Tutors: John Zhang, Roberto Bottazzi, Paolo Cascone & Yota Adilenidou
John Zhang is an architect and director of Studio JZ. He has a particular research interest in museums as spaces for climate action.
Roberto Bottazzi’s research analyses the impact of digital technologies on architecture and urbanism. He is the author of Digital Architecture beyond Computers: Fragments of a Cultural History of Computational Design.
Paolo Cascone is the founding director of CODESIGNLAB. His research on high/low tech design and performative architecture sits at the intersection of environmental engineering and sustainable architecture.
Yota Adilenidou is a researcher focusing on computational methodologies and digital fabrication for the evolution and activation of matter and form.
Re-Imagining West Silvertown
Fifty years ago the report Limits to Growth predicted dire consequences for the world if a more ecologically and economically sustainable balance could not be found.
This year, we responded to the emerging masterplan for West Silvertown, and sought to re-imagine an alternative vision for this neighbourhood that considers the environmental challenges of this territory and suggests an alternative and radical model for re-making a piece of the city.
Through the design of a network of small-scale prototypes and a large-scale building, we have been exploring new ways in which communities and natural habitats can become symbiotic, resilient, adaptive and sustainable.
A particular emphasis has been on how architectural responses and environmental strategies perform at an urban scale against the tide of ‘business-as-usual’ city making. We have considered if a series of interventions to ‘infill, connect, add and replace’, could be the catalyst for change and a clue to a more sustainable future.
We have sought to follow a process of evidence-informed research and design, anchored in the data and the reality of West Silvertown’s imminent development. Critical to the success of the students’ proposals is an evidence-informed and iterative methodology for developing research from ‘data’, be it environmental, ecological, typological, morphological, socio-economic or historical.
The design processes have also been rooted in the idea of thinking through doing, be it measuring, modelling, simulating, drawings, animating or filming. We have encouraged students to push the boundary and consider how the environment can be better communicated through systems of architectural representation.
Over the course of the year, successful proposals have emerged which offer original approaches to sustainable design: from sustainable methods of construction to building performance; from careful consideration of spatial tectonics to creating socio-economically sustainable communities; from human comfort to sustainable ecologies that address non-human inhabitants.