The second year of the BA (Hons) Architecture course aims to foster students’ autonomy and constitutes a crucial step in their critical thinking and development; this year coloured by the move to Manchester Technology Centre and a studio culture influenced by physical openness and spatial connection.

This focus on continuity and flow through the physical learning environment has been key this year to an exploration of the notion of ‘transects’ through urban space, investigated and experienced through site and study visits to the Greater Manchester area, London and Lille. This has been underpinned by a continuous thread of Studio lectures, designed to inform, inspire and broaden knowledge and to offer the possibility to question.

The Studio projects were based on research by design, encouraging students to develop a phased design process from concept through to developed proposal, whilst addressing matters of local and global concern in both their specific response to a site and to wider issues of sustainability. Studio briefs were designed to nurture students’ curiosity and to stimulate synthesis between Humanities, Technologies and design, while raising awareness of current architectural and urban debates.

The Humanities and Technologies units along with Studio Skills workshops, in synergy with Studio units, collectively interrogate the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ of architecture and the built and natural environments within the second-year curriculum. It has been a pleasure to witness students’ skills and confidence grow throughout the year.

  BA2 Studio 2.1 and 2.2 Project Models Explained


Studio 2

Studio 2.1

2.1 A Slice of Stockport

The 2.1 Studio brief centred on living and working in Stockport’s topographically and historically rich urban centre, whilst accessing its vibrant gastronomic scene through study of the environmental and sustainability issues of food production and consumption.

The small infill site in the Old Town, suggested both specific constraints and latent opportunities to architectural solutions and made for interesting transects through level changes, unexpected views across an ever-changing roofscape, and consideration of varied building type and scale in the immediate vicinity.

With the climate emergency as a priority, the projects also celebrate both local food and cultural diversity. The live / work schemes designed by the students show not just a creative reflection on new ways of consumption and urban regeneration, but also a broad range of cultural approaches to the topic.

Studio 2.2

2.2 A Walk in the Park

With focus shifting to societal diversity paired with themes of architectural promenade, temporality and permanence and further responses to climate change, the 2.2 brief asked students to consider the setting of a riparian transect through a parkland landscape.

The pastoral character of the Irwell Valley at Peel Park in Salford provided a delightful counterpoint to the surrounding dense urban centre of the borough and to the previous brief’s distinctly granular context.

Students were invited to design a series of exhibition spaces that interacted with the surrounding land and cityscape and with the experience of visitors to the park and wider hiking and sculpture trails of the Irwell Valley. The placement of the site encouraged students to address the water’s edge as well as the change of level, whilst keeping the public access open.