Open Island

Unit 2 has a focus on designing buildings and architectural interventions in complex urban environments. Using urban, landscape and architectural design, we explore extremes of interrelated scales, from urban through to building and detail scales.

The guiding theme of this year is Open Island. Island refers here to two conditions: firstly, the geographic form of the Isle of Dogs within the River Thames and secondly, its insular but also diverse developments. We will creatively engage in these conditions with architectural designs that openly address social and spatial contexts. We will explore ways in which sharing and living together can be part of a unique and synergetic urban life.

The individual projects will focus on designing site specific buildings. Each student will carefully develop architectural qualities, sense of place, logic of space, proportion, resourcefulness and programmatic precision as well as technical and material finesse. By invigorating existing and imagining new, we intend to create schemes that are both, sustainable and enjoyable.


Cityness – Cities are our critical starting ground and ongoing territory. Cityness is hereby a form of being together and it is expressed in a matrix of cultural, political, social, spatial, environmental and time-based layers. By sharing space and spatial habit, it is more than the sum of its parts.

Technique – To be able to understand, link and connect parts and factors together, with a degree of fit. It is methodology and craft of both, the physical, technical and environmental propositions, as well as judgment and articulation of integrative programmes and cultures in social environments.

Process – Refers to both, the practice of urban design and the inherent processes of the build environment. The way of doing things has a relationship with what we do and produce. Cities, human environments and subsequently urban designs are subject to different temporal modes and change.