Edge lands, Edge forms, Edge.

Studio 9 is continuing to evolve its exploration of performative architectures and propagating spaces and events that are based on a rigorous iterative design process and the fabrication of delicate physical models and 3-D drawings. This year studio 9 will investigate the notion of performing Edge lands, Edge forms and Edge and the relationship between the Thames and the City as an instigator for radical responses. We are interested in public architectures, Infrastructure, Forms and Spaces that are affected by personal obsessions and Interests. The underlying ambition is to learn how to carry out intensive research into architectural ideas, urban conditions, cultural relations, practices of everyday life, etc. and then use the findings to devise radical new responses and challenging proposals for the contemporary city.

The site- ‘Isle of Dogs’ – London: The Isle of Dogs is unique among London districts for its watery edge boundary. Known locally as the ‘Island’, it is a tongue of reclaimed marshland, made into an island by the West India Docks. Being surrounded by water on three sides, protected by banks and walls, and having access limited due to the wide docks to the north, the island until recently has been cut off from the surrounding city.

The urbanisation of the Isle of Dogs in the 19th century following the construction of the docks in 1802 heralded the area’s most successful period becoming an important district for trade and industries such as flour and sugar processing, and ship building. But after the WWII, with the introduction of new technologies and infrastructure required for containerisation the docks closed progressively during the 1970s. This left the area, once a thriving and theatrical landscape of trade and shipping in a severely dilapidated state, with large areas being derelict and abandoned.

Development since has involved a land grab for high end riverside properties awkwardly mixed within the close knit island community, giving the Island a reputation for stark contrasts, filled with remnants of previous ages alongside and sandwiched against the Thames by the commercial Canary Wharf. The upcoming crossrail station will make the site ever more accessible and will bring to it a new time of development, business and people. Students will explore, record, catalogue and map their found Edge lands and inhabit them with their unique architectural response.

Term 1 – ‘As makers of stuff’: A time for experimenting and risk-taking – trying new methods and tools and always ending in constructions. You will interrogate, understand and communicate through making space and stuff. The initial project – each student will undertake a series of existing site/ landscape investigations that discusses the theatrical relationship between Edge-Lands, Edge-Forms, Edge and the city.

What is an edge-land, edge form? Is it transient with the times of day or environmental conditions, an ever changing landscape. It might be a temporary structure such as a performance platform, a pop-up film set, a market stall, a bird observatory, a fishing pier, a book stall, an artefact that discusses a former activity. We want you to develop an obsession that will inhabit and expose your edge-scape. This obsession will act as a catalyst for your architectural PERFORMANCE on your site. The aim of the term 1 project is to introduce you to a different set of sensibilities and ideas which will provide you with a new understanding of edge-lands, edge-forms and edge typologies. We will be organising workshops to teach relevant computer and making skills. Your design investigations should combine model making, drawings and video. The initial project should act as a primer for your main building proposal in Term 2 & 3.

 Term 2 & 3 – ‘Public Architecture….a collection, a theatre, a film screening, an archive, a performance’: For the final project of the year, students will develop their personal building programme. Each student has to develop an individual attitude and approach to the cultural, social, economic and topographic context of the site. Each project should be unique and a personal reading is essential. Students must demonstrate that they are developing a personal way of working. Students are advised to take risks, try out new techniques of exploration and documentation.

Field trip: VENICE. Dates to be confirmed (Friday pm to Monday pm)

Reading/ Theory/ History

  • 4 + 1 Peter Salter : Building Projects, (Mass Market Paperback, 2001) (Arch B 9.9 SAL)
  • Robert Harbison, Thirteen Ways (MIT Press, 1997) (strongly recommended!)
  • Paul Shepheard, The Cultivated Landscape (MIT Press, 1997) (Arch A 50 SHE)
  • Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (Beacon Press, 1958/1969)
  • Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Experiencing Architecture (MIT Press, 1962/1980)
  • Alison & Peter Smithson, Changing the Art of Inhabitation (Artemis, 1995) (Arch B 9.9 SMI)
  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible (Northwestern University Press, 1968) (Philisophy GD 399 MER)
  • Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York (Uitgerveris 010, 1978/1994) (Arch B 9:81 KOO)
  • Herzog & De Meuron, Natural History, (Lars Muller. 2005) (Arch B 9.9 HER)
  • Peter Cook, Primer (Academy Editions, 1996) (Arch B 9 COO)
  • Species and spaces and other pieces/ Georges Perec, 1974
  • ‘Consequence’ by Nat Chard, 2005
  • ‘Devices and context’ by Wes Jones, 2013
  • ‘War And Architecture: the sarajevo window’ by Lebbeus Woods, 2011
  • Borden & Dunster (Eds), Architecture and the Sites of History (Butterworth, 1995) – this is a setbook for the history/theory course


Drawing/Model Making

  • Studio, Craft & Technique, M. Delaney & A. Gorman (Univ. Col. Dublin) (Arch BA 5 DEL)
  • Architects’ Sketchbooks, Will Jones (Thames Hudson)
  • Marco Frascari. From Model to Drawing
  • Peter Cook. Drawing (AD, Wiley)
  • BOW WOW, Graphic anatomy

Film/ Documentry

  • Encounters at the End of the World, 2007, by Werner Herzog
  • Fitzcarraldo, 1982 by Werner Herzog.
  • Wild Blue Yonder, 2005, by Werner Herzog

Studio 09 is taught by Stefan Lengen and Tim Culverhouse.