Tutors: Anthony Boulanger and Stuart Piercy
DS16 likes making physical things. The studio is run on a platform for students to experiment and invent architectural and spatial concepts initiated through in-depth investigations of material techniques and the making of physical artefacts, created both manually and digitally. The studio is taught by award-winning architects who are also award-winning academics, generating practice-based design research.
Anthony Boulanger is Senior Lecturer and co-founding partner of the design- and research-led practice AY Architects.
Stuart Piercy is a founding director of Piercy & Company. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and patron of the Yorkshire SculpturePark and the Royal Academy.
This year we invited students to radically re-make; to re-invent, re-use, re-cycle and re-think, emphasising the relationships between technology and nature and directed at re-vitalising and/or re-inventing lost, marginalised and exploited communities. The challenge was to create more radical solutions, both large and small, that support communities affected by climate change and social-political injustices.
We started the year with a 5-week project entitled CAST & RE-CAST where we collectively evaluated materials and techniques of artefacts (cast or otherwise) in the context of the natural and built landscape at Grymsdyke Farm,a test bed for a large community of makers, including DS16, over the past fifteen years. After carrying out a one-day audit of a huge number of pieces on location – in the workshop, house, library, orchard and fields – collaborations of three were asked to produce a new artefact to be re-evaluated in the cultural and environmental context of the farm. Six ambitious, engaging and joyful site-specific pieces emerged, employing different material processes: rammed-earth, paper, concrete, fabric and ceramic casting.
Our study trip transferred the themes to Puglia Italy, the general location of main individual projects. Despite an incredibly layered history, Puglia is today one of the most disadvantaged regions in the EU. After years of suffering from de-population as a result of de-industrialisation, the region has more recently been burdened by drought and a devastating blight that has killed 15% of its 150 million prized olive trees. Students developed their own research, wrote their own briefs, found their own sites and devised their own programmes to speculate critical (radical) and experimental interventions and unorthodox building typologies with a civic undertaking. Inherent were strategies of adaptation, re-use and resourcing, supported by attitudes of passive environmental design and how buildings can become vehicles for energy harvesting and exchange, whose morphology is shaped by the local climate.
Design through making: 1-to-1 material studies and scaled maquettes for exploring spatial constructs was strongly encouraged along the way.