Studio 02 is a new undergraduate group co-taught by Alex Arestis and Freddie Phillipson.
It is interested in understanding place and making building proposals that relate to a specific landscape. The studio is intrigued by the architect’s relationship to time – through design, the effort and duration of construction, the life of a building, and its position in the environment.
Studio 02 will be looking at architectural beginnings and strategies as well as buildings. How might you start inhabiting a site? How might we think about longer term proposals, states of incompleteness and fragments of imagined utopias, the tensions between initial acts of settling, the making of new enclosures and the potential maturity of a settlement?
Students are encouraged to look intensively at a site and it’s setting, studying and drawing what is there – structures, human and other life, orientation, history, materials, meaning and atmosphere. Students will be asked to explore how they, as a designer, can accommodate collective life, while thinking about the continuous changes and adaptations that have gone before us, and those that will come after. The aim of the studio is for students to make informed decisions for change – understanding but not necessarily being overly reverential. By approaching their site in a considered way, they will see how placing something new or even alien can provide a catalyst for ongoing evolution
This year the studio will imagine new futures in territories on the south coast of England. It will be based on sites that have a history of inhabitation over thousands of years, places with an enduring relationship to the tides, trade, history, borders, travel and weather.
The design work will focus on the idea of settlement. It will learn from the past constructions and ordering of these places, the long surviving buildings, current conditions and patterns of use – in order to make proposals across the territories. It is not necessarily imagined that the projects this year need to end with large numbers of buildings or densely inhabited places. Instead, it will be thinking about the act of settling a site: the many ways people might occupy a landscape, what building work might be proposed first, how territories can be defined within it, how to consider futures that may not be entirely in the architect’s control. It imagines buildings shaped by an economy of means, which might tread ‘lightly’ on the site and ultimately could be absorbed into the landscape, or even the sea.
The studio will work with the technical tutors to investigate more ‘benign’ materials and environmental approaches for student designs, learning from the past to address some of the global issues faced today – climate change, the relationship of architecture to power and control, cultural identity in building, and the use of increasingly scarce resources.