FIRST YEAR ARCHITECTURE STUDIOS
In semester 1, the six First Year studios shared the same briefs, beginning with the Lightwall, an exercise exploring the role of the wall in defining space and manipulating the quality of light. 1:2 mock ups of these walls were built in the workshop and displayed in P3. The second brief honed the students’ skills in surveying, analysing, drawing and modelling a building. W.A.Gs. (WikiHouse And Games) was the final brief of the term. Students altered, manipulated, and re-imagined a standard WikiHouse structure to accommodate one of six traditional pub games. In semester two, each studio developed their own briefs which are described on the following pages.
Tutors: Fiona Zisch & John Edwards
Fiona Zisch is completing a PhD in Architectural Design and Neuroscience at UCL and teaches at Westminster, Innsbruck, and the Bartlett. Her research focuses on experiential qualities and how the mind and brain construct internal worlds in relation to the external world.
John Edwards is a practicing architect, once named one of the UK’s Top 50 Design Graduates. He works on award-winning projects across the UK. John is currently an Associate at Useful Studio, leading the design and delivery of education buildings.
House for the Apocalypse
Architecture is a profession that deals in futures. It is incumbent upon us to describe a vision of the future, to convince others of a possible world and our designs within it.
Architects have always pondered the future – from utopian technological innovation to dystopian future societies: da Vinci; Lloyd Wright; Archigram; to name a few. Many of the most respected architects have crafted speculative proposals, their success a coupling of rigorous logic with an appealing design.
In this sense the work of architects is not dissimilar to that of sci-fi writers. The Group A brief was framed within an apocalyptic sci-fi scenario: weather/health/political conditions have been magnified to an extreme and the fate of society is at stake. How can architecture respond with environmentally and psychologically considered proposals that will serve as incubators for the next generation without losing sight of what is great about our current world?
Tutors: Richard Watson and Maria Kramer
Maria Kramer is a practicing architect who also teaches in second year and on the professional practice part of the course.
Richard Watson mainly teaches and works as an artist in his spare time, exhibiting at University of Westminster, the AA and in various shop windows around Hertfordshire.
Sculptor Studio and Flat
Semester 2 was an opportunity for our students to start their first orthodox design project which was to design an Artist’s studio and flat in Deptford. We wanted the students to choose a client who was creative and whose life was well-documented in the hope that some of this would rub off on them.
They could look at the artist’s working method, the materials they used, the ideas they were interested in or just their obsession for the subject. For example, Anish Kapoor’s use of maquettes or Eduardo Paolozzi’s quick early making process, or perhaps the value of the ordinary summed up by Stuart Davis: ‘One day I set up an eggbeater in my studio and got so interested in it that I nailed it on the table and kept it there to paint. I called the picture Eggbeater, number such and such…’.
Tutors: Richa Mukhia & Virginia Rammou
Richa Mukhia is a director of award-winning architectural practice M.OS Architects. She has extensive experience working in the private and public sector with a particular interest in housing design and standards.
Virginia Rammou is Course Leader for BSc Architectural Technology at the University of Westminster. She has extensive experience in practice and is interested in the cross-fertilisation between architecture and technology.Her research focuses on the relationship between architecture, health and palliative care.
Deptford (art) Market
The brief asked students to design a space for an artist to live, work and exhibit their work. An intensive programme of talks and visits immersed the students in the complexities of the site (Deptford), the practicalities of the programme and initiated a series of questions that proved to be reoccurring themes throughout the semester.
Students explored questions of objects and value, originality and reproduction, spectatorship, thresholds and boundaries. Where does the private domain of the artist begin and end? What are the thresholds between living and working? When does a passerby become a viewer or perhaps even a muse?
Tutors: Duarte Santo & Ruth Cuenca
Duarte Santo is an Architect, Landscape and Urban Designer, Curator and Researcher. Fascinated by the material and the intangible qualities of space, he explores interdisciplinary approaches to architecture, landscape and tourism through spatial, social and cultural reflection and practice.
Ruth Cuenca is an Architect and Urban Designer, working between practice and academia. Her practice and research interests focus on architecture with scarce resources, sustainable development, post-disaster recovery and the role of communities in the design process.
Crafting the Future: Live/work in Deptford High Street
‘Crafting the Future’ asks for the design of a building that can accommodate a live/work space for a small group of skilled artisans and a communal/hybrid space to promote interaction with the local community and engage its members through craft-related activities.
A craft is an activity or profession that requires particular skills and knowledge of materials, tools and techniques. The studio focuses on material and performative aspects of the activity both in space and time. Exploring a specific craft, students are invited to engage with its objects and makers to further expand their research and work into the site, architecture and its users.
Students analysed and interpreted the site and surrounding area, exploring the concept of ‘infraordinary’, questioning stereotypes and testing ideas through drawings and models, understanding how their intervention could become a catalyst for social interaction in the rapidly changing context of Deptford High Street.
Tutors: Matthew Stewart & Natalie Newey
Matthew Stewart is a designer, researcher and writer. His student work received the RIBA CLAWSA prize and runner up in the AR Global Architecture Graduate Award. Matthew has worked with architectural practices in China, South Korea and India on various projects.
Natalie Newey is a Senior Lecturer, First Year Leader and SFHEA. She has extensive experience working in practice and is particularly interested in community engagement in the design process.
House for Sculptor
Our students were asked to design a series of live, work and semi-public spaces for a sculptor of their choice, on small sites off Deptford High Street. In preparation for this we conducted group research into Depford’s unique history and urban form, with a wider programmatic analysis of Deptford High Street. Threshold spaces were explored as both physical and social concepts to be introduced to design proposals.
An emphasis was placed on research into their sculptor’s particular working process, spatial requirements and daily routine refined through trips to studios spaces in London. The results were eclectic: a house-cum-brick Swiss mountain for Picasso and his goat; a sorting office studio for Stuart Hogarth; Deptford market junk façades for Tony Cragg; ‘Peeping Tom’ gizmos for Rebecca Horn and an ethereal house of translucent walls for Naum Gabo.
Tutors: Corinna Dean & Juan Piñol
Corinna Dean is a teacher, critical urbanist and curator with an interest in how the urban is communicated, experienced and lived out across cultures. She holds a PhD from the LSE Cities Programme, a collaborative doctoral award with Tate Modern. She launched ARCA, the Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture.
Juan Piñol studied architecture in Colombia, where he taught and worked on master planning and large housing schemes. In the UK he has worked on historic buildings, as well as design and construction of new residential and office buildings.
Gallery of the Future
For the final project students were asked to respond to the Deptford site as a space for the Gallery of the Future. Imagining a scenario 30-40 years from now, the students made a selection of what the content would consist of, what might become obsolete or endangered. Or imagine hypothetical scenarios such as online communication becoming debunked, replaced by a return to an analogue means of producing and consuming information – what would such changes mean for buildings as we know them?
Museums and public galleries play a central role in society, not just through engaging with objects but they have become public spaces, spaces in which to question our identity as 21st century citizens.
Students responded with designs encompassing an adaptable relief response which enabled existing buildings to display artefacts, a cultural ethnicity museum which displays cultures of threatened minorities in light of regeneration schemes in the area, and a gallery of endangered plants.