Complexity, Planning and Urbanism, (CPU) develops new theoretical approaches and computational tools using a complexity science framework. These are intended to affect the design, management, governance and understanding of future cities related to climate change, citizen participation, development strategies, resilient interventions, policy making and urban morphology. Computational processes are used to augment conventional static design methods and theory by enabling a temporal and dynamic process. The MArch atelier is strongly linked to the CPU_Lab where research into frameworks enabling the development of new approaches takes place.

Our research is transdisciplinary and currently spans Future Cities, Smart Cities, the internet of things, agile governance and cities as complex adaptive systems. The brief for MArch 2 looked at harnessing the power of natural intelligence. Designers have always been inspired by the forms of nature, and their abilities to solve difficult problems in novel and beautiful ways. However, up to this point our inspiration from nature has been limited to ‘bio-mimicry’, or the reproduction of nature’s physical forms in new designs. The students took a step further by understanding how nature designs by incorporating evolutionary design methods and encoding all the unique properties and abilities of its individual members. Using iterative design processes the students instead of designing objects, designed systems to explore the full range of possible outcomes of a particular design problem and learned methods for measuring and quantifying the performance of these systems for evaluation by the computer and designer. This exploration was carried out at occupancy, building and urban scales by exploring spatial and physical aspects of the site as well as sustainable development perspectives by measurable goals such as walkability, participatory design, resilience and well-being.

Year 6

Professional Studies

Professional Studies 1

The brief in project one explored Design for Mass Assembly (DfMA) using Building Information Modelling (BIM) in order to understand how digital design could complement off-site manufacturing and modular construction in high density housing. Around the world different industries, as diverse as automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and more, are innovating to improve their productivity. Through the application of new technology and automation, productivity in these industries is on the rise. Architecture and construction companies have started to apply new design and productive technologies such as BIM and DfMA to their projects to realise significant productivity improvement as compared to the traditional methods that rely heavily on unskilled workforce and craft based methods. Our aim is to better understand the potential of these innovative technologies and assess the impact they can have in architecture and the built environment. Our students were asked to develop a Digital Delivery Strategy, using BIM, that specified the level of resolution and the types of data that needed to be built into the model at each stage. This resulted in a customisable parametric model for more effective and efficient facility operation and management.

Professional Studies 2

The brief in project two explored the limitations of a re-use project on Manchester Metropolitan University campus, the Righton Building (1905) on Cavendish Street, a constrained (listed) site, in direct contrast with computational design methods. The students explored the idea of Adaptive Re-use as a special form of refurbishment that can be quite challenging for designers. The programme selected was a hybrid between design school and maker space to allow for integration within the existing university grounds for students to take advantage of. The aim of the project was to come up with an appropriate spatial strategy which firstly analysed the existing building and secondly conceive the potential for its future conversion and use. By combining old and new architecture the designer is expected to retain the authentic character of the existing building while providing a new use. The approach was expected to use creative ways to act as a new catalyst for an existing historic site while re-inventing an economic and social value.


Year 5

Reiji Nagaoka, Tere Sagay, Andreas Maragakis, Maryam Al-Irhayim, Seenam, Shitian Lin Linyu Li, Henry Baker, Elise Colley, Abbie March, Wenjing Ma, Jinyu Liu, Tiantian Ge, Zakaria Islam, Yuirui Chen, Josh Quinlan, Siyu Xie, Menghan Chen, Jiao Xie, Junjie Su, Sunny Jagtap, Michael Williams, Aifa Muthuraman, Iathei Luke Chan, Aliaksei Tsikhanchuk, Jingrui Wang, Laura Lapadat, Iulia Lup, Crissti Dubină

Year 6

Celeste Abayomi, Zohra Abbas, Yaseen Bhatti, Adam Chown, Jessica Corns, Daniel Cruse, Connor Forecast, Jizhe Han, Nadeem Hanna, Shambhavi Joshi, Deven Kara, Alex Kendall, Benjamin Miller, Michael O'Reilly, Raya Pavlova, Lour Roberta, Benjamin Sayers, Jack Seymour, Jingsi Sun, Aaron Underhill, Yingying Zhou