YEAR 2 – DS2.3
Tutors: Shahed Saleem and Bruce Irwin
Shahed Saleem is a practising architect, teacher and author. His area of specialism is in researching under-represented architectural histories through participatory and other methods. His practice focuses on public and community buildings, and he writes on architecture, heritage, and cultural identity.
Bruce Irwin studied art and architecture at The Bartlett and Rhode Island School of Design. His practice combines design, teaching and curating. He is a founder and co-director of SCAN Projects, a not-for-profit initiative that supports emerging artists, which operated a project space in east London for five years Current projects include the restoration of a 13th century building in Granada, Spain.
What Lies Beneath
This studio takes a slice of London and studies its layers – urban, architectural, cultural, economic – and explores the city through a range of research methods, looking at its built fabric, architectural histories, social and cultural stories and economic activity. By building up a complex and multi-layered narrative of the city, we consider this through inventive and vibrant visual and architectural methods.
We are interested in how cities are a collection of parts, each moving at different timescales – they exist in different temporal zones. Some parts of the city are about memorialisation; about the past, about enshrining a certain historical story. Other parts of the city are about rapid change; about the future, about envisioning and reshaping. Where do these temporally different parts of the city meet, and how do they coexist alongside each other? Where is the past remembered, where is it celebrated, where is it erased, and who controls this process and how are these decisions made? In a city like London, we wonder, what does it mean to remember and what does it mean to forget.
Our site this year was Elephant and Castle, an area of London with many layers of buildings, history, cultures. The Imperial War Museum to the north represents a site of memorialisation – or remembering – of memory, of histories and stories which are preserved and narrated. The south of Elephant and Castle is a zone of housing and retail that is continuously being remade; the Victorian city was replaced with post-war housing, commerce and a transport infrastructure. This is now being replaced with a new form of rapid development to a wholly different scale than what has come before.
The students responded to these urban histories and conditions through creating installations, and designing new architecture which is tied in with the existing.