Design Studio (Three) Five



Tutors: Bruce Irwin & Catherine Phillips

Bruce Irwin studied art and architecture at the Bartlett and Rhode Island School of Design and has lived and worked in New York and London. His practice combines design, teaching and curating.

Catherine Phillips studied architecture at the Bartlett and Manchester University, and art at City and Guilds of London Art School. Her practice combines architecture, teaching and art.

Time is a River

Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. 

Jorge Luis Borges, Other Inquisitions, 1952

Our focus this year was on the action of time and tide on site, programme and material. We explored avenues of sustainable construction in durable and renewable materials, and speculated about future forms and uses of the water’s edge in London. Issues of physical, historical, cultural, and social change have been examined in the context of rising (and sometimes falling) water levels. 

The area studied has undergone substantial change over the last century, shifting from an economy of small manufacturing and shipping into bedroom community for the metropolis. Large scale development is currently planned, which will push this to new levels. What interventions for employment, education, leisure, and culture are needed?

We worked in Brentford, West London, opposite Kew Gardens where the River Brent (Grand Union Canal) meets the River Thames. In semester one we examined two small sites adjacent to the river and near the Brentford Air, an island refuge for wild birds. In semester two we explored the current site of the Watermans Arts Centre seeking terms of renewal and possible relocation or re-programming within the local community.