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Unit 12

What is New? Matthew Butcher, Jonathan Hill

Year 4 Sophie Barks, Boon Yik Chung, Samuel Coulton, Iga Martynow, Dan Meredith, Elin Soderberg Year 5 Christia Angelidou, Mariya Badeva, Emma De Haan, Mihail Dinu, Clare Hawes, Rawan Hussin, Raphae Memon, Meya Tazi, Ioana Vierita The Bartlett School of Architecture 2017

Thank you to our Design Realisation tutor James Hampton of Periscope, and DR structural consultant James Nevin of Blue Engineering Thank you to Ben Clement and Sebastian de la Cour of benandsebastian Thank you to our critics: Ana Araujo, Alessandro Ayuso, Shumi Bose, Eva Branscome, Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange, Tom Coward, Oliver Domeisen, Ben Ferns, Paul Fineberg, Omar Ghazal, Sean Griffiths, Jessica In, Chee-Kit Lai, Constance Lau, Lesley McFadyen, Tom Noonan, Luke Pearson, Peg Rawes, Gilles Retsin, Tania Sengupta, Ana Vale, Nina Vollenbröker, Dan Wilkinson

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The desire for the new is seen in our need to consume the latest fashions, technologies, artworks and ideas. The promise of the new stimulates the recurring cycles of production and obsolescence that feed consumption in a capitalist society. But it is also a creative and critical stimulus to cultural, social and technological innovation. This year, our aim is to explore how this informs the ways we conceive and produce architecture. Often, what is presented as new is not new at all, but a revival of an earlier form, idea or practice. To ask ‘What is new?’ involves other questions: why is it new, how is it new, and where is it new? Alongside cultural and social investigations into notions of newness, we ask what is really new in any subject that concerns us. The 20th century avant-garde were the quintessential advocates of the new. They sought to discover art forms that would question bourgeois traditions and transform society culturally, socially and politically. Their influence was profound even though they were assimilated into the cultural establishment. To explore the possibilities for a better world, we ask what is a new avant-garde today, what should it propose, what values and systems should it question and why. To understand what is new, we investigate the present, the past and the future: we think historically. Defining something as new is an inherently historical act because it requires an awareness of what is old. We are not interested in unquestioning newness for its own sake, and we do not wish to reject the past or negate its value. Sometimes the old is even more radical than the new. Rather than the modernist tabula rasa in which the new destroys the old, we propose an evolving dialogue between the new and the old in which one informs the other. Thomas More’s Utopia celebrated its 500-year anniversary in 2016, reviving questions of its present relevance. One possible translation of its full title ‘De optimo rei publicae deque nova insula Utopia’ is ‘Of a republic's best state and of the new island Utopia’. More was reputed to have refused to translate his Utopia from Latin, but we look at translation as a means to imagine the new. Our site is Berlin. More than any other European city, Berlin offers a cavalcade of buildings that were once really new. Continually reinventing itself, Berlin offers a historically and politically fecund environment in which our students proposed a state, an island or a quarter of considered newness. Initially this new state was remotely imagined from London. In Berlin we set its foundations, and on our return to London this ‘city within a city’ was brought to fruition.

Bartlett Summer Show 2017 Book  

The Bartlett Summer Show Book 2017 is a snapshot of the distinctive and radical work of students at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL...

Bartlett Summer Show 2017 Book  

The Bartlett Summer Show Book 2017 is a snapshot of the distinctive and radical work of students at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL...