Design Studio (Two) One

BA Architecture

YEAR TWO – DS2.1

Tutors: Dr Corinna Dean, Neil Kiernan and Duarte Santo

Dr Corinna Dean established ARCA, the Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture, which explores rural topologies and their relationship to landscapes. Corinna’s photographs and installations have been exhibited at Margaret Howell, RIBA and Sheppey, alongside workshops at the South London Gallery and Kochi-Muziris Biennale exploring sites and materials through their constitutive elements to contribute to a resilient ecology of place, environment and building, which values local knowledge. She is a member of the Expanded Territories Research Group at the University of Westminster. She completed her PhD at LSE Cities Programme.

Neil Kiernan is a practicing architect having specialised in the residential and interior sector at a number of award winning  practices. In parallel with practice work, Neil is a design tutor across  first and second year design studios. He is currently developing research interests in the areas of performative occupation of space and gender readings.

WETLANDS/BADLANDS: land and water interwoven architectures

Observe, test, draw, model, re-examine the process and re-examine the programme: what does my building do, how and for who, and within what context?

Methods: Our studio has an emphasis on material culture, pursuing the possibilities of materials and making, casting, and modelling.

SEMESTER 1: WALTHAMSTOW WETLANDS

Students will identify and describe what is Common Ground in an urban context with reference to urban landscapes. Referencing former industrial or working landscapes they will examine the Walthamstow Wetlands. Its adjacency to major built up urban areas raises interesting issues about thresholds, shifts, barriers, adjacencies, indicators. The reinterpretation of large swathes of landscape close to urban areas for urban recreational use is a contemporary phenomenon that can be observed in many metropolitan regions.

The students will investigate the site drawing on ideas framing landscape typologies, routes through the site, interconnecting points to the urban, as well as understanding how the site responds to climatic conditions, and water collection, soil types and local flora and fauna.

SEMESTER 2: SAVE LEA MARSHES

We will build on the previous semester’s work, which looked at identifying and describing what is Common Ground in an urban context, with reference to urban landscapes. Referencing former industrial or working landscapes the students will turn their attention to the Lea Marshes. The text Bastard Countryside by William Mann, Witherford Watson Mann architects, raises many issues about the importance of former industrial sites and their contribution to ecologies. The site’s adjacency to major built up urban areas raises interesting issues about thresholds, shifts, barriers, adjacencies and  imaginaries for the future urban use of the area. The reinterpretation of large swathes of landscape close to urban areas for urban recreational use is a contemporary phenomenon that can be observed in many metropolitan regions. And most importantly how does the public and ecologies co-exist.

We will work with the Save Lea Marshes Campaigners who are working with Thames Water, London Borough of Waltham Forest and other stakeholders to identify options for a development at the Thames Water Depot site that will bring this site into a Park-compatible use. Appropriate uses would include (but are not restricted to) one or more of the following and this will form the students’ brief for Semester 2:

  • A waterside visitor hub incorporating leisure-related uses
  • A biodiversity-based and/or heritage-related visitor attraction
  • Accommodation serving visitors to the Park
  • ‘Community’-related activity and uses as defined by the Authority’s adopted Thematic Proposals
  • New recreational or sporting facilities.
  • A reed bed public swimming pool
  • A venue for the School of Speculation

The type, scale and design of any development would need to be appropriate in term of the site’s designation as Metropolitan Open Land and its location within the heart of the Regional Park.