Unit 14 will study the Roding River in Barking, East London this year and contribute to the wider research currently being carried out by Barking and Dagenham Council. We will engage with a variety of protagonists with interests in the area to evolve proposals for the Roding riverfront and environs. The aim is to contribute to the revitalisation of the borough for the benefit of local residents as well as newcomers. Our agenda includes designing scenarios which resist ‘big development’ which we understand as restrictive and limit opportunities for local enterprise as well as diminishing the public realm.
We will look at the history of land ownership and its economic impact on the lives of ordinary people and ask how we may procure and design urban settlements in which to dwell more equably. Thinking about and engaging in making architecture inevitably has political implications and we would like students to actively engage in the discussion about the role of the architect in society.
Denise Scott-Brown and Robert Venturi have written that "learning from popular culture does not remove the architect from his or her status in high culture. But it may alter high culture and make it more sympathetic to current needs and issues." We will study and reflect on ethnographic writings by James Clifford including The Predicament of Culture to help us discover the means to broaden and deepen our investigations and design outcomes.
The unit trip will be to Berlin to visit Baugruppe initiatives, and possibly to Hanover, Kurt Schwitters’s home city to contemplate the bourgeois interior, the Merzbau and the birth of installation art, and also to the Rococo pilgrimage church of Die Wies by the Zimmermann brothers which had a powerful effect on Helen Chadwick’s work especially the Oval Court.
Image: Roding River From Above [Google Maps 2018]
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.