In Year 2, students find themselves at a significant point in their studies, it is a moment that is both retrospective and prospective in the undergraduate trajectory. Having begun the year refreshing, reinforcing and extending skills acquired in Year 1, students move through the year, increasingly anticipating the culture and expectations of Year 3. This year students have undertaken two main architectural projects as well as shorter dynamic design activities. Their progress has been supported and enriched by the highly valued and successful RIBA mentoring scheme, now in its second year. In addition, engagement in the all school project and events offered collaborative experiences that further reinforce professional aspects of the subject and contacts with local practices.
The two design projects asked students to explore 'peripheral' conditions in opposing contexts - suburbia and the city park. Located on the urban edges of Manchester in either Wythenshawe or Simister, students initially designed a live/work unit for an entomologist, botanist or arborist. They explored the connection between programme, context, environment and daily rituals of inhabitation whilst considering ergonomics, atmospheric spirit, richness of material and sensorial experience. During semester two, the students returned to the territories city parks to explore the concept of 'gateway' at the interface of urban and park landscape through the design of a visitor centre. This allowed students to investigate long-span, modular construction and composite forms whilst resolving other aspects of technology, programme and materiality.