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About the Atelier

The contemporary world is characterised by the development of a more profound understanding of how the human species affects the global ecosystem of which it is an integral part. This emergent knowledge field is fuelled by the increasing capacity and sophistication of computational processing that enables complex models to be developed that simulate our existence and cultural operation. This evolution is beginning to affect the way we both understand space and anticipate architecture by informing the concept of developing urbanism and the capacity of our world to support civilized cultures in perpetuity. We are poised on a threshold where systematic and holistic ecological models will promote a paradigm shift in the concept of development as it is applied to operations that take place in, on, over or under land.

The atelier is concerned with the operation of buildings over time and as a result promotes simulation as a point of departure for conceptual thinking and a methodology for presenting the flow of design construction, use and adaptation. Rethinking the ecology of building and landscape use and the instrumental competence of materials, construction and environmental systems in an increasingly urban world is a critical aspect of the unit agenda. Understanding the ecology of buildings using biomimetic models engages students with strategic attitudes to sustainability and ecologically viable approaches to building design, use and adaptation that meet the challenges or exceed the expectation of aspirations for our relationship with the environment in a global ecology.

Projects during 2015-16

Atelier qed started the year with a Digital Design and Fabrication Symposium that brought together our postgraduate and undergraduate ateliers around the theme of the LAKA competition that generated two shortlisted entries from qed student groups.

We achieved further success in the RSA Design Awards with two groups of Masters students shortlisted in different categories within the award system.

Our theme of information work environments continued with concept office buildings advised by 5 plus architects who developed the 'airport city' masterplan for Manchester that was interpreted by MArch Year 1 students with supporting workshops from Bruntwood and the Sheila Bird Group.

We undertook projects relating to mining, quarrying, marine and freshwater ecologies in Cornwall assisted by ESI (Exeter University), Camborne School of Mines, the Delabole Slate Company and the Wheal Jane Group. We collaborated with the University of Florence, CATE (MMU) and Grimshaw Architects to develop aviation projects in Cuba, Malaysia and Iran. qed students participated in international workshops in Havana, Florence and hosted students and staff from the University of Nicosia at a Biomimetics Workshop delivered by Michael Pawlyn and Yaniv Peer (Exploration Architecture).

Projects during 2014-15

Atelier qed developed its project portfolio to include a 'live' design and build project for Bruntwood (a leading developer) arising from an RSA competition to explore information work environments in which three of the four qed entries made the final shortlist including the winning proposal. We achieved further success in making the final shortlist for the RSA 'Creative Conditions' competition operated ascross a wide range of creative disciplines in the UK. Our theme of information work environments continued with concept office buildings advised by Bruntwood and Higher Education projects arising from a masterplanning competition in Shenzen (China). We undertook projects relating to both marine and freshwater ecologies in Newlyn (Cornwall) and Shenzen assisted by ESI (Exeter University). We collaborated with the University of Florence and CATE (MMU) to develop aviation projects in addition to a multi partner Horizon 2020 bid to explore assessment tools for sustainable aviation developments. We were assisted in this area through continuing collaboration with Foster and Partners. qed students participated in international workshops in Havana, Florence and Manchester (with the University of Nicosia) and the atelier hosted a symposium for our Horizon 2020 partners.

Projects during 2013-14

Atelier qed developed its project portfolio to include 'live' design and build projects for the National Trust and collaboration with practising professionals (Nvirohaus and green triangle) on professionally oriented competitions generating entries selected for public exhibition. Further collaboration on sustainable contemporary housing was evidenced through work with the Biospheric Foundation in Manchester and exhibited entries to the d3 : Housing tomorrow competition for projects located in Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

Student success included a prize winning entry to 2014 Tata/BCSA architectural student competition that complemented continuing collaborations with Grimshaw Architects around the theme of Higher Education Environments and the Environment and Sustainability Institute (University of Exeter) exploring the mining landscape and related ecologies in Cornwall (England).

qed students participated in international workshops in Havana, Nicosia and Manchester and the atelier jointly hosted our third 'Digital Design Symposium' with atelier Re_map welcoming internationally recognised contributors to the msa. Our atelier study trip to Cornwall was supported by valuable contributions from Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios and the Camborne School of Mines.

Projects during 2012-13

Atelier qed students received nine citations from the ten international competitions entered during the year and engaged in international student workshops in Havana (Cuba) and Nicosia (Cyprus) as well as two live collaborative projects in Montserrat and Manchester. Twelve different students received recognition with two being successful with two projects in two separate competitions.

Professional collaboration included detailed studies undertaken with Fielden Clegg Bradley (FCB studios) and Eurban. A symposium on digital design and fabrication was undertaken with 'atelier remap' that included presentations from leading experts in the field including Dirk Krolikowski (Rogers Stirk Harbour) and Dr. Tuba Kocaturk (Liverpool University). Live collaboration included contributions from atelier ten, Grimshaw Architects, the Environment and Sustainability Institute (Exeter University) and senior staff at MMU including Vice Chancellor Professor John Brookes.

Projects during 2011/12

The qed atelier engaged in a number of international competitions undertaken in teams and by individual students as major projects that allowed us to explore evolutionary design strategies in a variety of contexts that address the environmental challenges for architecture in its contemporary setting and promote models that respond positively to change in the future.

Student success included the winning entry and a shortlisted finalist in the in Natur 2012 competition, category wins for both Sustainable New York and Masterplanning in d3 : Housing Tomorrow 2012 and first, second and third prizes in the 2012Tata / BCSA Airport competition. Fourteen of the sixteen atelier students were recognised for seven separate projects in international student competitions with five students being recognised twice (for two separate projects).


Continuity in Architecture

QED Catalogues

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2015/16 Catalogue
(PDF 109MB)

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2014/15 Catalogue
(PDF 31MB)

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2013/14 Catalogue
(PDF 15MB)

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2012/13 Catalogue
(PDF 14MB)

Atelier Staff

Colin Pugh
Unit Leader

Siobhan Barry
Senior Lecturer

Dominic Sagar
Senior Lecturer