AA2DS4 - Skills in Architectural Design 2

The Spring and Summer project explores through architecture the interdependence between humans, non-humans and the natural cycles of water. 

Water is the origin of all life on earth, our human cells are vessels that connect our bodies to the bodies of all living creatures on this planet to rivers, oceans, glaciers, clouds, fog, and RAIN… In our daily existence we tend to disregard rainwater, it pours down from the sky and drains away, always hidden in pipes or deflected from our bodies by waterproof coats or umbrellas. As we grow into adults, child-like joyful play in rain puddles is frowned upon whilst our infrastructures collapse under heavy downpours that produce preventable floods. 

We travelled together virtually to Luchtbal, North of Antwerp, as the ideal location to create a place for renewing our reverence and fascination for rainwater. We approached the site as a vessel for harvesting and choreographing rainwater, intimately woven into a caretaker’s craft, with the purpose of effecting a positive change on the surrounding community. These interdependencies informed the exploration of the relations with the immediate urban landscape, the collective meanings and environmental impact attached to crafts, the complexity and lived experience of spatial design, and the conscious use of materials of the building. 

Module convenor: Sayan Skandarajah 

Design Studio Team: Zoe Berman, Stephen Gage, Jennifer Forakis, Sayan Skandarajah, Carolina Vasilikou 

External Guests: Naomi Gibson, Ifigeneia Liangi, Ben Spong, Olivia Marra, Mika Zacharias, Nathan Ozga, Kirsty Badenoch, Ming Teong, Mike Slade, Liam Ross, Adesola Akinleye, Liz Allum,  

Internal Collaborators:  Lorraine Farrelly, John Harding, Oliver Froome-Lewis, Vsevolod Kondratiev-Popov, Amy Butt, Penelope Plaza, Sabine Hogenhout, Peter Corbett

During Spring and Summer term, the fourth in the series of design modules extends to a broader consideration of architecture as a cultural and societal activator. The students were asked to consider the relationship between Dance and Architecture, through the design of a Home for Dance in the heart of Reading town centre. Becoming the new base for umbrella organisation Dance Reading, the new centre would act as both a residency for a dance collective, whilst also having a wider public outreach through dance studios and performance space. 

The designs worked closely with a specific form of dance as well as providing rehearsal and performance space to the many dance groups that exist within Reading. These groups are showcased annually as part of Reading Festival of Dance, but as yet do not have a dedicated space to call their own as a hub for both dancers as well as the wider public. 

The brief engaged with themes of movement, time and change, both as an understanding of dance as an art form as well as a means of engaging with possibilities for architectural design. The role of the body, its gestures and its constraints, informed initial strategies in creating bespoke spaces for bespoke movements. 

In particular, we engaged with themes of change on a wider context; looking at the changing face of Reading’s historical urban fabric. Sited in the heart of the town centre and within one of the few buildings that remain from the mid nineteenth-century, the project dealt with ideas of heritage and engaging with this responsibly and sustainably. The nature of the architectural ‘extension’ was important in the design strategies, as well as an examination of ways of interacting with existing buildings.  

Module convenor: Sayan Skandarajah 

Design Studio Team: Zoe Berman, Stephen Gage, Jennifer Forakis, Sayan Skandarajah, Carolina Vasilikou

External Guests: Adesola Akinleye, Liz AllumKirsty Badenoch, Naomi Gibson, Lily Holder, Ifigeneia Liangi, Olivia Neves Marra, Nathan OzgaMike Slade, Liam Ross, Jasmin Sohi, Ben Spong Ming Teong, Mika Zacharias

Internal Guests: Lorraine Farrelly, John Harding, Oliver Froome-Lewis, Vsevolod Kondratiev-Popov, Amy Butt, Penelope Plaza, Sabine Hogenhout, Peter Corbett, Dragana Nikolic