Kate Nicholson - Storytelling at Spode - Perspective


Our MArch programmes are based around a series of thematic studios. These studios investigate architectural themes in depth; the themes develop out of the studio leaders’ own research interests. The aim is to consider design within the context of rigorous and innovative research. This implies that the product of the studio courses will extend beyond the comprehensive design of a building and into other areas such as consultation, historical analysis, technical innovation or cultural investigation.

MArch Studios 2017-2018

Full studio descriptions can be found in the student handbooks.

Histories of Place: Northern Powerhouse

Tutor: Dr Jo Lintonbon

Histories of Place has a typological focus and is centred on the legacy of the textiles industry in northern England. In response to Engines of Prosperity, a heritage-at-risk study published by Historic England in 2016, we will look at key sites and structures associated with textiles production and trade, working initially in the immediate environs of Halifax, West Yorkshire. We will investigate the many facets of industrial heritage and develop our understanding of the changing cultural values attached to sites of production and trade, identifying the influence of manufacturing on the spatial development of the town and its current socio-economic condition.

(re)-Activist Architecture

Tutor: Simon Baker

Cities have long been characterised by social diversity; City Life defined as, ’a being together of strangers’ – (Young 1990) ‘’throwntogetherness’’ (Massey 2005). The studio will explore ways in which to develop longer term meaningful contact to reduce prejudice and foster respect between different social groups. The studio will be based in Brussels; a city with a highly mobile and international population with 62% foreign-born residents. Projects will speculate on future sites of purposeful organised group activity, bringing together people of different backgrounds. We will explore the 2008, Council of Europe white paper; Living together as equals in Dignity.

LANDSCAPE + URBANISM / Infrastructural Evolution

Tutor: Howard Evans

The last 300 years have witnessed an incredible rate of change in the way in which we live with mass migration from rural communities to urban centres changing the face of the country. By 2030 the World Health Organisation predicts that 6.4 billion people will live in cities, with 41 mega cities of 10 million people. The studio seeks to explore how the towns and rural communities that are left behind can forge new identities from their rich but transient histories. Retford is a small town in West Nottinghamshire. Originally a market town on the Great North Road, it prospered in the 18th Century and grew to become the heart of the surrounding rural community. Located in and around Retford, the studio will chart the transformation of the landscape and its impact on the communities along the River Idle. As a studio we will explore the changes wrought on an urban landscape by economic, social and ecological agendas.

Studio in Residence

Tutor: Carolyn Butterworth

This year Studio in Residence will be exploring the capacity of theatre in Sheffield to engage citizens in the future of their city. Sheffield has a particularly rich theatre tradition, with nationally important venues such as the Crucible, internationally recognised companies such as Forced Entertainment and community theatres such as the Merlin. Beyond this existing cultural context, we will explore the radical possibilities that theatre and performance bring for the collective reimagining and transformation of the city. Our site will be in and around Moorfoot, the new home of Live Works, SSoA’s ‘urban room’ and project office. This area includes the frayed edge of the city centre, a hinterland of underpasses and lively neighbourhoods separated from the city by the inner ring road. It is brim full of possibilities for spatial investigations of all scales and complexities. Moorfoot is also the new home of Theatre Delicatessen, an exciting community-facing arts organisation with whom we will partner through the year. We will be ‘in residence’ - working actively with site and the people we meet there, keeping our eyes, ears and minds open to new spatial possibilities.

Learning Culture

Tutor: Leo Care

This year studio Learning Culture will be investigating the notion of access and asking, what does access mean in contemporary society? We will explore the physical, social, institutional and psychological barriers to people; that prevent them from having the opportunity to benefit from places and spaces; or to connect with other people. The studio will be based in Sheffield and will start its explorations at the Moorfoot/London Road junction. We will be building upon the work from the Live Project and exploring the opportunities for new routes, connections and points of access. As the studio progresses, students will be given the opportunity to work with different locations and groups within Sheffield that are dealing with specific access challenges.

Collaborative Production

Tutor: Daniel Jary

The studio will explore a future where a sharing economy becomes mainstream, promoting non-market production and social enterprise. Students will be encouraged to develop an architecture which supports the collaborative production of objects, processes and infrastructure; an architecture which utilises local resources and expertise and is responsive to local needs. Sheffield is currently hoping to create the UK’s first Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) linking the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at Catcliffe to the city centre along the Don Valley corridor. The aim is to link new forms of advanced manufacturing to existing centres of production, housing, further and higher education and sport and recreation. The aspiration is to develop a spatial strategy which can support the creation of a vibrant, socially dynamic and productive city.

Arrival City

Tutor: John Sampson

A great and final shift of global population is upon us. We will end the century as a wholly urban species. This rural to urban migration will have profound implications on the lives and well-being of the migrants and the geopolitical landscape. Perhaps most importantly it could also provide an opportunity to mitigate or even reverse the impact of global climate change as cities, through their economies of scale, have the potential to reduce per capita costs and demands for resources. As a studio we will explore the effect this mass migration and urbanisation is having on our cities, focusing on the notion of the Arrival City. Operating as transitional spaces for those entering the city, Arrival Cities in the words of Doug Sanders (author of Arrival City), are the places where the next great economic and cultural boom will be born.

Intergenerational Architecture

Tutor: Satwinder Samra

We will investigate how we can design and evolve an appropriate architectural response for our current and future intergenerational demographic. This will include exploring environments for play, education, living and healthcare. We shall explore the inevitable environments that exist for the young and the old and explore if these can be improved. We shall look at the provision at human, domestic and urban scales varying from the texture of electric blankets, the acoustics of learning environments, the DIY adaptation of space, to the reliability and impact of bus timetables.