2006/07 Interaction of Architecture

University of Cambridge undergraduate studio investigating the design of architecture schools.

During their first year our students participated in the campaign to save the department from closure. Contemporary values and methods of design education are being seriously challenged as education is increasingly justified in quantitative terms. The questions that formed the core of C20th design education – the connections between the different fields of design, the relationship to industry and technology, abstract versus applied knowledge, are now real choices that need to be made by design institutions. Or do they? Can we think imaginatively and radically about new possibilities for the future of design education?

The unit explored the architecture in which these issues can be played out: how adjacency, similarity, closure and simplicity, being the ways in which we are able to perceive groupings, patterns and complex wholes, allow architecture to make communicative environments.

The year’s project was a new design school on the outskirts of Cambridge. A design school can be a vehicle for questioning the relationship of the production of our environment to the ideas we have for our society. As a form of utopia, a school provides the opportunity to suspend certain economic and political contingencies, to create a space in which current design orthodoxies can be challenged. As an architectural project, the programme deals with the need for a complete environment, from studios, workshops and offices to dining hall and gardens, in which to work, meet and relax.

Students: Pooja Agrawal, Aretousa Bloom, Ceri Edmunds, Peter Hanson, Alison Hesketh, Helena Jaconelli, Ranald Lawrence, Ang Li, Rachel O’Grady, Liliana Shanbhag, Natasha Shea, Philip Shelley, Amy Tillson, Yun Wu

Tutors: David Kohn and Tom Emerson

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