Master of Architecture /
We are preoccupied with data, mapping, networks, representation and visualization. We are interested in the contemporary city as a political, economic, social and cultural hybrid in flux rather than as a fixed place.
About the Atelier
We are principally concerned with the ownership of space, its perception, demarcation and [mis]use in the contemporary city. We have entered a post-digital age in which why and how we design has become as significant as what we design. We embrace new mapping methodologies to make the complex accessible and the latent visible. Urban and cartographic space may be historically bound, but emergent networks are formed from information space, physical space or social space; often a hybrid of these types, whether organising patterns of data, navigating the city or representing hierarchical relationships within and between socio-political structures. The question of what constitutes territorial, community, networked and residual space is paramount to our research. This depends on a reading of near-futures underpinned by an understanding of global economics and the reality of a limitless information space and datascape. The devices of appropriation, enclosure, severance, fragmentation, and cultural identification of space are examined as, simultaneously, forces and reactions in physical space and within the datascape. It is with these enquiries that we construct an ideological position. We re_make the urban field in response to the confluence of revealed data, systems, flows and processes.
We mobilise the unit as a platform for design and theory teaching, testing and research in relation to architecture within an expanded and continuous field. We then operate with this data to develop strategies for change, urban renewal and landscape processing. We believe the studio to be a research laboratory for analysis, evaluation, prototyping and dissemination. Strategic proposals are formulated across a range of scales from master-planning through to 1:1 detail production. We synthesise legible solutions as a response to the systems and processes we engage with and explore and define new methods of visualisation. We re_model the urban landscape.
Projects during 2012/13
In 2012/13 we are producing research into post-capitalist urbanism, or perhaps more specifically, examining a fundamental question - what happens to cities when the money runs out? The context for this year's projects is the stalled Westfield site in Bradford. Critical readings around key thematic dialogues: re_mapping the urban landscape, politics and identity, power and control, and consumerism and resistance have informed strategic responses to the urban landscape. We have been developing new mapping methodologies and analogue/digital interfaces to engage with datasets and assist the communication of our research. A key characteristic of this research was the exploration of datascapes and processing of information to inform master-planning and decision making. We conducted field operations in Basel, Switzerland, Weil am Rhein, Germany, and Ronchamp, France, to further our understanding of architecture both as an object in space and as an event in time. The 5th years are engaged with 1:1 prototyping, manufacture and assembly through parametric modelling, CAD/CAM processes and other forms of visualization and modelling. The 6th years are devising and refining sophisticated responses to the physical, economic, social and cultural conditions of their chosen fields of inquiry.
Projects during 2011/12
In 2011/12 we conducted research into the relationships between infrastructure, urbanism and interstice in the contexts of Stoke-on-Trent and Croydon. Through research, experimentation and discourse concerning the dialogue between infrastructure and urbanism, alongside its resultant residual spaces, projects were developed that addressed the nature of urban space. Investigations on infrastructure and networks (physical and digital) were subsequently developed to form strategic trajectories across a range of scales; from micro-programming of niche urban situations to proposing extensive and phased macro-urban scenarios. We undertook field operations in London and Paris to further our understanding of infrastructural urbanism, collaborating with external partners including: Hawkins\Brown, AOC, Arup, and Croydon Council. We then bifurcated the studio group with year groups moving along different research-by-design trajectories. The 5th years produced research on the impact of complex, phased, regulated development and exploiting precipitant fissures in the urban fabric through speculative interventions that sought to converse with the politics of such spaces in an adaptive manner. The 6th years defined thesis design projects that encompassed extensive re_programming of the urban landscape leading to re_definition, re_generation and re_use.
Dr Nick Dunn
Instruments of spatial control
- Data versus the ‘Discardscape’ 30 Apr
- Infrastructure + Interstice 4 Feb
- Welcome to the Ageing Future 30 Jan
- London heliport 17 Jan
- eltono – navigator|commentator 18 Dec
- the end of architecture? 19 Oct
- polarities 20 Sep
- future forming (and other strategies) 17 Sep
- Abstract Urban Topographies – Data Mapping # 2 22 Aug
- Cellular Urbanism – Data Mapping # 1 31 Jul