Design Studio 16


Tutors: Anthony Boulanger, Stuart Piercy and Callum Perry

Anthony Boulanger has an MArch from the Bartlett UCL and is co-founding partner of AY Architects, recognised for innovative design and research, winner of the Stephen Lawrence Prize in 2013.

Stuart Piercy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and founder of the acclaimed award-winning practice Piercy&Co.

Callum Perry, DS16’s newest member, graduated from the studio in 2014 and has since been working at Grymsdyke Farm and at Piercy&Co. Together they offer students a platform for experimentation of architectural concepts instigated by a culture of making.


“In an incessant process of construction and decay, structures would appear and disappear, they would be built on each other, apart or within each other. They would struggle with each other to marry and produce monstrous offspring. Not one of these structures would be in the form intended by its creators”
(Edward Hollis: The Secret Lives of Buildings: From the Ruins of the Parthenon to the Vegas Strip in Thirteen Stories)

DS16 continues a platform for experimentation and invention to explore architectural concepts initiated through in-depth investigations of materials and direct engagement with craft.

The studio challenges students to develop a concentrated research of materials and techniques supported by an awareness of culture and place; social, political and economic contexts. The aim is to manifest explicitly conceived and test site- specific architectural designs.

This year we invite students to examine concepts and processes of experimentation involved in the unfinished and the incomplete. Buildings exist in time and are never complete. From the time the architect hands over a project the processes of change begin through occupation, alteration, environment (weather), demolition etc. The building writes an indeterminate narrative over time. In practice we are relentlessly involved in re-visiting, clearing, demolishing, re-thinking, re- creating and re-making as an additive or subtractive process. The theme questions an attitude towards site, context, history, specificity, appropriation, redundancy, ephemerality & permanence.


Our Term 1 project this year will involve generating small scale but highly crafted interventions in the outdoor BANQUET ROOM at Grymsdyke Farm. We will continue our unique relationship with ‘the farm’, where students make use of the workshop facilities, supporting both manual and digital techniques, and engage with the Chilterns’ landscape. The Banquet site, defined in part by a historical brick boundary wall lies on the edge of the farm, linked with the vegetable patch on one side and views to the rolling rural landscape on the other.

The site was the focus of an ambitious (and incomplete) DS16 group project in 2012 to create a BBQ, seating and canopy to host events. This time we will focus on a family of small scale pieces of ‘furniture’ or ‘fittings’, created by groups of 3-4 students.

Each piece will engage with a different material craft with an intense period of testing. As always, the process is as important as the product. Objects will support the banquet; water collection, threshold(s)/entrance, serving, observing (views)/hiding. The pieces would ideally range from small and delicate to supporting a scale of occupation/interaction. Materials would derive from concepts of the objects; ceramics, glass, timber, concrete, metal or other. Some funding for the pieces should be made available.


For your individual design projects you will be challenged to form critical and experimental spatial responses that engage a CIVIC purpose in or around Mexico City, the destination of our study trip and the site for your main project (unless for some reason this is not possible your site could be in London). We want your propositions to be informed by local historical, social/political, economical, material and environmental conditions to create speculative approaches for future scenarios. The theme of the UNFINISHED does not pre-suppose any given architectural typologies; rather it should question conventions to invent new models with a local civic relevance.

Mexico City is an incredibly rich landscape of natural and man-made layers of history and occupation, providing a very broad context for exploration and invention. The theme is open to allow you to create your own personal take and to development variety of intellectually and architecturally contrasting approaches as a studio.

Your work will ideally be a gradual evolution from the initial making of Project 1 to an iterative process and refinement employing technical and environmental practices, in parallel to, but inherent with, your individual design thesis.


25/09-11/12: groups of 3-4 learn, make and install on Grymsdyke Farm.

Interim Review w/c 30/10, Final Review w/c 11/12

Study Trip

Term 1 – 06-13/11 (provisional): Mexico City and environs


Term 1: Individual student research, define sites, brief development, initial design ideas represented in experimental Concept Models and Drawings.

Terms 2+3: Main Project Design Development and Final Design. Use of Grymsdyke Farm to help develop material, technical and environmental designs / components for individual projects.

Final Crit w/c 10/05