History And theory


The Autumn Year 1 Design Module, Support Structures introduced students to processes of appraisal and proposition, and the opportunities and responsibilities of the architect as an agent of change. It is based on the premise that architectural design is driven by an utopian impulse, a conscious striving to change the world for the better made manifest in the architectural project.

Rather than setting out to solve a problem, the students identified specific moments within the town which they thought should be cherished and developed site specific interventions which supported those aspects of place, creating a new way for it to be perceived or an opportunity for it to be appreciated.

The interventions were conceptualised, discussed, made and re-made, in a small team. The result was scaled up to full size and deployed, photographed and filmed in the town.  Subsequently students measured the part of town that they situated their device and created a drawing that combined every aspect of the project including the conceptual, locational, propositional and experiential performance.

As a public work installed on site the project also required students to engage with the multiple publics of Reading to consider architectural works as something constructed with, for, and in relation to others.

Module Convenor: Amy Butt

Design Studio Team: Penelope Plaza, Darren Bray, Amy Butt, Zoe Berman, Graham Thompson, Juan Leiva, Vsevolod Kondratiev-Popov

Visitors: Thomas Aquilina and Ceri Williams

First Year History and Theory focuses on the evolution of architectural ideas at the scale of the individual building and introduces students to academic writing and research.  The first term lectures focus on the foundations and development of modernism in architecture, while the second term lectures provide a wider historical overview, looking at ideas of ritual, politics and culture in global architecture.  Throughout the year, students are also introduced to key lenses as a means to understand and analyse architecture: social and cultural value, conservation, sustainability, movement, the body and the senses.     

Throughout the year, students focus their writing and analysis on a specific cultural building in London.  They research the background of the architects, make group presentations on the history of the building, and write a final Evaluating Architecture essay where they explore the building through one particular lens to develop their own critical assessment of the case study.     

Module Convenor: Stephen Gage

Communication Team: Lorraine Farrelly, Flora Samuel, Gillian Horn, Henry Russell (School of Real Estate & Planning).   


Y1 Highlights 


Princess Bakare, Social Responsibility within Cultural Projects: Exploring the National Gallery’s Sainsbury Wing 


Xidi Cheng, Social Value and Adjaye’s Idea Store Whitechapel. 


Vlad-Petru Ghinescu, Brutalist jewel in the Crown of Social ArchitectureThe Barbican Estate 


Ioanna Ioannou, Strolling Around the National Gallery Sainsbury Wing 


Marcelina Marszalek, Social value of DesignIdea Store Whitechapel as the Catalyst in Improving the Life of

 the Local Community.  


Alyina Rouf, Exploring Tate Modern through the Senses.  


Thomas Spawforth, Royal College of Pathologists: Sustainable Goals and Achievements.