Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture: Book release

Corinna Dean
Corinna Dean

Currently on display at the Margaret Howell shop in London’s Wigmore Street is a series of photographs. They document disused Cold War bases and infrastructure; follies and religious sites; brutalist and modernist factories and plants.

The exhibition is an accompaniment to Slacklands: A Guide to Rural Contemporary Architecture, a recently launched book compiled by the architecture writer Corinna Dean. Slacklands is the first publication of the Archive for Rural Contemporary Architecture (ARCA), an online archive that aims to map 20th-century rural buildings in Britain and what they tell us about our relationship to the nation’s countryside.

The Grain Tower Battery, Isle of Grain
The Grain Tower Battery, Isle of Grain

‘Corinna Dean has a mission – to show us just how rich and strange the architectural heritage of the Twentieth Century really is. She wants to reclaim the neglected monuments to the past we so easily forget: military, industrial, devotional, recreational. Corinna shows us a less familiar Britain and less familiar forms of architecture.’ – Margaret Howell

The Warden Point battery military installation
The Warden Point battery military installation

An exhibition featuring photographs from the book will run from Friday 9th May to Sunday 1st June at Margaret Howell: 34 Wigmore Street, London W1. 10am to 6pm (12pm-5pm Sunday).


Empire Sunset


The screen shows sunsets in real time from the village of Empire, USA every day for the duration of the Whitstable Biennale taking place in East Kent in the UK.

Nearly 4000 miles and five time zones, different cultures and histories separate England from Empire. For the duration of the festival, sunsets, technology and art will connect the two. The village of Empire is set within the 71,000 acre Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, one of more than 380 parks in the National Park System in the United States. The park is located on the shores of Lake Michigan on the north-western side of the state of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This year the park was designated as wilderness providing permanent protection by Federal law. East Kent, in the southeast corner of England, in  Britain, is an area described by artist J.W.M. Turner as having skies  that “…are  the  loveliest in all Europe…” and are still enjoyed by people living there. For centuries the British Empire was one on which ‘the sun never sets’. The 20th  century saw its fall and the rise of the American ‘empire’. In the 21st century America follows the British Empire in decline.

The five-hour time difference means that each sunset over Lake Michigan will come on the screen in England in the early hours of the morning. The view from Empire appears and disappears until the end of the Biennale when the last sun sets and the screen fades to black.

Empire Sunset’ serves as a reflection on our times where nature is compelling, fragile, yet enduring, empires rise and fall, change is constant and certainty is transient.

Julie Mecoli, Lecturer –


Thank you to: Professor Don Gray, Brian Wood & The Kent School of Architecture, Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak 10228 W Front Street, Empire, Michigan USA 49630

Henrik Schoenefeldt presents at the Higher Education Academy

Henrik Schoenefeldt is giving a talk on the findings of his current research into sustainable education at the Higher Education Academy in York. The talk is entitled Engaging with new practices for sustainability through collaborative research and design, which form part of the Research, Impact, Pedagogy & Engagement series organized by the HEA. A link to the event can be found here.

Last year Dr. Schoenefeldt conducted a series of interviews with practitioners and educators of architecture, which explored the relationship between architectural practice, research and education in sustainable development. The findings of these interviews has led to the development of the pedagogical concept behind his current research project Interrogating the technical, economic and cultural challenges of delivering the PassivHaus standard in the UK. This project explores ways of involving students directly in primary research through larger collaborative research projects. Acting as an alternative to the traditional dissertation, a group of third and fifth year students was invited to from part of a research team working on one large project comprising fifteen in-depth case-studies of PassivHaus schemes certified between 2009 and 2013. In this project the team investigated how architectural practices and the building industry more widely is adapting for sustainability. Over the twelve month period of the project, students were supervised by the author, but also received regular feedback from the industry partners during project workshops and reviews. Through interviews with the architects, contractors, consultants, suppliers, developers students were able to engaged directly with various professions within the building industry that were directly involved in the design, construction post-occupancy evaluation of the PassivHaus case-studies. This enabled students to develop an understanding of the challenges of low energy design not only from point of the architectural profession but also from a cross-industry perspective. The objective behind this project was to bridge the gap between academic research, architectural practice (and the industry more widely) and university-based teaching through a collaboration between academics, students and practitioners. As such it addresses issues raised in the Farrell Report and studies of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Royal Academy of Engineering and SCHOSA, which highlight that teaching, research and practice suffer from too much separation. This project, which will be completed in July 2014, has demonstrated different ways in which university-based education and research can directly engage with and contribute to addressing the practical challenges of introducing sustainable models of practice.


Student Profile – Jade Simm

Jade Simm

BA (Hons) Architecture

What attracted you to studying  at Kent?

Fundamental to my choice of university was my determination to study at an  institution that would allow me to maximise my creative talents to achieve the  very highest standards. Having taken the  opportunity to visit many universities, I knew that I preferred a campus  lifestyle and Kent truly is a very pleasant learning environment with its  careful balance between open green space and learning facilities. The warm welcome I received on the open days  from both staff and students made me feel at home from the very first moment I  stepped on campus. Kent’s reputation and  standing in the university league tables highlighted the fact that whilst the  university felt like home it was indeed a well run and well organised centre of  learning that strives to ensure that all students achieve their very best.  The huge choice of sports clubs and societies  was also very attractive as I was keen to fully immerse myself in university  life.

Why did you choose to study architecture?

Nothing in life touches people’s lives as much as architecture. Walk down any street or sit in any  environment and you cannot help to form a view of the architectural environment  that has been created. Good architecture  can lift the spirit and impact positively on how people live and work.  Architecture can enrich lives, create mood and alter people’s state of mind. My passion is clear and my determination to make a meaningful difference is  resolute. For me architecture as a profession  was the only natural choice where I would be able to have such an impact.

What skills have you already learnt whilst studying architecture?

First year in particular allowed me to develop technical skills as well as conceptual and creative skills. During Stage 1 allocated sessions were used  to explore creativity through a variety of techniques including life drawing,  model making and sketching. The subject matter was not always architectural but  this allowed me to broaden my skills and then apply it to my architectural  designs. I also began to develop some very subtle skills in speaking the  language of architecture and being able to describe a physical environment to  demonstrate its form and the space that was created. Second year we were introduced to 3Ds Max, weekly tasks were set to gain  knowledge of the software so that we could produce a final piece. Up until this  point of the year I had only used SketchUp for 3D design purposes, but the  involvement of this software on the course has made me much more confident in producing  photorealistic models. During the course it is made clear that it is not just conceptual design  that is important. You need to know how a building stands up and its  environmental factors. Along with this you need to be able to present clearly  your own ideas visually and verbally. Lectures are given on presentation, but  the best way for these skills to develop is by looking at the work of others  and taking part in Inter-Crits to understand the most successful techniques.

What are you enjoying most about university?

The Architecture course at the University of Kent is well run and the combination of lectures seminars and tutorials allows a varied study approach that keeps you in contact with a variety of staff and students. Many of the  staff specialise in different areas so it is almost certain that there will be a  member of staff you have common interest with and can aid your design. The  Architecture studio is always buzzing and everyone is willing to help each  other out. Joining the Kent Architectural Student associated allowed me to become  part of team of students organising activities for architecture students. I  personally took the role of Merchandise Rep where I created a hoodie for all  students to purchase and was part of the social team organising social events  that weren’t architecture related. As a member of the Rowing Team, I find it a good way to keep active as  well as a friendship group outside of rowing. Sport gives you time to get away  from your work and relax, something that is needed when studying architecture.

What do you think about the level of support in your studies?

Tutors are the best form of support in  architecture, they encourage you to achieve your goals and give you both  positive and negative feedback in order for you to develop your project as well  as your own personal style. Tutors are there to help you; they are willing to  meet with you outside tutorial hours or to discuss minor issues via email.  Tutors  have a range of expertise and all are happy for you to tap into their knowledge  and offer advice. There are staff within the department of  architecture that are there to provide general help and guidance throughout the  course as well as the University providing a support service, available to  anyone who requires it.

For more student profiles, please visit our website.

British Council selects students for Venice Fellowship

Kent School of Architecture is pleased to announce that two of its MArch Part II students have been selected for a work-study fellowship at this year’s Venice Biennale.

Jasmine Davey (4th Year) and Jessica Ringrose (5th Year) will each spend a month in the beautiful city of Venice and right in the heart of the 2014 Biennale, directed by Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas. This year’s theme is ‘Absorbing Modernity: 1914 – 2014’, which will be subject to much debate, discussion and create a fresh understanding of the world’s take on the development of Modernist ideas. The British Pavilion will host ‘A Clockwork Jerusalem’: how international influences of Modernism have mixed with long-standing British sensibilities. From around the UK and beyond, a total of 50 students from 12 architecture schools and institutions will each be supported by a financial grant to take on this work-study opportunity in the world’s most important architectural festival that will run from June to November this year.

Jasmine (who will be in Venice in September) and Jessica (who will be going in June) will spend four days a week invigilating the exhibition in the British Pavilion. Both have proved through the application process that they are reliable, organised and competent for the task of overseeing the day-to-day running of the pavilion and, in essence, become the public faces of the exhibition. In addition, Jasmine and Jessica will spend three days a week undertaking a research project focusing on ‘Absorbing Modernity’ and can stretch their investigations to cover a number of core sub-themes and evolving ideas. They will ultimately be producing a written piece that centres on individual conclusions, which will then be published.

Jasmine says: It is a rare, fortunate opportunity to get a chance to be a part of the Biennale. I am really grateful KSA have made this a possibility. The application had quite specific questions that got you thinking about the theme for the Biennale this year, so it will be interesting to see how the study I take on will develop from the interests I have about architectural developments from 1914-2014. At the moment, I think I would like to research what cultural gems we choose preserve (I see preservation as something that only became important after 1914 and is interesting to look at alongside the modernisation of design) or something to do with the avant guarde movement.”

Jessica says: “Almost every architecture CV has the same information; whether a person has done Part I, II, III etc. so this experience will add something else to my CV. I am very much interested in the National Identity of Architecture, but as I will be in Venice, I would probably look into the identities of other countries featured. I think Absorbing Modernity is how we present ourselves to others, how Britain is distinguished and do we actually export anything influential to other countries?”

This week, the two students will be attending a three day residential induction school in London, in order to network with other Biennale Fellows, staff and receive pre-departure information and advice. We at KSA wish Jessica and Jasmine the very best of luck in their preparations leading up to their fellowships and, of course, congratulate them in becoming suitable ambassadors for this unique event.

For more information about the Venice Biennale, click here.

-Srimathi Aiyer (Stage 4)

Timothy Brittain-Catlin launches new book

Bleak Houses – The Book Launch

Tonight : 01.04.14

Architectural Association School Life 2013-2014

AA Bookshop, 32 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES at 6.30pm

Thursday: 03.04.14

The Department of Art History, New York University

The talk is entitled: Towards a theory of failure: architectural history and its losers.

Read more on Timothy Brittain-Catlin and Bleak Houses by visiting the Times Higher Education website where Bleak Houses made book of the week.

Dr Luciano Cardellicchio to present at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge

Dr Luciano Cardellicchio will present a paper entitled Pier Luigi Nervi vs Fazlur Khan: the developing of the outrigger system for skyscrapers at the First Construction History Society Conference which will be held the 11th and 12th of April at the Queens’ College, University of Cambridge. The paper focuses on how the particular structural system called “outrigger” was first developed, trying to link the experience of two outstanding engineers who worked after the Second World War, the Italian Pierluigi Nervi (1891–1979) and the Bangledeshi-American Fazlur Rahman Khan (1929–1982). In detail, the paper will highlight how the system invented by Nervi for the Stock Exchange Tower in Montreal (designed by Luigi Moretti and completed in 1965) has been developed by Khan in the Belt-Truss system for the Tower at 140 William Street (formerly BHP House) in Melbourne (1972).

For the entire program of the conference please click here.


Luigi Moretti, Pier Luigi Nervi, Stock Exchange Tower, Montreal, 1965. (Photo by the author)

Stage 2 and 3 students get a guided tour of the Templeman Library extension project


KSA have arranged a two-day event this week based on the extension to the Templeman Library designed by Penoyre and Prasad architects. There will be guided tours around the construction site on the first day, and a series of presentations from members of the design and construction team the following day.

For Stage Two students the site visit and presentations will act as a precursor to the forthcoming autumn term Adapt & extend module, and will introduce them to the complexities of a major project, in terms of design concept and practical execution on site.

Stage Three students will be able to integrate lessons learned from the project into their ongoing Urban module, particularly in terms of construction techniques and management procedures.

“When Modern was Green: Cultivation of Gardens as Culture.” David H. Haney

At the end of the nineteenth century, the Russian prince turned anarchist Peter Kropotkin, proposed the concept of the “Industrial Village” where communities of individuals could live in relative independence from mainstream capitalist society by practicing small-scale industry and small-scale, intensive agriculture. Kropotkin also believed that individuals should have both intellectual and manual training in order to be fully cultivated. In this sense, cultivating vegetables and fruit, although necessary to the survival of the community, was also a cultural act in itself for both the individual and the community.

In Germany following WWI, the self-titled “architect for horticulture” Leberecht Migge proposed similar settlements based on the idea of self-sufficiency through intensive gardening, largely based on the translated writings of Kropotkin. As a trained gardener he described a small ideal settlement planned following gardening principles. The primary activity of community members would be gardening; for Migge this was not just a practical problem, but a cultural mission.

His vision of a gardening community was further transformed during the 1920s, during the height of the modernist period, through his efforts to “technologize” the garden. In response to his modern architect colleagues, he envisioned the most efficient small gardens for individual residential units, utilizing the latest techniques. He was particularly concerned with recycling of household waste in the garden, including human waste. Again, he connected this with cultivation and culture. Here we see his humorous “tree of waste,” which is obviously based upon the Nordic Tree of Life, as underlying symbol of his cultural purpose.

In the 1930s, Migge proposed a system of regional landscapes in his book The Growing Settlement, thus expanding the scale of his ideal community concept beyond the individual settlement. Here he considered the cultural landscape as agricultural landscape; cultivation meant the symbiosis of land and culture. Whole productive landscapes were considered as types, starting with Chinese examples as the most ancient and intensive, and ending with those of the USA as the newest and most extensive. Holland’s productive landscapes stood in the middle and represented an ideal mix of intensive and extensive. Migge’s work thus takes us beyond the problem of land utilization as a management problem, to an understanding of it as a cultural domain, surely a move that holds significance today.

CASE open lecture with Professor Joseph Giacomin


Prof. Joseph Giacomin

Human Centered Design: a business paradigm for 21st century enterprise

CASE is pleased to announce that the next CASE open lecture of 2013/14 will be given by Prof. Joseph Giacomin. His lecture entitled, Human Centered Design: a business paradigm for 21st century enterprise, will be given on Tuesday, 25th March 2014 at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.

Professor Joseph Giacomin is the Director of the Human Centered Design Institute (HCDI) of Brunel University.

Human Centered Design integrates multidisciplinary expertise towards enhancing human well-being and empowering people. In its most basic form it leads to products, systems and services which are physically, perceptually, cognitively and emotionally intuitive. In its most advanced form it discovers and unlocks latent needs and desires, supporting the achievement of desired futures for society.

He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate university modules in Human Factors with particular emphasis on matters of perception and emotion, and guest lectures widely at universities, governmental organisations and businesses. He has produced more than 60 professional publications including a recent book of thermal photography titled Thermal: seeing the world through 21st century eyes, and provides consultancy services to the design and manufacturing sectors.

He is a member of the editorial boards of Ergonomics and of the International Journal of Vehicle Noise and Vibration (IJVNV). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (FErgS), a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), a member of the Associazione Per Il Disegno Industriale (ADI) and a member of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS).

Professor Joseph Giacomin has a Ph.D. from Sheffield University in the United Kingdom and has both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. U.S.A.. He has worked for both the American military and the European automobile industry.


Human Centered Design: a business paradigm for 21st century enterprise

The 21st century is characterised by ever growing expectations regarding experiences, quality of life, privacy and ethics. With the growing pressure for human centred products, systems and services, the activity of design has taken centre stage in most customer driven innovation. Having often been described as the “century of the human mind”, the current period is rich in new products, systems and services which are characterised by interactivity, emotion and meaning. This seminar will define the paradigm of human centered design, an approach which is being followed by ever greater numbers of businesses. The multidisciplinary paradigm will be defined in comparison to the main competing paradigms of technology-driven design and sustainable design, the business implications will be discussed and application examples will be provided.