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Yasmine Dimitrova BSc Welsh School of Architecture 2019 Graduate

Year 3 Case Studies Brief

Find an urban common that challenges the traditional relations between urban dwellers and the space they inhabit. Find whether there is a pattern or a rule that can be extracted and inform my design proposal. The Commons is a third mode of societal organisation 1. a resource 2. a community gathered around it 3. a set of rules to care for the resource (and community “Urban commoning neither simply “happens” in urban space, nor it does simply produce urban space as a commodity to be distributed. Urban commoning treats and establishes urban space as a medium through which institution of commoning take shape.” -Stavros Stavridis

Anatomy of Societal Spaces

What are the spatial layouts and architectural configurations that support the emergence of successfully societal and communal spaces? how architects have been challenging past traditional typologies to design (more or less) successfully societal spaces?

Anatomy of societal spaces

SESC Pompeia Factory, SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil



In order to preserve the characteristics of the place Lina Bo Bardi decided to keep most of the building as it is. To maintain existing spatial qualities on the site she focused on placing objects freely within the space, like a thin concrete structure which divides the main room into a library, an exhibition space and lounge group, with a fireplace and a river that runs through them all. By placing these objects she creates different levels of public and private spaces via these objects which vary in height and form. The reused structure now consists of five floors with a block of tennis, pool, workshop area, library, living rooms and exhibition, auditorium are distributed, a restaurant and a large solarium.

Social Su

Y The C Unit Leade


Year 3 Commons er Andrea Bugli


Urban inequalities between the richest niches of society and the growing working class are now at their highest point in history. The brief requires the repurposing of an abandoned structure that would serve the local community as a place to develop a common resource.

Concept Class Division

For the purpose of my design concept the choice of location is redirected to abandoned sites rather than abandoned buildings. I explore the issue of class division in Tower Hamlets, London, specifically the areas spanning across Limehouse and Canary Wharf. The region between both districts portrays a visible contrast between upper class and working class. This can be seen from the deprived Robin Hood Gardens to the shiny financial centre Canary Wharf.

Theatre as a Political Tool

I am using theatre as a political tool to inspire social cohesion, discussion and debate. Forum Theatre is a theatrical technique used in areas of social justice with aims to explore solutions to oppression featured in the performance by allowing the spectators to become part of the performace. The design propoosal does not offer a solution to social class division but rather a physical space where the ‘two cities’ can meet. While acting as a place of gathering it is also an instrument with which to disrupt the banality of the capitalist city. It’s location is purposefully targeted to be on a high traffic site.

Vaclav Havel and The Political Use of Tragedy Aristotle’s Coersive System of Tragedy

Tragic Hero: the protagonist presented as an example which should be followed in certain characteristics but not in others Ethos: ethos and dianoia, the two constitute the action developed by the character; dianoia is the thought that determines the act

Diaonia character

Except One: all passions, all the habits of the charachter must be good, with one e x c e p t i o n


Hamartia: the tragic flaw; the only ‘impurity’ that exists in the character; the only thing that can and must be destroyed, so that the whole of the character’s ethos may conform to the ethos of the society


Ethos spectator Reason

The coersive political philosophy of Vaclav Havel, playwright turned president The Velvet Revolution, 1989

Government respects and fears Theatre’s ability to engage and change the mind of its Audience

Government bans Havel’s plays

The plays are distributed to the public and secretly performed among people

violent resistance vs nonviolent resistance

Tragedy units people around a common cause, leading to The Velvet Revolution, 1989

Site Analysis Tower Hamlets Proportion of deprived areas in Tower Hamlets In most deprived 10% In most deprived 10-20%


In most deprived 20-30% 24

Income Domain




Income: older people





Income: children Housing and Services



Crime 26


Employment 6





Health 7

Education 1 5






Living Environment


26 24



working class




<25,000 25,000-30,000 30,000-35,000 35,000-45,000 >45,000

creative class

To Limehouse!


One of the original stated purposes of a new Hall for Limehouse was to disseminate political ideas ‘To Limehouse‘ became a synonym for giving a political speech when David Lloyd George attacked the House of Lords,Limehouse, 1909, and the area was known for its active interests in debate and politics. From the time of its opening the Town Hall has been a venue for political speeches and local meetings, and a focus on the labour movement and for celebrations of local governement The Situationists encouraged people to create ‘situations’: moments in which the monotony of the capitalist routine is disrupted without having to buy stuff They wanted to encourage people to find moments of truth and real experience The Situationists became so influential to parisian students, which lead to “May 68”

Limehouse, Town Hall

La Société Du Spectacle Guy Debord, 1967

Limehouse Town Hall is a valuable civic resource underpinned by a belief that arts and culture can create progressive changes in individual lives and society

The Situationists International outside Limehouse Sailors’ Mission, 1960 now a luxury apartment block

Mute is a British online magazine that covers a wide spectrum of subjects related to cyberculture, artistic practice, left-wing politics, urban regeneration, biopolitics, direct democracy, net art, horizontality and UK arts

A Tale of Two Cities Canary Wharf vs Limehouse A â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;battlefield mapâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; created by The Commoners

high traffic upper class

working class

The Commoners get together to discuss suitable sites to erect their temporary spaceframe structure with the goal of disruptingn the banality of the capitalist city and introduce playfulness through theatre. The structure does not offer a solution to class division but rather an opportunity for people to get together and through theatre create moments of real experience and truth. Theatre inspires debate and discussion among people.

SITE A Location: Ropemakers Field Advantages: Surrounding Buildings: Class: Working class +Upper class

SITE B Location: Westerfy Overground Station Advantages: High Traffic + High visibility Surrounding Buildings: Council Houses Working Class

SITE C Location: Westfery Circus, Canary Wharf Advantages: High Visibility to Higher Upper Class Surrounding Buildings: High-Rise Commerical Class: Higher Upper Class

Site B Abandoned Site near Westferry Overground Station

Travelling into Limehouse - council houses

Travelling towards Canary Wharf - skyscrapers

Temporary Space Frame Forum Theatre Plans

Ground Floor

This is the place where all the commoners get together before the show. Actors, directors, writers, jokers, costume designers, makeup artists, technicians and cameramen






1 3




ramp1: used only by spectators arriving to the event ramp2: used only by spectators leaving the event ramp3: used by the Joker and the actors (the commoners) to allow them to emerge from under the stage and disappear under the stage once their individual acts are over


The platforms are designed to look like stairs so that they invite the spectator to walk down to the stage and replace one of the actors. -stage - used for performance by the commoners and the spectator who decides to replace one of the actors. Also used by the joker who facilitates the whole show, discussions and debates.

Roof Plan

To avoid a large amount of steel connections in the centre of the roof a decision was made to leave a large void to allow light to hit the stage where the actors are performing. The fabric is used in a way to create gradual shading from the platforms to the stage. The audience is in the dark and the main lights are directed towards the actors.

Placed in a high traffic locatin consisting of cars, public transport everyday flow and introduces a different route bringing you into a opacity and a dense s

A flow of people coming and going, while the show goes on. It could last for a whole day, as long as there are people coming in

ramp for spectators

ramp for leaving spectators

seating platforms

stage and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;backstageâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;

ramp for jokers and actors only

t and pedestrians, the temporary space frame disrupts the generic an immersive structure created with fabric with different levels of space frame structure

Entrance to the space frame. A Joker greets the guests and gives them further instructions

Phase 1 The fabric is light. The guests start playing acting games as instructed by the Joker. This is to break the ice and ease them into the acting scenes they will take part of later

Phase 2 The acting games continue. This is the darkest part of the ramp. The idea of the fabric is to immerse the guests

Phase 4 The play is on. The guests chose a moment they want to step down and replace one of the actors to offer solutions of their own

Phase 3 The space brightens up and the guests are about to arrive at the platforms where they take a seat and observe the play

Utilising a Genetic Algorithm for Finding Optimal U Introduction Issues in cities and urban design could be looked at as a series of parameters that need to be considered in the early stages of the design process. By integrating these parameters, using fitness functions, we could maximise the success of our solutions and responses. What we are testing is singular-objective GA’s potential to be a multi-objective GA within an urban landscape context. The results provide us with an improved understanding of parameter interaction in relation to geometry and performance. For this project, our goal is to minimise solar radiation during heating period, using a known genetic algorithm – Galapagos, an evolutionary solver built into Grasshopper for Rhino.




Galapagos is a small component with only two inputs. One is genome and one i the fitness value we want to optimise, wh In order to give more controls to the user we create

Methodology 1. Generate landscape using DeCoing Spaces. (Fig.1,2) 2.From this geometry we derive 4 variables: FAR: Floor area ratio is calculated by dividing a building’s total floor area (gross floor area) by the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. G: We represent the street network of the geometry as vectors, and by manipulating the slider for the angle between these vectors, we achieve either an orthogonal or an organic city grid SR: Using Ladybug for Grasshopper, we set a desirable threshold according to a prior test, being X kWh/m2. Radiation Analysis period was set from June X to September X, located in Sofia, Bulgaria. V: Variation of building heights – we used 3 different strategies for providing with variation of building heights, in the end sticking to the random component


The genetic algorithm is run 4 times, with one of the param tion. Aiming for optimal

Floor to Area Ratios:



Urban Forms Solar Radiation Sensitivity Analysis

We conduct tests to calculate the approximate solar radiation/m2 In the tests we calculate the solar radiation per square metre on a single building in relation to the shading it receives from surrounding buildings: Fig.3 38.55kWh/m2; Fig.4 35.06 kWh/m2; Fig.5 62.6 kWh/m2 Average of all tests: 45.4 kwH/m2 This is now our solar radiation threshold.




is fitness. The genomes are the set of variables we want to adjust. The fitness is hich is the Solar Radiation in this case. ed a formula that plugs into a single objective GA

meters being given the largest weight for the specific simulal solution for each variable.

Solar Radiation:

Variation of building heights:

Despite GAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s popularity, evolutionary processes have not yet been broadly applied within architectural practice. Arguably, one of the main challenges in urban design is the quantity of information, which forms a complex network of multiple variables. A successful design solution would be one which is able to adaptively align all these variables without disrupting the whole of the city. A more investigative study of Gas is necessary in order to make them more approachable and accessible by architects.


Run the code using Octopus, for the 4 variables, without the weighting equation and compare the results.

Literature David Jason Gerber, Eve Shih-Hsin Lin, Evolutionary Energy Performance Feedback for Design: Multidisciplinary Design Optimization and Performance Boundaries for Design Decision Support, August 2014


Thank you to Dr Wassim Jabi, Anas Hosney and Dr Bailin Deng


Yea Semes Primary Unit Leader D

l Sustainability

ar 2 ster 2 y School Dr Ed Green

Brief The following programme is for a primary school for 210 pupils ranging in age from 5 to 11 years old Program: Two reception classes – 15 students each – including dedicated WC / cloaks and bag store. Six full size classes, years 1 to 6 including WC / cloaks /bag store. Classrooms should allow space for activities suited to age range, includinga teacher base, group work, soft play / story / wet areas/ resource centre, storage room–for assemby, dining, PE, community use out of hours. Kitchen –linked to dining hall(s). Servery –part of kitchen, connected to hall(s). Entrance / reception –with some level of security and waiting area, sick room, Admin office –3 staff Head’s office, staff room, Caretaker’s room, plant room and store (with access to outside)

Concept Greenhouses instead of Walls and an Energy Generating Roof Water-collecting butterfly roofs with solar panels facing south. The water is used for the 8 m tall greenhouses which seperate the spaces. The trees and plants act as a buffer between classrooms to create a sense of privacy but yet mainting the fluidity of spaces. The greenhouses generate heat which is transmitted to the neighbouring rooms. They also act as a hideaway space for kids. The design also incorportes a green roof with skylight domes above the dining space. Students can go up on the roof for fun sporty activities, yoga and picnics.

Museum Create a central ‘museum space‘ where students are allowed the time and freedom to choose what they want to do. Their choices will illuminate their individual strenghts. Inspired by Cedric Price’s ‘Fun Palace‘ the museum space provides a setting full with evocative objects which inspire active learning by letting students pick what to engage with. In museums, visitors are free to move at their own pace and plan their own activities. They are free to read wall text or take audio tours, follow a recommended trail or chose their own path. Museums invite learning rather than require it. This space is used by the local community after hours for banquets, meetings, presentations and other activities.

Science Meets Art Canton is an inner district in Cardiff, Wales, where many artists and young professionals reside. Chapter Arts Centre, at the heart of Canton, is the home of contemporary arts in Wales. This is an opportunity to create an exciting link between Canton Primary School and Chapter Arts Centre, equally so for the students, parents and the community.

Canton Primary School

Outdoor green spaces Greenhouse




Study Spaces Reception

Sick room Changing

Plant room



Chapter Arts Centre

First floor Museum space used by community after school hours Greenhouse




Head Office

Roof Plan

Solar Panels

Water-collecting system Green Roof


Staff Room

South Elevation

West Elevation

East Elevation

Butterfly Ro

oof Section

Green Roo

of Section

South Facing Classrom

North Facing Classrom

Evaluating Media Coverage of Architectural Excellen Housing Projects 2008 – 2018 Introduction Architectural media should serve as the means of communication between academics and practitioners. Otherwise the value of academic research is rarely commented on and the influence it has on building regulations, design guidance, standards and codes of practice, is lost over time. This research proposes an evaluation framework for analysing media coverage. This is important as the framework serves as a measuring tool, which assists in understanding how a system works. If we understand how a system works, we can control it, with the purpose of improving it. Practitioners do not always have the time or capitol to accommodate a programme of research work, or more specifically to document the findings and new insights from their research. Furthermore, existing knowledge is difficult to navigate as some findings are kept from the public domain as a result of their commercial value to practice. The process of managing and organising knowledge is itself a process of research.

Evaluation Framework for Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis

Critique Evaluation Cod

Case Studies Excellence

Methodology Articles on the selected case studies were download from different magazines and uploaded to NVivo as our ‘sources’ of investigation. The sources were then classified in 3 main groups according to the case studies’ theme Theme1. Architectural Excellence Theme 2. Architectural Sustainability Theme 3. Architectural Excellence + Sustainability

Newhall “Be”

Category: Suburban, Apartments


Category: Rural Detached House

15 Clerkenwell Close Category: Urban, Apartments, Offices

nce and Sustainability in the Architectural Press:



A Matrix Coding Query run to analyse the critical investigation of projects publishedspecifically by the AJ, as they happen to be the official media outlet for projects awarded by the RIBA.



Exellence and Sustainability

There is a necessity for a more effective knowledge gathering and exchange between academics and practitioners. Current architectural media coverage is merely descriptive of projects. Lack of critical investigation leads to the built environment being rarely both of architectural excellence as well as sustainable excellence. This research aims to emphasise the importance of more critical analysis of built projects.

Recommendations: Outhouse

Category: Rural Detached House

Dundon Passivhaus

Category: Rural, Detached House

1. Interview the architect of each project, asking what magazines their practice is subscribed to 2. Finish coding all articles 3. Write an example article portraying a critical investigation using appropriate images relating to the text.


The Eco Lodge

Category: Suburban, Terraced House

One Brighton

Category: Urban, Apartments

Gwilliam, JA & O’Dwyer. (2019). Architectural Design and / or Sustainable Building: A Question of Language? SArch 2018, Venice, Italy, May 19 – 21 RIBA (2014). Architects and research-based knowledge: A literature review . February 2014


Tribe Apartments

Category: Urban, Apartments

Zero Carbon House

Category: Urban, Terraced House

Thank you to Dr Julie Gwilliam and Sarah O’Dwyer for their valuable advice, insights and thought-provoking conversations.

Economic Su

Yea Semes Hou Unit Leader M


ar 2 ster 1 using Michael Corr


The housing development may be up to fifteen units in size, but could be considerably smaller. The proposal is therefore to deliver 5-15 dwellings, all of which are to include: sleeping places for each person,with natural light, fresh air and privacy, places to sit, relax, read, watch TV, places to cook, eat and wash (people and clothes), storage space for clothes, kitchen ware, toys, tools, books. Appropriate access, including parking, asd etermined by residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;needs shared / communal spaces as required by your particular group of resid=ents. Direct access to outdoor space. This may be individual or shared, and could include roof gardens, terraces or balconies. Spaces should be suited to residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs.

Concept Alienation

My concept begins with the exploration of the daily life of the average young proffesional, 25-50 years old through a comic (computer-generated) It explores peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alienation from their jobs which takes up most of their time, because of travel, traffic, long working hours, unsatisfying relationships with coworkers and by the end of the day they are too exhausted to explore hobbies which further alienates them from their jobs and existence The second comic describes a more ideal daily routine , which is transit oriented, explored through hand drawing. The transit oriented concept inspired me to further explore mixed-use development.

Transit Oriented Development

This is an urban development that maximises the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance. This is a way to reduce the use of private cars and promote sustainable urban growth. Denser settlements provide easy access and therefore require less energy usage by the average human. I chose to pedestrianise Delta Street to eradicate car and noise pollution, demolish the building skin of Tesco, use its remaining structure and design high-density prefabricated housing units which are stacked and have green roofs. I moved Tesco to a smaller space, on the ground floor, by making space for more local shops to be included. The stacking of blocks, creating communal green spaces, provides the residents with an opportunity and even a necessity to be self-goverened to optimise ues of the gardens. This project seeks to find balance between the individual and the collective.

The orginial design of Tesco. Heavy and disliked by the locals of Canton, Cardiff.

Remove skin of Tesco Leave Structure

Use pre-fabricated brick panels and stacking

Creating different levels of privacy and visibiility


Mixed-use development housing

Shops and Businesses - housing variety and density, more walkable neighborhoods - reduced distances between housing, workplaces and businesses - better access to fresh foods - more compact development, land-use synergy -â&#x20AC;&#x153;sense of placeâ&#x20AC;?, community identity

Picture Window

“You know your friends are nearby, because at night you hear the neighbours through the walls”. (...) Marriages which might break up otherwise are saved, depressed moods are kept from being worse, by talking, talking, talking. “It’s wonderful“, says one young wife. “You find yourself discussing all your prolems with your neighbours (...)“ As time goes on, this capacity for self-revelation grows; and on the most intimate details of family life, court people become amazingly frank with each other. No one, they point out, ever need face a problem alone. (...) Even the architecture becomes a functional battle against loneliness. “Just as doors inside houses - which are sometimes said to have marked the birth of the middle class - are disappearing, so are the barriers against neighbours. The picture in the picture window, for example, is what is going inside- or, what is going on inside other people’s picture window.” - The Sane Society, Erich Fromm, Man in Capitalist Society, p.153

Ground Floor - Local Businesses and Shops linked to Pedestrianised Delta Street


lt De

idge R

oad Ea stt

eet r t aS


g Spac n i k r a P

First Floor


d Floor

Roof Plan

Design Principles and Methods Urban Growth: Application of Conwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Game of Life in predicting urban sprawl Module Leader Dr Wassim Jabi Authors Akezhan Zhunussov Yasmine Dimitrova

Step 1 - Choose a map you would like to explore. Upload and edit on Adobe Illustrator to mark the occupied residential structures in red, each pixel representing a single building.

image source: 2009 Detroit Residential Parcel Survey; Data Driven Detroit, Created November 2014

Step 2 - Load script on 3dsMax - Select ‘Step Forward‘ to observe the emergence pattern - Finally, ‘Save Image‘ as a bitmap

Surrounding the static buildings begins the emergence of new buildings, which start forming potentially occupied land and greens spaces. The newly introduced buildings influence the emergence of more surrounding buildings, hence, creating denser communities. The development of this urban sprawl characterises the key principals of the Game of Life of Conway, yet at the same time, refers to the basic concept of urbanisation based on overpopulation/underpopulation.

Further applications After processing an existing urban condition, it would be interesting to create your own. As this script has the potential to include more variables and rules, one can try out new formations and introduce their own view on an urban growth. This could be achieved by simply drawing on the bitmap.

Profile for Yasmine Dimitrova

Part 1 Architectural Assistant Portfolio | Yasmine Dimitrova  

Part 1 Architectural Assistant Portfolio | Yasmine Dimitrova