CHANGE – The London School of Architecture 2017

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Change. Some things change for the better, some things change for the worse. In global affairs, certainly the cliff-hanging roller-coaster ride of Brexit and Trump has not left many of us feeling short of change. In this era of heightened flux, the London School of Architecture believes we must design the change we wish to see in the world. That has certainly been our founding principle. From 2012, we began by embarking on designing the type of institution we thought was needed to educate today’s architects. Over the intervening five years, we have brought together dozens of teachers and thinkers, our academic partner London Met and more than 50 of London’s leading architecture practices. In October 2015, we enrolled our first 30 students, who have been tasked to become the change-makers in both the profession and discipline of architecture. Celebrating our first graduating cohort, this magazine unveils the work of the LSA to the public for the first time and we hope you gain a sense of the energy and purpose of everyone who is involved in our mission. The world is changing rapidly, and architecture must change with it. From our first salvo, we mean to be at the forefront of those who shape the future. Nigel Coates, Chair of the Academic Court



MOTIVES 80–115



SOHO MAP 18–19









The article written by LSA Founder Will Hunter in The Architectural Review (October 2012 edition) that launched a think tank called Alternative Routes for Architecture, from which the London School of Architecture emerged.

Farshid Moussavi

Will Hunter


Will, it seems like yesterday when you were starting to think about setting up a new school, and it’s quite unbelievable that you now have your first graduates. In my recent teaching at Harvard GSD, I looked at the architecture of the learning environment. New technologies have changed enormously the way we learn, and you can now take the classroom anywhere so the whole question of why we go to a physical environment has been thrown into question. We explored how school and university buildings can remain relevant, and how we should approach their design. What you’ve done with LSA as a kind of floating school has radicalised that even more and so I want to try to bring out its relevance in a broader way. My questions are about pedagogy, the learners themselves and the place of learning. Starting with pedagogy and the LSA’s part-practice, part-study model, is it a way of funding education for learners – let’s call them learners, rather than students – or is there a pedagogical reason to it? At the quantitative level it is a funding relationship, as the students earn as they learn. Our tuition fees are low, so there is an equilibrium between income and cost. But qualitatively, and pedagogically, the really strong reason for doing it is to bring academia and practice closer together to educate archi­ tects in a more 21st century way. We have an academic partner, London Met, and 50 practice partners, who are all architects based in London. We set a commutable boundary from the centre so that we could create a rich dialogue and culture between the different people involved in the school: learners, teachers, practitioners – and the movers, shakers and shapers of the city. It’s not an Open University model with everyone learning remotely anywhere in the world: we are a community of people in a capital city who meet regularly and exchange ideas. It’s just that we often meet in spaces we have access to, rather than own. We designed the programme with many points of intersection. In the First Year students spend half the time in the practice placement and half the time with the school, so by running these in parallel there’s a dynamic feedback loop between the two spheres. They are both active participant and critical observer in their host office. We have a pair of modules called Critical Practice, where each student produces a Manual about the practice they are currently in and a Manifesto about the future practice they project themselves to be in – to establish their critical co-ordinates and trajectory. We then have Design Think Tank Projects, where half a dozen students and practices collaboratively produce design/research. These groups are tasked with exploring the spatial consequences of the rapid expansion of knowledge in other arenas, to examine where an architect’s spatial intelligence can intervene. We want the opportunity to address pressing issues beyond questions of personal expression. Ultimately, the school’s vision is that people living in cities can lead more fulfilled and more sustainable lives, and we see that as a spatial design challenge. In the Second Year, the practices in our network form the pool of tutors who teach design. And finally, we have public programme, such as lectures and workshops, open to everyone. In March, for instance, we co-hosted with Drawing Matter a symposium on how to synthesise complexity with Nigel Coates, Liza Fior, Siv Helene Stangeland and Madelon Vriesendorp, and then ran workshops the following day to embed and apply the knowledge; last week Anthony Vidler ran a similar workshop. So the school is becoming an ever more complex and international organism in how it operates. Perhaps architectural degrees should try, rather than making students into practitioners, to make them into global citizens, with the capacity to pursue lifelong learning. There was a day when we would finish school and think ‘that’s it, we now go and practise’, and we also knew what practice was, so we knew what we are preparing ourselves for. This certainty doesn’t exist anymore. We don’t know what future practice will look like, nor do the practices that these students are participating in. People who are in practice now must retool themselves all the time. Do you think LSA students are compromising by spending half their time in practice and half their time in being a student? 5


That’s only in First Year, when the work is more urban and collaborative. In the Second Year students are purely with the school, and they are focused on generating individual design propositions for London.


So, actually, in their two years with you, this idea of them being in practice has been a bit too exaggerated?


It has been foregrounded perhaps. The First Year is longer than a normal academic year to get enough time to do the academic credits. They spend about as much time with the LSA as they would in a normal school.


When you hear about the LSA being almost like an apprenticeship model, the impression is that the students are in practice both years, which is not true and you’ve extended the time. Normally students do two years with the school, and then have a year of professional practice before qualifying as an architect. So you are putting the practice part at the beginning rather than after. Conventionally, schools don’t want to inhibit a first year student’s imagination and teach them about making, ideas, form, and so on, and let them evolve into more practice-oriented questions over time. What do you think you gain and what do you think you lose when you reverse it?


I think there are some architecture schools that are more related to the arts and they’re about an avant-garde idea of how you generate form, and then there are more technical schools that are more related to how buildings are delivered and perform. To massively oversimplify: the former preferences the subjective and the latter, the objective. However Peter Buchanan – who’s leading our course on Humanity and the Planet – argues that architecture is the nexus of all disciplines, as fundamental as language, and that we don’t want to preference one or the other. As a school we are trying to bring different disciplines together, because there’s knowledge being generated in all these places that has spatial implications. I don’t think by so closely aligning the school to practice we’re limiting ideas or speculation. We’re making this space between school and practice to ask big and highly relevant questions. Half of humanity now lives in cities. Cities occupy three per cent of the Earth’s surface yet produce three-quarters of its carbon emissions. At a fundamental level, we need to find new forms of spatial organisation in architecture and cities that respond to and address these challenges in profound ways. As the only discipline with spatial intelligence, we have a deep-seated belief that architects have a critical role to play in shaping this. There’s a management technique we’ve borrowed from business, where you simultaneously ask ‘Why?’ questions over and over again in order to reach your ultimate purpose, and ‘How?’ questions over and over to understand how you deliver it. With this year’s First Years we’re looking at the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 to explore the higher-level change that each student wants to see in the world, and then looking at what type of architecture could contribute to that change; then in Second Year they develop a building right down to an Invitation to Tender package. Being between academia and practice really helps the multivalent thinking between the Why and the How.


I think that the idea that a school is not only about training you to become an architect, but also training you to remain a relevant architect is very interesting.


The key thing is that you’ve got to equip people how to think critically. In a way it’s more about methodologies than specific skills; not about how to retain knowledge, but how to find and apply knowledge.



That’s absolutely true. But there are also a lot of new tools. For example, I was part of the first generation of architects to work on the computer. Now, the generation before me do not communicate with their team in the same way that perhaps I do and the people after me. I am already behind with some software which people who work with me use. And I think this is a reality that graduates will continue to find themselves in. Genesis

Our first graduating cohort of students photographed outside the Design Museum in the summer of 2015.





One of our Design Think Tanks, Emerging Tools, drew a diagram of all the tools they used to make their life at the LSA possible, which was 100s. They edited the diagram to what was available 15 years ago and 80 per cent of them didn’t exist. So, how we operate now is completely dependent on these new tools, and I think the way we’re practising will increasingly alter as these tools become more sophisticated. Let’s move on to the next question. Educators are talking about peer-to-peer interaction as learning. What kind of learning do you think this brings to students at the LSA? Some models of architectural education nurture the idea of the architect as creative individualist. But we take Malcolm Gladwell’s point that ‘The 20th century was about lone geniuses, whereas 21st is about smart people working together.’ The students collaborate a lot in the First Year, and I think that’s really important. With our first First Years, we found that when they worked in groups they were often too democratic and tried to reach agreement on everything, which could lead to deadlock. With this year’s First Years, we did a Myers Briggs personality test and a Belbin workshop so that they could better understand that people in the group can take different roles. The important thing was to agree the direction, and then break up the tasks to those best able to do them; and that by working with others you also learned what your own strengths are, and how to share them. In Second Year, the students have a studio in Somerset House. There is a strong studio culture and they have run skills-sharing workshops in the evenings with each other. But we don’t have a unit system because we want students to develop their own purpose and identity – to become the best version of themselves, not mini-versions of us. We ask them to construct their own Community of Practice, who could be architects practising anywhere in the world right now, and to investigate how they work in order to inform their own design strategies and tactics. For the history component, which is marked in the portfolio not as an essay, they do a similar task with an historical hero. As Leon van Schaik said in a recent talk to the students, the greatest dialogue you might have about your design work could be an imagined one with a key figure who is dead. So we take a fairly broad, if not even supernatural, definition of peer-to-peer learning. There is just so much interest in this idea. But to look at it from a different perspective, what profile do you look for in an LSA faculty member? All the faculty, pretty much, started pre-launch. I wrote an article in The Architectural Review and most of them came forward from that and we worked together to make the school. We didn’t do a big hiring process because we were a team of people just sat around a table. Now that we are fully operational, we are taking on more design tutors. We are really seeking people who can think laterally and entrepreneurially. It is definitely not a 7

dogmatic teaching environment, where strict ideologies are communicated from master to pupil. In The Future of the Professions, Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind wrote that: ‘The challenge for architects is to anticipate the new tasks that will have to be done, to identify those that require their unique talents, and to develop the skills that will therefore be required in years to come.’ We believe the future will belong to those who are creative, adaptable and comfortable at synthesising complexity and who can offer spatial leadership. That’s a nimble set of skills, so we seek teaching staff who, of course have a core knowledge and mastery, but also an open mind about where we are heading. FM

About the place of learning – the LSA doesn’t have a fixed home, what is the advantage of having the students roam?


In our first academic year we had a tiny base at Second Home in Shoreditch, and this academic year we are at Somerset House, where the Second Year studio is. But we do most of our formal teaching – lectures and so on – in big rooms within our Practice Network, who have been amazingly generous in hosting us. This is great, as we both get to see what each other is up to. But you’re right: there is a lot of roaming going on! I think it is really liberating. With the city as campus, there is no physical edge to the school; as a corollary I feel there is no disciplinary boundary to the institution either – that we can roam physical and intellectual space simultaneously. It opens your eyes to the city in a different way: you see its opportunities. We have a workshop, Makerversity, at Somerset House. But students also build their own networks for how to make things happen, forming relationships with collaborators and even getting a free studio from Soho Estates. If you graduate and start a business you will have your laptop and a kitchen table, so it’s great to build that resilience and mind-set as part of the education. There is also a rich creative mix at Somerset House; Richard Sennett has just moved in across the corridor from us, so we feel we are definitely in the right place.


The openness of the school and the fact that students are roaming in and out of structured and informal learning is interesting.


We do tutorials in public places like the mezzanine at the Barbican, have had a seminar in the crypt of a church, workshops in bars, so we have been teaching in lots of different spaces. Our first headquarters, Second Home, is a new type of working space for entrepreneurs and artists, which didn’t really exist five years ago, so there’re these emerging opportunities opening up in the city to work with lots of different people. I was talking earlier about architecture being in an art school or being in a engineering school, but I think we’re much more related to this sort of tech start-up space, where there is a ‘hey, let’s just do something’ attitude. The tech scene, at the moment, seems to be taking real risks, because they try stuff, and loads of stuff fails. Its culture is relentlessly innovative and agile. The entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield said that ‘the best real, direct measure of “innovation” is change in human behaviour.’ We are really interested in how that sort of thinking can be applied to architecture. How our students – and ultimately our graduates – can produce architecture and cities that are intimately related to the shifts in human behaviour that are emerging in this era of rapid change, and to design new forms of spatial organisation that are triggered by – and in turn provide an armature for – new patterns of living.


I think a person’s ‘value’ in the future will not be so much attached to their credentials but what they’ve done. Do you think this is going to encourage them to be more entrepreneurial?



That’s one of our values that we’ve pushed at hard. A lot of the Design Think Tanks form groups that propose new business models as well as new spatial models. Last year, Architectural Agency, formed ED/GY – Ethical Dwellings for Generation Y, which was about how to create equitable and accessible Genesis

housing for Millennials; and New Knowledge formed SWARM, which was a platform to connect professionals and the public to proactively plan the city. This year, one group formed The Last Act, which sought a non-secular, low-energy death rites for a dense urban city like London. FM WH





Are the projects always about London? We are based in London, yeah, so we move the focus to a different quarter of the capital every year. But we are an international institution, in outlook and cohort: two thirds of our students are from the UK, one third from the rest of the world. Can you imagine an LASA, or an NYSA, and so on, and in what way would they be different? Definitely. I went to America recently and thought I would love to do a school in New York or LA. But, apparently, I was told in American accreditation all students have to have a desk. So that could be a problem... But that could be their desk at home, or their ‘desktop’ on their laptop! Yeah, bring your own desk, exactly. I think it would be really interesting to get that kind of exchange going on globally. Because we’re related to practices, there’s a certain scale you could operate at in a city, and we think probably forty students per year is probably about right for somewhere like London. So, to expand, to scale up, it would be moving to a different city. And there’s not that many cities globally you could do. I think LA and New York are obvious ones. LA seems to have massive challenges in terms of how it operates, because it’s so reliant on the car and it also feels like there’s enough space there to imagine things in a different way, whereas New York is maybe more constrained. Or maybe it will lead to a larger project. If the school would be as much about training students as doing a project on the city, then perhaps London offers a certain kind of project, and maybe LA offers a different kind of city project, and New York would offer a different kind of project. You’ve said that the school is not necessarily about producing conventional candidates that go into practice in terms of designing buildings – they can come out and do other things. I think that’s what the AA has actually done over the years. Some AA graduates go out to practice, some go and do other things. One thing we’ve said to the students already is that we’re not looking for a project that you peg to internal institutional values – it’s got to withstand critical scrutiny from the world. It’s got to be relevant to the world. We’ve started building relationships with other actors in the city. Stanhope has come on board as our first Founding Partner, and has been heavily involved in one of the Design Think Tanks. Next year, a priority of mine is to establish an advisory board of key people who make the city, either physically or intellectually, so that we connect our conversations to wider inputs: developers, planners, writers, futurologists and so on. In terms of how practice is changing we think there will be lots of different ways for those with spatial intelligence to shape the world, in practice and beyond. The real success of the school will be in seeing what our first graduates – and the ones who come after – go on to do. Can they deliver the change they want to see in the world?

The multi-disciplinary school: our second cohort hearing a talk from developer Martyn Evans at the studio of engineer Alan Baxter.




Each year the LSA opens its enquiries in the complex reality of the city. The autumn term’s Urban Studies project in the First Year engages with urbanism, not as a dry academic exercise or piece of fantasy, but as an attempted engagement with real dramas ‘as found’ in London, encountered in all its messiness. Our interest is in how architects can carve a role in this milieu, and be entrepreneurial in applying useful and particular spatial intelligence. In October 2015 we launched the programme in Soho. While much attention has been focused on outer London, the centre of the city has perhaps been regarded as being ‘almost all right’: yet London’s core is undergoing radical change, largely driven by property speculation. One of the first things we discovered is that Soho is in a tumultuous period of transformation, equalled only by two former periods of urban disaster: migration from areas destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, and reconstruction after the Blitz. Constrained by planning regulation, much of this dramatic change is invisible, largely occurring behind retained facades or below ground. The majority of planning consents cover changes of use, and so the greatest change is the most insidious – the transformation of economic value and, in turn, how that both enables and excludes the way the urban fabric is used. In Soho, new land accumulations have been formed in relatively short order, mirroring the more genteel assemblies of land in the surrounding Great Estates. Positioned on the borderline between Westminster and Camden, Soho is associated with the insalubrious: the sex trade, drugs, drinking and clubs. Despite its central position it has managed to establish many of the qualities more usually associated with places on the margin: licence, contingency and space for self-invention. These qualities have also been associated with artistic creativity. The pornographer Paul Raymond invested the huge income from his club, the Raymond Revuebar, in property. He would only buy what he could walk to. The resultant Soho Estates – which now owns 60 acres of land across Soho and Leicester Square worth

Left  The First Year students collaboratively produced these large-scale drawings of Soho at a workshop with Le Gun’s Neal Fox and Robert Rubbish.

Top  Soho’s entangled layers of infrastructure: creaking electricity, food supply to restaurants, networks of distributing huge numbers of people, and high-speed internet for the post-production industry. Drawing by Stuart Goldsworthy-Trapp, Vanessa Jobb, TimmLaurens Lindstedt and Timothy Ng. Above  Maps showing the densification of Soho and from 1650, 1850 and 1950.


over £650 million – has never sold an acquisition. For many years relatively dormant, the estate is now being transformed in a shift from the sex trade to high-value restaurants and clubs. Groups such as Save Soho have sprung up to lament what is being lost, with celebrities calling for the protection of Soho’s particular character and connection to the arts against a new prosperity and accompanying sanitisation. As the school explored these issues, we were privileged to have 12


some extraordinary insights into this fast-evolving urban saga from a diverse set of Soho protagonists, from club impresarios to owners of film post-production houses. For example, former London mayoral contender Steven Norris, chairman of Soho Estates (whose company motto he noted as ‘edgy but not seedy’) described shaping this process of change, while former head of planning at Westminster City Council, Rosemarie MacQueen, talked about how she had tried to regulate and restrain it.

The first term established a shared platform, creating a collective primer to a strong yet fugitive urban character, identifying both the agents of change and the continuities of this extraordinary neighbourhood. From researching particular aspects of Soho in groups, students went on to make individual interventions, spanning from modest improvements in the public realm to new metropolitan-scale infrastructure. Some major themes emerged: students explored the role of urban

Focusing on protection, integration and expressing the industries that have made Soho their home, Nick Keen’s Vertical City synthesises public realm with the proposed Crossrail entrance, creating a sponge that people can easily move through while establishing spaces for businesses and homes.

infrastructure, in particular Crossrail, which has already torn two great holes in Soho’s northern edge and promises to deliver many more thousand visitors into the quarter every day. A second mooted Crossrail line will include a station right in the heart of Soho. Other transformative infrastructure includes Sohonet, the ultra-fast digital cabling that has allowed the development of the film industry cluster, tucking leading-edge technology into crumbly Georgian fabric. Enquiry into distributed energy

production and logistics looked at issues of consumption and waste in the quarter. The sheer scale of development was documented in an attempt to structure physical or policy responses to balance the influx of luxury dwellings with the contingent, inventive qualities that characterise Soho’s urban role. New typologies were explored that offered the potential to win space for threatened affordable workspace. Each cohort at the LSA is focused on a particular London

quarter for the two-year programme, on the premise that architecture is born of a deep knowledge of its relationship to the city. Immersing our pioneering students in the debate about a fast-changing part of the capital has established the situation for the current self-generated finalyear projects on pages 17–79. From observation comes proposition: the forays of autumn 2015 have formed the genetic material for the graduating class’s collective vision of London Tomorrow. 13

Proposal by Rachel Bow, Raphael Arthur and Roel Shiffers to make Soho’s outer edge a border that allows Soho to maintain a beneficial relationship with its surroundings. The cultural hotspot, highlighted in pink, is the zone found to be the most concentrated area of Soho’s sense of character. This demarcation will behave more like a protective yet mutable boundary, guided by specific planning rules and policies to ensure preservation yet continual growth.

Raphael Arthur’s Soho Initiative is a social enterprise / public members’ club that makes crowd-funded, light-touch appropriations of Soho’s public space.



Phelan Heinsohn’s Continuous Circulation retains existing pin-hole facade entrances, while creating internal pathways to encourage ‘events’ within the block. Adjacent staircases are connected, and all buildings get access to the courtyard. Proposing an alteration to listed building regulations, the circulation – rather than the fabric – becomes protected, while the plugged-on programmes become entirely pluralistic in style, size or materiality.





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1 Alaric Campbell-Garratt (pages 66–67) 2 Aleksandar Stojakovic (pages 48–51) 3 Alexander Frehse (pages 20–21) 4 Andrea Nolan (pages 70–71) 5 Chiara Barrett (pages 32–35) 6 Daniel Lee (pages 52–55) 7 Dawa Pratten (pages 30–31) 8 Duncan McNaughton (pages 28–29) 9 Emiliano Zavala (pages 56–59) 10 Emily Fribbance (pages 41–42) 11 Fabio Maiolin (pages 26–27) 12 Fearghal Moran (page 73) 13 Fiona Stewart (pages 24–25) 14 Frazer Haviz (pages 76–77)

15 Ian Campbell (pages 64–65) 16 Jack Idle (pages 74–75) 17 James Mackenzie 18 Maeve Dolan (pages 20–23) 19 Milly Salisbury (pages 46–47) 20 Nicholas Keen (pages 78–79) 21 Oscar Hårleman (pages 62–63) 22 Phelan Heinsohn (pages 68–69) 23 Phoebe Nickols (page 45) 24 Raphael Arthur (pages 36–39) 25 Stuart Goldsworthy–Trapp (page 72) 26 Timm–Laurens Lindstedt (pages 42–43) 27 Timothy Ng (pages 40–41) 28 Vanessa Jobb (page 44)





An estimated 400,000 people in the UK are affected by homelessness, with an average of 964 people sleeping rough on the streets of London every night (a figure that has doubled in the last five years). Shelter forms the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and existing typologies provide this basic care. However, simply a roof over your head for a few nights is ineffective. Field research and studies of these existing typologies highlighted a great opportunity for architecture to address more: an opportunity to

provide a halfway-home where needs such as belongingness and psychological well-being are addressed. Combining accommodation and a day centre, my proposal provides an alternative method of care for those facing homelessness; driven by design that is sensitive to the needs and opportunities in getting people back on their feet. The costs may be greater upfront, yet huge savings on resources are made further down the line by helping people effectively. 21


What will become of central London? The under-supply of new homes coupled with increasing obstacles of affordability is creating great challenges for the capital’s future as a liveable city. With availability of greenfield sites diminishing, the city needs to densify. How can good growth be created at the same time as delivering a future London that is worth living in? Beyond Domesticity explores the relationship between the domestic sphere and civic life within a Soho block. It takes the stance that for Soho to remain a rich cultural centre, it must remain accessible to the average-income Londoner and the animation of everyday life. With the aspiration to create a vibrant part of the city rather than an estate, the housing is set among workspace, retail and a lively public realm. Communality is used as a means of achieving density, as well as offering a more diverse provision of spaces than is usually achieved through traditional housing layouts. In the spirit of Soho, the development celebrates voyeurism and friction. 22


Top  New routes are created through the block. Right column from top  Apartment for singles and couples; for familys; and for sharers. All open onto a shared communal living space. Left column from bottom  Demolition; newbuild and renovation; programme mix. Far Right  Aerial view showing life at all levels.



London’s diversity is something to be proud of. Traditionally, the city has fostered the joyous coexistence of young and old, rich and poor, native and immigrant. However, increasingly, it is becoming a place where unless you are rich, you are being pushed out. Old people are one of the demographics under pressure. They are, and always have been, a significant part of our community and their life experience should be considered an asset to society. But the city they have always loved, isn’t loving them back. Social isolation and loneliness are at epidemic levels; the cities urban realm doesn’t accommodate their needs and their housing options are poor, with a particular gap in homes for those between independent living and full-time care. Considering the forecasted aging of our population, we must find better ways to accommodate people in the city in the final decades of their lives. As a joint venture between a pension fund investor and Southwark Charities, Grey Matters is a market development in Blackfriars that reinvents the traditional model of the almshouse as a plinth that entwines office and residential towers to give the elderly a new home the middle of the city. 24


Left  Ground and first floor plan of almshouses. Top  The yard is a public space for recreation.

Above left to right  The hill doubles as a seating area for an impromptu stage in the community centre; south-facing garden for almshouse residents; atrium at the heart of the almshouse becomes a private space for evening dancing. Right   Office and residential towers above the grounded almshouse.





How can a mixed use development create a more resilient and inclusive piece of city? In the last 35 years, private interests have led the growth of London. As a result, many parts of the city are being priced out of range of its citizens, public space is increasingly being privatised, and diversity has been stripped out. SynchrnoniCity investigates the possibilities generated by juxtaposing different functions and users within the same site. The project is a mixed-use development as a network of crossovers, where things

come together: living and working, the service and the manufacturing industry, material and cultural production. More friction means more interaction. Adapting the existing Community Land Trust model, a Community Work Trust is proposed to ensure access to affordable accommodation for residents, workers and entrepreneurs in the area. The project uses a site between Wardour Street and St Anne’s Court, in Soho, to test this new model of development, and its spatial manifestation. 27

Right  Typical domestic breakfast scene. Far Right  Shared allotment roof garden. Below  Warehouse galleries with gardens above. Opposite page  Plan showing interface between allotment gardens and housing programme.




London desperately needs new homes. Throughout the city’s history it has responded to population growth by expanding outwards, but today this is no longer possible because of the constraints of the green belt. Instead, we need to densify its existing residential areas and convert large ex-industrial brownfield sites into housing in order to meet housing demand. These brownfield sites however, have long been the home of London’s internationally significant creative scene of art spaces, studios, warehouse parties, maker workshops, and so on. Housing on brownfield sites as currently practised replaces these important cultural locations with bland generic blocks and anonymous neighbourhoods, leaving little

space in the centre of the capital for cultural production. London is essentially building places to live, at the expense of being a place worth living. To remain a cultural powerhouse and build enough homes for everyone, we need a new type of mass housing development that also provides the infrastructure of cultural production. London Living is a new type of residential development: housing is provided in towers with shared exterior access and balconies which create a neighbourhood in the sky; the towers sit on a plinth that supports an elevated allotment garden that is shared by residents and the local community; under the garden is a mews of concrete warehouses, art studios and artist live-work spaces.





Exploring semiotics in the 21st century, my project resamples the alleys, thresholds, signs and experiences of Soho to create a cross-cultural hotel and public hub at the heart of the city. Free of misty-eyed nostalgia, A House for Soho collides international visitors with the indigenous creative class, resampling and remixing the physical, visual and experiential culture of historic Soho with the wider 21st century world to create an evolution of the neighbourhood that

is instantly recognisable yet magically transformed. A House for Soho acts as an alternative hotel-led proposal, in opposition to the current retailbased regeneration, of the buildings and public realm surrounding Walker’s Court and Kemp House. The design incorporates the neighbourhood’s social and cultural needs, building on rather than eroding the identity of this iconic location, which is so ingrained in the fabric and history of Soho. 31




The city fringe is a well-known breeding ground for creative production. Its legislative, symbolic and physical separation from the controls of the city centre opens up a common ground that facilitates exchange and diversity. Yet the developer-ready urbanism that proliferates in London since Big Bang and the financialisation of the city centre, continues to shift the fringe and cultural production further, until soon out of the city completely. How can creative production be accommodated in the city centre? The creative industries account for 5.2 per cent of the UK economy, and have had the largest growth of any sector. In an effort to maintain the city’s status as a global and artistic

capital, the new Mayor of London has set out to deliver the world’s first Cultural Infrastructural Plan, proposing to transform the Thames Estuary into a new cultural production hub, while the City of London reimagines itself as a ‘cultural quarter’. Challenging this strategy by staking creative production back at the centre of city life, an ‘Inner Fringe’ policy area is established along the boundary of the City of London to deliver affordable production space within upcoming developments. This new cultural infrastructure redefines the conventional workplace to create beneficial adjacencies between the commercial and creative sectors. And most importantly, reinstates the looseness that the city is increasingly losing.

Opposite page   Massing sketch and site plan. This page  The development seeks to stitch into the city’s grain and form proper urban fabric. The interior is designed to have a robustness than can be customised to a tenant’s desires.






There is increasing indignation over the rise of selfish developments that snub the city and the state’s impotence to spatially deliver public good. Token gifts of privatised parks and place-less public art must be superseded. But with what? Civic Tithe offers an alternative to the amalgamation of the failing Plaza Shopping Centre on Oxford Street. It instead advocates for a joint venture with Westminster Council to consider East Oxford Street as a fluid entity. In lieu of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, it proposes inserting a fun lightweight armature with raised platforms connecting the underutilised upper floors of Oxford Street. As well as the creation of vast amounts of new high value retail space, this civic spine enables a focus point which reimagines the traditional shopping centre as a piece of mutable cultural infrastructure. While unashamedly commercial, the generosity of the architecture expands and contracts to host a range of civic programmes, parasitic civic enterprises and most importantly, places to enjoy and connect to the city. 36



Top  Public market plaza below ground. Above   Civic spine connects the upper floors of Oxford street to add retail and social value.



Top  Public circulation is open to the sky. Above   Civic roof terrace offers visitors a strong visual connection to city beyond.





Chinatown is both geographically and spiritually at the heart of London for the Chinese diaspora. But currently its offerings are mostly limited to dining. Three Theatres (3T) is the first extension to China Town since its gradual formation in the 1950s. Inspired by the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank, this trio of buildings are public and porous, providing both outdoor space and sheltered places to rest. The theatres are raised to allow maximum movement through the ground floor and important easy access to supermarkets, cafÊs and the food hall. The new buildings borrow both from the site’s history and current condition: inspired by the separated clusters of buildings on the site before the 1940s, yet riffing off existing patterns of fenestration and

facades from the neighbouring buildings. The three buildings are an arena, an intimate theatre, and a grand theatre: versions of the Royal Albert Hall, Swan Theatre and Olivier Theatre. These theatres surround a new focal point for Chinatown. Vistas and entrances formed by the form of the buildings help to ease congestion on the site. The theatres provide a new entrance from Charing Cross Road and public realm on the outside. Inside, there are small-scaled spaces of exchanging culture including a food hall and a learning mezzanine. The freedom to traverse different levels of spaces is uncommon for Chinatown but in this case there is even a viewing gallery and a new multi-level pagoda (akin to those in Asia). These buildings offer a renewed identity to an otherwise conservative culture.















The retail market is undertaking a dramatic change. Through e-commerce and lifestyle changes, shopping has hybridised into nearly every aspect of urban life, displacing affordable space to work and live in the city. Meanwhile, department stores and traditional retail typologies are becoming obsolete. The redevelopment of the Oxford Street M&S speculates how to synthesise these conditions, while responding to its Soho-specific urban context. Carving a new urban courtyard out of the existing monofunctional retail block, drawing a variety of new users such as young local post-production companies and local designers to infiltrate. Retelling the building’s historic trajectory of vital cultural spaces, the department store is redefined as an integral part of Soho’s cultural infrastructure once more. 42


RETHINKING RETAIL between highstreet and finegrain


STEP 3: ROOF ACTIVATION 1. open air cinema 2. 90m gallery 3. roof houses 4. multi use studios 5. co-working conservatory



2 5

STEP 2: PUBLIC ROUTE 1. roof terrace 2. M&S proto showrrom 3. sharedwork/life flat 4. film auditorium 5. seminar spaces

4 3


1 2


STEP 1: NEW COURTYARD 1. M&S digital showroom 2. aracade studios 3. independent retail 4. loading bay 5. film libaray



1 2





When it comes to fashion, we think of the restless pursuit of the latest trend. Collections expire with every new season. Barely worn, they wander to the back of our wardrobes, or even worse, to landfill. Designer or discount, so much of what we wear is produced using ethically questionable and environmentally destructive processes, fuelled by the fast-fashion model of buy, wear once, dispose, and start again, making the fashion industry one of the most destructive in the world. Urban thread proposes London as the destination for a radical rethinking of how we view fashion: as slow rather than fast, enabling fashion to express itself through a changed understanding of the product and its origin: sustainable production , and trade that remains close to the product. The 800m masterplan development incorporates a sculptural roof with a series of pavilions set within a new landscape connecting Stratford Station to the Olympic Park, providing a covered walkway connecting the four strata of retail, business, culture and recreation. 44




The UK is apparently a society with equality enshrined in law, yet the British Museum persists in perpetuating a biased history through a white male lens, reinforcing the theory that misogyny is consolidated by ideological myths about women. Inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party – an installation artwork that symbolises the history of women in Western civilisation – A New Order extends the British Museum to house a new permanent collection displaying objects relating to important yet overlooked historical female figures. A sequence of linked pavilions in the forecourt weaves into the

existing fabric of the museum. The curation of chosen artefacts gives new meaning to their history and challenges the historical association of the feminine and the domestic. Materiality and process can be related to gendered traits; yet fabric can be harsh where steel can be delicate. The Bauhaus women campaigned for weaving to be a form of high art rather than craft. Emptying femininity of meaning by removing gendered stereotypes, the scheme debunks these widely held views on architectural tectonic. 45




Last June, 13 million people didn’t vote in the referendum on Brexit; this June, the general election result has ensured even more chaos and muddle in the coming years. Isn’t there something wrong at the heart of British democracy? Perhaps emblematic of a deeper malaise, the Palace of Westminster is crumbling: the spiritual home of politics awaits a whopping £5.7 billion six-year restoration and renewal project. Seeking a more relevant and more urban arrangement than the Palace of Westminster currently offers, Making Parliament Great Again provides an architecture that increases participation in politics. A new democratic landscape is enshrined into a new urban

landscape. Employing a temporary decant strategy, the House of Commons debating chamber is replaced by a Public Commons debating forum at Parliament Square. Voters, protesters and onlookers watch from the viewing hill as the archaic rituals and theatre of British politics are laid out across the city. The parliamentary functions are dispersed across a seven-minute walking radius from this new fulcrum. Parliaments are typically unshakeable institutions, large buildings seeking to exude power, lying somewhere between office and theatre. The temporary nature of this proposal is a commentary on the typology and aims to physically shift how we engage – intellectually and spatially – with politics. 47




Wasteminster demonstrates how a new model for small-scale infrastructure can tackle the urban food waste issue in London. Each year, our wasteful attitude results in an estimated one third of all food produce across the globe (1.3 billion tonnes worth around $1 trillion) ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices. Food waste costs the average person in London

ÂŁ200 a year, rising to ÂŁ700 for a family with children. How can new forms of spatial planning, policy development and technology help combat this wasteful ritual that is leading to an unstable city? Retaining an existing listed car-park facade and ramp in Soho, a new building becomes an exemplar for a facility that can bring together food, waste and people. The mechanisms employed by the project include holistic economic

incentives, new forms of innovative construction, food growing operations, a recycling institute, materials testing labs and a hotel that promotes communal living and sustainable cycles. Wasteminster seeks to be an exemplar for London and beyond. Proposing a new age of symbiotic living in a city, it is a civilised, productive, sustainable and economically viable model for a new type of urban infrastructure. 49

Connecting Soho’s food network: Between Soho’s 544 food establishments, they produce 17 tonnes of food waste. Wasteminster looks to connect the waste products within one building to develop a closed loop neighbourhood plan that creates resilience through a civic infrastructure.



We live our lives from day-to-day, with the rituals of eating and making. The building looks to combine multiple programmes centred around food, to begin to influence how we view our daily rituals and bring sustainable practices back into the urban context.

The views through the building show how it handles waste. Creative material labs allow innovative materials to be displayed, admired and even taken back home. The market on the ground and first floors takes on over 1.5 tonnes of edible waste from Soho to allow those below the food-line to learn new skills in food preparation and to give all in the city a chance to engage in the age-old communal activity of cooking.



With Crossrail bringing 2000 people back and forth from central London every two minutes at rush hour; towns like Brentwood at the end of the line suffer an identity crisis as new transport infrastructure negatively strengthens the image of the town as one that serves the perpetual motion of others. More and more people arrive here and then depart; more and more Brentwood becomes a place about other places, and not about itself. The project aims to create a working destination that responds to the cultural shift in the way that people connect their working life with their other routines relating to well being and family. Reflecting a movement towards more fluid or agile ways of working in cities and provincial towns where people hop in and out of spaces favouring connectivity over prime locations. This new piece of cultural infrastructure is positioned at the rail terminus, acting as a point of interchange and connection between London and Brentwood and the blurred space between urban, rural and suburban. The scheme offers work space with new high-speed connection to London, child care, shared woodland walks and access to 400 hectares of country park. 52



The building is a sequence of interconnected spaces and work surfaces that can be used in different ways, both by individual members and groups or companies. It is serviced by a parallel structure that runs the length of the site, which absorbs all the required servicing, and doubles up as a public piece of infrastructure that connects the station to the neighbouring countryside.



The scale, materials and spatial configuration draw connections between the urban interconnected nature of the central London block with the culturally rich history and transitions of a place on the rural/urban fringe.



This project proposes an architecture of socially interactive spaces as an antidote to the increasing loneliness of the densifying metropolis. Information technology is changing human interaction. Our always-on culture is straining social relations, which has led to an increase in isolation and loneliness in our cities. The city lacks the production of truly public space where people can interact in the analogue world. Open space is being privatised and public buildings are obsolete. As local authorities struggle to find the funds to maintain and produce public buildings, this project finds mechanisms to negotiate between the public and private sectors, to create an offering to the citizen of a ‘new’ public building. The Continuous Interior creates spaces for people to interact by repurposing the undesirable centres of the city blocks in Soho, with public buildings that act as a fulcrum for social exchange. The three main aims are: to introduce a public corridor that is additive to the already vibrant public realm; to rework the concept of the social condenser through enhancing existing cross-programming, overlaps and adjacencies of uses and activities; and, finally, to propose this as a method to densifying the city by infilling latent space with public infrastructure. 56



Above from left  The eastern promenade cuts through the social exchange of adjacent programmes as visitors cross over with inhabitants in their daily activities; playful book stacks line the central route that presents openings horizontally and vertically into different human interactions; raised platforms allow for walkways and views across the new and old Soho tectonics. Below  Sections through the urban block.





Can the city realign with its mental health and how can architecture become part of process of treatment? One in four Londoners will experience a mental health problem this year, so why isn’t the city responding with sufficient support? There are great strains on our public health service, with major wider consequential impacts on society. Currently provision of facilities are inadequate to pro­vide care at the scale of the issue. Individuals can’t cope, and our current system can’t cope with caring for us all. Headspace reimagines this type of healthcare at both the macroand micro-scales, to synthesise with the city and our everyday lives. A holistic approach to treatment and care is reintroduced to the heart of the city, with an exemplar headquarters in Soho, where environments of liberation and understanding operate healthily alongside convivial public programmes. 60


Top  Vignette from Soho Square which acts as the front public garden and entrance.

Above  Vignette of passage leading to the

Top  Site plan showing hierarchy of gardens.

Bottom  Worms-eye view.


Walk down from the chapels to the cemetery (top); view from one of the balconies of the towers overlooking the city, the relationship between the mourner and the deceased in focus (middle); and within one of the towers, diffused light shining in through stained glass in the niches (bottom).




Civil Rites explores how death rites can be used to increase the quality of life in cities. The current crisis of burial space in London has led to a speculation similar to that of real estate, where a dignified passing becomes available only to those who can afford it. According to the latest government’s report, London’s cemeteries are estimated to be completely full by 2019. To deal with these issues we need to drastically rethink how we deal with death, not only in practical manner, but also with the psychological aspects of bereavement in a time when we seem to have lost all connection to the spiritual aspects in everyday life. At Foubert’s place in Soho, a new typology for a cemetery building for Westminster is proposed with a ritual procession using the life of the city as a point of departure. It provides a place for the process of bereavement where through a simple and unsentimental familiarity with death, people can experience the joy of living.

From top  Section showing relationship to the city; ground floor plan; the large chapel.





At the intersection of the Creative Square Mile, the Knowledge Quarter and Crossrail, the cluster of workspace around Soho Square has huge potential for innovation and value creation. That said, the square’s conventional office buildings don’t provide the spectrum of spaces required for accommodating the mobile workers and inter-company interactions that are shaping tomorrow’s creative organisations. Because of new ways of working, the discrete office building is no longer a relevant unit. Fieldwork envisions five buildings around Soho

Square to develop into a highly interdependent working campus. By pooling spatial resources around public amenity, Soho can continue to foster an internationally competitive creative ecology in spite of spiralling land values. Five distinct typologies – hotel, halls, buro, club and factory are – share key programmes with campus members and casual visitors alike. Each building has a layered composition of public, semi-permeable and private working environments which celebrate work to include education, exhibition and entertainment. 65

Stone Masonry Pediment and cornice detail, Greek Street. Building to be retained and renovated under current scheme.

Stone masonry cornice detailing, Greek Street. Building to be retained and renovated under current scheme.

Stone masonry blockwork, Manette Street. To be demolished under current scheme.

Stone masonry window reveal detailing, Greek Street. To be retained and renovated.


Development pressure in London is leading to the wholesale redevelopment of Soho. Uncontextualised, duplicative forms consolidate blocks into single buildings, erasing its urban grain and vernacular heritage. Collectively, such disposable, myopic developments exacerbate Soho’s loss of identity and particularity – the very ingredient that its visitors and developers seek. Individually, their temporary build quality prevents the retention and collection of memory through telling scars or patinas. Retain-Memorise-Thrive illustrates an alternate form of development at the very edge of Soho, one that allows its industrious and creative core to seep through a characterful, imbued skin Traces of retained material find themselves re-appropriated within an array of mediating thresholds. The site’s active cultural programme – in which the public realm, work spaces and exhibition space combine – are manifest alongside one another A cohesion of Soho’s material character with its many creative programmes acts a catalyst in responsible city making, simultaneously safeguarding the particularities of what make Soho so special and unique. 66


Stone masonry entrance detail, Greek Street. To be retained and renovated under current scheme.

Stone masonry column detail, Manette Street. Building to be demolished under current scheme.

Partial existance of cobbled paving stones within site. To be retained and re-used.

Stone masonry window reveal detail, Charing Cross Road. Building to be demolished under current scheme.

1940s Art Deco facade detailing, Manette Street. Building to be demolished under current scheme.

Stone masonry window column detail, Charing Cross Road. Building to be demolished under current scheme.

Glazed brick column footing, Charing Cross Road. Building to be demolished under current scheme.

Stone masonry column detailing, Greek Street. Building to be retained and renovated under current scheme.

Stone masonry column detail, Charing Cross Road. Building to be demolished under current scheme.

Stone masonry pediment and cornice detail, Greek Street. To be retained and renovated under current scheme.

Stone masonry blockwork, Charing Cross Road. Building to be demolished under current scheme.

Rammed concrete. Aggregate from site to be excavated and used in the forming of rammed concrete walls.

The scheme’s internal courtyard depicts a newly created threshold through its staggered arrangement of buildings and to Soho beyond.

The sunken gallery spaces below ground level display the particularities of the buildings above while fusing with their adjacent cultural programmes at subterranean level.



In the centre of London, an ever increasing influx of visitors and a never-ending surge of development makes it hard for the area to maintain its identity. We are faced with two issues: the death of the centre due to the diminishing space capable to contain public life, especially in the interior of the building stock where architecture is able to create a precise atmosphere; and secondly to the fact that what is left of these spaces is mostly occupied by the ephemeral visitor who is unable to contribute something meaningful to life in the city and furthermore annihilates what s/he is there to experience. Within this context of the overpowering complex of fleeting cultural cohesion and surging property value the only alternative to high-end private development unable to create publicity is the (meta)-typology of the Icon-building. Only if a building is able to attract even more investment in an area it obtains its right to exist without being forced to justify its immediate raison d’être. In this scenario the Icon becomes strangely subvertible. 68




The Soho Skill Exchange is a facility focused on re-skilling, innovation and human resilience in a time where Artificial Intelligence is exponentially making humans redundant. The Soho Skill Exchange is a pioneering approach to lifelong learning. The centre is a response to the societal impacts of technological disruption. Automation of labour is set to make 40 per cent of current jobs redundant in the next 15 years. And without innovation in re-skilling a huge chunk of the population will become a ‘useless class’. The Soho Skill Exchange facilitates intergenerational skill exchange between digitally fluent, but inexperienced young people and the digitally illiterate, but socially experienced older generations. The programme includes the Skill Exchange facilities, a Department of Innovation and Skills, and an Institute of Ethics in Emerging Technologies which together form a multi-disciplinary body to navigate the repercussions of technological disruption on society, politics and ethics. Automation will free us of the monotonous jobs which leave people feeling unfulfilled. This is an opportunity for people to choose, to be empowered, to gain skills which enable them to pursue meaningful work and to flourish. 70


Top  Axo showing connection with Soho Square. Middle  View of proposal from Greek Street. Bottom Left   Internal sunken lecture theatre. Bottom Right  Threshold space.



As the city changes so do the civic building we require. Within Soho this change is in part due to a continually increasing desire for residential properties within the city centre. The increase in requirement means many public buildings are currently under threat, having to work harder for a greater number of people, yet on an ever-diminishing budget. Wouldn’t it be great if you could join these threatened typologies in a single building which is truly a flexible yet represents a civic space within the city? As lots of civic programmes require the same spaces this proposal provides a combined framework for three of the typologies under threat: town hall, surgery and library. Allowing a new hybrid civic building to accommodate a mix of these programmes. Eradicating the dreary and benign hospital waiting rooms and replacing them with grand library halls or intimate winter gardens for waiting in instead. 72


Town Hall

GP Surgery


Programmed Space


Floor Plates


Lift Shafts

Social Space





Support Space

From top  Halls of residence music studios; the bell tower observation deck; the dining hall celebration feast.


The Soho School of Skills campus.

The Soho School of Skills is a new school to fight the burning injustice of social immobility. Its mission is to bridge the gap between education and employment, empowering students and providing them with a hands on education that is much more true to life. The campus is choreographed around and knitted in with existing institutions in Soho. More specifically creative institutions ingrained in the quarter’s cultural history under the subjects of music, food and the performing arts. This school is for any student aged between 14 and 18 years old

who cannot or does not intend to go to university. It will teach students the hard and soft skills required for their career success. Teaching students not what to think but how to think, it provides a more memorable and rewarding educational model that prepares graduates for the creative professions of tomorrow tailored to their aspirations of today. The school’s ethos endorses tactile education where the student remembers more through learning by doing. As Confucius says: ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.’ 73



Lambeth Southwark



Southwark RBKC


Camden Westminster

Hackney Greenwich



City of London



City of London




City of London





The Underbelly Bar

The City Making Hall offers an alternative process of planning and shaping the city (top); the building revolves around the idea of ‘horizontal drift’ between the different city makers (middle); the Underbelly pub is an informal setting for the public to pause en route through the building (bottom). Each of the 33 London Boroughs, while integrating the city making professions.




The City Making Hall is a civic institution bringing together investors, regulators, designers and the public. Over seven floors, the building contains layers of public event space, office, a pub and a debating chamber, each revolving around a central atrium. The building is conceived as a city-making factory: a place of politics and urban creativity to collide. The aim is to create a sense of wonder at how to metropolis is made. Uniting previously siloed professions in one space to collaborate and exhibit their work to the public, the variety and complexity of the spaces aim to stimulate curiosity and participation from Londoners. The ultimate goal is to create a more democratic and open form of urban renewal and construction, which gradually shifts decisions into the public domain with the intention of making London a better place for its citizens.

The tectonic concept is that the ‘Boroughs’ hold up the hall, as precast concrete walls each represent a London Borough (top), while the plan is formed around the idea of a unitary landscape that represents each of the 33 London Boroughs, while integrating the city making professions.



There are two principal difficulties with education at present. First, our cities, but in particular that, school catchment areas are planned around the home and not the workplace, where parents increasingly spend more time. Secondly, children are becoming disconnected from the world around them, starting with their education. Education Today proposes a school for commuter children, embodying values of the project-based learning pedagogy, Montessori schools and the Dalton Plan, which emphasises the two educational principles of freedom and co-operation. Using the city as its campus, Brewer Street School has 2,000 pupils. Its learning centre is sited on the site of Brewer Street car park, with additional spaces spread along a pedestrianised learning corridor. The architecture of building and public realm reconnects with nature and encourages children to access their primeval self. The central hub building is a ramped structure, extending out of the ground, and a sequence of spaces allowing children to engage with elemental topics, terminating with a rooftop assembly space where children can truly understand their siting within the city and its global circumstance. 76


Top  Masterplan, re-imagining Soho’s public realm as school campus.

Above  Programme diagram of central building. The concrete armature ramps in a continuous trajectory, with a variety of learning environments. The conventional block hosts admin and welfare.

A series of images showing the range of spatial variety that unfolds around the building.



Soho Studios proposes a new office typology for the digital production industry in the heart of Soho. Designed to cultivate innovation – combining chaos and order, production and interaction – it mixes all previous office typologies into one physical place to create a richer environment. Soho Studios is made up from an office building to house the digital production community. A three dimensional mews to supply services to the new and existing office with the latest facilities, a gate house to establish a physical presence in the city and a onescreen cinema, all sitting above a open public realm which stitches into the surrounding street. Digital production’s most valuable commodity is intellectual property with it being very private and secure, however work is often outsourced and shared over social networks and interactions. As a result the new office building accommodates both. Cellular offices allow private concentrated production to take place, combined with a connective tissue of shared mixing stations where employees can share information, work and socialise. Currently the isolated offices dotted around the city will never have the open-ended collisions and vitality that a Soho pavement has. Learning from our urban environments Soho Studios increases fluidity, with the possibilities of new ideas jostling against each other and the ability to then retract to privacy and produce. 78


Top  Ergonomics drives the design rather than technology ensuring the long life of the studios. Detailed and cellular, it challenges the modern office typology, placing human experience at the heart of the design ethos. Above  The scheme offers a range of different scaled environments and spatial experiences.

7 6

Above  Soho Studio’s sunken mews is a vast public realm that stitches into the streets of Soho. The monolithic office sits on a first floor podium datum with carved massing to give Soho Studios distinctive form. This allows light to flood the public realm and giving a variety of office floor plates with varying scales of pirate studios. Right  Private Studios ‘scriptoriums’ line the edge for production of digital content, in the centre is the connective social tissue allows for innovation to flourish through chance encounters and serendipity.












Unstable Cities created a masterplan for Rotherhithe based on principles of economic, political, social and environmental instability. Below  New Knowledge created SWARM, a platform for connecting people, professionals and places to proactively plan better cities. Left  Emerging Tools used new technologies to create a more circular urban economy and intregrated social ecology.

Our Design Think Tanks are a unique and pioneering part of the London School of Architecture: where students learn to design together, in collaboration with a new wave of practitioners who are experimenting with evolving modes of working that deploy architectural research in real-time architecture on the ground. With the Practice Network being based in London, the school aims to create a vibrant and dynamic research platform in the capital city, harnessing the power of shared purpose to engage in global design conversations at the forefront of the discipline. We agree with Malcolm Gladwell that: ‘The 20th century was about lone geniuses, whereas the 21st is about smart people working together.’ So the Design Think Tank Project addresses the imperative that architects have to be adept at working with other architects. We also believe that architects have a large role to play in shaping the world, and that there are challenges and opportunities that can be better addressed by collective rather than individual action. The Design Think Tank Project is not like a traditional design unit that culminates in an individual architectural proposition from each member, but a design-based research group project led by, and taking place within, the studios of the Practice Network. Its aim is to inform practice as much as to nurture students’ key design skills. Research themes respond to the most pressing issues of the day – spatial, social, economic, ecological, technological – and the designs that emerge from the process have to embody the LSA’s five core values by being Propositional; Relevant; Innovative; Metropolitan; and Entrepreneurial. And the very manner in which we approach the task of design is challenging too. Avoiding the common pitfall of trying to resolve the ‘research’ component of the project before tackling the ‘design’ component, invariably leads to design (seen as a product) being endlessly deferred. Here, however, we endeavour to experiment and test through design as a process from day one – developing with spatial provocations and propositions throughout the whole project. Students work via an iterative design process based on ‘Agile’ working, in order to explore the spatial consequences of how the world is changing and the architect’s role within it. Other innovative industries use an Agile approach to contemporary design challenges, moving away from the traditional linear trajectory when developing ideas and instead focusing on three strands: Define, Design and Disseminate where design becomes a way of revealing key questions, as much as a way of trying to answer them. Likewise, whereas too commonly the sometimes brilliant results of design-based research might tend to remain in a limbo-like state, caught between private idea and the academy, at the LSA we believe that good work should be for the betterment of the widest of audiences and disseminated widely. All the Design Think Tanks presented to a sell-out audience at the Design Museum in 2016, while the students of Design Think Tank Architectural Agency creating ED/GY – Ethical Dwellings for Generation Y – which sought to solve the housing crisis for Millennials, and published their primer on Issuu. Meanwhile New Knowledge formed SWARM – a platform for connecting people, professionals and places to proactively plan better cities – which RIBA Journal covered in an article ‘Uber-Inspired Architecture’, and in November members of the team gave a keynote lecture at the annual conference of the BNA, the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects. This year’s Design Think Tanks have explored themes ranging from architecture and air pollution, designing for death, new high-street typologies, workspace evolutions and cultural infrastructure. As a series of experiments, each Design Think Tank has begun to recast education within practice, essentially turning architectural studios into learning environments that adopt and adapt academic models. A new breed of practitioners, studios and students are creating their own independent pedagogical networks, bringing people and ideas together, closer to practice, outside the confined mechanisms of traditional academia, and firmly within the City as Campus. 83

Architectural Agency formed ED/GY – Ethical Dwellings for Generation Y – to propose a new business model for equitable and accessible housing solutions for Millenials.



Challenging the current bias in public policy and traditional home-owner culture, EDGY’s model of collective ownership allows long-term residents to build equity at a rate they can afford.




Air pollution is one of the most significant public health issues facing cities. London’s levels of nitrogen dioxide are almost equal to those of Delhi and Beijing. Each year in the UK, 40,000 deaths are attributable to polluted air, of which around a quarter are in London. The government has consistently been contravening legal levels of nitrogen dioxide, this year breaching its annual limit in Brixton after just five days.. In April, the European Commission issued a final warning to the UK government with threats of heavy fines if they do not meet legal limits. We see Brexit as a unique opportunity to call for strengthening our environmental laws through a post-EU Clean Air Act to come into effect in 2019, which would require national, local and city authorities to take proactive measures to reduce exposure to air pollution, prioritising those most vulnerable to the health impacts, such as children. In London, one in four schoolchildren attend a school that breaches levels of nitrogen dioxide. Research led by King’s College London has shown that vehicle pollution stunts lung growth in children who are the most at risk to long-term damage. Exposure from the half-hour daily walk to and from school is detrimental. So what can we do about the 802 schools in London that exist within 150m of roads carrying 10,000 vehicles a day? We look to address the urgent action required to give children at these schools the right to breathe. Primary schools in central London are often under-resourced, invisible and isolated from their local communities, many of which are suffocated by main roads with a growing lack of outdoor space as cities densify. Over the past 40 years car infrastructure has sprawled and now dominates 80 per cent of London’s public spaces. This has crowded out the crucial function of urban streets: places for people which we see as ‘living’. Simply cleaning exhausts would be a missed opportunity to build a more sustainable city. Addressing public awareness, road safety, access to outdoor space and improving public realm holistically, we propose to move towards the notion of the city as a classroom by

Global Currents proposed deliverable measures to reclaim our streets for the child and not the car.

reclaiming our streets for the child not the car. Our project looks to re-engage the school with the local community, raising children and education to the forefront of society. Our campaign provides a series of proactive measures to reduce emissions, focusing on children as a catalyst for wider societal change. We developed an incremental timeline of measures to improve air quality for the most polluted primary schools as a priority, with the long-term goal of reforming citywide planning reclaiming the streets for people not cars. Our incremental timeline plays out our proposed measures on Edgware Road in the Marylebone Low Emission Neighbourhood, an area with four of the most polluted schools in the UK, to be rolled out across the capital. Our theory of change embraces both ‘soft’ actions – which include strategies of the individual actors tackling the awareness of pollution, personal wellbeing and an engaged community response – and the ‘hard’, which

includes higher levels of sustainable infrastructure and government policies. This new availability of public realm in the street will then create opportunities to increase accessibility to our weakening public facilities bridging between increasing school and community needs, for example a library. This is in the context of future pressures of urban densification where the civic street will become valued. Our long-term goal is to see these streets permanently closed and reclaimed for the public realm – with the newly available space accommodating community facilities used by both the neighbourhood and its schools. London once set the precedent enacting the world’s first Clean Air Act in 1956, let’s use this opportunity to become pioneers for cleaner cities. We are not trying to solve air pollution. We are using it to effect positive societal change. Air pollution heeds no political or economical boundaries; we all need to take imminent action. 87


Urban cross-section showing desired interaction between complex institutions and demographics to allow creative development opportunities.


Architectural Agency’s proposed framework for an educational workplace campus enables incremental adaption of a new industrial thoroughfare.

Office developments in cities are driven by investors and developers and without profit there would be very little building activity. If the office becomes merely a tradable commodity, then so does the city. Often, architectural ideas are dismissed due to the perceived lack of commercial value. Within the current context, this solely means the ability of an entity to produce profit. We set out to explore how a comprehensive understanding of commerciality, integrated with social and ecological equity, could become a tool to design for a more sustainable culture of work. Architects have been criticised, especially by building contractors, for not being comfortable within the world of finance, making

developments more expensive than they should be. In cities such as London, the connection between policy and construction is immediately apparent. Land prices, taxes and competition make up the commercial forces that physically shape the city and drive its development in directions both reactive and speculative. However, these mechanics of growth within and around London don’t have to include displacement, gentrification and needless demolition, but can be done sensitively through interventions that create valuable relationships between people and environment. Offices are currently static, both in their activity, and in their ambition to sustain a singular identity within

the city. Often dictated by strict regulations, such as the British Council for Offices, office design has become generic and out of touch with their adapting context. The nature of work is becoming increasingly flexible and transient. Developments and availability of technology mean work is untethered from traditional offices, with 70 per cent of workers predicted to spend half their time away from the office by 2020. This, along with recent financial uncertainty, has led to 97 per cent of businesses now being micro-SMEs (with fewer than 10 employees). Meanwhile, automation threatens many services that humans used to provide. However, to see change as a threat rather than to embrace it as 89

an opportunity is naive. While work and life are rapidly changing, the offices we’ve built are not. Technology, automation and remote working are propelling change, thus workers’ ability to adapt to change and gain new skills is increasingly important. The current accepted notion of undertaking all your formal education at the start of your life has become outdated. The recent rise in student tuition fees has made students’ financial investment in higher education riskier with even lower possibility of long-term monetary reward. In addition, the very nature of most university courses narrows careers down to just a handful of jobs and sectors, at a time when threats of automation and technology require workers to have an increasingly agile skill set. Millennials are expected to have between 15 and 20 careers during their lifetimes, and so the relationship between doing and learning 90


work has to change dramatically. In order to keep up to date with the extreme pace of the 21st century, we have to learn to keep learning. The linear relationship between education and profession is moving towards a circular, symbiotic one. As agents of the LSA, we are already experiencing the benefits of this integrated approach – our ambition is understanding the direct spatial consequences of this flexibility. We see the integration of education with the workplace as inevitable. Moreover, this can cultivate sustainable, self-sufficient workplace models that are not only financially healthy, but also enhance the wellbeing and development of both the individual and the larger ecologies to which we belong. While addressing the fluidity between working and living we have designed spatial scenarios that nurture users’ activities and ambitions to maximise wellbeing and opportunity. At three scales across

the city, these are commercial developments established on the notion of ‘work’ (verb) as a cultural act rather than ‘work’ (noun) as a place/tradable commodity. Ten per cent of Londoners work in industrial areas, but this land is being lost at three times the rate set ROPERY BUSIN out in the London Plan. Charlton PHASE is one site that has been earmarked by the Greater London Authority as an area for commercial regeneration, but this often is done by top-down, large-scale masterplans which remove existing industries. Outline plans for extending one of Crossrail’s branches through Woolwich have attracted the gaze of both the local authority and developers as it poses an attractive opportunity for riverside development. However, there is a tension in the desire for high-return residential against the still operational wharves and productive industrial buildings crucial to the area’s businesses and culture.

The proposed framework brings businesses together under a shared idea of site improvements and future development.

Our proposal directly involves current inhabitants of the area, allowing them to take regeneration into their own hands. This is achieved through a series of incremental works. Centred on a selective rather NESS PARKthan destructive approach, the proposal explores an alternative solution E3 to large-scale urban regeneration. Stemming from an integrated work and educational model, a framework sets out a path of development for a particular site over the coming years. This addresses automation and regeneration as an opportunity – not a threat – for the area and its users. We aim to create a new typology of workspace that brings learning facilities into commercial sites to cater for an ever-changing working dynamic. By developing each plot as its own ecosystem, existing businesses will be able to keep up with the changing nature of work through the sustained increase in educational

programmes. The site is strategically densified, integrating existing industrial uses with training facilities and residential units in a truly mixed site, with mutually beneficial public realm, tailored to the users’ needs. The phased proposal gives companies strategies that enable financially stable, sustainable and truly mixed-use development. They enter into a partnership that encompasses policy to bind them, planning conditions, and funding models to enable the sustainable regeneration of their business park. This happens over three stages, defined by their scale of works and funding level required rather than fixed time periods, the level of development can be maintained at any stage and be financially self sufficient. In the first stage of this framework, businesses group together to form a BID. Through pooling small contributions that can be used collectively, communal

areas can be maintained and businesses are given a collective resilience and identity. Secondly, individual mandatory contributions to the Apprenticeship Levy are combined to fund the building and running of a communal workshop. Finally, selective redevelopment of parts of the site is carried out by the collective’s CLT, a component of the initial framework agreement. This densifies the area, bringing in new skills alongside residential and communal uses. At each stage, the individual financial input that companies pay into the framework remains constant. This, and the resultant profit, enable work to continue, while apprenticeship levy contributions and academy partner funding sustain the educational programmes. Each subsequent phase is entered within the relevant framework and planning policy, with surplus profit reinvested into the site. 91



We considered the role of the local high street in a post-retail future and asked how this historic typology should be preserved. We aimed to question the ecology of the local retail stock by engaging, empowering and guiding the civic economy; the ideas, resources, passions and expertise of the people. We asked ourselves: how can a focus on human interaction and new technologies, rather than a retail monoculture, create a relevant urban future? Our subsequent proposal advocates a new organisation that could steer change and afford the 5.7 million Londoners that live within five minutes of a high street a sense of belonging in a world that is more and more digitally described. Metropolitan high streets are a space of movement and a place of meeting, quieter than a main road but more connected than a town square. They host nearly half of all London’s jobs but, beyond this, act as places for ritual and everyday public life, with regular exchange and meaningful interaction between people. They are crucial for small businesses and are able to offer symbolic ownership to the residents that regularly visit them. The high street is often described as being in a state of crisis, as online shopping and out of town retail ‘destinations’ continue to increase their share of this spending. Many recent reports produced have tended to focus predominantly on retail and shopping. This can be seen in the proposals, and subsequent failure in application, of the government-commissioned review by Mary Portas. Adaptive Typologies argues that a focus on traditional retail and shopping is not viable. We contend that London’s high streets are not in crisis; rather, there is the opportunity for, and signs of, the emergence of more contemporary and relevant uses. We believe these new uses should be born from existing requirements and should be intensely specific to each high street. To this end, we made a new form of high street-specific governance: a ‘High street Investment Trust’ (HIT) which we propose could be deployed across London, to effect site-specific change based on grassroots, democratic representation of the

Mapping into the current ecology of High Road Leyton to discover what has been lost since the 1950s.

people who live, work and operate their business on the high street. We used a portion of Leyton High Road as a testbed for this model. Careful site observations, talking with the people on the high street, drawing, recording and contextual research were used to establish what the High Road was currently, and what it should be in the future. As an attraction to prompt discussion, we constructed a set of stairs which led up onto the old village green, currently raised a metre above the ground, to bring a public space back into use. From this, we made a set of architectural proposals, ranging in scale, and acknowledging the accretive nature of high- street development, intended to be delivered across different timescales. The initial project involves the savvy subdivision of a council-owned vacant unit to provide a base for HIT from which it could better consult and embed itself in the high-street community. The remaining space could be let out to other small organisations who cannot afford an entire unit. Beyond this, a requirement for arts and cultural venues was established on

the high street. Learning from the historic precedent of the Leyton Baths, where wooden planks were laid across the pool to turn the building into a music venue, HIT would work with the owners of under-used space along the high street to explore appropriation. On a longer term basis, HIT would look to tackle the 40m of inactive frontage offered up by a Tesco supermarket along a key portion of the high street. Finally, a new typology for the high street is proposed, bringing production back to the experience of the street. High streets haven’t been built through grand gestures but are formed by the everyday lives of local people. Our proposals look to build on the mutually supportive activity that exists in and around high streets and to nurture these delicate ecologies through grassroots development. Fundamentally, high streets aren’t dying. But they are changing. As Bill Grimsey said, ‘forget about the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker’, those days are gone. The future of the high street is its people. The future of the high street is HIT. 93


Across London, the Last Act combines the disruptive nature of Airbnb with the forum of organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau.


Our treatment of the dead is unsustainable. Burial is economically impractical and cremation unecological and culturally detached. We have lost the relative certainty of collective rituals and local connections that traditionally helped us make sense of death. Over the past five centuries, the way we have treated death has undergone several upheavals. In 1665 an outbreak of plague leaving bodies piled in the streets of London led to legislative action being taken and the first Burial Act was passed. This dictated that all bodies be buried at six feet deep, which is still practised today. Successive cholera epidemics meant that by 1830, London had all but run out of burial space and concerns over miasma led to a number of large cemeteries being set up on the outskirts of the city. The dead were removed from local parish proceedings, resulting in a societal detachment from the processes and rituals surrounding the disposal of the dead. Late in the 19th century cremation gained popularity. Though initially seen as barbaric, the faster and cheaper process than burial soon became accepted. In 1968 cremation surpassed burial as the preferred method of disposal across London. Despite increasing cultural diversity this remains the case today with over 74 per cent of people in the UK choosing to be cremated. A basic funeral costs, on average, in excess of £3,500. Co-op Funeralcare offers a ‘Set Plan’ for £2,895 – if purchased online. This no-frills package buys a simple coffin, hearse transportation, 24 hours in the Chapel of Rest and arrangements at a local crematorium or burial ground. Options for customisation such as embalming or a specialist coffin are prohibitively expensive usually resulting in dreary standardisation and soulless ceremonies. London is rapidly running out of burial plots, making it extremely expensive to be buried in the capital. Highlighting the shortage of supply, investments in burial plots can promise returns in excess of 40 per cent after two years. Problematically, cremation requires more energy to reduce a single corpse to ash than one person consumes in a month. Some 16 per

Mycelium provides a natural and ecologically friendly casket that decomposes after one year.

cent of the UK’s mercury emissions emanate from crematoria causing significant environmental damage. The rituals surrounding death are ancient and necessary: providing a framework in which to operate, prescribing activities, behaviours and even food in the painful days following a loss. Key religious groups share distinct similarities in how they treat their dead. Following interviews with Londoners of various faiths, ethnicities and ages, we concluded that we have sanitised death, preferring to defer responsibility to funeral directors rather than engaging with the practical and physical aftermath. Faced with this detachment, we propose a new London ritual for death to provide a framework for all of London’s tribes. Reconnecting our society with the realities of death, it is intended to disrupt the established industry and outdated practices and so return agency to the people and give opportunity for expressions of individuality. This new model will define a piece of legislation appropriate to our society’s current burial crisis. It will decree that all bodies be buried at three feet deep using existing burial plots across London’s many cemeteries. This will activate 1.8 million existing plots across London and unlock approximately 2,325 acres of land for burial, alleviating the demand for cremation as burial plots will now be available and affordable. These cemeteries will also retain their capacity as public parkland in order to accommodate both the living and the dead. Our process is that all bodies will be buried for a year, and will be exhumed making the plot available for further reuse. The exhumed bones will be cremulated, a process borrowed from cremation where the bones are crushed to a fine dust.

This dust will then be returned to the bereaved in a vessel of their choice. The model will then highlight a new material strategy proposing the use of mycelium as an alternative to the wasteful and unsustainable wooden caskets typically used today. This would provide a natural and ecologically friendly alternative to that will decompose entirely after one year. Each person will be buried in a mycelium coffin and their plot marked by a mycelium gravemarker. This marker will decompose alongside its coffin counterpart, with one above ground and one below. It is intended to act as a signifier, both physically identifying the natural process of decomposition and emotionally representative of time passing after the loss of a loved one. A new network, called The Last Act, will return agency to the public when dealing with death, facilitating choice when arranging a funeral and making connections with a wider existing local network. The Last Act will combine the disruptive nature of systems like Airbnb and the forum status of organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and thereby remove the monopoly from corporate funeral directors. This service will occupy a position on each local high street, forming many outposts of Last Act allowing it to become commonplace, integrated into everyday life and providing a community hub similar to that of a local pub or church. Outposts will be spread across London, each providing for its local community. This neighbourhood strategy will then be replicated across the city to create a cohesive city-wide network. The Last Act branches will provide a space for advice, mutual support and practicalities such as washing and storing the body. Local artisans and businesses will also be involved, encouraging an open-source network, up-to-date with current trends, technologies and traditions while always encouraging feedback from those who chose it. The Last Act will also help to facilitate urban funerals, meaning that much like the wedding industry has broken out of the church, reflecting a more secular society, The Last Act will enable almost anywhere to be transformed to accommodate a funeral. 95


Proposed Tactics


Cultural Infrastructure is the series of spaces and networks throughout the city that allow for culture, from high art to hip hop, to be produced, disseminated and enjoyed over time. Our city’s cultural wellbeing has never been so important, when its spatial provision is increasingly under threat from political and economical forces. Cultural prowess and economic success are interlinked in our globalised world. Culture in all its forms is what makes a city appealing to the best students, researchers and skilled workers, and thus to businesses who want to employ them. However, culture is much more than a tool to be manipulated for the city’s success. The cultural infrastructure of London is today being put under an intense amount of strain. The significant increase in globalisation in the last 20 years has exposed the dominance of the private sector and significantly the privatisation of public space in London. Traditional spaces of cultural participation and production are facing extraordinary pressures, many of these being the small incidental spaces, such as railway arches, that surround the transport infrastructure in the city. At this moment, in a time of increased globalisation, we move further away from liberalism and into an age of privatisation, populism and anti-establishment sentiments. Brexit exposed a number of fractures: between the UK and the EU; between city centres and the margins; and between different demographics. Is it a coincidence that the two world cities most recently affected by the rise of populism – Post-Brexit London and Post-Trump New York – are both authoring Cultural Infrastructure Plans. In this time of uncertainty, and rapidly changing circumstances, are these plans an attempt to confront this social and political tension? The Mayor of London has set out to provide a Cultural Infrastructure Plan for 2030 that intends to use planning and spatial policies to support culture and maintain its status as global artistic and economic capital. What type of power, and what sort of relationship to the world, will be fostered by London’s new Cultural Infrastructure Plan? And what role

Metabolic City’s proposal focuses on rebalancing the provision of cultural institutions at various scales, addressing the needs for smaller spaces of cultural production and participation within cities.

can architecture play in providing new spatial models to serve these purposes? There is an increasing trend in the provision of culture in London for overscaled, sanitised scenarios of top-down culture, slotted neatly into place. Developments such as Here East, The Old Vinyl Factory and Olympicopolis are curating culture on a mass scale. This is not culture as we understand it. Metabolic City wants to ensure the future Cultural Infrastructure Plan will not perpetuate the current trend, but will instead prioritise a culture accommodating permissiveness and offering ‘the best for the most for the least’. Time Out recently reported that the Arts Council plans to spend £270,000 in Woolwich, which it claims will make it a ‘cultural destination’. This, in comparison, equates to approximately the cost of 21.5sqm of the Tate Modern Switch House extension. This highlights the imbalance of funds for singular institutions compared with a more dispersed distribution of culture. We need a viable way to orchestrate culture outside these individual developments, or diluted pockets of funding. Working between Brexit 2018 and the implementation of the Cultural Infrastructure Plan in 2030, Metabolic Cities developed a spatial strategy for the city that seeks to strike a balance between spaces for production, participation and play. We believe that the population have a right to culture that cannot be based purely on where we work or live, but also on the journey. Investment in transport infrastructure is supporting this mobility surge, from High Speed 2 and Crossrail through to the Heathrow Terminal 5 expansion. With London’s population rising at twice the rate of that in the UK, and set to reach 10 million by 2030, we asked how our cultural infrastructure can keep up. The future transport infrastructures will have a huge effect on the city, following the commonly held assumption that with transport and mobility comes wealth and demand – investments in transport tend to have huge repercussions on the areas touched by this infrastructure, driving up prices and competitiveness as well as affecting 97

Before 1499



12,300 BC Sprinting & Wrestling

1363 Hockey was defined in the UK

6000 BC Swimming & Archery

1598 Cricket was defined in the UK as a sport




900-1299 Drama performances were held in Churches

1700 Boxing was defined as a sport in the UK

1700 It was common to arrive an hour in advance to get a seat

Meeting houses for folk to socially congregate

50 BC Ancient roman Taberna Single room shop within larger indoor market

1446 Guild “The Hostellers of London”

Anglo Saxon ‘Alewife’


Hunting Parties Stables

1660 The Hung Drawn and Quatered Tower Hill

Royal Mews

Ill-health and alcoholism among the working classes

1736 The Gin Act High taxes leading to riots

The Gin Shop

Westminster dog pit

1776 Coursing meet

Coursing Dovecotes

Cesspits of immorality or crime The Pub Dog


Execution sites Village Commons

Burial Grounds

1607 Moorfield Pleasure Garden

Royal Worshipful Company of Gardeners

1618 Lincoln’s Inn Fields Gardens historically used for animal grazing, executions and sports

Town Gardens with food and craft markets and fairs


1199-1350 Fairs held by Royal Charter in towns to maintain control of the crowds and the revenue Fairs as temporary markets for trade Fairs linked to Christian Religious Holidays and harvest times, with traditional markets held on Sundays


Religious Music


1448 Morris dancing An English folk dance performed in courtly settings



1350-1850 Mop Fairs In agricultural regions for the hiring of labourers

Manor Houses with woodlands

1615 Smithfield Fair for trade

1656 First opera in English, performed in a theatre in a home

1672 John Banister (former court violinist) sets up a concert room in his house on Fleet Street

1661 Lincolns Inn Field tennis court converted to a theatre

1678 Proffessional musicians open concert house by Charing Cross

1740 Pleasure Gardens hosting orchestras and singers

1495 - 1619 Aristocrats hiring European painters from France and the Netherlands to do the thier portraits

1533 - 1603 Queen Elizabeth 1st It was in the Queen’s courts that the country dances were particularly popular

1600 William Kemp an actor dances solo from London to Norwich

1838 Suburban Garden front and back of house 1851 Crystal Palace Purpose Built Gardens

1880 Postmans Park

1651 - 1728 The English Masters dancing manual John Playford authors an English Country Dance manual

Childrens Zoo Millenium Conservation Centre

Pet Sto Slaughtering moves out of city

Fairs focus on entertainment and amusements 1861 Steam Powered Train Technological Advancement repopularises fairs

1830 Song and supper rooms 1800s Rise of parlour music

1800s Music halls replace the pleasure gardens

Standardised Garden Plots

1964 First Notting Hill Carniva

1851 The Great Exhibition Hyde Park celebration of British Industry Victorian Travelling Fairs 1860 emphasis on entertainment Decline of Fairs due to shows not trading: boxing, the fairs act - no longer dancing, ghost stories, freak sited in the city center, shows, menageries, theatres, had to compete with waxworks, arts, exhibitions music halls and theatres

1870 Royal Albert Hall opens 1892 Hosts first Sci-Fi Convention

1850-1960 Purpose built music halls, also used for comedy, theatre, gymnastics and dance

1877 Phonograph invented

1960 Liberalisation of the censorship law 1951 Festival of Britain To promote recovery and progress post war

1819 - 1900 John Ruskin A prominent British art critic and writer

1936 London International surrealist Exhibition

1819 - 1900 Tate Britain An art museum housing exhibitions of British art

1812 The Waltz takes hold in England

1898 Dame Ninette de valois Anglo - Irish dancer imports balletg from her russian teacher

L Fold ou Shows trav faster acr

1951 Royal festival Hall seats 2895 people 1960 Sound system developments lead to larger performances Technological advancements Pubs 1931 - First Vinyl Frin 1960 - Tapes 1979 - Walkman 1980 - CDs 1999 - Napster

1806 - 1876 British Institure for Promoting Fine Arts in the United Kingdom

1697 - 1764 Willian Hogarth A painter that introduces satire in to british art, and recognized for pioneering western sequential art.

1668 Sadler’s Wells Built as a theatre, yet to become a dance venue

Pub histo

Whipsnade Safari Park

Animal Rights Campaigns Police Dogs Dog Racing Pidgeon Racing

1700 - 1900 Assembly Rooms with music, dance, drink, food, gaming 1774 Hanover square Rooms 900 people

1700 Music societies perform in taverns

The Moon Under Water George Orwell

Bio park

1842 New tent style brought over from America

Fairs are famous for trade and commerce

Nigh cul

Lee Valley Regional Park 1875 Garden City Movement Public Health Act Fit and Sober 1930-1940 Sports Pitches - ‘Fit to Fight’ 1882 1992 Royal Wimbledon London Plannin 1858 Golf Course define park ca Battersea Gardens 1890 1951 44,000 Acres allotment 1868 Festival of Britain Landscaping election Museum Gardens

1768 Royal Academy

1200 Romanesque and English art. English generally followed Euroean art movements

1500 Morris Dancing becomes popular with the lower classes

Musicians playing privatley in the homes of the wealthy

1715-1783 Capability Brown English Landscape Architect

1683/1716/1739/1789/1814 Frozen Thames Fair: dancing, pubs, food, circuses, markets, sports, shows and souvenir production

Town trade fairs Sunday Markets

Links between music and the upper classes of society

Royalty as patrons of music - popular in courts and high society

1790 Kensington Gardens open 1 day a week

Tabloid scandal outing

1838 Regents Park 1840 Kew Gardens opens

1742 Ranalegh Gardens

1673 Chelsea Physics Garden 1661 Vauxhall Pleasure Garden

1133-1855 Batholomew Fair

Metabolic City


1681 Soho Square

1635 Hyde Park

Broadside Balladscheap printing making music more available at fairs and on the streets

2600 BC Stone Henge

Royal Parks


1963 Henry Cooper training to fight Cassius Clay

1914 WWI Hours of alcohol sale limited: 12:00 - 14:00 18:30 - 21:30

Travelling circus

Metropolitan Meat Market Epping Forest Hunting Grounds

Garden squares

TVs and c po

1923 - 24 The Fellowship Inn Bellingham Pub - Cinema


Dog Domestication

Smithfields paved market

Hunting Grounds

Modern day west end occupies site of famous Tyburn gallows

1910 Budget increased taxes on brewers

Illegal and Unlicensed ‘Gin Palaces’

1828 London Zoo Tower of london animal education Royal Circus Animal Welfare Societies

1777 Astleys Ampitheatre Animal shows

Southwark bear pit

1946 Founding of Arts Council

1950 Music halls & circuses for the working class

‘Great Seperation’ Public health concerns

Zoological park

Cockfighting pits

Smithfield meat market

1944 Onwards WWII changed peoples views on the world

1915 The Lock In

Beerhouse Act 400 in first year 46,000 within eight

The Saloon

1622 Lion Fighting

Bear Baiting

Cock Fights Dog Fights

Prison Execution

Royal Parks Animal Showdom

1902 Newgate Prison demolished

Prisoner expected to walk to execution unrestrained

A Beer Engine

1990 Stadiums introduced safety mea following the Hilssborough disas stadia had to be all-seater Due to scale loud voices and drama were necessary so stories were largely Na based on farce.

1941 German spy Josef Jakobs by firing squad

Newgate Prison parades

1660 “I went to see Major General Harrison, hung drawn and quatered, he was looking as cheerful as any man could in that condition” Diary of Samuel Pepys

1210 Royal Menagerie

Farm Animals

1850 London’s West End attracted the middle classes back to theatre Support for theatres declined from upper & middles classes as it became popular, they went to the opera instead

1747 Final Tower Hill beheading

220 Crimes for caiptal punishment

1577 14,202 alehouses 1,631 inns 329 taverns

Arrange mutual help within communities

The Pub Sign

1900 Most Theatres were lit by electricity

Kennington Common also used for cricket matches

Tower Green reserved for high profile exection

1514 Worshipful Company of Innholders

1904 Boxing was introduced in the summer olympics

Theatre was incorporated in Bartholemew Fair

1789 Box seating became open to everyone

Execution Dock

1571 The Tyburn Tree, three-sided gallows

1900 The first time female athletes participated in the Olympics

1896 First modern olympics were held. 241 Athletes, 100,000 Spectators

1850 Music halls & circuses for the working class

Introduction of gaslight in the 19th century

1794 Drury lane held over 3000 people

Audiences were very lively, riots were very common.

1600 Elizabeth I would get private performances at her home

1.2 high, 2.75 x 2.75m platform

1800-90 Badminton, Tennis, Squash and Table Tennis were defined as a sport in the UK

1800s Victorians changed sport from being brutal, lawless sports to being higher classed

1660 British Theatres were reopened.

1576 Indoor purpose-built outdoor theatres started in London

Pirates permitted a final ‘Quart of Ale’ at the Turks head inn

1863 Football rules were first written


1871 The Rugby Football Union was Created

1642 British Theatres were closed by parliament.

Inn yards were often used as performance spaces

Smithfield jousting, fairs and executions as public celebration


1664 The Gambling Act was deemed necessary for sports such as Cricket, Horse Racing & Boxing

1599 The Globe was built

1300-1399 Plays were performed outside of the church


1642 The long parliament prohibited sports such as cricket.

1540 Curling was invented in the UK

776 BC-393 AD Ancient games were held in Olympia in Greece Open to all classes of society (Apart from royalty)



1926 Royal Ballet school Established by Dame Ninette de Valois



2012 Boxing became open to female participation

2008 4,000,000,000 people watched the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

asures ster. All r.

2014 Women were 40% of the participants in the Olympic Winter Games

1963 ational Theatre

? Video game tournaments played from home

? Experimental Arts theatre

2017 Tourism due to theatres and musicals

1968 Abolition of theatre censorship in 1968

? Secret cinema - looking for a unique experience

1950 cinema became opularised

? 4D cinema Virtual Reality

1997 Netflix ? Rising tensions leading to trolling and aggressive memes

1965 eath penalty abolished

? Social media as a political tool

Social Media shaming

Lounge Bar

Introduction of micro-cultural spaces to counteract Heathrow Airport’s commerical bombardment.

Ministers protect pubs of community value from demolition


htclub lture

2003 Licensing act to encourage change of use form shops to pub

Smoking ban in all enclosed work spaces Beer Garden investmemt

2001 ory society promoting heritage and use

? Service Industry Jobs fall due to automation

? Automation allowing for more leisure time

? Popular trendy/ themed bars and clubs

Self service contactless pumps

Supermarkets begin occupation


? Increased automation leads to more personal leisure time

? Continued closure of pubs

Micro-pub movement


? Rise in Veganism

Safari park Petting Zoo Conservation Park

? Slow Food Movements

Animal theme Park

Travelling Circus



? Saving species from extinction and reintroducing into the wild

? Animal Rights Movements

Horse racing Dog Racing

? Growing Environmental Awareness Green-washing of Privatley Owned Public Space

2 ng comittee ategories


? E-Sports Drone racing

? Lack of exercise leading to obesity

Sports pitches in parks

Parks used for events: British Summer Time Music Festival Winter Wonderland Cinema screenings Triathlons

2012 10,000 street parties for the Diamond Jubilee Growing interest in local produce and Farmers Markets

Late 1900s ut trailer shows velling further and ross the country

? Automation frees up space for Parks

? Will incorporate smart city technology

? Privatisation and greenwashing

? Reinvigoration of local Framers Markets

Film Festival Festival of Architecture Design Festival Food and Drink Festivals

? Reinvigoration of craft fairs to offset trends of mass production ? Increased emphasis put on programming of spaces and events

? Customise your own experience

Large scale music festivals Glastonbury - 177,000 Larger outdoor venues, 2016 in and out of London Most watched music event Wembley - 90,000 - Lady Gaga’s Superbowl half time performance Larger indoor venues,

? Rewilding and Dereliction trends in public space

? Destination Festivals

? Growth in Festivals

theatres and halls Globalised celebrity O2 arena - 20,000 culture with awards and Royal Albert Hall - 5,222 accolades and live performaces nge venues in London 2000 - Ipods Individual listening, Music goes beyond 2005 - Youtube personal music the boundaries of 2006 - Spotify collections and playlists time and space

? Links with advertising and celebrity

? Live music as the main revenue source, all downloads free

? Accessible but monopolised by a few sites

? All digital on the cloud

? Performance Art

2000 Tate Modern A gallery exhibiting international modern art

? Designing ‘Grey Box’ art galleries

2017 Fabric almost closes

1998 Sadler’s Wells becomes a dance venue

Cultural Infrastructure

? Expanding art storage in museums, art as a commodity

? Street Dance Competitions

? Space being re-appropriated by other contrasting programmes

? Competative Dance for TV Entertainment


their spatial and aesthetic qualities, the urban form and the demographics of the area. How can a new cultural infrastructure respond to this emerging condition? Future investments cannot be purely directed towards popular tourist destinations or economically prosperous areas. We focused our strategies along the length of Crossrail as an example of city-wide infrastructure which is shaping the urban form, informing where people live and work, and acting as a catalyst for new developments which in turn bring vast quantities of investment to areas. The developments along these transport infrastructures are inevitable, and there is the opportunity to use these developments to support the smaller granular spaces of culture, rather than to marginalise them. These developments will increase the amount paid in the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Set up to be paid for by developments and spent providing or improving infrastructure in the area to support the development, CILs are a relevant existing model that can be used for future cultural provision. Funded by the developments along the transport infrastructure, the future cultural infrastructure can stitch together new developments and existing urban fabric, providing a cultural infrastructure based on London’s evolving mobility and adaptability. On the basis of these observations, we have devised a city-wide strategy, which views cultural production and participation at varying scales and with specific

architectural conditions as a fundamental and core component of the successful world city. We embrace the hybridity of culture and have proposed policies, new typologies and public spaces through a method of granular implementation which values popular mass culture, shared encounters and moments of participation and production within permissive spaces as a counterpoint to the current cultural infrastructure. We tested the proposal on two extreme sites in London, both sitting along Crossrail: the local high street of Whitechapel and the global market of Heathrow Terminal 5, blurring hierarchical boundaries and turning bleak sanitised privately owned public space into a publicly owned public space.

A small-scale public theatre intervention encourages permissive play within the city




1. Daisy Froud and Harriet Harriss, Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education and the British Tradition (London: RIBA Publishing), 2015, p188.

2. Indy Johar, Towards a Future Architecture, Open Architecture, published on Medium, 2015, p1.

3.Peter Cook, ‘Killing Creativity’, The Architectural Review, October 2015. 4. LSA Student Handbook 2015.

5. Mel Dodd, in Radical Pedagogies: Architectural Education and the British Tradition (London: RIBA Publishing), 2015, p22.

6. The London School of Architecture, 2015, People. Online: (Accessed 2016).

7. Leon Van Schaik, Mastering Architecture: Becoming a Creative Innovator in Practice (Chichester: Wiley Academy), 2005, p19. 8. Ibid, p217.

Opposite page  Drawing prepared by student Jaahid Ahmad at Scott Whitby Studio.

‘The LSA could be seen, metaphorically, as sitting on the San Andreas Fault between education and practice’1 I have had a hunch for some time now that many studio teachers are drawn to academia because it allows them to practise and participate in all the things they cannot do in their day job. Not only that, the distance between architecture as built and architecture as taught is an ever-increasing gulf, as Indy Johar explains: ‘Architecture sits at a nexus point of change, the tipping point of a new era: this era demands not that we change our design style (though that will be a resultant effect) but more fundamentally how we work both individually and as professions …’ 2 Why is it that the student design project so free from constraints, so open to interpretation is so desirable to be a part of? And why is the world of the office, the built environment and the tangible seen as so banal, rigid and straight? In short, why are our schools ignoring the critical issues of our time, choosing instead to pursue the esoteric, the marginal and the impossible? Of course this is a provocative generalisation. However, as Sir Peter Cook recently pointed out, there may be an issue of protectionism: ‘It is a pity the British schools have been rather feeble in making it possible for hardhitters to come inside – although I strongly suspect that career academics would be ready to point out their lack of delicacy as critics ...’3 The LSA forges new relationships between practice and academia and embedded within our DNA4 lies the idea that there is an alternative dynamic, forward-looking, critical conversation to be had between students, teachers and academia. The model rejects the binary positioning of academia versus practice, instead developing a collaborative model where there is an explicit understanding that practice can inform teaching and vice versa.5 It seems so logical and yet it remains one of the few courses that openly invites practices to share in the knowledge economy. Strategies As with any educational model there are a series of strategies that have been developed to tease out and test the agenda. The First Year starts with an Urban Studies programme and ends with research for the Second Year Thesis Project. There are also two courses under the banner of Critical Practice titled ‘Placement’ and ‘Theory’, which are defined as the place where the student is asked to research, consider and propose ideas that relate to how architecture is practised. The aim is to create a critical collision between speculation about architecture and speculating within architecture. It is no coincidence that the agenda of the school is reflected in the interests of the staff and advisors; in particular Dr Deborah Saunt and Dr Tom Holbrook who have recently completed their Architecture and Design Practice PhDs with Professor Leon van Schaik through RMIT and Ghent. Leon was invited onto the Academic Court6 of the LSA to lend insight into his praxis and seek his advice as to how this field of knowledge might be brought into the curriculum earlier (ie, at Master’s level). While the PhD programme is only available to practitioners who have already set up their studios and are ready to invest in questioning and re-framing their own practices, it seemed that there were methodologies that could be employed within the LSA to discuss the question of ‘why’ and ‘how’ with relation to process and context. At the heart of his premise, as described in Mastering Architecture, van Schaik proposes that research and peer review are vital to the growth and innovation of a practitioner,7 concluding: ‘Designers who become creative innovators have all found a way to second-order learning: a process of observing themselves as learners and taking charge of the curation of themselves as learners.’8 Taking this back into the school, the model suggests that by creating a space between practising (the three days a week employment) and speculating within the programme, students can research and test their ideas, ideals and preconceptions in real time. They are placed in a ‘live’ situation where they are both practising architect and scholar in a position where they can influence and calibrate both scenarios. 101

Critical Practice: Placement Working in an office allows the student to gain a view from the ground where they operate as part of a team or system. They have been asked to develop a Critical Practice Manual, seen as an in-depth research tool, and an ongoing project conducted in the present. Using the workplace as the principal site of investigation, the manual explores the relationship between process and product, ideas and outcome. Group seminars set up a number of questions that allow the cohort to start interrogating and learning more about their practice through traditional research and reading, thus understanding the nature of the office by working there. A dynamic relationship is set up that oscillates between participating in the daily life of an architect then standing back in order to interrogate it. Significantly the practice networks are invited to engage in the process in order, perhaps, to leverage the opportunity to develop their own perception. In particular we can see this approach aligning with the process Flora Samuel describes in her book encouraging architectural practices to invest in research activities: ‘To do research is to work through a problem systematically and reflectively and then, ideally, to disseminate the results of that research.’9 In other words, research creates an audience who may choose to take action (consult, commission, feedback, share), which in turn forms a virtuous circle where input affords output. Critical Practice: Theory Titled ‘Methods and Models’, this lecture series unpacks the role of theories and philosophy in the 20th and 21st centuries, asking key questions as to their influence and critical success or failure. Here the students are required to produce a Critical Practice Manifesto, which is a kind of mission statement for them to start measuring themselves by. The explicit question at the heart of this is: ‘How do you see your practice in the future?’. By triangulating between the worlds of theory and practice, the programme aims to develop a critical understanding of the agency of the architect in relation to others in the construction industry, the wider creative economy and the landscape of critical theory. In considering the recent past we need to recognise Adrian Forty’s notion that historical truth is relative and requires us to develop an appetite to challenge our preconceptions, even our education: ‘To concentrate on the making of architecture is to miss the point that architecture, like all other cultural objects, is not made just once, but is made and remade over and over each time it is represented through another medium, each time its surroundings change, each time different people experience it.’10 Research by design A further important strand of informative new thinking deals with the role of intuitive thinking and ‘research by design’ through asking questions that interrogate what kind of knowledge can only be gained through design and whether the notion of ‘designerly ways of knowing’11 has traction. ‘Although architecture is taught within the walls of academia, its realization happens outside those walls … Confrontation with society, with actors and contextual complexity cannot be denied. On the contrary, it is offering the most rich and potential learning environment that can be imagined.’12 Attending and presenting at the 2012 Theory by Design academic conference in Antwerp, showed that there was a growing concern within European architectural education that by privileging process-led design studios that often use abstract theoretical methodologies to create form, there is a huge gap in understanding how synthetic design can be both understood and validated. Significantly the conference came about because the faculty of design at Artesis University College was about to become part of Artesis Plantijn University College, and their academic credentials had been brought into question. The staff identified the sticking point to be that much of their research was seen as ‘artistic and intuitive’ rather than scientific and quantifiable. Thus the conference sought to explore and validate their understanding that design itself, as an activity, has research 102


9. Anne Dye and Flora Samuel, Demystifying Architectural Research: Adding Value to Your Practice (London: RIBA Publishing), 2015, p145.

10. Adrian Forty, Foreword, Strangely Familiar: Narratives of Architecture in the City, Eds Iain Borden, Joe Kerr, Alicia Pivaro and Jane Rendell (London: Routledge), 1996.

11. Nigel Cross (1982), ‘Designerly Ways of Knowing’, Design Studies, 3(4), pp221–227.

12. Els De Vos, Johan De Walsche, ‘Why Theory by Design is an Issue’, Theory by Design (Antwerp: Artesis University College), 2012, p11.

Design projects worked on by LSA First Year students during their 12-month work placements at DSDHA (below) and Aukett Swanke (left) and Carl Turner Architects (right).

outcomes. By bringing together teachers, practitioners, as well as those who do both, the outcome was refreshing because it revealed a broad spectrum of influences united by the underlying sense that ideas and positions can be developed through the act of designing rather than the act of critically reading the design process. Reflecting on this in the context of the LSA programme, it makes sense to allow the design project to exist within both the studio of the school and the office, and to use the different contexts to feed off one another, to learn, adjust and nudge.

13. Peter Buchanan, ‘The Big Rethink Part 1: Towards a Complete Architecture’, The Architectural Review, January 2012, pp67-77.

14. Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate (London: Penguin), 2015.

Alternative agendas As a practitioner who teaches, I am wary of offering up a dogmatic credo that can only lead to a single interpretation. Instead my instinct has been to present students with a map, pinpointing co-ordinates and intersections of architectural thinking. By way of contrast the lecture series given by the polemicist Peter Buchanan refers to his own thoughts published first in The Architectural Review under the title ‘The Big Rethink’13 where the influence of the ‘starchitect’ is scrutinised and the apparent lack of interest in environmental issues challenged, suggesting: ‘Many of today’s most accomplished buildings are by highly professional mainstream practices, perhaps partly because of the resources they can command, such as collaborating with the best consultants. These architects, not the avant-garde, constitute the leading edge of practice that other architects study and emulate.’ For Buchanan the crisis in architectural place-making can be pinned on the appetite to create ever-more new forms, new conditions and icons seemingly born out of a response to the rate of change witnessed in today’s society. The antidote, he suggests, is for architects to develop a much more robust critical voice, to ride the waves of fashionable ideologies and aesthetics, and to accept that responding intelligently and thoughtfully to a given situation can lead to a collectively better world. At an anecdotal level it was interesting to observe that when interviewing the students for the first intake, many of their questions revolved around whether the LSA was going to talk about ethics, the environment as well as entrepreneurial skills. There is a growing sense among the next generation that global issues such as climate change action, neoliberal politics, pollution and migration all must inform the position of the architect. No longer is the debate about style, rather about action. In her book This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein suggests that immediate and radical intervention is required to stem the unfolding environmental disaster: ‘It is a civilizational wake-up call. A powerful message – spoken in the language of fires, floods, droughts, and extinctions – telling us that we need an entirely new economic model and a new way of sharing this planet.’ 14 As a critique of capitalism and the global economic model, the book is perhaps at its most persuasive when it shows how grassroots collective 103

action, through the use of shared media, is able to effect big change. The education of the architect is no longer about developing a great personal portfolio with a unique signature, it needs to be about taking a position and developing a strategy that can make a difference. Collaborating practices ‘All of us (architects, artists, critics, curators, amateurs) need a narrative to focus our practices – situated stories, not grand récits.’ 15 The pairing of students with the LSA’s network of practices was extensively debated, concluding in more of an ‘arranged marriage’ than a personal choice. That said, all students were interviewed by the practices, and a small percentage on both sides decided the chemistry was not right, so further options were made available. While this may seen undemocratic, the thinking we shared with the cohort was that in order to learn something new it was important to move out of a perceived comfort zone, therefore working with an unfamiliar practice should be seen as an opportunity. In general this seems to have worked. The model clearly states that the contract between the student and the practice must reflect the standard employment terms appropriate to each office. Furthermore there is no explicit teaching during the three days the student works. Each practice was asked to nominate a mentor whom the student could use as a sounding board. A meeting between all the practices was held to discuss their role prior to students starting. It is important that throughout the process of developing their Manual and Manifesto there is an interested party who can act as an informal consultant. The content of the academic output is shaped by the student’s own experiences (and their gathering of evidence), the formal lectures and seminar input. By contrast the ambitious Design Think Tank Project seeks to group half-a-dozen practices with the same number of students, working together to develop a research strand. Here the agenda is negotiated between the school, the students and the practices in order to create a platform resulting in collaborative propositional outcomes. The current areas include: Architectural Agency, Metabolic City, New Knowledge, Global Currents, and Adaptive Typologies. Concurring with Kester Rattenbury we may agree: ‘Architects need to give their tacit working design methologies a voice, this involves stepping back from the design and looking critically at what they do, articulating their particular way of working and analysing their tactics.’16 Thus the mechanism of asking students and practices to develop a research area that gives rise to a body of work creates a new kind of space for speculation. Here the practices are not leaving their office and moving into the school in order to engage in propositional thinking; rather they are working within their organisation, which is allowing boundaries and edge conditions to be embraced. Our collective hope is that this process of negotiated positions and peripatetic engagement goes beyond the old-fashioned notion of apprenticeship and gives way to the endorsement of collaborative tactics, of strategic testing and most importantly dissolving the artificial rite of passage that the Part 3 exam has exerted over legitimising the status of the would-be architect. The future It is not an overstatement to say the role of the architect is in flux as we know that the landscape for acting and participating as an architect has radically changed with the rise of new technologies and networks. In his book Open Source Architecture, co-author Carlo Ratti unpacks what he sees as the end of Modernism and the birth of a new kind of practice, where design information is connected and networked. Perhaps more importantly he suggests that this is political: ‘Put simply, open-source software has achieved an unprecedented level of technological sophistication through communal design, and it has caused a seismic tremor in the socio-political establishment.’17 Furthermore the process of engagement is understood by Johar as a system that can be influenced and nudged rather than a set of rules to abide by.18 104


15. Hal Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Junkspace/ Running Room (London: Notting Hill Editions), 2013, p73.

Critical Practice Manifestos 2017

16. Kester Rattenbury (2014), ‘Revealing Secrets’, The Architectural Review.

17. Carlo Ratti, Open Source Architecture (London: Thames & Hudson), 2015, p71. 18. Indy Johar, in Rory Hyde, Future Practice: Conversations from the Edge of Architecture (London: Routledge), 2012, p46.

Design crits taking place at Karakusevic Carson Architects, who are in the LSA Practice Network

19. Maria V Miller, Habits of Mind and the Iterative Process in Design: Taking Responsible Risk, AAE 2014 Conference Proceedings, Iowa State University, p70.

20. Jeremy Till, Architecture Depends (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013), p192.

21. Ratti, op cit, p112.

Risky business If the students are able to develop and grow in a context that critically nurtures their own working practices within a space where group work is normalised, we hope to redefine the culture of architectural practice as a joined-up endeavour. In order to frame this opportunity we also need to introduce the idea of risk-taking. There will inevitably be a tension between the almost infinite outcomes of a student project whose boundaries are flexible and the pragmatic response to a series of prescribed conditions that define the ‘real’ world. So in order to critically reflect in both situations we need to engender an attitude and understanding to risk-taking as well as comprehending and learning from failure: ‘Responsible risk-taking is critical to the iterative process of design …[and] can strengthen the innovative process as designers struggle to solve important problems.’19 In other words, one of the common, though often invisible, links between the different contexts of practice is the question of how far to pursue an idea and the value of making calculated decisions that may fail? In practice we see time and time again the role of the architect curtailed by flawed regulations, client direction and self-regulation. However, in the new educational economy where students are customers, accruing staggering debt, we see the trend to become risk averse in order to pass; where the risk of any kind of failure is seen as too great. Coupled with a profession that has been de-risked there is the potential for outcomes to be dumbed down at best, so we need to incentivise and re-frame the research-led design project as an opportunity whose resolution may be incomplete, flawed or imperfect. Critical understanding and learning should not be judged only on outcome but through recognising the rigour that imaginative iterative testing and reworking reveals: ‘This imagination, therefore, is not the imagination of a detached dreamer: it grows out of the real, fuelled by the very uncertainty that the rationalists and utopists found so threatening. It is an imaginative vision that both projects new futures and also embraces their imperfections.’20 What have we learned so far? The LSA is work in progress, with students juggling work placement with their studies, staff who are mostly on fractional posts and practices who are participating from the margins. Our practice relies – indeed thrives – on the idea of an extended network, on the institution as a loose fit of alliances rather than a campus, and the belief that the students and practices can drive change. In our own way we begin to define a new age of open-source architecture: ‘If tomorrow’s buildings and cities will now be more like computers – than machines – Open Source Architecture provides an open, collaborative framework for writing their operating software.’21 105



The creative arts look increasingly to the private sector for investment, and few companies support them as widely and consistently as Swarovski. The Austrian crystal manufacturer has been involved with the London School of Architecture since its foundation in 2015, and Nadja Swarovski, a member of Swarovski’s executive board, is a Founding Patron of the school. The supporting of new talent is a strategy that has guided the company from its modest beginnings 122 years ago, to its position today as a globally recognised brand employing more than 30,000 people in 170 countries. Design and innovation have driven the Swarovski story. At the outset, its crystals inspired the emerging talents of haute couture in Paris. Today the company’s vast range of creative ingredients offers inspiration to designers in fields from fashion to jewellery, film to lighting, architecture to design. The company collaborates with new talent from early on, and sponsors a global programme of scholarships at arts institutions and design schools that include the London School of Architecture, Central Saint Martins, the Royal College of Art, Imperial College, the Whitechapel Gallery, Parsons in New York, and Lasalle in Singapore. As well as direct financial support, Swarovski encourages young designers to push boundaries through the provision of high-tech materials from its 400-strong research and development department, still based in the mountain town of Wattens, where the company was born. In turn, this collaborative work with young minds acts as a catalyst for its R&D, spurring its technicians to ever more ambitious innovation. The alchemy that occurs in this two-way creative process is perhaps best illustrated by Swarovski’s Designers of the Future programme. Each year three emerging stars from different design disciplines are invited to collaborate on an innovative project, with the final works displayed together at the prestigious Design Miami/Basel festival. Now in its third year, Swarovski Designers of the Future is a creative platform that has consistently produced exceptional results. ‘Design can be a bridge between technology and our everyday lives’,

says Marjan van Aubel, whose work with tables and windows that store solar power has made her one of our 2017 Designers of the Future. ‘I always knew that Swarovski made crystals, but I didn’t know how much they are at the forefront of innovation – and that was mind-blowing.’ The company is an advocate of the UN’s sustainability goals, and van Aubel worked closely with its technical team in Austria to design a series of three living light objects that have sustainability at their heart. The user carries portable crystal solar cells during the day. They collect and store energy from the sun while the wearer goes about their everyday activities. Van Aubel’s ‘Cyanometer’ then powers light sources in the home using the stored energy. While her primary collaboration was with the brand, the Dutch designer was also excited to work with her two fellow Designers of the Future: LA-based architect Jimenez Lai, and Tokyo design studio Takt

Left  ‘Sharevari’, an interactive crystal musical instrument, by Yuri Suzuki for Swarovski Designers of the Future 2016. Top  ‘Cyanometer’ by Marjan van Aubel for Swarovski Designers of the Future 2017. Above  ‘Ice Crystal’, 3D-printed crystal vases, by Takt Project for Swarovski Designers of the Future 2017.


Project, which experiments with 3D printed designs. Under the theme of ‘Shaping Societies’, the three worked together to produce a unified installation at Design Miami/Basel. ‘Swarovski introduced me to Jimenez in LA and we came up with the concept for the exhibition,’ she says. ‘We collaborated on one space together, instead of having three separate installations. I think their work is super-cool, and it fits perfectly with mine.’ Along with programmes that focus on individual designers, the company also engages with emerging talent on a much larger scale through the philanthropic Swarovski Foundation. Swarovski is a family business, run today by the fifth generation of descendants of founder Daniel Swarovski. He believed strongly in giving back to the community, and the Foundation continues his legacy, aiming to empower young people through education, support culture and creativity, and care for the environment. In November 2016, the Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning was unveiled as part of London’s new Design Museum. The museum 108


intends to be a world leader in the coverage of design and architecture. The company’s 500 sqm creative space is at the heart of the new building, and will eventually be visited by 60,000 students a year. As museum director Deyan Sudjic observed: ‘The Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning is vital to the Design Museum’s purpose – that everyone understands the value of design. It will be a hotbed of ideas, and will nurture the next generation of creative talents.’ Good design enriches the human spirit. In our increasingly complex world, it gives us a precious moment to stop and reflect on beauty. From the dazzling outfits of Beyoncé to the liquid visions of Zaha Hadid, the dark reveries of Alexander McQueen to the serene installations of John Pawson, Swarovski has inspired some of the world’s most influential creative figures. By reaching out to the next generation, furnishing emerging talents with the same technical expertise and appetite for innovation, the company aims to inspire the stars of tomorrow. No doubt in turn it hopes that they will be an inspiration to Swarovski.

Above  Swarovski Designers of the Future installation at Design Miami/ Basel 2017, featuring ‘Terrazzo Palazzo’ by Jimenez Lai, ‘Ice Crystal’ by Takt Project and ‘Cyanometer’ by Marjan van Aubel. Below  ‘Unda’, featuring illuminating Touch Crystal, by Anjali Srinivasan for Swarovski Designers of the Future 2016. Right  Close-up of a ‘Terrazzo Palazzo’ tile, created using ‘upcycled’ Swarovski crystals, by Jimenez Lai.




Engraving by Alexis Lemaistre of the École des Beaux-Arts recording submitted student projects at the foot of the statue of Melpomene.

Opposite page  JNL Durand’s ‘Divers Édifices publics, d’après le Champ de Mars de Piranese’ from around 1800.

Standard procedures for design teaching have long been abandoned in schools of architecture, but the problem that they were created to solve has not gone away. It is odd, therefore, that when the activity of design consumes the majority of hours in every school of architecture and determines the outcome of a student’s long and expensive training, the methods for learning the required skills are based largely on the individual and personal allegiances and didactic formation of the teaching staff, whose standards of judgement are equally the subject of curious hermetic conventions. It was Modernism that broke the mould of a long growth of received tradition of design pedagogy, believing it to be obsolete and inappropriate to the modern world. Back in the 1920s, when the British experiment in teaching according to the precepts of the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris was stretched to the limits of credibility, the project for ‘A House for an Admiral on a Rocky Promontory’ was the code-name for a time-wasting unreal exercise. Today, the typical project in this manner is similarly caricatured as ‘Trout Farm on Mars’. Thus, over the span of less than a century, the freedom to relate to a world inhabited by actual people was won and then deliberately discarded, lest it should prove insufficiently amusing. One of the strangest afflictions in architectural pedagogy is the imagined binary opposition between creativity and reality, as if it were not possible to combine these qualities. The task of designing buildings, and cognate fields of activity, remains remarkably unchanged, and such ‘advances’ as have been made by technology do little to assist such questions of public concern as the elevation of a building in a street. ‘Trout Farm on Mars’ is not a universal condition, but it has long been the badge of the self-described elite schools, a symptom of underlying issues about academic isolation from practice that the LSA aims to address through breaking the binary. Students, most of whom will be taught either informally or in a recognised structure, should make up their own minds about the nature of their learning, and the diploma or Part 2 stage is a good time to do so. At a time when architectural history and theory has become a vast field of learning, there are multiple ways to approach it, but the study of design as a procedure exercised in different contexts through time is especially relevant, if not commonly considered. Put simply, students may be interested to know how others did what they are now doing. The history of design in architectural education is only part of the study of design methodologies, but it is a significant one because through it one can grasp different ways of thinking in their distilled form, as presented in the classrooms and ateliers of the past. For this reason, the History of Design Methodologies, which could potentially go back to the ancient world for its starting point, actually begins with the single most dominant teaching tradition in the Western world, that of the École des Beaux-Arts, once considered the antitype of Modernism, before its resurrection and partial rehabilitation in the 1970s. Part of the interest of the Beaux-Arts today is its organisational structure, which the LSA might be said to replicate in spirit at a small scale. The École itself was a state service, offered free to any who qualified by ability. It delivered formal lectures and conducted examinations, but design learning took place in the teaching atelier of an architect member of the Institut de France, in an atmosphere of mutual student help and discovery, normally involving in the later stages a concurrent engagement in the teacher’s practice. By contrast, the American and British architecture schools that claimed to adopt the Beaux-Arts method were much more monolithic structures, in the form in which they have remained. The Beaux-Arts had opponents in its own time with reasoned arguments, most notably in the person of the French architect Viollet-le-Duc whose attempt to overthrow the system was temporarily unsuccessful, although his introduction of historical and scientific analogies for the development of architecture contributed significantly to the transition from academic classicism to Modernism around 1900. The Postmodernist rehabilitation of the Beaux-Arts was the result of a sense of exhaustion in the pedagogy of Modernism and the supposed impoverishment of its products. When it was proposed to devote a session in the course to the teaching of Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, there was an audible intake of breath. 111


Étienne-Louis Boullée was born in feburary 1728 in passion was art. Boullee is best known for his geome

His work was inspired by nature and the universe wh and void in an effort to find the truths behind shapes,

“the search for pure and fundamental forms was u universal validity”

Architecture in Words: Theatre, Language and the Sensuous Sp


Nick Keen explored solid and void by 3D modelling references such as Étienne-Louis Boullée.

If they still represent the enemy, then we should also know and understand Étienne-Louis Boullée was born in feburary 1728 in Paris, he reluctantly took up architectural studies however his true them, since what they achieved was probably not as we imagine it. The class passion was art. Boullee is best known for his geometric style where he combined pure form with a classic style. session in 2016 was enlivened and connected to reality by the participation His work was inspired by nature and the universe where he embraced symmetrical pure forms in a composition of solid of about hisshapes, timevolumes working the Mies office in Chicago andAdrian void in anGale, effort totalking find the truths behind and in voids. in the 1950s. “the search for pure and fundamental forms was unquestionably related to natural philosophy search for truth of Similarly, universal validity” a session held in the archive of the Architectural Association, with its curator Edward Bottoms and an eyewitness of several generations there, Brendan Woods, looked at work from the 1950s and ’60s that belies the idea that Modernism was a monolith only toppled to the ground with the mockery of Archigram. From this point onwards, the content of the remaining sessions moved away from schools in a formal sense to look at other evidence of design methods, with a talk about Herman Hertzberger by Peter Buchanan and one by me on the distinctive methods proposed by Architecture in Words: Theatre, Language and the Sensuous Space of Architecture, By Louise Pelletier page 1221 Christopher Alexander at different stages in his career, methods that answer questions about formal coherence in design and its beneficial effects that are currently lacking from nearly all discussions of architecture. From this point, the baton passed to the students to choose their own case studies, for ultimate presentation in large format text and image pages. In themselves, these will be valuable evidence of a significant moment. They were guided towards a monographic study of a design ‘hero’, and some fairly standard subjects appeared – Utzon, Stirling and Le Corbusier – but related to lesser-known projects. Local hero Charles Holden came up twice in relation to his Underground stations. These architects are good to study because of the amount of information available derived from their archives of sketches and studies. A number of the subjects answered a need for Nick Keen socially oriented small-scale design, including Hertzberger, Walter Segal and the Half Moon Theatre by Florian Beigel. Others went further than this, covering a range of topics and related issues, such as the nature of indeterminate design (a study based on Northwick Park Hospital by Llewelyn Davies and Weeks), the nature of controlled composition and transformation in the work of Oswald Mathias Ungers, and the currently popular theme of social-housing design in the declining years of the Welfare State. The challenge is to find the tools for excavating all the layers of significance in an architectural scheme, whether built or otherwise. Such dissection used to be more common in architectural teaching than at present, yet it seems to be at the core of understanding the past in order to drive the future, a technique absolutely specific to the discipline of architecture that has been invaded over the past 40 years by many less obviously relevant discourses, perhaps on the assumption that ‘everybody’ already knew how to strip down, say, a Palladio villa or a Prairie House to see how the motor worked. It is laudable to approach architecture with the right ideas for society and a full understanding of the equations of energy and sustainability, but even better if these can be supported with some informed study of the nuts and bolts of form. 112



Donato Bramante

Hans Scharoun

Frei Otto


Bates + Phillips

Caruso St John

Alvaro Siza


Peter Märkli

Casswell Banks

Adam Kahn

In an effort to understand ARU’s design methodology, it is helpful to contextualise them in a network of practice. When asked to name a historic influence they cited Bramante as an continuous inspiration5 also naming Peter Markli and Alvaro Siza as peers they admire and reference. 6 Forging a link between them all would likely yield little fruit and produce a tenuous link at best, however it is worth noting all of them have architectures of a certain civility, despite variations in stylistic approach.

Price Gore

Beigel worked alongside Frei Otto on the Olympic Stadium for Munich. Despite the different directions their work has taken, at least aesthetically, their attention to detail and specificity is still a visible thread that unites their work comparatively.

815 Agency

Looking more recently a number of Beigel and Christou’s students have gone on to set up distinguished practices as well as teach at the CASS alongside them like Caruso St John for example.

fig.3 ARU’s Network of practice diagram (authors own)

la Biennale di Venezia Channel (2010) Architecture Biennale - architecture research unit (NOW interviews). [Video] YouTube Available from: com/watch?v=OHmNcwgHsc4 [Accessed 5th January 2017] 6 Young, E. (2014) Q&A: Florian Beigel. Available from: [Accessed 5th January 2017]. 5




ARU Taxonomy of Work

The Cass, 2013

Seowonmoon Lantern, 2011 YoulHwaDang Book Hall, 2009

YoulHwaDang, 2003

A tapestry of city rooms, 2003

Lichterfelde Sud, Berlin, 1998

Yokohama Terminal, 1994

Apartment in Hampstead, 2002

Bishopsfield Housing,1994

Saemangeum Island City, 2008

Cospuden, 2001

Welcomm City 2000

Apartment Kensington, 1992

Positive Thinking, 2007

Dagenham Docks, 2007

Brikettfactory Witznitz, 2000

Nara Mats, 1991

Saale Unstrut, 2004

Paj Book City, 1999

The Rocket Bar 1989

Heyri G3902,2004

Clerkenwell, 1998

Half Moon Theatre, 1985

fig.2 ARU’s taxonomy of work edited by author

Why Half Moon?

Architecture Research Unit’s work ranges in scale from kitchen island to an island city. However some of their concepts and ideas such as ‘void as figure’ and sincerity of materials, elucidated later in this study, can be traced through their years of practice. The Half Moon Theatre is an exemplar project in which to investigate ARU’s design methodology, due to its civic

programme, its scale as building and piece of city. The architects themselves remark that in one way or other the more projects they do, they find that it refers or relates to The Half Moon Theatre.4 Therefore an understanding of this project could perhaps unlock a wider understanding of their design methodology and praxis. Beigel, F. & Christou, P. (2013) Translations. Joelho: Revista de Cultura Arquitectonica. (4), 110–124.


Raphael Arthur located himself critically within a community of practice (top) and went on to explore Architectural Research Unit’s work in detail.


Jack Idle studied Enric Miralles, and sought to understand the creative context of his work both globally and locally.


Josep Antoni Coderch Viviendas en Compositor Bach, Barcelona, Spain, 1957


Alvar Aalto Säynätsalo Town Hall, Säynätsalo, Finland, 1961-69

Pa W Sp




Fernando Tavora Tennis Pavilion, Leça de Palmeira, Portugal, 1960

Alvar Aalto Academic Bookshop, Helsinki, Finland, 1961-69


Antoni T Vaixell, Spain, 1


Alejandro de la Sota, Maravillas School Gymnasium, Madrid, Spain, 1962

Jorn Utzon Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia, 1957- 1973




CREATIVE CONTEXT In parallel to Francisco Franco’s pursuit of classicism across the arts there was a quiet rebellion of a new generation of abstract artists following in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso: Eduardo Chillida, Antoni Tàpies, Manolo Millares and Antonio Saura1. Influencing a new style of painting and sculpting which reinterpreted the Catalan landscape or mixed Catalan soil into the paint, romantic oil paintings are reduced to metaphors of movement and disruption. Modernism was reverberating through the architecture of Barcelona and Catalonia, with a regional aberration from the universal style seen earlier in the century. The vanguard of the Catalonian modernism included Josep Antoni Coderch, Alejandro de la Sota, Albert Viaplana and Helio Pinon. Through art and architecture a new sociocultural identity for the Catalan people was being reconstructed. 1 Treglown, J.(2013) Franco’s crypt: Spanish culture and memory since 1936. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.



Alvaro Siza, Leça Swimming Pools, Portugal, Leça de Palmeira, Portugal, 1966



Eduard Eulogy Spain, 1



Pablo Picasso Weeping Woman, Spain, 1937

Manolo Millares No Title, Spain, 1970

Frank Gehry Gehry residence, California, US, 1978

Antoni Tapies Vaixell, Spain, 1982

Antonio Saura Imaginary Portrait of Goya, Spain, 1985

Patkau Architects Newton Library Vancouver,Canada,1994



Eduardo Chillida Eulogy to the Horizon, Spain, 1989


Patkau Architects Strawberry Vale School Victoria,Canada,1995



© 2017 The London School of Architecture. All rights reserved. Design and template Studio Mathias Printed by Cambrian Printers The London School of Architecture Charity number 1159927 Established 2015 twitter @LSofARCH Trustees Crispin Kelly, Elsie Owusu, Roland Oakshett, Nick Bliss, Niall Hobhouse, Davina Mallinckrodt, Diana Rice, Suzanne Trocmé , Margaret Stephens, Robert Mull Founder Will Hunter Directors Nicola Read, Clive Sall, Deborah Saunt, James Soane Leaders Peter Buchanan, Tom Holbrook, Lewis Kinneir, Alan Powers Operations Manager Stephanie Rice Tutors Sarah Castle, Daisy Froud, Lionel Real de Azua, Philip Turner, Paolo Vimercati, George Wade Technical tutors Carolina Bartrum, Tara Clinton, Hugh Quail, William Whitby, Riccardo Zara Academic Court Nigel Coates (Chair) Farshid Moussavi Leon van Schaik Academic Partner London Metropolitan University External Examiners Alessandra Cianchetta, Alexandra Stara Ambassadors Carolyn Larkin, Charlotte Skene Catling, Eleanor Hill, Kate Stirling, Matthew Claudel, Rohan Silva, Theresa Simon, Tom Leahy

Founding Graduates Raphael Arthur, Chiara Barrett, Ian Campbell, Alaric Campbell-Garratt, Maeve Dolan, Alexander Frehse, Emily Fribbance, Stuart Goldsworthy-Trapp, Oscar Hårleman, Frazer Haviz, Phelan Heinsohn, Jack Idle, Vanessa Jobb, Nicholas Keen, Daniel Lee, Timm Laurens-Lindstedt, Fabio Maiolin, Duncan McNaughton, Fearghal Moran, Timothy Ng, Phoebe Nickols, Andrea Nolan, Dawa Pratten, Milly Salisbury, Fiona Stewart, Aleksandar Stojakovic, Emiliano Zavala Practice Network 51% Studios, 5th Studio, aLL Design, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Alma-nac, Allies and Morrison, AOC, Ash Sakula, Assemblage, Assemble, Astudio, Aukett Swanke, Buckley Gray Yeoman, Carl Turner Architects, Carmody Groake, C.F. Møller, Citizens Design Bureau, Clive Sall Architecture, Coffey Architects, Cullinan Studio, DSDHA, Duggan Morris, Emergent Vernacular Architecture, Farrells, Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins, Henley Halebrown Rorrison, HOK, Hût Architecture, Idom, IF_DO, Interrobang, Jestico + Whiles, Karakusevic Carson Architects, Liddicoat & Goldhill, Lipton Plant, Marko & Placemakers, Matthew Springett Architecture, Mikhail Riches, NBBJ, One Works, Orms, PDP London, Prewett Bizley, Red Deer, Robert Partington & Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Scott Brownrigg, Skene Catling de la Pena, SODA, Solid Space, Studio Egret West, Studio Octopi, SUSD, Tate Harmer, Tonkin Liu, vPPR Architects, Waugh Thistleton, WHAT_Architecture Global Currents Tutors: Javier Quintana (IDOM), Steven Kennedy (Grimshaw), Maxine Pringle (aLL Design), Nicholas de Klerk (Aukett Swanke) Students: Jaahid Ahmad, Elisabeth Day, Jacob Dix, Yasmin Lokat, Abigail Portus, Sarah Sheehan Architectural Agency Tutors: Max Rengifo (Astudio), David Johnson (Haworth Tompkins), Rae Whittow Williams (PDP) Students: Hari Tank, Lisa McDanell, Christian Georcelin, Robin Chatwin, Katrina Duncan, Calin Barbu

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