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MArch Architecture – Unit 3 – 2016/17

Barns & Halls
Cathy Hawley + Hugh Strange

Unit 3 will start the year at the RIBA Drawings Collection at the V&A looking at original work by Andrea Palladio and a number of Arts & Crafts architects. We will develop our own models and representations in response to the archival material, in order to explore the spatial and material qualities of some exemplary buildings. We will be looking at the arrangement of domestic interiors, particularly focusing on the ideas of the domestic ‘Hall’, a central, functionally non-specific room at the heart of the house, and on the relationship
between rooms. We are also interested in the way that these architects considered and transformed the utilitarian character of farm structures and incorporated them into their designs, either directly, or through the architectural language of the buildings.

On our study trip we will visit the villas of Palladio in Italy, staying together at his Villa Saraceno, we will investigate the character of adjacency in his plan layouts, and will be looking in particular at his designs for Barchessa, where grand house and farm building were combined in composition, and the simplicity of agricultural form and construction was embraced in the development of a new typology of country dwelling.

These investigations will become the raw material for our studio project this year, which continues our interest in the edges of London; this time considering its southern borders with Kent and Sussex. We are interested in the landscape where suburban / commuter settlements meet the vestiges of rural farming communities. The barn and shed have traditionally been thought of as simple building types, whose unselfconsciousness approximates to either a traditional, or modern, vernacular. We will be investigating this
characteristic and the manner in which it often leads to simple forms dominated by large roofs, combined with an economic rigour and a direct approach to construction techniques. In these peripheral areas residential, industrial and agricultural uses co-exist, and the small scale of rural and suburban housing sit together with the larger volumes of barns and sheds. We will be studying the opportunities these juxtapositions of scale offer. Student proposals will focus on producing hybrid buildings that combine residential accommodation with other uses.