Design Studio 13


Tutors: Andrei Martin & Andrew Yau

Andrei Martin – Partner at Architecture, Andrei is a designer, researcher and academic, interested in the potential of new architectural typologies to transform urban experience and reshape contemporary culture. He has published, lectured and exhibited internationally.

Andrew Yau – Co-Founder, Co-Director (London) and International Project Director of Urban Future Organisation, Andrew seeks design innovation & ecological novelty with cultural sensibility and practical inventiveness. He is the design lead behind various award-winning projects.

Allusions and Affiliations


  1. At DS 13 we are interested in the capacity of architectural form to enable specific aesthetic encounters. We are interested in how architecture can produce effects and, through these effects, can solicit affect, or shape the qualia of our sensed experience. We call this disciplinary approach effectual formalism.
  2. Architecture can be political only as it produces other worlds, as it aesthetically disrupts the real in order to advance public imagination and to produce new subjectivities.
  3. All political movements begin as aesthetic movements which distribute sensible information in such a way that allows new communities to be built and new sets of relationships to be understood. In this sense we see effectual formalism as a way to produce a politically engaged form of architecture.
  4. We are interested in Object Oriented Ontology, and the writings of Graham Harman and others. We are especially interested in the tension between an object and its qualities and how this tension can be co-opted to provoke aesthetic experiences that allows one to see that object as if for the first time, to make that object look novel, to defamiliarize the object.
  5. To defamiliarize is therefore not to see something new but rather to see in a new way.
  6. We have an interest in how established typologies that have perhaps become staid or their affiliated cultural practices have become rote, can be reinvigorated through defamiliariazation or estrangement to become (again) broadly enfranchising.


  1. This year we will work through sampling. In music, a sample belongs simultaneously to two distinct wholes: the original song from which it originates, and the new one into which it is appropriated. Because of this unstable placement, oscillating between an original and final context, the sample is an aesthetic catalyst, able to produce manifold relations of interpretation.
  2. This year we will sample Hong Kong – a city that can be understood through its adjacencies of opposites: jungle and hyper-urbanism, vertiginous topography and flatness, the poor and the mega-wealthy, kitsch and high art, capitalism and communism.
  3. All forms of sampling are fair game. We will sample effects, artefacts, procedures and techniques. We will be historically promiscuous in our sampling of the architectural canon.
  4. We will adopt and adapt the sampled conditions of Hong Kong and, through defamiliarization, we will transpose them into buildings to catalyze normative typologies.
  5. We will discover a new type of architectural imagination that is concerned with boundaries, volumetric primitives, polygonal constructs, chunks, joints, niches, patchiness, inlaying and interiority.
  6. Using our samples, we will produce hybrid formations through a series of techniques including entropy, arbitrary operations, and indeterminacy and explore qualities traditionally rejected in architecture such as: failure, the ad hoc, the ugly, the ironic, the awkward, the absurd, the cute, the generic, the ready-made, the entropic, the cheap, the hand-made.


1. Counter Figuration

Workshop: September 24 – five weeks


We will establish new forms of architectural coherence with a focus on object creation through primitive sampling techniques. We will experiment with mass, interiority, surface articulation and ground – conferring each equal importance. We will produce adjacencies of typologically normative and ‘weird’ spaces and speculate on the programmatic possibilities around their atmospherically charged intersections.

2. Material Instabilities

Workshop: October 22 – four weeks


The objects produced during the first workshop will be expanded through juxtaposition, nesting, inlaying or moulding. We will explore the spatial conditions of bigness, typological disruption, free section, colour and pattern and deep surface through a sampling of effects and artefacts.

3. Hong Kong Trip

November 26 – one week


We will visit the site, the clients, the planners, users and neighbours and, following specific site surveys, we will sample our effects and artefacts and set the stage for the year-long research abstract.

4. Para fictional Scenarios

Workshop: December 3 – two weeks


How does architecture engage? What is its agency? How does effect produce affect and how does affect instantiate social and political change? We will explore situated effects in order to inform a knowledge-base of expert affect deployment strategies.

5. Allusions and Affiliations

Project: January 7 – three four-week assignments


The final project will bring together interests, preoccupations and themes discovered in the initial workshops to formulate an individual design thesis / research abstract. Through an expert choreography of effect/affect, we will instrumentalise architectural and urban effects to engage with specific contextual conditions. New typologies will be postulated and their intricate relationship with both their urban exteriority and their material interiority explored. The project will be submitted via physical models, large format posters and a book.