Unit 5: The Borrowed Landscape

Unit 5: The Borrowed Landscape

Date: 2020 - 2021

Unit 5 is a postgraduate module we teach at The School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University.

This year's programme explores the layers between the outdoors and indoors in dwellings and how forming skins and spaces can mediate climate. By manipulating thermal enclosure we look to reduce the material consumption of buildings and make landscape more manifest in the interior. The borrowed landscape transgresses ideas of ventilation, enclosure, live/work and a more cyclical and outdoor lifecycle.

We are actively engaging with the climate emergency, seeking reductions in embodied energy through the considerate organisation of skins, structures and rooms.

‘Fabric First’ principles develop thermal enclosure that often manifests architecture of thick and heavy elements. We will look to layer skins that maintain an economy of means and make fine, light and elegant fenestration. We will continue to engage with the use of timber, and other natural building materials and techniques which are locally sourced and sustainable.

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The term starts with group precedent projects which will be run in parallel with a design project. The precedents will look at projects both hypothetical and realised which question the threshold and layers of an interior: ranging from Koto-in, Kyoto and The Peristyle house in Herculaneum to James Stirling’s; Village X project.

A design project will run in parallel for a small group of dwellings considering landscape, interior and exterior, developing a spatial network and material layering.

There will be no singular study trip but a series of structured walks allowing distanced dialogue and encouraging freehand drawing to record, enable and embed observation in our process.

Visiting gardens, sites and homes we will run cross-disciplinary design crits with structural, mechanical and electrical engineers alongside leading international architects and artists.

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