opportunity to engage in a transitional setting in Europe; a migrant gateway for refugees in Eleonas, Athens, Greece.
Studio 09: The Foundation: Private Realms, Public Rooms
Jillian Jones, Ewan Stone with David Howarth
Studio 09 are interested in how buildings engage with the public life of the city. We will be working in London and Venice, examining the evolution of domestic architecture from places of living to spaces for exhibition and display.
Studio 10: Both Directions at Once: Architecture After Brexit
Kieran Thomas Wardle and Owain Williams
What will be the Architecture of Brexit? How can the way we build represent a democracy pulling in both directions at once? A flawed memory of the past and an imagined future are the basis of many voter’s reasoning for voting in the 2016 EU referendum. We will be visiting historic buildings around the UK to reimagine defunct architectures to offer a commentary on the divergent identities emerging across the UK, looking to the past to say something surprising about the future.
Unit 02: Ideal World
Ideal World is about creating delight with the basic components of architecture: urban design, plan and facade making, construction and drawing.
Unit 04: Virtual Laboratory | Adaptation to Extreme Topography
Jonas Lundberg, Andrew Grant and Nate Kolbe
Buildings and infrastructure of the Sicilian volcanic landscape in the vicinity of Mount Etna have integrated with the extreme topography by exploiting the available building material and construction methods. Unit 04 strives for an architecture adapted to the extreme topography but with character and ubiquitous qualities springing from a combination of digital design technique and a meticulous exploitation of the local volcanic and timber materials used in combination with emerging technology.
Unit 05: The House and Garden
Alex Ely and Michael Dillon
Focusing on first hand experience, developing working methods and understanding context, we will examine the complex constraints of modern housing. We will look at vertical living in London, and communal space as a method of improving connections between the interior and exterior of all dwellings.
Unit 06: Civic Edgelands
Professor Maurice Mitchell, Dr Bo Tang, Jane McAllister and Sandra Denicke-Polcher
A city, a countryside from a distance is a city and a countryside; but as you approach, they are houses, trees, shingles, leaves, grass, ants, legs of ants and so on to infinity: all this is enveloped in the name [edgelands] (apologies to Blaise Pascal in Thoughts). Unit 6 offers students a choice of three settings each consisting of migrant gateways and transitional settlements: Eleonas, Athens, Greece; Belmonte, Calabria, Italy or Kaningo, Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Unit 07: Polyvalent Models
David Grandorge and Paloma Gormley
This year, the unit will focus on the practice of architecture as a partially autonomous discipline, addressing the issues of polyvalence and material culture in the design of a city scaled building and a structure that will be built at 1:1 on Margent Farm in Cambridge.
Unit 08: Both-And Midland cities III
Takero Shimazaki (t-sa) and Summer Islam
Unit 8 will explore the language of architecture in relation to the ethics of construction. Beginning with Venturi’s definition of design which is ‘Both-And’ - that which embodies contradictory levels of meaning and use, we will propose civic buildings in Stoke on Trent which allow inconsistencies and redundancies, encouraging the seemingly dissimilar to exist side by side.
Unit 09: Gigantism and the Baroque
Stephen Taylor, Theodoros Thysiades and Jamie Dean
Unit 9 will make large residential buildings in London that explore a shift in scale well beyond their immediate context. The Architecture of the Baroque will be explored for its artistic and compositional qualities of scale and distortion.
Unit 14: Roding Riverfront
Pierre d’Avoine and Pereen d'Avoine
Unit 14 will study the Roding River in Barking, East London. We will engage with a variety of protagonists with interests in the area to evolve proposals for the Roding riverfront and environs.
Unit 15: Good Values
James Binning, Ellie Howard and James Pockson
Unit 15 will work across Erith in the London Borough of Bexley, proposing projects for public sites across the town. Against a backdrop of deepening cuts to public services, ailing high-streets and a purge of industry from the city, we will explore forms of civic architecture, social enterprise and proactive policymaking with the potential to positively and radically renew the built environment.
Studio Art 01: Negotiating Form
Andrea Medjesi-Jones and Pete Fillingham
This studio is about painting and sculpture. The painter Ad Reinhardt once famously quipped that “sculpture is something you bump into when you back up to look at a painting”. Those were the days when medium-specificity counted. These days, another art medium isn’t really a nuisance like this anymore. So what is painting, now exactly? And what is sculpture now, too? We shall question new tendencies in painting and sculpture and discover and research what we mean by these categories.
Studio Art 02: Archive Fever
Patrick Ward and Galia Kollectiv
This studio explores the archive – the means by which historical knowledge and forms of remembrance are accumulated, stored and recovered – through the ways that it has been explored, subverted and deconstructed by artists from the early 20th century to the present.
Studio Art 03: Unstable Assembly
Rosemarie McGoldrick and Jonathan Whitehall
Unstable Assembly is a studio that looks at art and the world around us – how art fits in among the important stuff that increasingly impacts on the way we live – the environment, other animals, science and the great outdoors. If you are interested in learning how to push your art practice into the open, into wide public space, this is the studio for you.
Studio Photo 04: The Encountered Sign
James Russell Cant and Ania Dabrowska
Increasingly, progressive commercial photography agents work with photographers and artists whose practice is at home in the gallery as it is in the applied sector. This studio aims directly at that growing elision, too – building on the ideas of affect and the encountered sign.
Studio Photo 05: Post-Truth. Narrating the (Un)Real
Paola Leonardi and Heather McDonough
Presenting the photographer’s role as both artist, storyteller and witness of our times, this studio explores the construction of photographic narratives that reflect changes in and challenges to our society. In this studio, photography can be a tool to protest stereotypes, a method of testimony to events, a practice to construct fantasies or a way to engage with media trends.
Studio Int 02: State of Independence Live Project
Kaye Newman and Janette Harris
The last few years has seen a significant growth of co-working spaces that operate in the adapted shells of buildings whose original purpose has become redundant. The premise of operating together with shared facilities seems to be a good economic model where different businesses can share the costs and in turn network, expanding business opportunities. However, what of the individual company, what of their identity – how does this manifest itself as separate and distinct entity?
Studio Int 03: Portraits D’Intérieurs
Cecilia Sjoholm and Iain Hales
Taking the notion ‘room portrait’ – the idea that a room may describe an individual as well as a portraitist might – the studio will develop designs for a series of rooms that are representative or evocative of a person, or a particular character, of each student’s choosing.
Studio Int 04: Im/Permeable
Andrew Siddall and Suzanne Smeeth-Poaros
The way we access cultural and public buildings is fundamental to our engagement with them: how familiar, comfortable and at ease we are within them, and the degree to which we feel a sense of ownership of them. We will focus on scenography: the site and building as an architectural stage set, choreographing immersive interactions and creating a ‘theatre of the everyday’.
Studio Int 05: Aberrant Architecture
Kevin Haley and Sam Brown
After 29 March 2019 the UK will have to re-think its identity and question who is Britain? This impending date marks our exit of the European Union and the start of a new chapter in British history. With every culture, sub-culture and tribe comes a unique set of identities, rituals, traditions, customs, myths and folklore.
Studio VisCom 01: Studio X
Sara Carneholm and Ricardo Eversley
Studio X (hi/low-fi) is a space that combines digital and analogue, both in process and in outcome.
Studio VisCom 02: Studio Why Not
Emily Evans and Joe Cruz
Stories are found everywhere! Not simply in the realm of literature and entertainment. From television and advertising to religion, science, folklaw, business and politics, narratives shape our world.
Studio 01: Imperfect Theories
Things can lead to theories. They can point to a way of seeing artefacts or objects that is more significant than the thing itself.
Studio 02: Narrative, Storytelling and Time
This studio focus on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We particularly focus on time in narrative, and the studio undertakes a brief aesthetics of time and thinks about how art and culture has imagined time.
Studio 03: Memento
The Memento research studio employs a critical, layered and multi-disciplinary approach to the problems around memory and society.
Studio 04: Knowing Audiences
In this studio we will be thinking about audiences, how they can be understood, theorised and researched.
Studio 05: Small Encounters
Emma Davenport and Gina Pierce
Textiles present exciting material and theoretical opportunities for us to think through our practice, to make sense of the world around us in the past, present and future.
Studio 06: Performative Acts: Art, Architecture and Writing
Nico de Oliveira
In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond.
Studio 07: Meaningful Work
"The aim of art is to destroy the curse of labour by making work the pleasurable satisfaction of our impulse towards energy, and giving to that energy the hope of producing something worth the exercise." William Morris
Studio 08: The Liminal
This Dissertation Studio examines instances of the liminal as they occur in critical theory and culture, and is open to any topic and students from all disciplines.
Studio 09: The Form of the Text
Studio 9 encourages you to approach the dissertation as a crafted textual project. Through workshops and seminars we will consider some of the elements and activities of which the dissertation is comprised, and look at innovative and exciting ways to work with the form of the text, and the act of building it.
Studio 10: Science Fiction Futurity
The utopia of technology never quite arrived. In the 1960s, you often hear, we were promised flying cars, space settlements, robot butlers and the end of work. But then, curiously, the horizon of futurity diminished.
Studio 11: Commonism
Commonism – with an o in the middle – explores how political activism, participatory design processes, interventionism, collective action and shared authorship are transforming the world of art, architecture and design.
Studio 12: Globalism
For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place?
Studio 13: Data Stories
Dissertations produced in this studio will be informed by critical research into how data is collected and then used as raw material with which to make or mediate architecture, design and art work.
Studio 14: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture, and Liberation through Music and Performance
This interdisciplinary studio reflects the widening of music and film studies in the last thirty years to include popular music, and popular culture linking art, music, film, advertising, social issues and minority struggles for liberation.
Studio 15: London Walking
Walking as a mode of art practice has its roots in the Dada and Situationist movements of the early twentieth century, with significant developments during the conceptual ‘turn’ of the 1960s.
Studio 16: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.