September 4th, 2014
We’ve finished another extraordinarily rewarding year with our fine thirty-plus students on the 2013-14 MArch course. Under the umbrella title of ‘Littoral Inspirations: Encounters with the Lagoon’, Year 5 studied Grange-over-Sands in the South Lakes, while Year 6 engaged with an old friend: Venice. The year began with an Erasmus-funded international workshop in Venice (called HAULuP) working in the Arsenale district, collaborating with the Universities of Granada and Venice to produce 11 propositions for intervening in this unique industrial setting.
The aim of the year was to produce carefully considered projects set in an interstitial urban zone of saltwater marsh, where land meets sea, and where people connect the two realms economically, socially, and politically. Architecture can facilitate the exploration of identity through the examination of the specificity of the context in which it is embedded. The constructed environment is often charged with narrative content, certain elements come to the fore, while others are more modest, unassuming, but no less important. These mechanisms tell stories, engage the imagination, and enable through the construction of space, time and sequence the development of new forms and places.
What follows is a selection of projects documenting the outcome of the exercises.
As ever, we have many people to thank - people who collaborated, cajoled and confronted, all with the shared aim of producing the best from tutor and student alike. Chief amongst those we’d like to thank are Gary Colleran, Gary Colligan, Laura Sanderson, John Lee, Dr Alan Lewis, and Prof. Margherita Vanore at IUAV.
We now look forward to 2014-15, with the exciting prospect of student work set in Granada, Spain and on the north coast of Wales.
November 23rd, 2013
It is good to see the CiA students making full use of the university facilities, here is a link to the workshop site which details their process of construction
October 10th, 2013
The basis of the design workshop was an examination of the still abandoned parts of Arsenale in Venice. The area, which until recently, was still used by the military, is gradually being assimilated into the city. Great discrimination needed to be taken with this absorption. The city of Venice has an incredibly distinct character, and any changes must take into consideration the qualities of what is there in combination with the needs and technology of the Twenty-First century: pastiche is not an option!
The Arsenale itself is an impressive and complex cluster of boatyards, armories, and wet and dry docks, assembled around two large harbours, all of which is protected by high brick walls. It was responsible for the bulk of Venice’s naval power during the middle part of the second millennium AD. It was one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history. Even Dante was impressed by the sheer presence of the place:
As in the Arsenal of the Venetians
Boils in winter the tenacious pitch
To smear their unsound vessels over again
For sail they cannot; and instead thereof
One makes his vessel new, and one recaulks
The ribs of that which many a voyage has made
One hammers at the prow, one at the stern
This one makes oars and that one cordage twists
Another mends the mainsail and the mizzen…
As always, we started with a thorough examination of the site, its surroundings and what can only be described as a Venetian coach trip; our own personal Vaporetto ride around the islands of the Lagoon. The visits were accompanied by a series intense lectures and talks by the curators of the sites. The passion of the conservation architect can not be overestimated; the enthusiasm that they held for their subject and the remains in their custody was inspirational.
The group of students was divided into small inter-nationality group, each containing one student from each institution. This inevitably initially caused much tension. The problem of language, difference in approach and differing priorities will create anxiety and disagreement, but it also encourages cooperation, understanding, compassion and eventually synergy. And so it was here, initial distrust was gradually replaced by firm friendship. There was a great amount of professional support for the workshop, and this involvement included the architects and conservators to the Arsenale, structural engineers, architects, conservation architects, as well as two or three academics from each participating university, almost an embarrassment of riches
The students were encouraged to analyse the qualities of each place before attempting to make changes. They looked particularly at the context, that is the history, topography, geology, the very nature of the place. From this analysis they developed an understanding of how the place could be activated. They needed to feel confident that the proposals that they were making were totally appropriate to the qualities of the sites. The students all worked hard to produce proposals of great quality and worth. They endeavoured satisfy all of the often conflicting demands of the conservators, users, consultants and academics, but what was created were truly context driven proposals, which explored the relationships between the water, the buildings, the climate and the place.
This is the fourth collaboration that CiA have made with IUAV, and the second with Granada. Every year the students work incredibly hard, they put in long hours in the studio and then always an enjoyable night in the squares, bars and restaurants of Venice. And again, this year all of them embraced the project with enthusiasm and plenty of intellectual inquiry, and all were a credit to their own institution and the project. Everyone travelled an enormous distance; physically, intellectually and emotionally. The manner in which architecture is taught and discussed varies from one institution to another and certainly there were often great divides between the approaches of each nationality, but of course, there were also great similarities. This was a project that served to bring together the North and South of Europe. It showed how a love for storytelling combined with an understanding of history and technology could bind together a group of disparate and distinct individuals into a forceful united team. This was a project that ventured to create something appropriate, distinct and contemporary from the variously eccentric approaches of our enormous continent.
The design proposals can be viewed here:
September 22nd, 2013
Architecture can facilitate the exploration of identity through the examination of the specificity of the context in which it is embedded. The constructed environment is often charged with narrative content, certain elements come to the fore, while others are more modest, more unassuming, but no less important or carefully considered. These mechanisms tell stories, they engage the imagination, they enable, through the construction of space, time and sequence, the development of new forms and places.
Continuity in Architecture will examine two sites; each has an entangled relationship with the fluctuating environment on which it is situated. Grange-over-Sands sits upon the inconsistency of the River Kent at the northern edge of the vast and treacherous mudflats of Morecambe Bay, while Venice was formed upon the mosquito ridden muddy promontories which appeared and disappeared within the watery safety of the silent Lagoon.
Year 6: Projects in Venice
The sixth year projects this year will be based around sites within the Arsenale area of the city. The area provides a rich context for the exploration of an urbanism born of crisis, an experimental architecture responsive to challenging environments, a dense fabric of building and memory. As part of the ERASMUS funded project entitled HAULuP, CiA will be exploring historical sites in the Venice. This will provide the basis for much greater exploration and the definition of the final year project. Current sixth year students are in Venice attending a workshop concerned with the interpretation and protection of the Arsenale area. A choice of these sites, and others in Venice, will form the basis of their final project. Students wishing to join CiA in sixth year will have the same choice of sites and the opportunity to visit Venice.
insula /in·su·la/ (in´sdbobr-lah) pl. in´sulae [L.] 1. an islandlike structure
Insulation (cf latin) is the purposeful enclosure, conditioning and modification of a structure to allow habitation. We will explore core architectural concepts with technical roots - protection, layering, shelter, threshold – and by solving problems similar to those of past generations we will further link building propositions to history and context.
Reading List: Tafuri, M. Venice and the Renaissance. MIT Press 1995. Mancuso, F. Bruttomesso, R. Veneto Italian Life Style Scenario. Process Architecture 109 1993. Goy, R. Venice. The City and its Architecture. Phaidon 1997. Morris, J. Venice. Faber and Faber 1983. Huber A. The Italian Museum. Edizioni Lybra Immagine. 1997. Janson, A. Bürklin, T. Auftritte Scenes. Interaction with Architectural Space: the Campi of Venice. Birkhåuser 2002. Frascari, M. The Tell-the –Tale Detail. VIA 7: The Art of Architecture 1984. Los, S. Carlo Scarpa, an Architectural Guide. Arsenale Editrice. 1995
Year 5: Projects in Grange-over-Sands and Venice
It is proposed that fifth year students use the small town of Grange-over-Sands as the starting point for a series of projects, and, through the development of ideas about the relationship of public and private, the city and the interior, propose buildings for home and for social life on chosen sites in the town.
Project 1 Finding the Place: A Lexicon of Grange
Project 2 Social Performance: we will collaborate with the planning, design and then partake in a procession
Project 3 Being There: Travel to Venice. Engage in empirical research. Examine, analyse and record key elements of the city
Project 4 Buildings for Home and for Social Life in Grange
How can the relationship between the citizen and tourist be managed within the form of the town? What models and precedents exist for the architectural expression of the relationship between the private and public life of the citizen? How do we build in an environment of density, inundation and collapse?
Essays: Diverse architectural approaches to the creation transformation of space
Reading List: Site Projects by David Leatherbarrow. Critical Regionalism by Kenneth Frampton. Contextualism: Urban Ideals and Transformations by Thomas Schumacher. The Architectural Uncanny by Anthony Vidler. Let the Trumpets Roar! – The Roman Triumph by Richard Brilliant. The Rights of Retreat and Rites of Exclusion: Notes Towards the Definition of Wall by Robin Evans.
“Make way!” cried Krespel; and then running to one end of the garden, he strode slowly towards the square of brick-work. When he came close to the wall he shook his head in a dissatisfied manner, ran to the other end of the garden, again strode slowly towards the brick-work square, and proceeded to act as before. These tactics he pursued several times, until at length, running his sharp nose hard against the wall, he cried, “Come here, come here, men! break me a door in here! Here’s where I want a door made!”
The Cremona Violin. E. T. A. Hoffmann
June 27th, 2013
Remembering the Archaeology and Architecture workshop, IUAV, Venice, 2010
June 16th, 2013
Projects in Cartmel and Venice
This year we have studied two locations, one home and one away. Both have a direct connection with sanctuary and with water. It is fabled that Cartmel Priory was founded in a place where fresh water flowed in opposite directions, and Venice, for whom water is not a problem but a theme, was originally a refuge for those locals who were driven into the muddy lagoon by barbarism, brutality and heresy.
See more CiA work here
The aim of these projects was to find a formal solution to a site specific problem through the medium of contextual analysis, choice and manipulation. Ordinary things contain the deepest mysteries and the architect needs to have the capacity to condense the artistic potential of the region while reinterpreting cultural influences, for the building to show a great understanding of both place and tectonics, but also to be totally relevant to the twenty-first century; an architecture that uses contemporary technological and is suitable for the needs of today. This means not resorting to pastiche, but designing buildings and interiors that are visually and operationally applicable to the present day. It is almost thirty years since Kenneth Frampton wrote of the importance of Critical Regionalism, Rowe and Koetter composed Collage City and Rossi recorded The Architecture of the City, and although these ideas, which emerged as a reaction to Modernism, are more than a generation old, they are now more relevant than ever. One of the most pressing concerns for today’s society is how we engage with the existing situation in an appropriate, environmentally friendly and sympathetic manner. The pursuit of strategies for carbon-neutral buildings and places combined with issues of sustainability and heritage are central to all forms of design practice. The vernacular can offer great possibilities, after all, we have for centuries dwelled upon the problem of how to create controlled and conditioned environments for social relationships in buildings. We live under the same sun, shelter from the same rain, and resist buffeting from same wind as our ancestors, and yet within contemporary architecture we devote ever more resources and seek ever more complexity in solving these problems. We believe that less attention should be paid to the gratuitously flamboyant one-off project and more focus placed upon the appropriate. We search for inspiration in the normal and we take encouragement from the familiar. We seek to enhance rather than to overwhelm, we are inspired by the strangeness of the everyday, the unfamiliarity of the commonplace. We seek to establish our position as individuals in a dialogue with the common ground. We look, not just at the design of buildings, but also at the territory around them; public space, shared space, collective space. We investigate how a relationship between constructed form and controlled space can be established. The development of form is a one-by-one practice, a building is composed of diverse concerns and different horizontal connections can be uncovered, using the situation as the compositional driver. Programme evolves from the specific character of the site; it is something that emerges as the form of the building develops. Within a school of architecture, to construct has two different meanings, the first is the more obvious concentration upon the technology of the design, to understand the nature and ontology of the construction, to be aware of how and why a structure is built as it is. The second meaning is the production of the methods of communication. Evans claimed that “recognition of the drawings power as a medium turns out, unexpectedly, recognition of the drawing’s distinctness from and unlikeness to the thing that is represented, rather than its likeness to it, which is neither as paradoxical nor as dissociative as it may seem.” We believe that it is important that intent is shown as well as proposal. Context has dominated the design process; therefore it should play an important role in the communication. If the proposal is one element among a structure of objects and moments, situation will command.
Remember Reveal Construct
April 25th, 2012
Continuity in Architecture is delighted to announce the opening of an important exhibition of twelve projects from the Erasmus Intensive Workshop held in Venice in Autumn 2011. The show features the work of post-graduate students from the CiA Unit of Manchester School of Architecture, collaborating with students and professors from Granada and Barcelona (Spain), Venice and Catania (Italy), and Oulo (Finland). The programme is in its third year and was established to explore the adaptation of archaeological sites for modern purposes. This year extraordinary sites of ancient civilisations in south-west Sicily - in Scicli, Syracuse, Paliké and Camarina - were the inspiration for dramatic design interventions in the landscape that redefined and reinterpreted place.The exhibition will be in the RIBA Hub, Cube Gallery on Portland Street from 26 April - 18 May 2012.
November 1st, 2011
October 13th, 2011
In the spirit of the Collage City Unité/Uffizi comparison: Piazza San Marco transformed into Preston Bus Station.
April 28th, 2011
December 17th, 2010
Elena Canovas of the University of Barcelona joined us in our teaching at the recent Architecture/Archaeology workshop at IUAV Venezia. She is a director at aSZ Arquitectes, Barcelona.