Design Studio 20

Master of Architecture (MArch RIBA Part 2)

Tutors: Maria Kramer and Corinna Dean

Maria Kramer co-founded the Live Design Practice, developing Live Projects including 1:1 Pavilions, now situated at Harrow Campus. She is a tutor for the Professional Practice Part III Course. She is director at the architecture studio Room 102 with its main interest in community driven and public realm projects.

Dr Corinna Dean is a member of the Emerging Territories Research Group, she founded the Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture in 2014. She has carried out a series of co-production projects working with the Canal + Rivers Trust as well as Cody Dock, River Lea, with a focus on river contamination and remediation.

The Live Design Studio is integral part of the Live Design Practice with the aim to:

  • provide a platform to work on Live Projects with the opportunity to understand first-hand the complex relationships such as from a political, social, ethical, economic and environmental perspective
  • build up collaborations with internal and external partners across disciplines and with councils and industry promoting knowledge exchange
  • promote agency and a wider understanding of the range of career paths whilst exploring alternative and new forms of practice
  • focusing on participation and bridging the gap between planning and making and access funding for Live Projects and Research
  • act as an innovation accelerator with the ambition of impacting the built environment, including IP development and progressing the school’s capacity into a centre of excellence


Ecologically lead Community Regeneration

How do we create neighbourhoods which encourage social interactions and place making, whilst promoting ecological awareness and ‘civic-ness’? How do interventions have the potential to act as vessels of interaction with social and ecological opportunities, shaping architecture, whilst strengthening local identity and culture?

Project 1 – Community Hub Live Project

Initially we will investigate our ‘live site’ and the wider context as fragments of social interactions and develop ‘live mapping’ methods to visualise and develop innovative ways of representation. One of these ‘fragments’ will be the QHT funded Community Hub for a Therapeutic Horticultural Centre, which we will design and help build, collaborating with stakeholders and industry partners, whilst developing innovative creative community engagement methods as part of a co-creation process. The aim will be to holistically learn from multi-layered ‘live investigations on the ground’ and develop ‘bottom-up’ design methodologies stretching from 1:1 to urban, with the aim to increase social impact and social capital as well as local ecologies. We will combine this with investigating in a phenomenological approach of experiential experimentation as well as promoting an epistemological understanding in regards to knowledge creation. A collaborative approach encourages early input from specialists, such as fabricators, contractors, consultants and makers whilst gaining direct, hands- on experience of the detailing and construction process, enhancing and broadening a range of skills, and developing confidence through dealing with stakeholders and construction professionals.

Project 2 – Hybrid proposal

The areas around the site have significant large-scale housing developments, with the average stay of inhabitants of ~4 years. Clearly these new developments lack local identities and communities, that anchors people to stay long-term, invest in and benefit from local communities. The initial analysis, engagement and investigative research, will be re-examined and further developed with the potential to include ‘live engagement’ with residents based on which alternative visions will be developed, including ideas from the ’15 Minute City’, which will culminate into a group masterplan integrating students multi programmatic radical proposals exploring the relationship between culture and nature, between architecture and ecology, and rethinking human-environmental relationships with a regenerative one-planet approach.

Site – Cody Dock

Our site will be Cody Dock, a not-for-profit dynamic organisation located South of the Olympic Park along the River Lea. The former Coke Smelting site housed a dock and warehousing facilities. It now operates as a vibrant hive for engaging the community with the environment and urban ecologies from citizen science projects to infrastructural work.

‘Our central paradigm for urban ecology is that cities are emergent phenomena of local- scale, dynamic interactions among socioeconomic and biophysical forces’

Alberti et al., quoted in M. Gandy, Natura Urbana, Ecological Constellations in Urban Space.

Simultaneously we would like to elaborate in regards to our area of influence as architects and designers today and how this has changed throughout history. What are the various roles an architect takes on within society, what are the parameters and risk factors of decision makers at various design and construction work stages? How can we impact, influence and question these within our current economic and political system?

Field Trips: we will organise regular field trips to precedents we can learn from and with the potential of a trip abroad tbc;

Partners and Collaborators: Wilfred Achille, Alastair Blyth, Alessandra Foderaro, Pete Silver, Will McLean, Chris Meloy, Enrica Papa, FabLab, Alicia Pivaro, Jan Kattein, Building BloQs, Simon Myers – Cody Dock;