The brief for the year challenged students to think about the relationship between rural and urban environments, and question how the countryside might play an inventive and positive role in contemporary urban life. The theme forms the starting point to enable students to explore a DS.16 pre-occupation with craft and creation of elegant and refined architecture.
During the first term groups of students conceived and built 1-to-1 installations at Grymsdyke Farm in Buckinghamshire. Each installation piece was derived from a different concept of rural life and culture. Themes such as “migration”, “seasons”, “boundaries” and “livelihood” were scrutinized to invent site specific objects and devices. The projects were developed and made during intense design sessions on the farm and fabricated with support of the farm’s workshop. The objective was to inform concepts by materials, techniques and the site.
For the remainder of the year students where asked to research and develop individual architectural propositions that examined and questioned the reciprocal relationship of London with its rural surroundings. They were invited to invent their personal take on a theme from the first term and support that with a brief, programme and site location. There was a continued emphasis on the process of testing ideas through making, now with a need to address social and environmental sustainability. Projects vary in approach, scale and setting; some being based on the intensity of central London and others addressing more peripheral/suburban conditions of the green-belt.
Man Ching Jennifer Wong