Unit 10 approaches architecture from both the scale of human interaction and the scale of political decision making, focusing on the intersection of the lived and the built space. In order to enter the multifaceted conditions within which London’s environments are produced, this year’s design work runs in parallel to a live housing project, the regeneration of the Nightingale Estate near Hackney Downs, enabling students to engage with decision makers in this transformative process: local authority clients, designers, and residents.
We will thus gain a pragmatic grounding to our work, which the students are asked to reflect on. ’Re- generation’ is an orchestrated change to a socio-economic condition, but what are the drivers? Is ‘masterplan’ better understood as an arrangement of the figure ground, or as a set of aspirations? Is ‘estate’ a place to be afraid, or to be proud of? Is ‘Housing’ a series of residential units, a series of in-between spaces, or a series of interfaces of the two?
Our project will be located in a real place, but it will also be located between indoor and outdoor, rich and poor, free-market and social-democratic, old and new. The Nightingale Estate is the lens through which we will be looking at the wider issues affecting housing provision in London, during a time which might turn out to be affecting London’s social fabric as dramatically as previously the industrial revolution or the post-war re-building.