New Studio for 2016: Studio 3 – Occupy Hastings.

Studio 03’s mandate is to explore the duty of care that architects have both to society and to the environment. Drawing from current social, cultural and political events we encourage the use of architecture as a means to challenge the status quo. To enrich our creative outlook the Studio will draw inspiration from outside the architectural discipline, seeking out artists, film makers, poets, philosophers and writers.

We are interested in complex drawings, which adopt appropriate methods of production and representation that are relevant to the content that is being explored.

Occupy Hastings 50° 51′ 22.69″ N, 0° 34′ 22.35″ E

Architecture begins with occupation. You identify a place just by being there.[1]

Architecture and politics are inseparable. Politics always manifests its self in place and Architecture cannot be divorced from the political system in which it was produced. The physical presence of politics within the urban realm takes many forms; from a transient protest, to permanent monuments, town halls and parliament buildings.

Now is an uncertain but exciting time in UK politics and we are taking the opportunity to explore how architecture might contest or reinforce the political and cultural status quo.

The recent UK referendum to leave the European Union, the closure of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and rising concerns around immigration highlight shifting opinions in the wider public and political elite. These recent events raise particular questions about the priorities of our democratically elected government and subsequently also raise particular questions for architecture, in the way we respond to our government[s] position on such matters at home and abroad.

What does your voice through architecture have to say about democratic space, about climate change and about migration, when the majority of UK migrants[2] are students like you?

In Terms Two + Three we imagine that the current UK government has been disbanded and that an outpost of this decentralised government has been relocated to Hastings, on the South East coast of England. This departmental outpost will be a civic building from the size of a drop-in clinic for a local MP to a public debating chamber, and may be either temporary or permanent.

To prepare for this, in Term One students will undertake a series of exercises; through drawing, model making and writing. Starting at Hasting Museum’s to explore materiality in their current ‘66 Objects’ exhibition you will go on to develop an understanding of your personal position to the presence of outsiders[3] in the town of Hastings. You will identify opportunities within the existing urban fabric that can be ‘Occupied’[4] by these visitors. This will then lead you to a small design proposal which will facilitate the temporary or permanent occupation in some way. These exercises will help you to establish a formal strategy toward Hastings to be adopted and developed in Term 2.

The studio takes the position that we have a right to protest, to exercise our democratic right to challenge the governments we elect. That our connectedness to Europe is something to be explored formally through architectures in a coastal town on the ‘English Chanel’/ ’La Manche’. That we cannot be close to the sea which provides connectivity to Continental European, without considering the vulnerability of coastal towns to rising sea levels.

Studio 03 is taught by Elizabeth (Libby) Blundell & Jonathan Walker.

[1] Unwin, Simon. Exercises in Architecture. Learning to think like an architect. Pg. 160.

[2] https://medium.com/@jakeybob/brexit-maps-d70caab7315e#.y6yrttjaq (Accessed 22.08.2016)

[3] Albert Camus – The Outsider.

[4] Occupy – Noam Chomsky