Review # 5

Generally positive and shows that quick and dirty is a useful technique for exposing what is good about a scheme and what is less good. Please can you all enter your five lines below to keep Tatjana up to date with what happened and what you are going to do next.

Review # 4


Jeremy presented the ‘proposal’ to the management team of the London Architecture Festival. Thinking that it was an informal chat, it turned out to be a crit with around 50 people in the room.

Because there was nothing to show, the response was as expected in a bad crit. Lots of questions, all good ones, which I could not answer. Brought back memories of my first year crit when I was convinced the world could be saved through hexagons. Excrutiating. Luckily, the team from the AA came on next and saved the day with exquisite form. And it was ECO too…

So these were the questions:

How will you engage with the public, as is asked for in the brief? They are browsing and moving through quickly, and will not be able to spend time?

Your language is quite abstract, how are you going to make it more accessible?

What are the visuals of this? The Festival brief set out for striking landmarks; are you going to subvert this or go along with this?

What actually are you going to sell? Are you going to play up to the idea of consumption and actually sell stuff, or are you going to give things away?

If you are selling values, what exactly are they and how are you going to get them across quickly?

National Architecture Student Festival


Studio 8 is honoured to have been selected to represent the University of Sheffield at the National Architecture Student Festival, which is part of the London Architecture Festival 2008 (or rather they were pushed into it by the boss with no consultation). They have come up with the punchy idea of ‘Architects for Sale’, and an equally punchy image.


No-one quite knows what this might mean but we think it will be in Borough Market for a few days. Not an installation (too 1990s) but a happening (very 1960s). Here is the proposed text for publicity, any comments please by 5pm Friday 4th April (which is the press deadline.)


Architecture is usually considered as a noun, but what if it has been a verb all along? Our love for architectural objects has allowed us to be distracted from questioning what ‘to architecture’ might mean. Why shouldn’t we cross some of the hard, boring lines that define how architects think, what architects design, how, why and for whom? What is architecture worth?

The project takes a site that is about selling, value and (particularly in the case of Borough market) values. By exposing architecture to the environment of value-trading, we will be looking for its social value, and scratching away at the question of redesigning design itself. If Architects are For Sale, what is it actually that they might have to offer (beyond bright oranges and bendy bananas)?

Architects for Sale will take place over two market days in Borough Market

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

Instruction #8

Bust that Jargon!

Just been reading the sixth year design reports. Generally very good, if inevitably in that Sheffield 1:2 ratio (one day writing, two days tweaking in Illustrator). But, you all have to go over them and get rid of jargon. One person (nameless, but sometimes wears red) even used the word ‘operationalise’. I lost the will to live, only surviving because at least he/she did not spell it with a zed.

Instruction # 7

By the end of this term you should have something that resembles an architectural scheme, placed on the expanded site with the developed brief. (Some of you have already chosen, for good reasons, other sites – this is fine).  To achieve this you should come to the tutorials on 28th February with a fully developed ‘brief’. This should not be a simple list of functions, but a document that sets out the proposed social relationships on the site, developed in relation to your conceptual stance. For sixth years, this will form the basis of your management report. However, it is important that this ‘brief’ is clear and stays fixed for the rest of the year – otherwise the parameters that you are designing against will be continually changing and in this be distracting. If you do not have this brief by 28th, we will give it to you. Do agonise over this – briefs and sites are highly artificial constructs in architectural education, so just enjoy them as abstract constraints/possibilities rather than trying to find the perfect programme on the perfect site.

It is likely that for the cross studio reviews, this scheme will not be described according to the norms suggested in the competition brief. Each of you will have to think about how to represent your architecture in a manner appropriate to your approach, but the expectation is that it will be legible in terms of scale and placing on the site, and for the sixth years in particular, has a clear technical (material, structural, environmental) strategy.