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Show 2018 School of Architecture: Making Space for the Future

For the second year, the School of Architecture has temporarily transformed The Workshop – a disused fire engine garage in Lambeth, south London– in what Dean of Architecture Dr Adrian Lahoud describes as a ‘collective experiment’. He points out that as a School, Architecture is ‘always in the middle of things’, with a vast array of interests and employing varying modes of attention from patient deliberation and calculated reasoning, to intuitive judgments and passionate investments.

The MA Architecture programme views Architecture not just as a discipline but as a social, cultural and political act. The graduate projects presented manifest across various temporalities, scales and contexts and are tested in a rich multitude of formats, each offering unique experiences and raising pressing questions. Looking to the future, they propose experiments into new forms of life, new conditions and ecologies, and new horizons of desire.

FeiFei Zhou’s project rethinks the conventional idea of nature conservation by recognising human disturbance as a productive principle of ecological preservation. Focused on a Tibetan town Shangri-la in Southwest China, where one of the world’s most valuable mushrooms the Marsutake thrives in a once relentlessly deforested landscape, FeiFei proposes a new architecture, which facilitates lifestyles that don't disturb the forest, supporting collaborative survival between human and non-human.

Considering the unique location of Greenland, Marie Søndergaard Ramsing has designed a structure that encompasses both the fleeting sensation of a change of space and the endless impressions of an ancient landscape. Her sphere operates as an alternative clock measuring important events during the year such as the summer and winter solstice and creates a sense of identity for the newly established country.

Hannah Rozenberg considers whether architecture can be used as a tool to reveal, rethink and revise the biases embedded within technology addressing the fact that the artificially intelligent tools we use on a daily basis amplify and sediment existing gender inequalities. Starting with a series of architectural components that in the eyes of machines are neither male nor female, Hannah has developed a holistic methodology for designing a post-gender architecture.

In the context of diminishing queer spaces across London and the role queer space plays in the foundation of political and social organisation for LGBTQIA+ collectives, Joseph Dalgleish examines the club as an architectural typology. Driven by care and the wellbeing of the body, the project tests the potential of architecture’s role in the development of queer space by treating everything in the club as a potential infrastructure of social relations and desire, from the walls to the floor, lights and sound.

Many of the projects create propositions that push the limits of existing modes of existence, technical frontiers and forces of capital and politics. Fundamental by Christopher Sejer Fischlein is a research project that investigates the philosophical and political urgency of the social management of the human body and its products. Using film, he addresses our corporeal reality as environmentally conditioned mediums from the onset of anatomy and the first visualisations of the insides of a living body to the metabolism and its future role as a design agent. 

The MA Interior Design graduate projects offer rigorous and independent responses to the interior, both as an interface between occupants and the built environment and as an agent for social change. Students have created distinct, site-specific identities for a wide range of occupants and communities, stakeholders and clients, exploring the diversity of human occupation in numerous environments. Through speculation, analysis and rigour with regards to thinking and making, the work addresses all aspects of the design of interior environments.

Many students have responded to existing buildings, finding new meanings and uses for them through engaging with their multilayered histories and present significances. Amy Shao’s design for a herb hotel transforms an existing hospital building and school of medicine into a place of rest and tranquillity for stressed Londoners and visitors to the capital. Inspired by a visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden, the hotel uses the qualities of herbs for relaxation, enjoyment and as a way to learn about leading healthier lives.

Engaging the sense of taste, Danna Yu’s afternoon tea lounge uses food to encourage a slower pace for socialising within the hectic pace of the City of London. Inhabiting the top floor of the iconic post-modern building No 1 Poultry, Danna’s design uses colour, taste, smell and tactility as a way to navigate the interior while respecting the architect’s original mathematical and geometric principles. 

Based within a Victorian building on London’s Brick Lane, a centre of the capital’s migration story, Devan Skuban has designed a Brexit Museum. Devan has considered how the complex issues surrounding the UK’s choice to leave the European Union can be explored, visualised and communicated through a promenade style museum experience that engages the senses in media-rich, spatial and temperature controlled interiors.

Many of the students also focus closely on the aesthetics and connotations of materials. Felix Graf has created a pulpit merging his personal interest in scared architecture with a focus on staircase design. He has created a series of models at different scales including a full sized prototype, using materials carefully chosen for their cultural references, such as Travertine limestone, fumed oak, felt and brass, which all have associations with Christianity and dedication to god.

Considering the relocation of Sadler Wells Theatre to a new cultural campus in the former Olympic Village in Hackney, Ryutaro Arai has created a series of spaces that encourage participants to engage with dance. The project turns the journey to the proposed new theatre, a 15-minute walk into the park, into a participatory experience through a series of interior spaces that engage the public in dance-like forms of movement and spontaneous, playful moments of physical self-expression.

The School of Architecture Show features the work of four graduating PhD students: Kostas Grigoriadis, Paolo Zaide, John Zhang and David Knight. Their work demonstrates the extent to which critically informed, spatial research can speak to academia and industry and shows how the School of Architecture Research Programme advances the theory and practice of critical design at all scales, from the interior to the city. The students’ research outcomes include design-driven sustainable strategies that result in tangible, real-world transformation: from traversing the field of additive manufacturing in virtual space to flood-resilience and adaptation in Manila.

Alongside work from graduating students, the Architecture Show also features group projects from the School’s newest MA programmes: Environmental Architecture and City Design. In the context of transition from fossil fuels to ‘clean’ energy, MA Environmental Architecture students have been considering the contradictions of green technologies, focusing on the social and ecological tensions associated with lithium extraction across Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. The display includes proxy data analysis on the tensions of lithium extraction in the Atacama Desert on a global and local scale, with material evidence collected in the field. 

This year MA City Design students have focused on a site at Canada Water considering the challenges of housing and care within the specific circumstances of the site and the broader conditions of labour and social care in London. Considering factors including the current crisis of recruitment and capacity within the NHS, the crisis of elder care provision and the notion of the nuclear family as an organising unit for urban life, the students’ have proposed a series of guiding principles comprising the integration of spaces, practices and facilities for care and mutual aid in housing and public space; the provision for direct forms of participation in the management of buildings, neighbourhood amenities and the public sphere; and the long term affordability of housing.

Show Architecture 
23 June – 1 July 2018 (closed 29 June)
12 midday – 6pm daily
The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High St, London SE1 7AG

Find out more about the School of Architecture and how to Apply.