We continue in light, in London, in January rain. Yet Studio 14 resists the tendency to start a project by first visiting the location and site. Instead we began our new design project with a series of abstract fabric studies. It was then several weeks later that we began a four-day study visit to Spitalfields, which is located on the edge of the city of London.

The project requires the design of two houses, a semi public education facility, and shared semi public garden. Our notional clients are ‘Living Architecture’ and the ‘The School of Life.’ ‘Living Architecture’ have commissioned and built a series of houses that mostly are located in countryside natural settings, and effectively act as rural retreats. We have developed a speculative scenario based on the idea that ‘Living Architecture’ might next consider the design of houses in an urban setting. Living Architecture is indirectly connected to ‘The ‘School of Life’. The school currently runs courses from an existing building, situated in a central London. In our scenario a new facility would be provided to extend the aims of this organization in new ways.

The location of our project is Brushfield Street, Spitalfields. Here there is a real ongoing conflict between retention of the existing building fabric and redevelopment. How could we build appropriately, or authentically, for our current age? To what extent should we respond to the historic character of a place? What should the scale be, the formal composition, expression, and materials? How might uses and users share space? What connections might be brought into adjacency? How should the city positively evolve?