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Architecture as a Poetic Machine: a machine is ‘…a combination of resistant parts, each specialized in function, operating under human control, to utilize and perform work…’ Lewis Mumford; above: sextant, an instrument used to measure the angle between any two visible objects, technical drawing, pen on paper; below: scale model: timber and steel. 1

Luke Kilpatrick yr 5


“Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light� John Milton. The tower is a journey through darkness to achieve enlightenment and understanding; a monument to Hospitalfield and its history. above: sketches describing interior atmospheric; oil pastel on paper Ainslie Innes yr 1

Travelling Pavillion: Axonometric; pencil on paper; Construction models; cardboard 2

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Fego Omorobe yr2


model showing how blocks define the public spaces within the building; 1:200

Images show the light and closed, narrow space in one of the three fractures. it is a part of main circulation that has

Layered brown card

a vertical link to all floors, it emphasizes external form and height of the building and celebrates solid/void spaces.

Douglas Sturrock yr 3

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Maija Viksne y3


Inspired by the incidental spaces created by the changing density of the city grid, a process of extracting negative space from a solid form served to create a dialogue with the site. the resultant scheme is a cluster of volumes, occupying the Roofscape of 3 sub-terrainean galleries reflecting the cascading internal route, sketchup and artlantis Ross Mcdonald yr 4

space left within the walls of the existing stone structure and aggressively punching out to the fringes of the site boundary. 6

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Colin Davies yr2


Spatial Syntax:: 'Space is a doubt: I have constantly to mark it, to designate it. It's never mine, never given to me, I have to conquer it.' (Georges Perec, Species of Space + Other Pieces) This trajectory drawing of explores the contraction and expansion of space unfolding the journey

‘The Look’, Analysing how William Halley Mill stares at its subjects

through Kiasma, by Steven Holl, where the individual is the constant and the space moves around the body. Natalie Russel yr 5

Photography, distorted in darkroom, 210 x 297mm; Ink on paper, 840 x 590mm 8

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Stephen Mackie, y5


Landscape Urbanism. Human artifact emerges as an act of nature; above: sketch of Sao Paolo Favela; below: dundee waterfront proposal Mateusz Richter, y5

Monocentric Development: Housing Development Balmerino; above: section Craig Johnstone; below: group model 10

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Micro Macro, y5


Scotopia. : The duration required for human eyes to adapt to optimal dark conditions is reflected in the depth of this entrance. Optimal dim light is required inside; intaglio etching print 410 x 540mm Sean McAlister, y5

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The Smithsons and the emergence of New Brutalism Francis Young

The fundamental aim of Brutalism at all times has been to find a structural, spatial, organizational and material concept that is necessary’ in this metaphysical sense to some particular building, and then express it with complete honesty in a form that will be a unique and memorable image. Banham (1975b) How do you go about charting the emergence of a movement in art or architecture? No movement works in isolation. Each is born out of the thoughts and events that preceded them. Each is a comment and reaction from peers and successors. New Brutalism is but one strain of architectural theory that came out of the development of the Modernist cannon. The two most evident influences on the Smithsons’ architecture and their rhetoric were the great colossuses of Modernism: Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.Le Corbusier’s career is vast and its importance to architectural development cannot be understated. However when it comes to understanding the emergence of New Brutalism there are a couple of salient points to appreciate. One is Le Corbusier’s evolved use of materials as his career progressed from the Purist white architecture of the 1920’s through to his use of breton brut of his later career. The second being his ideas on town planning and its development from the Athens Charter of 1933, the Ville Radieuse. Le Corbusier began experimenting with the use of materials in the early thirties but where this shift in appreciation came most evident was in the Unité d’Habitation (194752). Banham (1975a) describes how he “re-appraised also the aesthetics of reinforced concrete, abandoning the pathetic fallacy that this was a smooth precise machineaesthetic material, and once more enquiring after its true nature.” This ideal being from which they developed their “honesty” in use of materials. If the Smithsons learned honesty of material from Le Corbusier then they learned honesty of structure from Mies. The Smithsons (1994) themselves state their admiration: “the clear architectonic articulation of structure, and structure to skin and partition, and partition to door-frame and so on, in Mies’s own built work is so clear.” This is illustrated in their first built work, the Hunstanton School, which is homage to Mies’s steel and brick buildings of IIT.

The influence of the Masters’ cannot be underestimated, as Wilson (1995) put it: “Modernist orthodoxy was dominated by two buildings of outstanding authority in formal terms – the Unité d’Habitation of Le Corbusier and the Seagram Building of Mies van der Rohe… One the prototypical demonstration of mass production in concrete elements, the other in steel and glass. Together they came to exercise over the minds of architects during a period of worldwide post-war reconstruction, the authority of instant solutions” The Smithsons attempted to take on the mantle of Modernism from the Masters. They rightly identified many aspects of the Masters’ architecture that they would be right to emulate and equally identified the points on which they were wrong. A case in point would be the Smithsons objection to the Ville Radieuse. They correctly perceive its inhumane nature, Le Corbusier’s willing disregard for the fabric and grain of the city. They themselves go on to postulate a differing theoretical position in which the grain of the city becomes the conceptual inspiration (the ‘Cluster City’). They took inspiration from the street orientated communities of the East-End of London and wished to use this in architectural and masterplanning ideals. However when it came to actually employing these ideals they do so by ignoring the street environments. Their design for the Golden Lane Housing project (itself comment on the Unité) is the first manifestation of these street ideals through the employment of ‘street decks’ However the building itself runs at an angle on the site ignoring the street landscape that was its conceptual base. This mixture of insight and ignorance is what somes up the Smithsons’ career and the failings of New Brutalism. The failure to take in fully the complexity of the problems at hand. And this in turn meant the failure of New Brutalism to convincingly continue the ideals of Modernism. The failings however being inherited from Modernism itself; the failings of “instant solutions.” Banham, R: Age of the Masters; A Personal View of Modern Architecture. Whitefriars Press Ltd, Tonbridge, 1975a Banham, R: ‘New Brutalism’ In Hatje. G and Peht.W (Eds): Encyclopaedia of Modern Architecture. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1975b Smithson, A + P: Changing the Art of Inhabitation; Mies’ pieces, Eames dreams, The Smithsons. Artemis London Ltd, London, 1994 Wilson, C. St. J: The Other Tradition of Modern Architecture; The Uncompleted Project. Academy Editions, London, 1995 Zimmerman, C: Mies van der Rohe. Taschen, Cologne, 2006

Architect Kazuo Shinohara Thomas Rainey


Ambiguous Landscapes

Manifesto for Urban Engagement

Lewis Benmore

‘Managed Landscape’- ‘Britain is a landscape altered by man. There is very little, if anything, that remains untouched and primitive within it, and its sense of place has been generated as much by the hand of man as by the way in which nature has responded to the management of the land.’ (Dan Pearson, ‘Spirit’, 2009:38) In order to read a landscape we must first explore how human interaction alters a landscape and can become a process that forms a landscape. The way man moves across and inhabits the land, creating boundaries and paths, influences the way people experience certain places. Our perception of the landscape is also influenced by the form and space, as well as the atmospheres created through natural processes like weather. A series of explorations will give rise to a greater understanding of the sensual relationship that man has with the land. Photography is a useful tool to investigate form, space and atmosphere, capturing the emotive experience that results from each exploration. The common theme that emerged as a characteristic of each landscape is an overwhelming sensation of disorientation. The disorientation experienced in each exploration relates to a loss of awareness and the confusion caused by blurring perceptions of place and direction that result in a feeling of abandonment. To develop a clearer understanding of what it is exactly about each landscape that creates this phenomenon, it is possible to compare similar themes including the use of scale, rhythm, route and colour in the work of several artists, sculptors and architects. The familiar landscape around Kirby-le-Soken after a period of heavy snow creates a sense of disorientation and disengagement; because the snow becomes a homogenizing element the characteristics of the landscape are shrouded in a white veil. Man’s occupation on the land has been temporarily erased. The almost threatening ability nature has to overpower humanity in a short number of hours; familiar pathways, boundaries and landmarks are no longer identifiable, creating a feeling of complete disorientation. The empty stillness the snow study communicates creates a sensation of detachment from that landscape exaggerated by the memory of being in that

Ryan McLoughlin

place. In comparison to the snow covered landscape Antony Gormley’s ‘Blind Light’ alters the environment that it inhabits to create a space that affects our sensual awareness. The installation consists of a luminous glass room filled with a dense cloud of mist. As the visitor enters the room they become disoriented by the visceral experience of fully saturated air. By limiting the visibility to less than two feet it creates a sense of vulnerability and challenges the visitor’s sense of space and their physical relationship to others within it. In Gormley’s words: “Architecture is supposed to be the location of security and certainty about where you are. It is supposed to protect you from the weather, from darkness, from uncertainty. Blind Light undermines all of that. You enter this interior space that is the equivalent of being on top of a mountain, or at the bottom of the sea. It is very important for me that inside it you find the outside. Also you become the immersed figure in an endless ground, literally the subject of the work.” This comparison has identified factors that can deceive a person’s visual coordination like the lack of scale, perspective, colour and repetition, in a variety of mediums such as Gormley’s Blind light or the disengagement a change in temperature and the absence of direction creates by concealing routes and landmarks under a blanket of snow. The feeling of disorientation is a relatively new experience brought about by mans ever-increasing disengagement with the natural landscape. The exploration of a landscape under the theme of disorientation has highlighted the fragile relationship between man and nature on both an emotive and physical level. IMAGE? [tbc]

My city is not a collection of buildings and streets but the sum of my experiences in it. Your city is the sum of your experiences. Although both cities share one name they are very different. By constructing situations we construct our cities, not out of mortar and stone but out of collected experiences. These 7 points are own my rough guide for constructing situations which define the city.

Engage in the physical manifestation of the city. Build a house, a castle, made of timber or of glass, in a tree or on the ground. Build a wall to fence it in or fence them out. Break a wall and make a path for which to connect the city. Building in space is a powerful tool for constructing situations; they could provoke reaction or provide shelter. Structures in the landscape, innately, legitimize temporary activity, as the structure remains after the activity. In this way that tree houses legitimizes kids playing in trees.

Digress Choose a path then leave it for another. To digress is not to wander aimlessly, but to allow inquisition to guide you. The city is full of signals, which repel and attract the observer. A glimpse of an internal court yard may entice as a busy street may repel. This is a way of studying the city’s fabric and its network of spaces.

Embrace fear “adventure without risk is Disneyland” Douglas Coupland Fear in the city stems from many sources, for instance, the fear of being caught quickens our pulse or the fear of falling, from height, releases adrenaline. Risk heightens experience. What if we could experience the excitement of the ski slopes, in the city? What if there was a hiking trail through the suburbs?

Open up the city Some thresholds are subjective some are enforced by law, all should be questioned and some heavily tested. As we move through the city we are confronted by barriers, some are walls while others are merely thresholds. These architectural devices are powerful tools which delineate ownership in the city. There are a multitude of opportunities, in the city, for extending the public realm in to seemingly private spaces. By having an open city we create opportunities for dialogue, and social interaction.

Play Extend play beyond the designated spaces in the city and engage the city with a childlike approach. Play is as much a mental state as it is the accompanying physical actions. It is the openness to new opportunities and the willingness to explore the unknowns. Play can be the way we test our bodies and our ideas in the city. Without this approach to the existing city, a new city will never be imagined.

Find the edge The spaces between are the forgotten bits of the city, unseen and unwatched. Places away from what was certain. These spaces are the antithesis of the mall or of Jane Jacob’s, bustling, New York, street. It is in these wasted spaces that we are free to act out our desires thereby learning about ourselves, our capabilities and our limits. Break/Make/Bend/Fake the Rules The societal structures which guide our deeds are opportunities for constructive misdemeanor. Life in the city is structured by many layers of rules. As with all human constructs rules should be actively questioned. By reducing laws, rules and regulations to mere guides, for behavior, we are able to find new ways for engaging in the city. Build to legitimize event.


Connection to Nature in an Imaginary Edinburgh Aidan Williams

This isn’t a story of an Edinburgh that exists. Rather, it is one that could exist if seen through the right eyes. Future expectations of places are built from past experiences and it can therefore be said that spatial qualities affect our experiences and can inform our actions. In creating new places an architect uses their experiences to give form to imagined space. This raises the interesting possibility that spaces can be seen as not simply forming a backdrop to an experience but as being inherently ‘of’ an emotion. In this sense every architecture project is an exercise in fiction. Every project begins as a dream. It is a small leap to imagine an entire city designed by a single person. The spaces in this city could be based on an existing form but altered with the creation of an experience in mind, a place for a stolen kiss, a street for a momentary glance. In the context of this excerpt Edinburgh has been used as a laboratory to explore the concepts of Rootedness, Dwelling and Transcendence in Nature. This is due in part to Edinburgh’s inherent otherworldly quality and incredible beauty but also due to the fact that in exploring aspects of memory and a sense of belonging one must be to an extent self-reflective and Edinburgh is a city that is very close to my heart. Connection to Nature in a Constructed World A river cuts through the city, an old man walks along its path. At times this path cuts through hard urban landscapes and at others through heterotopic retreats. Sometimes it gives the old man a sense of place and rootedness in his environment and he feels lifted in esteem for the city’s beauty. Yet this experience is one of connection not objectification. At some points he is firmly aware of his surroundings, at others he is lifted above. However, at some points these feelings of rootedness and transcendence occur together and he feels a moment of complete peace and belonging in the world. In this way his relationship with the city is like his relationship with Nature.

Fortuitous Shelter in an Unforeseen Storm

The old man takes refuge in a concrete shelter by the river as a thunderstorm passes overhead. Inside, he can smell the rain and hear it beating on the ground outside. By being removed yet not isolated from the storm he is able to marvel at its power and feels uplifted. Although this building marks the point at which inside becomes outside, it is capable of subtle plays in the immediacy, presence and intention in Nature. Edge Conditions along a Memorable Route The edge of the river bank changes along its length and alters the perception of the water. Frequently the path gives a sense of enclosure and safety by the riverside. Consequently the route by the river is the most memorable aspect of the city. People pass one another on their way to work and judge their timing by the location of familiar faces. On the roads above, the morning commute rushes by oblivious to all that is protected below. The old man has walked the same route along the river for many years to and from work. His knowledge of the route is so great that for many years each step has landed precisely where it did the day before matching stride for stride. This excerpt was taken from a piece of creative writing about an architecture project by Aidan Williams in the course of his PhD progression. In recent times the built environment has sprawled to the point where many people have little experience of the natural environment. However, within this context most debate about architecture’s relationship to the environment is technological. Rather than treat the natural environment as a problem to be quantitatively or technologically ‘solved’, I believe that our relation to Nature could be enhanced by exploring our environmental consciousness. This is a prerequisite to effective architectural design and arguably, this sensible connection to Nature is a precondition for understanding the social and cultural problems associated with becoming an ecologically friendly society [Orr, Guattari].

Alternative Approaches to Scottish Rural Housing Alex Pearson

Within the UK a total of three million new homes are to be built by 2020. A significant proportion of new houses are to be provided in rural environments in small Scottish towns and villages. Current mass-market housing uses suburban development models based around pattern book urban layouts and generic housing typologies which are intrinsically unsustainable and lead to high carbon lifestyles. The Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH), will require all homes to be “Zero Carbon” from 2016, is primarily a technical code. If substantial new development utilises CSH and current suburban housing models in rural contexts this will have a detrimental effect on the sustainability of rural communities and a lasting effect on the identity and character of the rural environment. Currently the Scottish Goverment has defined that there is a skills and knowledge gap holding back the design of more qualitative, sustainable, economical, energy efficient rural housing. It is now critically important that alternative sustainable approaches to rural communities and rural housing provision are developed. The literature review will explore the issues within selected areas in the context of the problem. Two of the key areas are: - The dialogue between place; built architectural form and the user. - Sustainability factors; ranging from legislation though to social sustainability. The remainder of the article will define key issues relating to development of rural areas with reference to cultural identity, a major factor in the three way dialogue. These issues will be expanded upon as part of a conference paper and will partly create a key component of the literature review. Architecture can create many forms of identity intrinsically linked to the cultural grain: public buildings; developments; streets; towns; cities. Generally the definition of architectural and cultural identity relates to the urban context, and is clear from empirical research is rarely considered at a regional or rural level. Rural areas tend to contain a subtle spread of identities and cultures due to their incremental development which invariably links to the specific requirements of the immediate region. This has created distinct regional iden-

tities which define different rural areas within Scotland. At an architectural level this is demonstrated with varied materials or details which relate to the regional context, thus creating a specific regional identity with architectural built form. In contrast, urban development initially expands from the centre of the settlement in layers. These layers consist of interdependent cultural morphologies which have a symbiotic relationship. One morphology, the monocultural residential suburban model is currently implemented by housing developers in Scottish rural areas. Unlike the regional identities and cultures in traditional rural development, suburban development follows an almost predefined development strategy. The developer’s utilisation of predefined urban layouts and generic housing typologies has created suburbia’s “architectural language”, which does not relate to its specific context. The built form bears no relationship to context as they are economically driven models and major variation is omitted due to the added cost, creating a monotonous language of built “architectural” form. This language has been widely accepted by the British public as a desirable, new build, edge of town housing model throughout the country, its prolonged popularity encourages the continuing use of this generic language. This type of large scale residential development of rural areas is leading to the suburbanisation of the Scottish countryside by utilizing this monocultural development model. This could change the Scottish cultural identity from a self referencing community into a suburb divorced from the urban setting. The majority of the residents will rely upon the unconnected urban fabric for work, play and retail, creating a predominantly commuter culture which is inherently unsustainable. This form of development without proper consideration will form a legacy that has a significant detrimental effect on our dwellings and cultural identity for many years to come. In order for residential development in this context to progress sustainably, alternative approaches which use appropriate architectural forms to create sustainable places need to be defined and implemented.


A Question of Experiential Architecture Esme Fieldhouse

Lectures by architects: an invaluable resource of inspiration throughout the lifespan of any architect. The opportunity to hear those lines that become embedded in the consciousness, reference points which seem to happily fit several outfits, from design project to pub conversation. Conversely, there are those comments that just stick in your head, niggling away, unable to find a home. One such occasion occurred after a recent guest lecture, where the architect had pronounced that a significant part of their practice entails creating an experiential architecture. This statement got me thinking, pondering when architecture is not experiential, and if the answer is a matter of always or never, as I suspect, then the inference points towards another hidden meaning lurking suspiciously behind. As architects, is it necessary to make a conscious decision to design experience? How might we value experience, need we craft our own experi-ometer? Within education, we are led to believe that experience is a quality that grabs our attention, draws us in through the building led by intrigue and anticipation of reward. The tools we choose comprise the ability to catch light and contrast it with dark spaces, the exploration of a pallet of materials that offer a tactile quality and complex spatial relationships which toy with ambiguity, allowing our imaginations to run wild. This resonates in the architecture that the practice presented during the lecture suggesting that they too regard an experience as composed of these elements. It was something certainly quite obvious, and not subtly resting in the background. The problem is, experience happens everywhere, an allentangling web of interactions. One space may have the potential to gain an infinite number of reactions from its inhabitants and equally we may experience the same thing at both x and y, blurring boundaries. Each pencil line we sketch defines a relationship between subject and space that is an experience, whether conscious or not; by discriminating about which moves are about experience and which are not is exactly what creates the boring spaces, it is a recipe for anti-inspiration. Do we consider

a call centre to be an architecture of experience, with fluorescent strips lighting the way through its endless rows of desks which merge into the horizon? Architects turn their noses up, we accept this is how it is, tough luck. Yet inhabiting a call centre is an experience for those who work there, possibly a boring one, however, being bored by the banality of a space is still an experience. In a school debate on the nature of architectural education, I posed the following question to the table of tutors: does the architectural profession rely on the production of a handful of confident visionaries along with a passive army perfectly willing to draw up other people's ideas on CAD. The resounding answer, with little else expansion, was yes. A scary realisation dawned, imaginative architects are a rare breed. Even more daunting a thought, our most imaginative practicing architects seem to ignore our most boring buildings, those with the agenda and passion pour all their ideas and energy into one single family dwelling for one person to enjoy or dare I say, experience. A swift glance at the architect's website or CV reveals a tendency towards the classification of design by type. Click here for residential, click here for cultural etc. This allows an underlying message of exclusivity, our practice only designs these types of buildings..., a forum for architectural snobbery which potently prompts us to divide between the commercial practice and the experiential practice. Does the latest competition to hit the cultural world stage truly allow the most creative thought or is it the easy road? Enough pats on the back for now, seven years of architectural education has the fortunate habit of instilling an exciting concoction of skills within us, perhaps we seek the future challenge elsewhere. The experience of knowledge exchange and play at our school, capturing hotbeds of energy and nurturing our future thinkers. Or how about the chunks of large-scale housing clawing onto our ever growing cities, the jury is still out on how architects position themselves within designing the experience of community. 'Exquisite Corpse', "Meaning, and the origin of 'concept' in architecture, are both explored through their studied transformation in alternate media; what is lost, and gained, in their translation?" Solvent transfer print 841x594mm Ian Pollard, y5


Research Retreat: top: perspective; bottom left: ground floor plan; bottom right: sections; pen drawings Aoife O’Donnel yr 1

above: section 1:100; below: Internal Perspective; drawing over solvent transfer Dean Crosley, yr3


Shaping the Container; This design-led research seeks to pick apart the relationship between thinking, drawing and building, exposing the limitations of standard techniques of representation in architecture. This work uses the ‘plastic’ space of the Scottish tower house as a laboratory to investigate visual communication. Douglas Pearson phd

Traveling Pavilion: top and bottom left: photographs of physical model; bottom right: plan Erica Um y2.


The Matrix, analysis of the various edge conditions in Dundee Details from drawing, 1900 x 1190mm Brian Murphy, Neil Walkinshaw, y5

Research Retreat; above: Section montaged in context, pencil + ink; below: Photograph of physical model. 26

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Aidan Conway y1


Considering the social and city landscape, four different theatre types converge on a site in Edinburgh, arranged to create an egalitarian foyer space suitable as a "found" place for performance. Questions of monumentality are

Journey drawings; Pen on paper.

addressed through a sculptural form, an urban ensemble in the city's tradition. Ink print layered paper. Alan Keane y5.

100 x 60mm 28

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May Yan y4.


‘Any two sequences, when juxtaposed,inevitably combine into another concept which arises from that juxtaposition as something qualitatively new’ (Eisenstein, 1938). Montage is a visual technique that places images adjacently or upon another in order to invite association or analyse by Intimate study of facade's impact on the Forebank Road, Dundee

comparison. These montages critique the city as an artefact. top: The Metropolis Block; mixed media photomontage with ink drawing and film

Oak and steel reductive model, 1500 x 500mm Brian Murphy, Esme Fieldhouse, Neil Walkinshaw, Ryan Mcgloughlin, Stephen Mackie, y5

stills; below: Imagined Urban Grain photomontage with aerial photographs of Glasgow and Edinburgh and film still 30

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Cameron McEwan phd


Beauty: simple complexity;, exploration of aesthetic philosophies, the dichotomy between subject and object, and drawing as a mediator between ideal and incidental beauty. Photo collage and pencil drawing 594 x 841mm Rowan Mackinnon-Pryde y5.

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Level 6 Portfolio 2010  

Dundee School of Architecture Portfolio 2010