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Studio 2.4 – 2014/15


Water’s Edge

Andrew Budd and Chris Snow

Our studio will design buildings at the special place where the town or city meets the river or sea.

Historically, buildings along this edge had functional purposes – the river as a means of transport, the building as interchange from land to water or they were devoted to pleasure, for the aspect, for leisure. At a simple level, they are Janus faced – they look two ways – inland and water facing. They negotiate between land and water in floor and landing level and often, too, in their construction, between wet and dry. A building at the water’s edge is but part of landscape that is both linear (the edge) and transverse (from land to water).
How do you define the limits of your investigation and of your design within a panoramic landscape?

In Semester 1 you will first make careful studies of grand houses and their landscape along the Thames close to Kingston. This study, part functional analysis, part intuitive response to site, will provide the group with analytical tools and architectural language with which to start designing.

Your first design project will be another house on the riverside near to the houses you have studied, but on a smaller scale. You will be asked to consider not only the dwelling, but also the landscape of which it is part.

The site of your Semester 2 project will be at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, in Porto, Portugal. This is where we will travel for our field trip in December. The old Town of Porto is a UNESCO World heritage Site. It’s UNESCO listing acknowledges the homogeneity of the ‘Porto town house’ vernacular and the centuries long continuous occupation of this working settlement on the steep sloping bank of the River Douro.

Five miles north at the point where the River Douro meets the Atlantic Ocean is a beachside suburb of Porto called Matoshinos. Matoshinos is the location of the renowned contemporary architect Alvaro Siza’s early projects, and two of these – the Leica de Palmeira swimming pool and the Boa Nova Tea House operate on the boundary of where suburban sprawl meets the cold Atlantic. These works arguably now constitute a
‘contemporary heritage’, the components of which – horizontality, glassy apartments, tarmac, concrete and sand are, on the surface at least, a far remove from the dense verticality and ochre hues of the Old Town.

Your second design project will be a new public building in Matoshinos on the water’s edge.