Tutors: Sheldon Brown, Frances Stacey and Professor Michael Stacey – Guest Tutors: Toby Blackman, Mark Hines and John Morgan – Associate Tutors: Laura Gaskell, Ben Stanforth, Jenny Grewcock and Rachel Delargey
Studio Design Brief – Introduction
An intertwining set of themes will run throughout this studio, and we will explore a critical and creative dialogue between abstraction and situation, technique and tactility, art and architecture, the analogue and the digital. The studio emphasises the strength of the group by working collectively to generate an informed discourse on contemporary architecture, while valuing the diversity of invention by each student. The participants in the studio will be encouraged to be radical and situated in their design practice, the primary mode of design research will be making.i A fundamental well spring of MARS is making and how the decisions related to architecture develop as physical realisation is approached. Sverre Fehn eloquently states ‘all architecture is dependent on construction. Construction seeks the earth; it falls upon it. The eye, light, and thought, that which spatially
disturbs these words, [is] construction.’ii The tutors of MARS believe that Architecture is much more like Literature than a reductive process. Architecture is full of opportunity and invention whilst addressing the needs of humankind, including our collective guttural needs. Sverre Fehn had a great expertise in commanding the narrative of an architectural project. Therefore MARS is interested in Architecture as fact and fiction. In the design of possible futures that may or may not become reality, but have the power to move people and potentially change the world for better. A key aim of the pedagogy of the studio is the development of an empathetic imagination, as clearly articulated by William Hazlitt (1805) in An Essay on the Principles of Human Action: “The imagination, by means of which alone I can anticipate future objects, or be interested in them, must carry me out of myself into the feelings of others by one and the same process by which I am thrown forward as it were into my future being.”iii The Studio starts as a collective, a workers cooperative who go on to develop a set of individual thesis projects, situated within this group. MARS returns to being a collective to stage its Summer Exhibition.
MARS advocates an iterative design process, making to draw and drawing to make architecture. Drawing by hand will be explored as a key skill, ‘used as a direct, spontaneous yet considered means to pitch construction against deconstruction, macro against micro, polished against raw, fragile against concrete’iv. Through the detailed analysis and representation of these initial tasks and related projects you will be expected to evolve a design position through a combination of direct experience and inquisitive intuition; through a critical imagination and tactile experimentation, forging a year long thesis. During the year we envisage the development of a plurality of thesis projects that creatively explore the boundaries between nature and artifice; the creation of situated architectures that respond to human ecology, not just functionally, but poetically.