Design Studio 11


Tutors: Dusan Decermic and Elantha Evans

DS11 has been conceived as a supportive, self-reflexive, and critical framework for the development of a series of urban programmes identified with individual cities and their geographic, socio- economic and political situations. Shifting between design ambitions at a large geographical or urban scales and their implications at architectural inhabited scales, we explore the relationship between conceived space, representations, material, making and inhabitation. The studio notes a distinction between MArch1 and MArch2, enjoying the relationship between studio and other modules. We are recruiting a crew of inquisitive young architects with a love for city life (and maps!), honesty, bravery, a belief in architecture as key to society, and a keen sense of adventure. The studio will flourish if we assemble a multitude of talents, skills and interests. We are joint leaders and share the studio 50/50; our studio days are Monday AM + PM and Thursday AM only.

The Intrinsic | Extrinsic City

Binaries Opposed 2019-20


And so, DS11 2019-20, to ‘the land of ice + fire’, to Reykjavik, the world’s most northerly capital city, and possibly the last city in Europe to be established. A territory without palaces and castles, buildings unadorned, utilitarian; the vernacular driven by extreme conditions. Extremes in climate, in history, and in changing economic and political situations. A society now perhaps considered homogeneous, with a restrictive immigration policy, was once out-reaching, with the Vikings traveling far and wide. How will this year’s urban and architectural projects respond to its affordances and to its scarcities? What future is dawning on the island and what new Icelandic Saga will unfold? To cash in on the big investments already made into fisheries and fish- processing or to reconsider democracy through the lens of a country which established the first parliament in the world? To follow ‘events’ or a transformative ‘culture’? Before the modern welfare state came into being after the Second World War, Iceland was one of the poorest countries in Europe, with minimal agricultural land and a short vegetation period. Now it boasts one of the largest and most modern fishing industries in the world. Following the financial collapse of 2008, the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 had an effect that was felt worldwide but there was no second internal collapse. Resilience, patience, strength… the ice, northern lights, tourism, fish, feasts, folk and fire….

DS11’s fascinations and curiosities have shifted outwards to examine Europe’s extreme edges and their forgotten (ex)centricities and stories.* Now, alternating each academic year from North to South, we will ‘stitch’ these extreme territories together from West to East, working around the void of Europe left behind. From Cordoba in 2018-19 to Reykjavik this year and then to Napoli in 2020-21, each two-year sequence will bring together in sharp contrast a pair of cities lying loosely along similar longitudes, but always on opposing latitudes. Extreme geography results not only in the extremes of weather, but also in demographic movement, economies, socio-political situations, resources, integration and separation, in purity and dilution; do mythologies hold true? What does the future hold for these liminal territories and how can we respond to the cold and ‘scarcity’ of the North versus the ‘plenty’ and warmth of the ‘Mediterranean’?

64.1265° N, 21.8174° W


‘the land of ice + fire’

Semester One starts with a series of week-long, high-tempo, productive, short projects:

  1. 0-0  utlit: misskilnigur
  2. 0-1  utlit: misskilnigur
  1. 1-0  safna: neyta
  2. 1-1  safna: neyta

Suggestive Appearance Spilled Unseen Photogenic Collection All Consuming

drawn-implied-worded made-performed-recorded photophotogrammetry re-inventing typologies

place-time-space non-space-no-place found-space-placed place-specific-space

These projects will produce wide-ranging pieces of work, which form the basis for the publication of a ‘Catalogue’ [MArch2], a launch-pad for the second semester’s student-led thesis projects [MArch2], and as a thematic + typological development of an urban-architectural brief [MArch1] which sets the scene for the subsequent developed design work in Semester Two.

MArch2 Catalogue to thesis: treatise, proposition and architectural embodiment. MArch1 Reykjavik Hallmerki: new spaces of consumption. Programme, place, proposition.

Territorial investigations at a city scale are year-long, with focused studies ‘from a distance’ in Semester One and then ‘up close’ kicking off Semester Two with a five-day field trip to Iceland to finalise territory, brief, theme and site selections in and around Reykjavik. Parallel technical studies and thorough precedent research will link the Studio’s endeavour with Technical Studies and Strategic Report agendas; guided and focused design development work through the pursuit of studio-centric research into some specialist areas will link experiential intention with careful consideration of material, light, construction and ‘sustainability’.

Through observing, identifying, recording and re-presenting the subtleties of twilight from Cordoba to Reykjavik, connecting extreme place and considering differences in space, will drive detailed design studies linking Semesters One and Two and will run in support of the main thesis / design project development.

  1. 2-0  threshold: twilight: rooms
  2. 2-1  threshold: twilight: rooms
  3. 2-2  threshold: twilight: rooms

* DS11 is a studio with a long track record in examining and researching the European City, with a focus on the role of public buildings, the urban condition, the people and space caught in the flux of the wider European Union project, it’s politics and economy. The territories and themes explored from 2008 to 2017 were rooted in the core of Mittel Europa; methodology and projects have been described, celebrated and recently published in our ‘studio as book’, ‘The Intrinsic and Extrinsic City’ 2018.