abandoned urban landscape

Unit E this year will be based in Barcelona, where we will try to, resolve a challenging urban, social and architectural, problem.
The aim of Barcelona to become one of the reference European cities implied a change of urbanism strategy.

Historically Barcelona was giving her back to the sea, leaving the seafront for industry only. In the late 20th century that changed and the focus was on working on a new skylight and opening the city to the seafront.

The quick growth required left some areas unattended. Nowadays the clash between traditional working-class areas versus the high-end architecture focused on tourism is obvious and needs prompt architectural response.
Unit E’s goal is to give a social response to this area, for the local communities.
Our work will be based on one of the most controversial junctions of the city, where Barcelona has lost its identity. It’s like missing a piece of the puzzle.

We will study the ‘Pla Cerda’, one of the reference urbanism plans renowned worldwide for its functionality and efficiency.
The chosen site is at the edge of it.

We will analyse and compare a similar situation in London, where factories changed use and renovated areas to respond to people’s needs. We will produce a comparative analysis so that both cities can learn from each other.

This year we are exploring this through the contrast of different architects of the past and present. Some of our references will be: RCR architects based near Barcelona Olot (last starling prize winner), Barozzis and Beiga based in Barcelona, Cerda, Gaudi, Enric Miralles, Ricardo Bofill and Carme Pinos. We will look at their work and their different design and representation techniques.

Unit E works at the intersection between old and new, in terms of architecture and representational techniques. We therefore design through the qualities of various traditional model-making and drawing materials (clay, timber, metal, etching, sketching and analogue photography…) while also analysing these qualities in the existing built fabric and environments; at the same time, we explore new build design through contemporary materials and contemporary computer techniques positioned in contrast and interface with the old (built or represented or both).

In the same process, students design new architecture that connects with old buildings, within a hypothetical program that integrates past, present and future through materiality. Unit E does this based on speculative proposals on sites that contain existing historic fragments or memories.

First term we will educate the eye by exploring fragments of London with analogue cameras, learning the techniques of a dark room and different drawing techniques in 2D and 3D, and controlling the scale and the proportions. The students will have a site given. The complexity of the site will depend on level 2 or 3. A different brief will be provided for each site.

This year UEL focuses its attention on housing. Our case study will be ‘Waiden 7’ by Ricardo Bofill.

Projects Briefs:

Viewfinder Part I: King’s Cross
Viewfinder Part II: Transitions
Case Studies: Walden 7
Autumn Studies I: Collage in Barcelona
Winter Studies I: Ghost white, from Picture to Volume
Winter Studies II: Volume to Model
Winter Studies III: Volume to Model
Winter Studies IV: Ground Floor and Section


Abandoned Urban Landscape

Student List

Year 2:
Glenn Altarejos
Matthew Burford
Dylan Cutting
Thomas Dulieu
Suha Kardaman
Avnish Koon Koon
Gabriel Llonor
Dayanara Mabad
Suphawadee Maneerat
Adrian Moussaid
Vanessa Pimentel Pinto Ferreira
Mandeep Rooprai
Victor Velev
Alaina Williams
Constantin-Adrian Sirbo
Year 3:
Andreea-Camelia Ciuc
William Fullick
Alexander Jovanovic
Roberto Lopato Ricorico