Unterbau City

The studio will challenge the supposed opposition between heritage and progress in a mixed-use development within the Regent Quarter, a 6.2 acres site in London. The idea of the site as a 'self-sufficient' city within a city of King's Cross Knowledge Quarter within the city of London – a polycentric city – will frame the scale and outlook of the studio project.  The site of Regent Quarter is a unique intermediate scale, not just a district but a three-dimensional boundary: mediating between the traditional terrace housing neighborhoods of Islington to the east, and the extraordinary scale of the emerging mega-development to the northwest, currently the busiest construction site in all of Europe.

The district contains a range of historic properties, and students will construct arguments for and against the demolition of specific structures within the boundary of the site with the intention of optimizing and enhancing their historic value in combination with contemporary interventions. The variability of historic designations of different structures and their variable quality will form the basis of integrating nationally listed buildings, refining strategies for preservation and adaptation, as well as demolition of the other buildings. We will develop a considered framework and evaluative metrics including social utilization, historical value, embodied carbon, architectural quality, etc. that will form the basis of collective planning strategies to be implemented by each student in their individual project.

The program will be mixed-use, with each student designing commercial and office space in combination with some specific additional program (laboratory, industry, institution, garden/conservatory). Each student will develop their project at three scales from the urban, to the architectural, to the element, as in a room or detailed assembly. A particular focus on public open space in relation to buildings, in the form of courts, alleys, and pedestrian streets and circulation cores will be central to the campus-like urban order intended for the quarter across all scales of development.

The general schedule for the studio will consist of weekly meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. The presence of each faculty member in-person or remotely will vary over the course of the semester. Minor adjustments to the schedule may occur across the course of the semester.