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Welcome to Midge Hole Mill! May 12, 2014

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Welcome to the showcase for the Midge Hole Mill project.

Working for a live client and on complex and isolated terrain, Masters in Architecture students at UCLan have pioneered the values of the Living Building Challenge. With support & guidance from Living Futures ambassadors led by Martin Brown, students have  interrogated the future of domestic living in an architecture that seeks to go beyond current sustainable thinking, creating innovative design solutions whilst embracing the rigorous LBC standards.

Below are samples of each student’s work.  We’d love to hear your feedback.  Leave a comment here or chat to us live online at the Construction21 EXPO (14/15 May 2014).  You’ll find us in the Living Building Challenge booth.

 

WINNER:  Josh Allington

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Josh Allington1

JOSH ALLINGTONJOSH ALLINGTON6JOSH ALLINGTON5JOSH ALLINGTON4JOSH ALLINGTON2JOSH ALLINGTON3JOSH ALLINGTON

RUNNER UP:  Emma McQuillan

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Emma McQuillan1Emma McQuillan2

Laura Birkett

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Laura Birkett1

Rebecca Lovell

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Becky Lovell1

Chris Thomas

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Leo Tindell

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Leo Tindell1

 

Please click here to read about the project’s conception and here to read a previous post recording work in progress.

If you would like to find out more about the projects or the Masters in Architecture at UCLan, email me at jebarrett@uclan.ac.uk

Or leave a comment below:

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Beyond The Greenwash May 8, 2014

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“derive & drive design from the soil”

 

I’ve only just remembered to mention that a short opinion piece I wrote was included in the launch edition of Edge Condition.  This new, online journal is a rather good read with some great articles from those who consider themselves to be working on the ‘edge’ of architecture.  It’s all finished off with an example of Perry Kulper‘s deeply satisfying artwork.  My article relates my experience of existing on the kerb of landscape and architecture and calls for a deeper engagement with landscape in architectural education.

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Click HERE to read….

 

 

 

 

 

Social media meets sustainability May 8, 2014

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A great day at the fabulous GMex/Manchester Central (still full of memories of James’s 1990 Sit Down gig) with the @Be2Camp  crowd at GreenBuild Expo 2014 and hosted by LSI GreenVision.  This year Be2Camp took control of the main stage, complete with headsets and roadie tshirts!

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Highlights for me, were Alex Whitcroft’s rapidfire talk on how the Collaborative Economy is changing architecture and construction as well as the initial forays into immersive environments that look set to change how we collect and disseminate building information during user/public/client consultation (David Burden).  I was also intrigued by Claire Thirlwall’s possibilities for paperless project management.  I gave a brief presentation too – on ‘Social Studio’ which looks at the way social media could help in giving students (& industry, & practice) the best environment for discussing personal and collective values using a variety of interactive platforms – many of which we’ve already piloted at UCLan.  Here are my slides…..

Social Studio: Network learning/values-based education 

Feel free to share & if you would like to find out more, feel free to drop me a line.

Also, here’s a selective Storify of the event…

House of the Rising Sun Gets Passive Solar Heating December 17, 2013

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Interim Rhino model
Joe Cook

MArch students at UCLan in the #landscape futures atelier are making great progress in their responses to the complex brief for Midge Hole Mill.

Students presented their initial ideas at an interim review last week.  Their work demonstrated a diverse response to a difficult site with form and concepts derived from an interrogation of future domestic living in an architecture that seeks to go beyond current sustainable thinking which seeks to minimise harm, towards a restorative solution where architecture can create and solve the physical, social and aesthetic relationships between building, landscape and environment.

interim 3d
Keith Tasker

With the valued support of Martin Brown and his international colleagues at the Living Building Challenge (LBC), students have reconsidered indolent notions of sustainability, instead tackling the difficult LBC values and standards whilst upholding creative expression in their architectural form.  So far, the Challenge is presenting interesting debates relating to the role of sustainable technology to architectural form and its role and position in the design process.  In interpreting the LBC standards, we are also noting how the US perspective presents some dissonance with the UK opportunities, so we’re noting differences and hope to work with LBC to hone the standards for the UK landscape, climate and palate. For some, the LBC is even incompatible with the architectural discipline.  The project is for a live client and, should it reach construction, will be the first UK building to be constructed to the LBC ideal (see CSD reblog).

Examples of work so far…..

Becky Lovell
 Becky Lovell
Chris Thomas
Chris Thomas
interim models
Emma McQuillan
interim model
Josh Allington

From Wild West to North West: Reconstituting agrarianism July 12, 2013

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illinoislands_rrposterSource:  Illinois State Museum

The agrarian ideal offers speculation relating to how we can propagate, feed and reap the rewards of new society.  It is unsurprising then, that this ideal stems from a Fenland vision, transplanted by pioneers and speculators to the New World.  Flourishing as the American Dream in a landscape of constitution, agrarianism became the fertile bract of the moral and ethical roots of the United States.  It was manifested in plan form in William Penn’s Philadelphia (1683) and progressed by visionaries such as Lloyd Wright (Broadacre City, 1934), Henry Dreyfuss (Democracity, 1939) and Ludwig Hilbersheimer (The New Regional Pattern, 1944-49).  The theme has been explored in the technological age by Branzi (Agronica, 1993-94) and MVRDV, notably Pig City (2001).  More contemporary dalliances with agrarianism deconstruct the ideal to mere visions of food production via urban agriculture, which, though valuable contributions to the ‘problem’ of urban landscape, dilute the politically and socially reformative capacity of the agrarian vision.  This is achieved at the local scale (e.g. Bronx Public Farm & Orchard, Alexondros Arlonitis, 2008) or as strategic approaches to productive use of urban landscape (Continuous Productive Urban Landscape, Bohm & Viljoen,2005).  Meanwhile, Duany Plater Zyberk have echoed Lloyd Wright’s US focussed, regional planning approach in their published advocacy of ‘agrarian urbanism,’ though economically, socially and aesthetically naïve in outcome.

Meanwhile, all is not quiet on the Preston front.  We struggle to reconcile a definition of ‘agrarianism’ and further to perceive it within an English rural arcadia which bears the weight of production to support a hungry urban reality.  Our kingdom was never united.  We represent a reconstitution of the Picts and the Punjabi; of empire and devolution; of gangs and ghettos.  From this arises a culture of the land with relict tribal rituals and diverse dialect – of spirit and memory.   Hence, the agrarian ideal can only ever impose uncomfortably upon British soil.  Instead, we need to grow our vision of the future from the landscape, the land that we have ‘scaped’ for ourselves over millennia.

Maiden_Castle
Maiden Iron Age Hill Fort, Dorset
Source:  Dorset AONB

The term ‘landscape’ derives from the Dutch ‘landschap’, the suffix deriving from ‘ship,’  holding the same root as ‘partnership’ or ‘kinship’ suggested a living and layered state of being which causes us to be hefted to the land.  It is layers, not plans, that we must understand if we are to solve and envision a sustainable urbanism .  We have an exciting opportunity to welcome the new American settlers of ‘agrarianism,’new urbanism,’ecological urbanism’ and ‘landscape urbanism’ back home and reconstitute them to bear relevance here.  Architectural education must embed internationally transferable skills in understanding how ideas of landscape and place can contribute to a whole infrastructure which fuels and shapes architecture and urbanism, using their immediate regions; its metropolises and their hinterlands, as the field of operation.

Landscape Futures : Field Interventions July 2, 2013

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End of one academic year and headlong into the next……and the next one’s going to be a biggie.

The new Masters in Architecture course commences.  I’ll be teaching one of the design ateliers with Prof. Karim Hadjri and we’ve been busy working it all out.  So, now presenting in glorious RGB Technicolour……

Landscape Futures : Field Interventions

Rina4a
Landscape Futures Super-Workshop, Rina Kukaj

It’s an opportunity to expand our role and understanding of landscape within the architectural discipline as well as getting serious about the skills and knowledge we need to secure a sustainable urbanism and contextual architectural intervention.  We’re still working out the finer points, but here’s a taster of what’s to come….

“How can architecture engage with concepts of food scarcity and energy security in the context of increasing urbanisation and rural decline?

How can technology engage with landscape to define an architecture of the future?

How do issues of infrastructure and aesthetics combine to produce sustainable urban futures that respond to ‘place’ and ‘time’?

The Landscape Futures atelier commences with a rapid-fire series of projects which investigate the flow and stasis of elements which define and determine urban and rural metabolisms including food, energy, biodiversity and transport. These issues will be explored at global and local levels and communicated in a variety of visual and tactile forms.

Semester 1 continues with exploration of precedents in the Netherlands and the north-west of England  to establish temporal, spatial and aesthetic solutions and emerging challenges for architecture, focusing on the connectivity and symbiosis of urban existence with rural and agrarian productivity.  This research will be used to generate strategies for a new and plausible urbanism for the Lancashire region based upon a deep understanding of how landscape and place interact with and determine architectural interventions in spaces of uncertain futures.

fotograaf Hans Werleman

West8 Shell Project,
Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier, Zeeland

“We are never going to save the rural places or the agricultural places or the wild and scenic places (or the wild species that dwell there) unless we identify the human habitat and then strive to make it so good that humans will voluntarily inhabit it.”
James Howard Kunstler

If you are interested in studying on the MArch at UCLan and joining us in this atelier or if you have any questions, please feel free to email me or use the form below.

I would also be really keen to hear from those interested in contributing to the atelier, either as a guest tutor, keynote speaker or as a case study.

Ecology AND Technology May 9, 2013

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of being invited to speak with the BE2Camp at the Greenbuild Expo at Manchester Central.

BE2Camp is is a place, a gathering and a learning environment set up by four web 2.0 enthusiasts who also share a vision of building a more sustainable environment.  Their egalitarian and collaborative ethos was evidenced by the structure of the event which invited speakers to share knowledge in a punchy Pecha Kucha style and inviting the audience to present their ideas in free slots.

https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/1400585051/be2award-logo_blue_200px.v2.jpg

Speakers included:
Hattie Hartman, Sustainability Editor of the Architect’s Journal
Claire Bowles, Project Director, Construction Knowledge Exchange
Martin Brown (FairSnape)
Paul Wilkinson, PR, Social Media & Sustainability
Prof. Angus McIntosh, Oxford Brookes University
Paul Toyne, Global Head of Sustainability at WSP
Duncan Reed, Design Manager at Balfour Beatty

Being prone to labouring a point, I was challenged by the Pecha Kucha style but managed to give a summary of the social media I’ve been using as part of architectural management teaching for developing reflective and collaborative learning as well as the #twittercritter events.  These experiences of using social media in learning can be directly supplanted into industry environments and specifically into project processes, to facilitate more effective collaboration, foster innovation and promote knowledge sharing – as long as certain guidelines are followed.  I’ll go into that in more detail in a future post.

There was no agenda, no title and no specific focus for the presentation beyond sharing something that could contribute to the improvement of visionary sustainability thinking.  This allowed some serendipity in the coming together of seemingly different subjects, but deriving a common message.  It was all streamed live and suitable snippets tweeted (#be2gbe).

Duncan presented the vision of the Living Building Challenge, which offered the usual in relation to responsible material sourcing and performance but I was pleased to see the inclusion of nature, beauty and place as key elements of a sustainable building.  Paul Toyne gave a more global view emphasising the need to nurture and safeguard biodiversity and implement ecosystem management as this natural capital may be critical in our increasingly urbanised and climate altered future.  Prof. Angus Mackintosh also gave a well-illustrated comparison of Bournville (a liveable environment) and Cumbernauld (a not so liveable environment) to demonstrate the need for place and identity to be high priorities when defining sustainable cities.

https://i2.wp.com/www.innovationmanagement.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/innovation-ecosystem.jpg

Source:  Innovation Management

So, to synthesise these seemingly different subjects, a message that appears worthy of discussion is one of education.  Do any architecture courses have dedicated modules that focus on ecology, biodiversity, ecosystem management, landscape or place/identity?  I don’t know of any.  If our built environment students do not graduate with a deep understanding of the science of environment that matches their understanding of building technologies, then surely all we can ever hope for is a superficial greenwash when it comes to built environment sustainability.            Discuss.