Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

Student Showcase Archive

Natalie Barton

MA work

MA work

  • Logician Self-Organising Framework

    Logician Self-Organising Framework, Natalie Barton 2015

  • Extreme Retrofit

    Extreme Retrofit, Natalie Barton 2015

  • Peckham Rye Station

    Peckham Rye Station, Natalie Barton 2015

  • The Protagonist's Sketch

    The Protagonist's Sketch, Natalie Barton 2015

  • Peckhamcosm

    Peckhamcosm, Natalie Barton 2015
    Render and Collage

  • The Protagonist's Desk

    The Protagonist's Desk, Natalie Barton 2015

  • Play

Mrs W C Businessman and her Schemes, or the Ambiguity of Being Complicit

This project is a parable, which uses the role of the contemporary architect to explore the theme of compromise and teaches us to be careful of what we are complicit in. It tells the story of a female architect whose ambiguity, choices, and identity struggle run parallel to the crisis within the architectural profession of today’s capitalist society. The narrative is a reminder to the architectural profession of their social heritage and position of responsibility.

A young architect, the Protagonist, learns that in order to do anything ‘worthwhile’ in her industry, she must engage with emerging global powers: whose new wealth is constructing our built environment. Exploring her familial heritage, she travels to Nigeria and China, returning as Mrs Wealthy Chinese Businessman, the better half of a powerful developer. Her Architect-Developer marriage is consummated through the conception of two projects in her hometown of Peckham, London. These two urban interventions work in tandem: one taking away and the other adding. The former a labour of love, the latter conceived out of financial ‘necessity’.

As these schemes develop, a community activist group – to which she had former ties – obstruct her work. Our Protagonist is presented with a dichotomy: the resolution of these two projects will result in a kind of death, either of her former self or of her current self, just as the realisation of her urban interventions would result in a death of Peckham as it is now.

The Protagonist’s changing identity reflects the evolving role of the architect, from a position of an authority and artist, to a Salesman–Economist. Her design influences – such as Lagosian informal urbanism – also challenge the traditional role of the architect by offering a ‘self-organising’ architecture shaped by its users. The tragedy of our heroine reflects the tragedy of contemporary architecture; in which the ambitions of the architect become mixed up with the forces of the system that, on the one hand, enables their existence and, on the other hand, engenders an architectural impotence.



  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2015



  • Narrative and writing allows me to explore two main fields of interest within architecture: feminism and ecology.
  • Degrees

  • BSc Architecture, University of Bath, 2010
  • Experience

  • Architectural assistant, DSDHA Ltd., London 2012–present; Architectural assistant, Petersen-Jones Architects Ltd., Twyning, 2010–12; Communications internship, Sustainability West Midlands, Birmingham, 2010; Architectural assistant, BDP, Bristol, 2009; Architectural assistant, Nightingales Associates, Bristol, 2008
  • Awards

  • Prize, WLAS Award, 2015