In Eleonas, Belmonte or Kaningo, you will look for places of civic solidarity and sharing, trade and exchange. You will use care and skill to craft jewel-like commodities and embed them within the metabolism of the city. You will question the need for demolition, removal and replacement; seeking rather to add, transform and re-use. Interventions will not aim to simulate what already exists, but rather to enable inhabitants to exploit its latent potential. Your investigation of context will be performative rather than formal. This strategy is intended to promote generosity in the act of making, involving craftspeople and residents in the use of materials, spatial resources and infrastructure to engage with and contribute to the culture and freedoms available to them in the changing topographical metabolism.
In each chosen physical and institutional setting, you will be concerned with loosely fitting together things which are made at different times and then endure; so that made pieces fit with both past fabric and future needs. We will consciously attempt to name the forms we design and work with. Named forms are employed to identify and articulate architectural assemblages, carrying forward formal concepts from one interpretation to another, their familiarity transcending time and scale. There is a clear relationship between recognisable form and familiarity. Linked together in place, they add to a feeling of confidence in being there, contributing to a sense of homeliness; a sense of fitting in. Conversely, if form is not recognised or appears alien and unfathomable, residents are left with a sense of alarm, of the uncanny where the unexpectedly awful might happen. Therefore, proposals will need to be spatially, materially and temporally re-grounded in actual settings and crucially re-scaled, re-validated and re-named. This requires architecture to act as a structured process of civic democracy rather than being a fossilised commodity.
Image: Community centre and classrooms constructed by volunteers and Afghan refugees in Skaramangas Camp, Athens, Greece (2016). Sam Mitchell
Architecture Postgraduate Studios
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.