First year at Manchester School of Architecture focusses on understanding and developing each individual students’ character, skills, aptitude and passion, as part of a vibrant, diverse and inquisitive cohort. We ask students to bring their existing knowledge and be open to experimenting to unlock a new understanding of architecture. Each project begins with an investigation of a variety of elements, and demands a synthesizing and fusing information into unique design proposals. Sites this year were in UMIST’s public space, Manchester’s Northern Quarter, as well as asking the students to connect one project to a gig venue in their own location, wherever that was in the world!

Our BA1 cohort has shown resilience and maturity throughout the difficulties and challenges provided by the pandemic. Students have developed robust design methodologies and processes as well as an impressive toolkit of skills and expertise. Emphasis was placed on the students’ own heritage and culture to create individual connections to each brief. Students were encouraged to experiment, play and refine their designs, along with consideration of the wider issues affecting architectural practice such as the climate emergency and ‘otherness’. Studio activities use a series of ‘doing’ words as titles, (starting, presenting, evaluating, reviewing etc.) to call the students to action each week and cultivate an appreciation that architecture is something we ‘do’. This year students have demonstrated their ability to synthesize the context surrounding spatial design including social, economic and political factors responding to complex design briefs with sensitivity and creating accomplished projects.

  BA1 Slideshow



Studio 1.1

Studio 1.1

MYSPACE began the year with an investigation of the room the students found themselves inhabiting for the year (or for that moment). Surveying, understanding scale and an eye for detail were key in this project, and imaginations were challenged to suggest an improvement to the space. From the outlandish to the practical, ideas were communicated through 3D models and 2D drawings.

MOVE SPACE explored the relationship between human movement and space in the design of a pavilion for a specific dance style, selected by the student. The design process started by visualising the movement observed in the dance and designs transformed movement into space by exploring atmosphere, shape and surface and how these elements impacted on the audience’s perception of the dance. The pavilions were sited in and around the public space at the old UMIST campus.

EXPLORATION instead of the usual European or UK based study trip, we challenged students to explore their current environments (urban, rural or even internal, in the case of those in quarantine) with newly architect-trained eyes. Surroundings were documented through sketching, photography and diagramming.

STOPOVER explored the notion of ‘home’ through the design of a micro-home for a musician, which was parasitically attached to an existing gig venue. Students used a musician as protagonist for their project, examining the human form and specific ergonomics and personality of the musician. By locating projects on existing buildings, it gave students the opportunity to consider context in their design solutions.

Studio 1.2

Studio 1.2

MAKER / SPACE began by inviting students to select a product from their home country or town, heritage or culture. The brief asked students to design a new building for the manufacture, sale and exhibition of that specific product. The city centre site was located on Piccadilly and Gore Street.

SITE/ PRODUCT/ PROGRAMME asked the students to interrogate the given site using desktop research as well as making site visits where possible. Students researched their product by documenting the manufacturing process, as well as investigating the programmatic challenges of the brief. This project ended with a review of initial designs with invited guests from practice.

RESOLVING saw the culmination of project development and concluded in a final design of a building for the students’ imagined clients.

EXHIBIT explored architectural drawing and model making as a method of communication through the creation of one outstanding exhibition piece. Methods and testing were recorded in an experimental sketchbook.