Mike Kane and Ron Yee

The studio will take a fundamental approach to the way we as architects will have to re-focus/engage with a rapidly changing environment.  It aims to explore the potential of both new and adapted architectures simultaneously, at both macro (strategic) and micro (materiality) scales.

It is clear that increasing urban populations and unsustainable growth will force us to re-examine how we make and adjust the city.  Critically, this needs to be explored from an informed and independent position. Shared research (in)forms the basis of studio works. This will accumulate, year by year, as an accessible resource library. 

This research includes areas such as the embodied energy content of particular building materials and alternative transport networks as examples.  These investigations take three parallel approaches on programme, context and resource.

The aim is to identify ‘interstitial’ programmes possible in particular contexts. These are the activities of the city which support urban life outside the established overriding uses such as working, housing and entertainment.  Individual programmes should be both prototypical and specific in nature.

Research and investigation as a group is the basis from which projects develop, and looks at the architectural potential of alternative and emerging energy and organisational structures to define a parallel approach to city-making.  The basic question underlying studies is ‘is it (im)possible for the city to be truly self-sufficient and sustainable?’

An awareness of the implications of fabric and construction underlies the approach of the studio, and the studio will explore primarily simpler low carbon technologies to allow a direct and creative hands on approach.  This would inform the overriding interest in sustainable and creative architectural strategies and ultimately physical and stimulating environments to be inhabited.

Each year the focus of the studio changes dependent on the chosen context/s; this year the focus will be on the Charlton waterfront and Isle of Grain.