durability

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on 14 June 2017
Main entrance of the Palais des Papes since 1334

In French, the word for sustainability is durabilité. Yet today, short-term construction has become the norm, and current statutory criteria for measuring the sustainability of a building’s lifespan are all but non-existent, as are criteria for maintenance, repair and long-term adaptability. Paradoxically, planning and procurement systems in the UK favour a finished product over temporality, to such an extent that it produces buildings increasingly prone to failure (Till: 2009) or, conversely, are designed to come and go fleetingly. Durability can mean several things and does not necessarily mean permanence, even if our construction methods increasingly lean towards disposability. Unit E students this year will be examining these issues through the topic of time and exploring the various strategies that temporality can add to design thinking.

This year’s field trip will be in Avignon (via a few days in Paris). Despite its medieval ramparts, Avignon is surrounded by two rivers and under threat of climate change through flooding (two rivers further along have also been polluted by nuclear power). The temporal element is therefore crucial, not only in terms of time and weather, but also in terms of buildings that have lasted for 1000 years, and a whole city that, beyond the ramparts, suffers from economic decline. Students will explore ways of occupying the thresholds between the touristic pocket at the boundary with its edges and into industries that can alleviate current flooding and water pollution threats. This year’s design sites will be neglected at the edge of the ramparts, mostly given to cars and large industrial businesses. Students will be working from remnants of old structures and asked to reconquer those territories for long-term sustainability through the poetry of time and weather.

Project Briefs:

Autumn Studies I-II: Villas of Le Corbusier
Autumn Studies III: Exploring Cast
Autumn Studies IV-V: Unit Trip – Avignon
Winter Studies I: Site Model
Winter Studies II: Volume / Form Test
Winter Studies III: Section Collage
Winter Studies +1: Works of Paper
Winter Studies: Design development & PriorTechnical submission
Spring Studies: Momentum Section
End of the Year Book

Student List

Year 2

Michael Adedokun
Alan Alavi Waly
Chelsea Anderson
Vanessa Campanelli
Amin Esrafili
Daniel Harris
Max Ivanescu
Martin Kocabey
Shahzy Mazhar
Olive Odagbu
Alexandre Palus
Rebecca Shaw
Adrian Sirboiu
Katharine Stevens
Andrei Szepocher
Keeme Zain Ahmed Ha Bin

Year 3

Ahmed Ashour
Alford Dyett
Vikrant Jayendrakumar Panchasara
Paul Marshall