The videos shown here are of six final projects from students of design studio 2_6, which is run by Victoria Watson and Kirti Durelle. We run the studio as a mode of architectural design research and try to structure the year so that students use their projects as a vehicle for exploring and expressing their own thoughts and ideas about the world in which they live.
This year we ran our studio program on the broad theme of Heritage to Helios.
Just like last year, the Studio worked with the International Institute of Cosmism (IIC), who now planned to develop a historic dockyard site on the banks of the River Thames, in Deptford, currently known as Convoy’s Wharf.
The IIC was especially interested in the architectural implications of Nikolai Federov’s Great Electric Boat, which he wrote about in his short essay Astronomy and Architecture.
The students worked on the Convoy’s Wharf site all year, it is a vast brown-field with one protected historic structure.
Between 2010 & 2014 Museum of London Archeology were commissioned to survey the site; and the students used MOLA’s drawings to help inspire and organise their work.
In semester one the students were asked to design A Cosmist Workspace and Visitor Centre (CWVC)
They were asked to work on MOLA’s Area 4 and were tasked with the design of a hybrid enclosed/semi-enclosed building, whose purpose was to announce and publicise the Cosmist presence on the Deptford site.
The new building was to provide a viewing deck for visitors to look down at the archeological remains; and a platform for gazing up into the sky.
In addition, the building had be comfortable for the Cosmists to work in; and we suggested it should include some laboratory/studio-space, a meeting room, a small lecture room, restrooms and a canteen.
For our field trip we went to the Big Science project called ITER, we stayed in Marseille.
ITER is a 35 nation collaborative project, tasked with building the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic containment and plasma fusion device. The ITER tokamak is designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a commercially viable source of carbon free energy.
As you can see from the work shown here, we were all deeply infected by our trip to ITER.
In semester two the students were asked to design a Factory and Fun Palace for the Great Electric Boat (F-EB)
Students were asked to approach their F-GEB project under three categories: site, program and technology.
In terms of Site: they were asked to incorporate their semester one building as a site parameter. They had to take notice of the protected historic structure, the Olympia Building. And of course they had to consider the riverside setting, the Deptford hinterland and the below ground ruins.
In terms of Program: they were asked to devise a narrative that combined science, technology and art, in a single complex. To help them to do this they were advised to revisit Federov’s Astronomy and Architecture and to formulate their own interpretation of the Great Electric Boat. And they were shown how, in his essay, Federov presents the Great Electric Boat as an aspiration, or a condition, not a thing.
In terms of Technology: Students were asked to consider three different ways in which technology is at work in their project:
first, as a form of knowledge under investigation by the Cosmists,
second, as a factor in the construction processes necessary to make the proposed new building,
third, as medium of representation and communication, used directly by themselves in the design process.