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Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) MArch: Units

Teaching through studio units

The design studio aspect of the course course is taught through studio units. Students have the opportunity to enter a ballot for the unit of their choice at the beginning of each academic year. The subject focus of the units varies from year to year.


Unit 1 is currently on sabbatical.

MArch Unit 2

Collage City (Rowe), Neue Staatsgallerrie (Stirling) and cupboard door (Asalache) Collage City (Rowe), Neue Staatsgallerrie (Stirling) and cupboard door (Asalache)

1977 and all that… the suburban archive of domestic treasures

Tom Coward + Simon Henley

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of James Stirling winning the commission for the neue staatsgallerrie in Stuttgart. That same year Hans Hollein was already onsite with his Abteiberg Museum in Monchengladbach - and opening the MAN transFORMS design exhibition at Cooper Hewit in New York.

1977 is a moment in time marked by huge change - ecological awareness and historic preservation bubbling up - combined with the rise of computer technology and new ways of working. Modernism enjoyed the rich mix; and for a moment of time the high tech and postmodern mixed with the brutal and the vernacular. As a unit we will discuss the broader culture of the period in relation to the architecture made; a period defined by an apparent artistic freedom; as interested in technology, as in history. Not as thoughts in a now distant moment of time, but as critical dialogues that significantly shape and form the bedrock of our understanding of experience today.

Directly referring to 'Collage City' by Colin Rowe (Jan 78) and 'A Pattern Language' by Christopher Alexander et al. (77) "A pattern language has the structure of a network," and we will try to reorient conceptions from the utopia of a single vision to a more multivalent view of city form - making place which can accommodate a whole range of utopias in miniature. This year we will focus on the culture of form, and on the collection and arrangement of designed objects as an integral part of culture and everyday life. By plane and train we will travel between Monchengladbach – Cologne – Frankfurt – Stuttgart and especially study through drawing the significant public buildings of Hollein and Stirling.

We will start however by looking very closely at 2 preserved London domestic collections held by the National Trust; 2 Willow Road - the 1930's modernist home of the Goldfingers, and the interiors of 575 Wandsworth Road, home to Khadambi Asalache. Both homes contain the collections as left by their last occupants and reveal a domestic complexity beyond museum display. Your critical engagement will these arranged collections will develop into a third public house, forming the focus of a domestic display of your own collection and curation working from the scale of the object to that of a large exhibition space.

The thesis project is a community archive - reconsidering and making civic the common purpose of self storage and data store. We will spend time at the National Archives in Kew (opened 1977) exploring the public spaces and archive retrieval protocols, and visiting the archive stores. The final proposition a "walk-on" urban-scale building; with a ‘domestic' kernel within its massive frame, Its external combination of form in communication with its surroundings - located in Kingston and formed from concrete. If Brutalism gave us an ambition for an art form, which engaged with material culture and the everyday - then 1977, offers us a flavor of how that everyday has evolved into the digital era we now all inhabit. The studio will use large format drawings, collage and image creation to explore form and character, alongside materially led models and casting, using manual and rapid prototyping techniques as appropriate.

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MArch Unit 3

Image courtesy Hugh StrangeStructure and Light

Hugh Strange

Unit 3 will this year be designing church buildings in London. We will be thinking about making: about the physical presence of buildings, and about the broader social and political issues associated with how one constructs. We will study the spatial configuration of churches and their role in communities. Within the studio we will primarily be exploring precedents and designs through model-making. At the start of the year we will be looking at how artists work and at WR Lethaby's buildings and ideas. For our field trip we will travel to Denmark and Sweden to look at the work of Utzon and Lewerentz, observing the remarkable works these two Scandinavian architects achieved through great care and economy. In our proposals we will be designing spaces configured by structure and light.

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MArch Unit 4

1—Michael Beutler 1—Michael Beutler "Shipyard", 2017, Model, Mixed woods, 64.5 x 180 x 94 cm 2—Michael Beutler "Shipyard", 2017, Douglas fir, water, nail polish, nylonseil, 6600 x 8500 x 12500 cm 3—Michael Beutler "Yellow Escalator", 2006, Pecafil, Styrofoam, Cable ties, 550 x 1440 x 840 cm

Building art

Thomas Bates/Matthew Phillips

At stake in most of the German artist's work is an experimental sculpture process where basic materials – wood, plaster, or glass – are used to analyse the standardization of common goods. His temporary, playful structures and forms constitute a serious continuation of 20th century sculpture and architecture traditions and can function as almost pedagogical in relation to traditional public art. Seldom have attitudes from art history and the amateur carpenter been so interwoven*.

The artist Michael Beutler always relies on simple utility and prefabricated materials. He is interested in their serial production and functionality, but develops alternative ways of using them, for the most part contrary to their original function. Beutler builds appliances and machines of his own design to rework the materials. These tools often find new ways of folding, bending, weaving or joining the materials to characterise and form the piece of art. Beutler has recently exhibited at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Spike Island, Nottingham Contemporary and at the 2017 Venice Art Biennale.

Bates Phillips are a Berlin based architecture practice and share a studio with Beutler. Through common interests and collaboration at the 2017 Venice Art Biennale, a dialogue between art and architectural thinking and practice has emerged. This year Unit 4 will develop this conversation and work closely with the artist. Making, material production and the balance between rigour and misuse will be our concerns. Through a series of projects we will explore methods of production in relation to a material or a tool to produce an architecture that is explicit about the relationship between the two. Through understanding Beutler's methods and philosophy we hope to develop projects whose essence lies within the form, the material and the act of making.

We will undertake a study trip to Germany, where the students will build and install a new art piece with Beutler at the Kunstmuseum Bonn. As a parallel exercise we will explore the richly idiosyncratic architecture of vernacular rural French farmhouse architecture based on the books L'architecture rurale française. Working with these two very different subjects, we will develop domestic scale projects in a non-descript, peripheral German landscape.

* Maria Lind, Michael Beutler—Pecafil (Berlin: Stenberg Press, 2006)


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MArch Unit 5

Tolworth Allotment, Gion Festival in Kyoto, and the Chapel of Reconciliation, Berlin Tolworth Allotment, Gion Festival in Kyoto, and the Chapel of Reconciliation, Berlin

Allotments, festivals and the ‘Factory of Futures'

Takeshi Hayatsu, Jim Reed

Unit 5 will continue to promote the power of collaboration and hands-on making. We will collectively engage with our neighbours, a community allotment project in Tolworth, working closely with ‘The Community Brain', a Surbiton Community Interest Company and their local centre, the ‘Museum of Futures'.

The year will be structured in the following three stages:

1. Allotments

We will research the history and narratives of allotments. We will cultivate the ground and record our findings. We will document, catalogue and archive allotment sheds and the stories of their owners. We will visit Berlin, where allotments and community gardens are knitted into the fabric of mainstream society. With support from the Greater London Authority's ‘Good Growth by Design' we will rebuild a flat packed allotment exemplar at 1:1 scale. It is hoped that this shed will travel to garden festivals as a symbol for positive change driven by a rich past.

2. Festival architecture

We will research festivals and the historic relationship between festivals, the changing seasons and agriculture. We will research festival architecture, focusing on the scale, quality and materiality of Japanese festival architecture. We will visit Lewes for their annual Bonfire Night. This will be the catalyst for the design and fabrication of a suburban Yatai, a mobile festival stall, to store and serve produce from allotments. We will involve the allotment community in the making process. The Yatai will feature at the Seething Festival in February.

3. Factory of Futures

For the main thesis project students will choose an under-used area or site within the Kingston/ Surbiton area and develop a brief, design and detail a community based building, a suburban centre for community production - ‘Factory of Futures'.

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MArch Unit 6

Temple of Poseidon , Cape Sounion, Greece, 440-444BC (Photograph by Edwin Smith, 1962). Source: Elwall, R. Evocations of Place:The photography of Edwin Smith, Merrell, London, 2007 p34 Royal High School, Edinburgh, 1829, Thomas Hamilton. (Photograph by Edwin Smith, 1964). Source: RIBAPIX ref RIBA10783 Temple of Poseidon , Cape Sounion, Greece, 440-444BC (Photograph by Edwin Smith, 1962). Source: Elwall, R. Evocations of Place:The photography of Edwin Smith, Merrell, London, 2007 p34 Royal High School, Edinburgh, 1829, Thomas Hamilton. (Photograph by Edwin Smith, 1964). Source: RIBAPIX ref RIBA10783

Greek Revival

Unit 6 is the only Part 2 design unit in the UK teaching the principles and application of the classical language of Architecture. This year, the Unit will engage with the classical language at the northern and southern peripheries of Europe. In the 18th and 19th centuries the archaeological exploration and accurate recording of the built remains of ancient Greece provided the source material and impetus for a new interest in the architecture of classical Greece. Paradoxically, perhaps, while the Greek Revival in Architecture began as a movement concerned with the correct and scholarly recreation of ancient forms and motifs, the exigencies of applying this language in a time, place, climate and culture different from that in which it was created necessarily provoked ingenious and creative adaptation to all of these things.

As part of the wider neoclassical architectural movement, and in the hands of some of the best architects of the period, including Soane, Smirke, Cockerell, Wyatt, Nash, Adam, Hamilton, Playfair, and H&W Inwood, the Greek Revival produced some of the most remarkable buildings constructed in the United Kingdom. In Scotland, where the Greek Revival was taken up with great enthusiasm, Alexander "Greek" Thomson developed a unique architectural language. It seems appropriate, in this bicentenary year of Greek Thomson's birth, to re-engage with Greek architecture and we will travel to Greece and Scotland to learn from exemplary ancient and revival architecture and to study our site in Inverness where we will be designing housing.

You will develop a critical approach to the physical presence of the building and its parts - its incipient tectonic - how the base of the building meets the ground or offers a moment of public amenity and delight, for instance, or how the depth and scale of the facade mediates between interior and city. You will explore the potential of classical architecture to operate on an emotional level through the relevant use of language and the erudite disposition of familiar elements to design buildings that represent ideas about society, privacy, cities and landscape.

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MArch Unit 7


MATHESON WHITELEY - Donald Matheson and Jason Whiteley

Unit 7 will investigate the architecture of industry. It will explore how these often overlooked environments can contribute to a broader idea of the city and its periphery.

The UK is currently the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world. Manufacturing adds value. It makes up 10% of GDP but contributes 45% of UK exports. The sector directly employs 2.7 million people and, indirectly, double this again**.

In recent years, the rise of tech and finance sectors has led to fierce competition for talent, increasing the demand for high-quality working environments and justifying investment. Architecturally, this has the potential to positively transform the role that industrial buildings can play within the wider environment.

On a disused site in East London, Unit 7 will design a new industrial campus for a manufacturer of water-jet propulsion systems. The new campus will incorporate research, design, manufacturing, training, marketing and support activities, but it should also consider landscape, access, leisure and connections with both the natural environment and wider community.

The project will need to accommodate a wide range of environmental conditions and industrial processes in close proximity. It will study the movement of people and resources across the site and develop ways to enhance the natural environment. Students will consider the appropriate architectural expression for a large, singular building and explore ways to integrate this volume into a nuanced urban context.

Less explicitly, the project will also consider the legacy of the British High-Tech movement. The project will introduce techniques for working with complex building programs, along with the use of BIM. The unit will visit a number of relevant buildings in the UK.

** The Manufacturer. (2017). UK Annual Manufacturing Report 2017 (p. 7). London: The Manufacturer. Retrieved from


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Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.


This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.


This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

View Kingston School of Art, Knights Park on our Google Maps
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