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 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.

Exotic: Architecture and Otherness

DS16 provides a platform for students to experiment and invent by exploring architectural and spatial concepts initiated through in-depth investigations of materials and making. We invite ambitious and driven students to be involved in a collective discourse whilst pursuing their individual aspirations.

We encourage concentrated research of materials and techniques of making and an understanding of craft, that is influenced by an awareness of context; social, cultural, political and economical. The intention is to manifest explicitly conceived ideas into site-specific architectural designs with a civic purpose.

This year we challenge you to examine figurative and literal notions associated with ‘The Exotic’. This will initially be explored through a collectively conceived and constructed 1:1 installation and further elaborated on for your individual research and main project thesis.

With the expansion of trade since the 17th century, European imperialism had generated a fascination of faraway cultures, peeking at the beginning of the 20th century before the outbreak of World War I. A celebration of the exotic (otherness) provoked mystery, fear and beauty into the European way of living. Products from cultures around the world were considered pure and of high quality, becoming highly valued in an increasingly consumer society. The range of new products and artefacts first shown in the great exhibitions and fairs of the 19th century was truly overwhelming.

Collections of foreign artefacts form the foundations of several important cultural institutions around Britain; the Victoria & Albert, Pitt Rivers, Ashmolean, the British Museum itself, etc. Despite the steady decline of imperialism following World War II, the exotic has had an appreciable, although not fully recognized, influence on the evolution of British culture.

Study of the past is only the starting point for students to interrogate the role of the exotic in contemporary life and the spaces it inhabits. Exotic space questions the relationship of the familiar and the foreign, the self and the other.


In Term I, as a group we will explore techniques of making involved to develop installation that will celebrate the HISTORY, CULTURE AND RITUALS of TEA. Tea holds a continued significance of the imperial experience and remains the most popular drink in Britain since the mid 18th century. The site for the installation will be ROCHESTER SQUARE, near Camden Town (, an abandoned derelict nursery established in the mid 19th century and operating until its closure over a decade ago. After a period of being squatted, the site is now used as a creative hub and ceramic studio for local residents. The installation (or structure) will be the focal piece of community based event to take place at the end of Term I.
For the production and testing of materials and techniques we will utilize the Fab Lab and continue our unique relationship with Grymsdyke Farm. Combined, the two facilities will support both manual and digital practices. The supply of materials for the project will be sponsored by Piercy & Co.


For your individual design projects you are asked to form critical responses that engage a CIVIC purpose to be situated in GRANADA, CADIZ (the destination of our study trip) or LONDON. Your projects will continue to explore themes of the exotic informed by local historical, social/political, economical, material and environmental conditions to create speculative approaches for future scenarios. The theme is intentionally open to individual interpretation and encourages your own personal take for you to develop meaningful propositions that question conventions with contrasting approaches.

Project 1 – Rochester Sq Installation

24/09-10/12: Collectively learn, make, install and celebrate.

Study Trip

Term 1 – 18-25/11: Granada & Cadiz (& Tangier)

Project 2: Individual Design Thesis

Term 1 – Individual student research, define sites, brief development, initial design ideas, experimental concept models and drawings.

Terms 2+3 – Main Project Design Development and Final Design.

Use of the Fab Lab / Grymsdyke Farm to help develop material, technical and building component designs.