The atelier is conceived as a think tank and test bed - a platform for research and experimentation in architectural design and is concerned with holistic understandings of design and sustainability. Within the evolving context of advanced architectural practice our interest lies in the interaction between technology and people, in the design and delivery of environments that support the needs and activities of contemporary and future society, in a creative, positive and equitable way. We engage and collaborate with specialist consultants and local community groups in response to live briefs as well as international competitions. All projects explore contemporary and novel design methods and material performances in tectonic and spatial propositions.

Testing occurs in application to a specific programmatic brief and this year’s themes in the atelier were expansive and intensive. PS1 projects addressed issues of surface and accessibility in Didsbury with the Civic Society. PS2 projects explored timber high-rise designs for sustainability (operative and embodied) in social and affordable housing in city-centre Manchester. Studio thesis projects begin with digital and material experimentation in the design response to a pavilion competition brief in Milan. Thesis projects then developed ideas, applying techniques and understandings of material performance to the high-rise design context. Projects range from detailed structural simulations and physical material studies, to computational simulations for master planning projects in Africa.

Year 6

Professional Studies

Professional Studies 1

In PS1, we consider adaptive re-use in an ‘extensive’ context or condition. The Advanced Practice atelier has been invited to join the ‘Future Didsbury Project’, a live project founded by Phil Downs MBE and the Didsbury Civic Society, who seek a more accessible place to live, work and socialise. Together with members of the community, they aim to tackle the debilitating effects of the poor condition of the existing built environment. Our goal will be to propose a range of detailed design strategies for Didsbury Village that visualise innovative ideas that examines and rethinks what is considered ‘an accessible high street’. The project aims to map out and test imaginative but credible architectural design proposals for a ‘Future Didsbury’. A key design objective will be to improve access and ease of movement for all pedestrians and vehicles that visit the village. The main outputs will be a strategic plan for the high street and a detailed design proposal for the adaptation of one typical existing retail building. Design proposals will be exhibited publicly at Manchester Central Library and shared with key stakeholders- members of the community, councillors, residents, businesses and schools. The projects will be an essential part of the on-going Future Didsbury Project. The exhibition will inspire and build momentum for a future Didsbury involving the participation of the whole community.

Professional Studies 2

In PS2 we consider an ‘intensive’ high-rise typology in a city-centre context to explore residential programme. The design research question and project aim is to explore and demonstrate the viability of timber construction as a structural solution for high-rise buildings. This will be explored and tested in the programmatic context of sustainable, affordable and/ or social housing. The project objectives will be to produce a building design that addresses and engages with current themes in relation to sustainability and demonstrates viability and limits of timber high-rise construction, including embodied carbon, energy performance in use and modern methods of construction (timber). Benchmarking against ‘exemplar’ designs will allow propositions in PS2 to be tested and evaluated. This includes built precedent and/ or measurement against published assessments and frameworks such as BREEAM, LEED, Passiv Haus and EU Levels etc. This includes critique and reflection of these metrics and standards. Digital modelling and environmental analyses will further allow exploration and refinement of design propositions. Prototype, Test, Conclude - portfolios will be structured to establish the key parameters and reference points for the project and develop a generic prototype design concept. This will then be tested in application to a specific site context and, finally, developed into a final design proposition to conclude the findings of the design research project.

Students

Year 5

Solomon Adebiyi, Natasha Blows, Emily Cheung, Natalie Man Sum Chan, Yan Chen, Liam Kristian Costain, Matthew Crossley, Laurence Culliford, Patrick Charles Davies, David Faminu, Isabella Kate Kendrick-Jones, Dimitrios Koumaris, Aslan Gabriel Lewis, Cheuk Ki Ma, Alin Pal, Shuo Pan, Yashovardhan Sharma, Alex Ching-Nam Tam Vickie Tang, Yuehao Wang, Tsz Ching Wong, Thomas Hayden John Wilkinson, Ovidija Zemaityte

Year 6

Dash Bernhard, Jia Jun Chu, William Horn, Tamara Keoshgerian, Ka Lun Derek Ng, Chun Yin Ngan, Ashif Shafi, Saad Sharifeh, Yu Zheng Tan, Jin Hau Tay, Anca Trimbaciu, Jingyi Ye, Ginfung Yong