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Hester Buck

MA work

THE PAST, An Incomplete Project

My thesis explores the relationship between two conditions within contemporary architecture: the ambition of global preservation to protect larger and larger areas of the world and the rejection of post-war housing as a social project. By exploring how social housing could become listed, I have produced an alternative form of preservation.

The pressure of development is changing our planet at an ever-increasing speed. However, what is going widely unnoticed is the rapidly increasing areas of the world 'off-limits', protected from this march of development, in a proposed stasis. The scale and importance of preservation increases each year; the lack of critique in this as an urban design force is leading to a dichotomy of radical change or radical stasis. 

I have proposed a new form of listing, which protects the original ambition of the project. This implies both protection and adaptation according to the lifespan of the elements of the building.Thus, in my project, listing is no longer a fixed description of a condition, but becomes a cyclical evaluation of a performance reviewed against the original ambition.

By re-framing our understanding of history to address the recent past, as an uncompleted project, still active, needing evolution and change, the listing allows a revision of the ambition of the project.This challenges the authorship of all architecture, presenting not as a completed idea, but as the start of a dialogue that will evolve and change through use: the past as an incomplete project. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2016

  • Throughout my education, I have explored the role of the architect, questioning how the agency of architecture can be understood in a new way. 

    I have an interest in alternative practice, questioning the relationship between designer and client, looking at how, on a small scale, architects can act as a catalyst for urban change. This was with particular reference to social housing and the poteintail bennerfits of wilderness within urban spaces.  

    At the RCA I have studied the relationship between art and architecture. I have explored how architects can utilise the agency of artists within their practice. This has addressed the permanent or temporary nature of design.

    At the urban scale, I have looked at the effect of legislation on architecture, using design to propose new forms of listing.

  • Degrees

  • BA Architecture, Oxford Brookes University, 2013
  • Experience

  • Architectural assistant, Proctor Watts Cole Rutter, Chartered Architects & Town Planners, Shaftesbury, Dorset, 2013–14; Garden design assistant, Bridget Elsworth Garden Design, Oxfordshire, 2012; Osthang Project: Raumlabor and Atelier Bow Wow, Darmstat, July 2014; Otto Café Assemble: Voluntary Build, London, June 2013; Langley Vale Community Centre, Woodland Trust: Competition Entry, with Christina Godiksen and Pedro Matos Gameiro, January 2016; Marble Pavilion: A summer school working with marble waste in Solubema Quarry, Portugal, Part of the London Design Team, Summer 2015
  • Exhibitions

  • 'Creation from Catastrophe' Tuesday Lates, RIBA,London, 2016 ; Deptford Flats at 1:1, Deptford X Festival, London, 2015; 1B2P Flat at 1:1, London Festival of Architecture, London, 2015; End of Year Show, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, 2013, 2012; Interim Architecture, Unit H, London, 2013
  • Awards

  • WLAS Prize, 2015
  • Publications

  • Collective Construction, Building the City Together, Osthang Project, 2015, page 76