Unit 5 | Republic of Communality
Chris Jones, Tim Ireland, Stephanie Elward, Brian Constant and Clare Bowman
As we emerge from our isolation, we proposed that communities can reimage the city/town and habitation, in a way that embraces the natural world and the community for the benefit of all, integrating living and production, focusing on the north and east Kent costal zones.
Unit 5 aimed to address:
Communality - reviving a feeling or spirt of cooperation and belonging arising from common interests and goals
Architecture Futures - creativity and experimentation inspired by nature
The 1.5OC COP 26 Target - with sustainable architecture and communities
Improving Wellbeing - with healthy inclusive living and work environments
The issue of Zoomland (people working from home) and reviving the Blue Economy
Addressing needs of the coast and hinterland, starting with Whitstable and moving on to individual projects
The Unit 5 Study zone stretched from the Hoo peninsular to Thanet and included the isle of Sheppey and the Medway Towns. Chris Whitty reported that – ‘the 3.5 million who live in the coastal zones all year round – are disproportionately poorer, iller, older, more mentally depressed, in low-paid temporary work, more overweight and more prone to suicide, drug abuse and self-harm than if they lived just a few miles inland’. At the same time, the possibilities of the blue economy are underutilised and issues of climate change, and specific issues for example the dumping of billions of litres of raw sewage into protected seas, lack of meaningful employment and housing provision are evident.
The Studio was physically based in the community in Whitstable for the first three sessions, to learn how work, community and living combine within a fascinating old town where urban grain with streets, urban spaces and alleys meets with the sea and shore. A series of tasks were undertaken beginning with questioning current housing development typologies and promoting the pre-Victorian hybrid approach of combining living, working and communality; we included an algorithmic design exercise developing generative grammar through which you produce a volumetric assembly, and also an individual prototype exercise based on the idea of hybrid complex forms before proceeding to the major thesis in the second half of the year. We asked how can we reimaging towns and city for the future that are low carbon, sustainable and promote living and working in aspirit of communality.
The Unit 5 student schemes proposed were responsive to the important questions identified, with experimental, perceptive and mature proposals for the coastal zone, they presented new and experimental ideas with responses that are appropriate to the context and point to future ways of living /working and sustainable communality.
Guest lecturers and critics
Mike Richards, Matthew Woodthorpe, Lee Jesson, Michael Holms Coats, Yorgos Loizos, Alessia Mosci, Henrik Schoenefeldt, Chloe Street Tarbatt, Oliver Watson, Faye Tamsett.