Unit A

Welcome to Unit A blog [University of East London]


Unit A 2013-14 | City fictions: narrative, infrastructure, choreography

The understanding of city as conglomerate of transitional processes will be the starting point for investigations into public realm conditions surrounding Smithfield Market in London. We will collate samples of the Everyday, the specific and the routine and attempt to ‘read’ the city by means of making multi-dimensional drawings. In parallel we will experiment at material scale by re-casting city fragments through model-making techniques. We are interested in processes of transformation from object to micro landscape.

The historical centre of Palermo will then become study area for the year and will provide project sites for carefully designed and choreographed architectural interventions. As a unit we continue to work with an open brief providing support for a student-driven agenda. The building-briefs will evolve as a response to historic and cultural contexts, promote common territories, extend beyond boundaries and explore unconventional urban relationships; in short: A reflection on a public building acting as ‘social node’ and providing local services to the community. We will work across all scales; social - material - architectural. Through critical observation of layers of relational qualities we will set out to rediscover spatial opportunity, research emerging forms of spatial practice and design alongside mechanisms of interaction. We will reference work by critical thinkers including Bertolt Brecht, Cedric Price and Walter Benjamin and Carlo Scarpa and contextualise those ideas into current situations. We will engage in conversations about methodology of epic theatre as means of observation and decision-making; about re-programming techniques, participation and adaptability; about techniques of spatial narrative and threshold; and space as junction.

Unit tutors: Carsten Jungfer, Felix Xylander-Swannell
Field-trip and project site: Palermo