Category Archives: Instructions

Instruction # 15

Oblique Strategy Number 5

For Tuesday 6th May


Instruction #14

Oblique Strategy Number 4

For Monday 5th May


(could not have made it up better myself)

Instruction # 13

Oblique Strategy Number 3

For Sunday 4th May


(a question of pressing concern for budding architects)

Instruction # 12

Oblique Strategy Number 2

for 3rd May


(so that is a day off then)

Instruction # 11

Oblique Strategy Number 1

Oblique strategies is the game/instruction pack that was evolved by the musician Brian Eno and the artist Peter Schmidt. Originally it came as a deck of cards, from which one would select at random. The resulting instruction was intended as a prompt in the creative process, and could be applied across many disciplines. The Oblique Strategies have assumed cult status, with the inevitable website devoted to them. They are now available as a widget for the Mac desktop, and it is this version that we will be using.

Every day for the next five days, I will press the widget button and come up with a random instruction. I will not cheat! I will post this on this site, and you should take this as a prompt for action for the next day. The instructions sometimes feel restrictive, but are actually liberating in this. They will not radically alter your direction, but may allow you to see the project in a new light. It may result in a tiny adjustment, or may just gently push you in a more productive manner. Try to work with the instruction for at least an hour, just to see what comes out of it. Keep going if it is productive. The idea, of course, is to provide an alternative to the linear method of most projects.

And so, here is the first Oblique Strategy for Friday 2nd May


(isn’t that just great!)

Instruction # 10

Quick and Dirty

Most architectural production, at least in Schools of Architecture, aspires to the refined, and reaches it through slow and methodical means; this is based on the premise that there is a good or even perfect solution out there waiting to be found. For the next two weeks we will reverse this slow and refined tendency by doing it quick and dirty. So you should produce your scheme by 17th April; just get it out there and down on paper or whatever. Just do it. Work somewhat on instinct, but let that instinct be guided by the ideas and conceptual approach that you have developed over the past two months – and in particular for sixth years the statement of intent that is your Design Report.

In software programming ‘quick and dirty’ has connotations of being inelegant and imperfect, but still doing the job in hand. Maybe this is exactly what your schemes should be like to start with – but to accept this one has to accept that perfected notions of elegance, on which much architectural culture is based, may not be the only way forward.

Instruction # 9

London Festival of Architecture

This is urgent! My fault – I have let it slip. We need to confirm by Friday 4th April if we are going to participate in this. To do this we need to choose a site and do an image and some text to explain what we are going to do with it.  My feeling is that is a good opportunity to play out some of the SoftPraxis ideas in a very public arena. The plan would be for fifth years to tie up their projects by 16th May (i.e six weeks time) , and then work as a group on the National Student Festival proposal. I would suggest that we do not do anything ‘physical’ (i.e. another urban intervention) but something that raises the debate about the role of the architect/architecture in these kind of conditions.

So, fifth years, please comment by Thursday 3rd, 12pm GMT (for those in Japan…), and let me know what you think.

Here is the brief