(Terms 1, 2 and 3)
The Design Workshop is the core course of the programme, providing a framework for linking design investigation to a politically and historically informed approach to issues of contemporary urbanism. Students and tutors form small teams working to explore and develop design responses to well-defined urban challenges. In addition the course runs seminars to stimulate debates on different approaches to key themes in the programme’s areas of research, with presentations by both students and visiting scholars and practitioners. The course consists of individual and group work, and students present both design and written work. While each of the workshop teams will pursue distinctive lines of investigation, the seminars and individual work give the opportunity for individual work on approaches to key issues within urbanism today.
The H&U programme places particular emphasis upon the urban inner periphery, where the complexity of the urban process is plainly visible, and our project work in the Design Workshop reflects this emphasis. Each team will define the balance and integration of architectural, social and political concepts that drive its work, giving each project a distinctive style and character. Our main site for design investigation will be an inner-peripheral area of London. We will engage with the urban process of this site within the larger frame of London and of its metropolitan region. We will also have an intensive design workshop outside the UK, which gives us the opportunity to collaborate with other urbanism programmes and city governments, testing our design and conceptual approaches in a different context.
Cities in a Transnational World
This course explores the social and economic context of housing and urbanism as it interacts with the formulation and implementation of strategies of urban development and with the reshaping of the role of architects and planners in the making of cities. It offers a comparative analysis of the restructuring of cities in the context of the current stage of internationalisation of the world economy, placing strong emphasis on issues of policy and planning, and on current reforms in systems of urban governance.
The Reason of Urbanism
This lecture and discussion series provides the foundations for an engagement with the urban as a ‘problemfield’ in western governmental reasoning. The course will trace the twentieth-century development of urbanism to highlight the inherent political issues and will also develop a theoretical perspective through an engagement with the work of Arendt, Foucault, Sennett and others. Through this perspective students will investigate the relationship of key political concepts to the generation of new urban spatialities.
(Terms 1 and 2)
This course will explore the role of urbanism as an instrument of diagnosis and critique. Beginning with lectures and readings in Term 1 and building towards a seminar format in Term 2, the course explores the ways architecture has generated a range of critical and reflexive responses to the city over the last four decades. Emphasis will be placed on developing students’ facility with the critical analysis of contemporary urban projects, while background readings will include Koolhaas, Rowe, Rossi, Eisenman, Tschumi and others.
Shaping the Modern City
(Terms 1 and 2)
This course explores the various national and local strategies evolved by the state to meet the challenge of urban expansion in the past hundred years. Rather than presenting a continuous narrative history, the lectures and seminars will look at key events, projects and texts that illustrate contemporary responses to the opportunities and problems created by growth. The course will focus on post- 1945 housing and planning in a number of European and US cities, offering a vantage point from which to consider critical issues such as density, regeneration, mixed use and new working and living patterns. It will also review the development of ideas about housing form and production.
Housing and the Informal City
This course uses housing as a strategic vehicle for investigating the evolution of ideas and approaches to the informal and irregular processes of city making. In particular, it reviews critically the growing de-spatialisation of strategies to deal with urban informality and the social condition associated with it, and explores the role of urbanism and spatial design in addressing those conditions. It draws from the extreme circumstances of irregularity and socio-spatial segregation of the cities in the developing world. With reference to relevant projects and programmes, it attempts to identify appropriate tools and instruments of spatial intervention and design and to examine their articulation with the redesigning of urban institutions and rules.
This seminar series explores trends in contemporary multi-residential housing against the background of a discursive formation linking together domesticity and urbanism. Taking Mies van der Rohe’s patio houses of the 1930s and Karel Teige’s 1932 critique of the minimum dwelling as opening counterpoints, this course develops students’ understandings of type and diagram in the pursuit of fresh approaches to urban living. Core readings for the essay include theoretical and historical writings of Michel Foucault, Jacques Donzelot and Nikolas Rose.
This seminar is organised around the students’ work towards their written or design thesis. It provides a forum for students to discuss work in progress with members of staff and invited critics, and to comment on each other’s work. Other Events We will make a study trip to a European city in order to develop comparative research. We will invite a number of academics and practitioners from all over the world to contribute to the programme during the year. Students are also encouraged to attend complementary courses offered by other programmes in the AA.