Takero Shimazaki, Summer Islam and T-SA

Unit 8: Midland Cities I – Leicester

Ideal plan and elevation of the Basilica di Vicenza.

Unit brief

Midland Cities I – Leicester

Unit 8 seeks to investigate recent urban development in the Midlands and will propose alternative strategies of renewal through design interventions. We will take inspiration from the renewal of Vicenza in the sixteenth century, a city that boomed with a political and industrial shift in power from Venice. We will focus on the works of Andrea Palladio through a series of case studies, including the Basilica in Vicenza, to investigate the potential of architectural renewal through formal correction.

The Midlands

The Midlands is a culturally, socially and racially diverse region. We will examine cities such as Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Lincoln in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU. We are interested in how the emotive character of these cities manifests itself within the urban fabric, and will propose renewal as a counterpoint to recent attempts at regeneration.


This year’s research will focus on Leicester – a city that voted to remain. We will examine Leicester as Palladio dissected Rome. Having recently undergone major urban transformation to establish itself as a cultural and economic hub of the Midlands, Leicester is on the brink of even more change. We will work closely with the City Council and the Mayor, as well as the local cultural and arts groups based in the city’s Cultural Quarter to develop our brief.

Architectural interventions

We will begin by surveying the existing structures of Leicester carefully through photography, drawings and models (Project 1). We will then design urban public spaces (Project 2), and a public building (Project 3), exploring the dynamic relationship between the series of architectural interventions and the collective of the city.

In the belief that architecture can be a catalyst for renewal of the urban environment, our architectural proposals will be inherently public in nature. We seek structures within the city that are true to their construction principles and capable of achieving civic expression. The projects will propose new urban spaces, structures and buildings that can endure the weight of time and use. The interventions will work as agents for renewal, and at the same time embody the particular memory and expression that characterises the city of Leicester.

Image credit: Andrea Palladio, I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura, 1570


Course Professional Diploma in Architecture
Tutors Takero Shimazaki
Summer Islam
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