UEL MArch Unit 2 has a focus on designing buildings and architectural interventions in complex urban environments. We are using urban, landscape and architectural design methods to explore extremes of interrelated scales, from urban through to building and detail scales.
This academic year, we will focus on designing architecture between urban developments and green spaces in Kidbrooke, South-East London. Within this location, Unit 2 will explore the guiding theme "Open Space".
Around half of London’s area is open space, with most of these spaces being in suburban neighbourhoods. But these kind of open spaces tend to be private, gated and fragmented, offering little public and communal life. This in return contributes to further car dependency and isolation. London’s housing crisis and the recent pandemic have sparked a move towards suburban locations. This opens urgent questions of sustainability.
Research Area in Kidbrooke
Our research area is a microcosm of London’s urban, suburban and landscape conditions. During the early 20th century suburbanisation, the area was largely left undeveloped due to a risk of flooding. In the last decade, new developments have started around Kidbrooke station, with high-rise buildings, terraced houses and green spaces. But large parts of the research area remain disintegrated within local neighbourhoods. Here, the research area offers diverse open sites and spaces as well as underutilised sport areas, neglected green spaces, flood-lands and waterways.
A Generative Urban Environment
As a Unit, we will propose a new urban development framework for the research area that integrates local contexts with a new network of sites, linkages and green spaces. Each student will have a choice to work on one of the given sites within the framework. On each site, we will combine housing with social amenities to support new landscape strategies and renaturation. The guiding theme Open Space relates to designs that open diverse future possibilities for people and natural habitats alike. We will explore ways in which sharing and living together can be part of a synergetic urban life.
Unit 2 is taught by Christoph Hadrys, Tony Fretton, Uwe Schmidt-Hess and Kevin Widger.
“Nothing exists of itself, but everything is part of a universal harmony. All things interpenetrate and suffer and are transformed into each other. You can only perceive one thing by means of the other...“
‘A Topography of Feeling‘ Dimitris Pikionis
“The look of things and the way they work are inextricably bound together, and in no place more so than cities. But people who are interested only in how a city ‘ought’ to look and uninterested in how it works will be disappointed.“
Jane Jacobs (1961 p 20)