Design Studio (Three) Five

BA Architecture

YEAR 3 – DS3.5

Tutors: Sho Ito and Neil Kiernan

Sho Ito is a registered Architect and the founder of Studio-ITO. Ito graduated from the AA and has worked for RSH+P, DRMM and AHMM across the commercial sector. Ito is a First Year Studio Master and a Diploma Technical Studies tutor at the AA.

Neil Kiernan is a practicing architect having worked at a number of award-winning practices. He is design tutor for 1st & 2nd Year BA Architecture at Westminster. Neil also has a continued & developing interest in the research of gender space and architecture.

New Re: volution


This year, Studio 5 will explore the phenomenon of the ‘New Revolution’ by investigating what continues to provide the necessity for human interaction and be mankind’s fundamental primary space, the community. As a studio we will speculate how the 5th industrial revolution will impact how we might interact on a day-to-day basis, whilst considering the impact and change to familiar city centres such as Soho. The New Revolution will impact all parts of human life, thus inevitably shaping lifestyles, living conditions and shared systems in the complexities of today. It is understood that human behaviour emerged from what can be broadly categorised as 4 basic forms of evolutionary processes associated with human revolution. First Revolution; used water and steam power to mechanise production around 1784. Second Revolution; used electric power to create mass production, thus the division of labour. Third Revolution; used electronics and information technology to automate production generating Ideologies and cultural artefacts through the creation of institutions and technology. Fourth Revolution; the current it about the rapid change to technology, industries, and societal patterns, increasing interconnectivity and smart automation in our daily life. The co-evolution of these four revolution has dramatically altered human behaviour and its relationship to the whole planet.

The studio asks students to speculate on the next “New Revolution”. To think, develop and propose designs that speculate beyond the conventional meaning of what a community might mean in the 21st Century. The studio will boldly, yet sensitively speculate and propose an alternative lifestyle and spatial condition manifested from the precarious political, cultural, environmental, and social anxiety, that urban living has perpetuated over recent years. The projects will be exploring the potential of the ‘New Revolution’. It will challenge and speculate spatial conditions that are unconventional, unique and spatially rich that nurtures new ways of thinking, living and interacting with the built environment and each other. Through rigorous analysis, research and readings, we encourage students to confront contentious issues and construct unorthodox proposals which challenge ideologies around alternative modes of ‘lifestyle’. The project should provoke questions of community and modern lifestyles, whilst addressing what the “New Revolution” might entail.


As a studio we will be exploring Soho as a site of testing and experimenting. Soho lies in central London, and has gone through numerous changes that has shaped its character of today. The area is a threshold and intersection of different cultures, social groups, communities which makes the vibrant and energetic area so appealing to visit and experience. As a studio we will challenge and propose the next social group + community that will inhabit Soho as a playground to live, work and play.

Project 1:

The focus of Project 1 will be Conceptual Explorations & Iterations. We will be drawing, modelling, and making through an iterative process. Through the series of iterations, we will be exploring and questioning spatial conditions, thresholds, and architectural normality. Students are expected to challenge the ‘norm’ and consider radical changes that has the potential to speculate a new form of community, that is driven by various parameters.

A dogmatic approach is therefore vital to generate a steep learning curve from the student. By continuously “doing”, students naturally develop speed, control, and experience to articulate ideas through drawing and other communicative media. There will be a strong emphasis on the use of drawing as a tool to communicate ideas and propositions, whilst models as three dimensional mode of interaction. This can only be done through a repetitive and iterative working process, meaning drawing/making, re-drawing/re-making and further re-drawing/re-making, to develop the skills to execute work that clearly communicates your architectural intent. It is without question that this requires students to show dedication and engagement with their studies, ensuring they motivate themselves to do more than the minimum amount of work requested.

Project 2:

The focus of Project 2 is to use the skills developed in Semester 1 to be able to augment the architectural intent and strategy. Project 2 will be “Concept” driven, where architectural ideas, issues and agendas each student is interested in will be the foundation to the design development and final scheme. We will develop the ideas from a provocation and continuously question the status quo. Soho is loosing its vibrancy and multiplicity through gentrification and political pressures. How will the revolution change the overall programme of Soho, what types of communities, social groups will be present and what forms of new building types could emerge from the necessity? Nothing conventional nor a singular type, one hopes.


Studio 5 emphasises ‘design’ in response to a provocation. We will be continuously drawing, modelling, making and hypothesising a near-future scenario. We seek provocative and bold architectural proposals that can intervene in these precarious conditions and shift conventional ideas. We believe that the design proposal is not a solution but a reaction, therefore the proposals could either control, react, resolve, deter, neglect and/or exacerbate the condition investigated. The studio is an incubator to question, think and test ideas, a place to take risks to confront contentious issues and construct unorthodox readings to propose alternative possibilities.


The studio believes in the act of ‘drawing+making’ as a process. It is not simply an act of representation, but through the interrogation of ‘doing’, students will discover spatial tensions, social conflicts, and subtle potentials. We will design through a dogmatic iterative process of drawing, testing, experimenting, and making, which will commence from a thorough research and analysis of the new revolution. Therefore at the start of the year, we will conduct a series of conceptual formal explorations to develop vital 2D drawing, 3D modeling and visualisation skills required to enable students to augment their ideas. In parallel to the skill-based sessions, we will be inviting past students to present their work and share their experiences.