In USE each student is encouraged to form an individual concept based on a thorough site analysis. The projects follow a (personal) narrative that is born out of the site’s history and its inherent potential which is developed through all design stages. The Atelier is exploring the boundaries of architectural practice and utilizes the techniques and working methods of other creative disciplines in particular fine art. As a result USE also creates ongoing collaborations between the MArch Course and the Fine Art Department and organises yearly symposia between the two disciplines as well as international workshops. This year, the Atelier’s activities included: a field studytour and workshop at Venice Art Bienale with Hochschule Mannheim, Fachhoschule Dortmund, Hochschule Coburg, EASD Ourense, Freie Universität Bozen, Marmara University, Manchester School of Architecture; a lecture by Kirsten Scott of Foster and Partners; and another on Art and Architecture by Sans Facon.

The topic for MArch 2 this year was to develop projects and spatial strategies that explore the nature of “Islands”. We asked: What defines the existence of an Island, when is a piece of land considered an Island and when does it stop to be an Island? What are the inherent qualities of an island, spatially and mentally? Is the surrounding of water or other elements essential to define an island? In times of growing tendencies to revert to nationalism and closing borders it is of vital importance to explore what drives this development and its derivation. Islands of different nature have been explored; starting with the investigation of the archipelago of Venice, where we investigated the whole archipelago as well as exploring the Art Biennale and participating in a 5 day International Workshop. Mixed groups of students developed and presented ideas as part of the Biennale Sessions at the Arsenale. The theme of the Biennale, May You Live in Interesting Times, acted as a guiding theme for the workshop and as a kick start to the Atelier Topic of islands. The primary site for most projects was the abandoned Pomona Island, a stretch of land in Manchester originally consisting of five docks on the Manchester Ship Canal.

Year 6

Professional Studies

Professional Studies 1

Severn House, The English Country House(ing) 2020

The task was to develop a new type of house(ing) that explored the potential of the country site as well as the unique location on the river Severn and its aspect of re- using the remaining columns from Dowel’s railway Bridge in Bewdley The students were encouraged to explore the nature of house and home in a broad sense. The proposals included new co-living models, science and environmental laboratory residencies as well as a new cycling tourism model and manufacturing facilities with on-site housing provision. All solutions had to reconcile low-carbon agendas with the atelier approach for the buildings to express a poetic quality that enhanced the landscape of the Severn Valley and explored new concepts and forms through experimentation.

Professional Studies 2

“Island of Poveglia”, Venice Archipelago

This brief required the transformation of the abandoned island of Poveglia, located south of Venice, which, amongst other uses, was once home to an asylum. The students were asked to develop strategies that transformed the whole island as well as the existing derelict buildings. It was important to explore the nature of this location and develop individual briefs or strategies by using contemporary technologies and design methods whilst respecting the old structure and its values. The students’ strategies began their development during our workshop at the Art Bienale where they considered the nature of islands and ideas that could instil a new life or programme to areas that are overlooked in the archipelago. A rare opportunity to visit the island and explore its derelict buildings enabled the students to create a thorough analysis that not only captured the physicality of the pace but most importantly its fantastic atmospheric impact. This led to highly imaginative experiential proposals including performance theatre venues; facilities for therapeutic treatments, a kids play island or an innovative “free” prison complex; all characterised by sensitive consideration of detailing and material use and clear decisions about the incorporation of new structures.


Year 5

Hu Tianyuan, Nuojun Lin, Philippa Jane Humphries, Thomas Charles Keen, Ka Wai Chan, Cheryl Jade Leung, Aron Mitchel Lewer, Francis Croll, Cho Yee Jason Cheung, Shanahan Siu Wai Leung, Zhong Haocheng, Lyu Mangting, Xiao Junfu, Liao Yitian, Christopher Mcmanigan, Kieron O'Sullivan, Angharad Jones, Patrick Millar, Joseph Kellerher, Julia Gei Ga Wong, Zhao Yimeng, Michael Rostock, Tom Shaw Ian Labrianidis-Kenny, Robert Joseph Cameron Clarke, James Robinson

Year 6

Faruq Agberemi, Maciej Augustynowicz, Andrew Boness, Asher Bourne, Kam Ian Chan, Callum Cherry, Georgina Charlotte Cormode, Anson Ho, Chenghe Huang, Joshua Jenje, Wei Liu, Lorna Lovatt, Jingyu Lyu, Daniel Mead, Evgenia Papaiakovou, Magdalena Plonka, Iuliana Silvi, James Soeno, Sarah-Jayne Stamper, Catherine Van Dorssen, Quan Wan, Jiacheng Ying, Jinhao Zhang, Runzi Zhu