James Binning and Paloma Strelitz

Unit 15: Creative Industry

The Van Nelle Factory.

Unit brief

Creative Industry

London is facing a period of seismic shift: in June the UK voted to leave the European Union. The Brexit vote now threatens the period of mutual dependence that sought to create economic and social cohesion across Europe. 

At this critical juncture, Creative Industry will investigate shifting conditions within the city, and examine the wider questions of cultural identity at this time of political and economic flux.

The Old Kent Road is at the forefront of these shifts – historically a heterogeneous inner-city neighbourhood comprising a dense mix of housing, commerce and industry, fanning out from the arterial high street to a ‘hidden’ hinterland of industrial yards and factories. As the 2016 Area Action Plan indicates, the transformation of this inner-city area is now being driven by the growth of central London, the extension of the Bakerloo line, the development of 20,000 new homes, the creation of 5,000 jobs and the need for new social infrastructure.

This expansion poses a risk to the vast and varied network of high streets, working yards and industrial estates that underpin the area’s economic, cultural and civic life. As creative practitioners, we rely on London’s complex ecology of people, processes and spaces that enable the city’s rich and varied world of cultural and commercial activity. The Old Kent Road Opportunity Area will be our testing ground to make speculative, critical and propositional projects that challenge contemporary disregard of the industrial sector.

Our studio will investigate the theme of interdependence as an alternative to the prevailing trends of monocultural urban development. We will combine rigorous research and design with large-scale models and prototypes to create architectural proposals that resist homogeneity and embrace social, economic and spatial complexity.

In the spirit of interdependence, we will be working alongside Cass Cities to create a "super think-tank" for exploration and debate. Together we will aim to bring these themes to the foreground in discussions that shape the practice and policies of the Old Kent Road.

In November, we will visit Holland, exploring the history of Dutch urbanism along the canals of Delft and Rotterdam before participating in an intensive workshop at the Berlage Institute, where we will design and build 1:1 prototypes for a new industrial vernacular.

In Creative Industry, we combine critical thinking with hands-on making to test our agency as architects to challenge the status quo. Collectively, we will create a series of radical and ambitious proposals that address contemporary urban conditions and contain the potential to influence London’s future evolution.


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture - RIBA 2
Tutor James Binning
Paloma Strelitz
Where Central House, fourth floor Studios
When Monday and Thursday

Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA part II)

Unit 1: Urban Gestalt – Origins of a Town

Professor Florian Beigel and Professor Philip Christou

Unit 1: Urban Gestalt – Origins of a Town will investigate the elements that give a town its urban form and essential spatial character.

Unit 4: Building Lab; Living with Man-made Natures

Andrew Grant, Elian Hirsch, Eva Diu and Jonas Lundberg

Unit 5: The Deep Block

Alex Ely, Michael Dillon, Adam Powell

The Deep Block will explore semi-public spaces through large-scale model making, city exploration by foot and making drawings of the architectural spaces you find.

Unit 6: Civic Assembly

Maurice Mitchell, Francesca Pont and Dr Bo Tang

Unit 6: Civic Assembly investigates the civic assemblies emerging around evolving city infrastructures, focusing on South London and Kathmandu Valley.

Unit 8: Midland Cities I – Leicester

Takero Shimazaki, Summer Islam and T-SA

Unit 8: Midland Cities I – Leicester will investigate recent urban development in the Midlands and propose alternative strategies of renewal.

Unit 9: Sweetness and light

Stephen Taylor, Theodoros Thysiades and Sam Holden

Unit 14: Miniature – worlds within worlds

Pierre d’Avoine and Colette Sheddick

Unit 14: Miniature – worlds within worlds introduces you to notions of myth and fabulation in the reinvention of the countryside.

Unit 15: Creative Industry

James Binning and Paloma Strelitz

Unit 15: Creative Industry examines the changing political and economic conditions in the city and its impact on cultural identity.

Cass Cities Unit

Professor Mark Brearley, Jane Clossick and Colin O'Sullivan

Find out about the aims of the Cass Cities Unit in 2016/17, including project work in Brussels and ensuring fair development in the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area proposals.

Cass Studios archive by year