London: From the Olympics to the Thames

Vogt Studio London will take as its site a strip of land, approximately .8 by 2.4 kilometers, located in the Lower Lea Valley. The Lea Valley is a river and major tributary of the Thames that extends north through the East end of London, into the suburbs and beyond. This river valley has played an important role in London’s history and development and it has received increased attention in the past few years as it became the site for the 2012 Olympics. It is also now targeted for major redevelopment projects funded by private developers. The site we have chosen is not the Olympic site, but the industrial and post-industrial wedge of land that connects the Olympic Site along the Lea River back to the Thames via Bow Creek, a largely impassible zone that separates the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham. As we become familiar with the site certain themes readily emerge: the post-Olympic hangover of the city, the speed of capitalist speculation, decaying infrastructures and the sociological and economic pressures they create. The site itself is characterized by its sectional complexity, hydrology, fragmentation, impermeability, economic disparity. The studio begins with mapping larger scale systems of class, commerce, water, biota, topography, history and infrastructure. In the third week students will be asked to define a smaller site for intervention and a program with a clear and defined position towards the historical and contemporary conditions of the city. The working method of the studio will require a commitment to continuous documentation, analog process work and personal cartography.

Course Schedule: Tuesday / Thursday 2:00 – 6:00 pm (plus additional dates listed below)
9.13: Guest Lecture with Dr. Hunt
9.15-9.22: Tentative Studio Trip