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STUDIO 8 - The Aesthetics of Sustainability

Studio 8 has a focus which lies in the question of what could constitute an ‘aesthetics of sustainability’. In particular how this could look in the future, beyond the application of natural materials and sustainable services, such as solar panels etc. We look at this question in terms of the invention; something that’s new but has a deeper connection to existing building culture, whilst recognising cultural and climatic specificity.


We are encouraged to think with radical solutions based on contingency and often surrealism of connecting pre-existing buildings with new projects. We believe that most of our build environment already exists, however, it requires creative transformation, especially in terms of pre-existing ruin. Freedom of creative transformation is used to re-purpose the architectural ruin seen across the country and how invented material and tectonic system that repairs, reconfigures, removes and interacts with the language of the existing building.


“For architects to be engaged and recognise their role, it is critical to regard the notion of sustainability as a form of aesthetic thinking that is fundamentally implicit to the discipline.” -  Rosa Urbano Gutiérrez, The naturalisation of architecture, 2016


There are two key approaches: actively engaging when designing; adaptation and methodology. Adaptation in terms of looking at the physical boundaries of pre-existing structures, in particular how they affect climatic and environmental conditions and how an added building component could improve this whilst being formally and materially playful.

Our theme of methodology, firstly to respond exactly to the realities of an existing building and to use a brief along with a formal and fragmentary material methodology to make surprising and even surreal transformations and additions.

At the beginning of the year, we developed our own spatial and tectonic inventory around a pre-existing building or ruin, chosen from various sites. Structural romanticism was explored between the existing structure and the design.


Simultaneously, woven façades were created as a fragmentary piece over a 20th-century building in London. The students will use this opportunity to create a wall-mounted and to some extent abstracted piece. This was then used to extend our formal and material language in creating a public building inside an existing one.


 Sites will be within the Snowdonia National Park in Wales, through the final project we will investigate the dynamics of a post-industrial landscape, the themes of tourism, employment and the nurturing of local sustainable communities.

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