Catch the Oxford Brookes/Unit D student exhibition in London this month June 11, 2014
Unit D is one of the vertical design studios within the School of Architecture for undergraduate students at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom. The Unit operates within the broader context of architectural education, which is subject to constant questioning and debate about its relevance both to the profession and to our wider society. It is situated both as a critique of the orthodoxy of architectural education and as an alternative of that orthodoxy.
The Unit approach encourages students to investigate the impact of politics, resource choice, industrialised production, economic systems, discrimination, climate change, the ramifications of disasters on the urban context and heritage, and embark on the path of becoming a new type of architect.
The theme for the studio in 2013_14 encompassed notions of ‘urban society’ (Lefebvre) looking at ways of developing human potential rather than focusing on financial gain. The tutors, Melissa Kinnear and Peter Newton, feel that the city is a place that inhabitants should have control over and manage for themselves.
The site of research was the last divided European city – Nicosia in Cyprus, with a specific focus on the Turkish occupied north. Throughout the year we investigated opportunities for participatory democracy and conflict transformation through temporary protest architecture, design proposals for the activation of the main site to precipitate the final project, and the design and reinterpretation for contemporary use of an existing, derelict house facing onto the square adjacent to the Selimeye Mosque and an Ottoman Han/Caravanserai.
The design projects aimed to explore and discover opportunities for people to take back control of their city and the potential, through spatial engagement, for reintegration as one country. For more information on the year’s work go to the Unit blog for the year.
The whole school just had their end of year exhibition at Oxford Brookes University and Unit D exhibited the majority of the student’s work in as democratic a format as possible. There will also be a London exhibition from the 18 – 27 June as part of the London Festival of Architecture. The exhibition will be held at the Frameless Gallery/ Clerkenwell Gallery, 20 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DP.
For more on Unit D’s work please have a look at their latest book | Unit D: engaging students in architecture, politics and space