The MA Architecture + Urbanism course is the Manchester School of Architecture's taught postgraduate course which conducts research into how global cultural and economic forces influence contemporary cities. The design, functioning and future of urban situations is explored in written, drawn and modelled work which builds on the legacy of twentieth century urban theory and is directed towards the development of sustainable cities.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

'Slow' Larnaca

MA A+U student Thisvi Christou has completed her thesis project entitled "‘Slow' Larnaca: a future development based on the history of the town." Thisvi writes

"The aim of the ‘Slow Larnaca’ urban design project is to improve Larnaca’s economy, to reduce the level of unemployment and to increase tourist traffic in the town by protecting Larnaca’s special character and its peoples’ lifestyle. Larnaca is a historic Mediterranean town that played a major role in the island's history through different historic periods, because of its location, natural resources and intense trading activity. The history and architecture of Larnaca were points of reference and were used as a base for the ‘Slow Larnaca’ urban concept.

The project title refers to the ‘Slow City’ and ‘Slow Tourism’ concepts, which are branches of the ‘Slow Food’ movement. The ‘Slow City’ theory works as a guideline for a new urban development in Larnaca, where locals and temporary visitors participate in production and consumption activities. The key area of the 'Slow' urban development is the former Refinery area of Larnaca which is abandoned and a new design for this area is proposed. Furthermore, the former Refinery of Larnaca is located between the town centre and the tourist area of Larnaca, which is a significant point of the town. Larnaca, through this new urban development may potentially enhance its economy and improve the prospects of its people."

Friday, 21 August 2015

Renovation of Teahouse Block, Changsha

MA A+U student Honghao Zeng has studied the regeneration of a district of Changsha for his master's thesis. He writes

'In this period of large scale and rapid construction, architects as well as all citizens should participate in the tough task of protection of the ancient city, to leave a bit more historical space, more hisorical life, culture and heritage to the next generation. Taking Teahouse Block in Changsha as the research object, and after the analysis of the specific situation, the master plan for the district suggests that it be renovated as an open air museum, a sequence of cultural exhibition streets presenting significant local themes. It is recommended that tea culture be displayed here throughout the whole block, including the street facades, reconstructed buildings, retained buildings and the design of public space.'

Monday, 17 August 2015

Space and Memory in Post-war Aleppo

MA A+U student Meisoon Jumah has recently completed her thesis project 'Space and Memory in Post-war Aleppo' which develops a strategy for the eventual reconstruction of the city when the current war in Syria ends. Meisoon writes

'War and the city have shaped each other throughout urban and military history; in this project I will look at the effects of the war in Aleppo on the area South of Aleppo’s Citadel and propose a rebuilding idea by looking back at the memory of that space throughout many different ages. Aleppo has suffered a lot of difficult times and was the subject of many historic and natural disasters, yet it was able to recover and flourish every time. Such an ancient city should be able to raise again once the conflict is over. Finding an immediate strategy like the remote mapping of the destruction and the safeguarding of heritage by the many organisations involved as well as an early planning of a postwar strategy will help make a great difference for Aleppo. In this project I tried to propose an idea for change in a small part of the Old City, an idea that is not enough to rebuild Aleppo but at least is one step closer towards a very long rebuilding process.
My design proposal for the area South of the Citadel will include a proposal for each of the seven main buildings on the site as well as the redesign of the public areas between them.'

Friday, 14 August 2015

Where are they now? Minding the little one ...

2013 MA A+U graduate Gu Fang (Felix to his Manchester friends) has sent news of the birth of his beautiful daughter Vela.

Felix is working in Shenzhen for Tsinghua-Yuan Architectural Design Ltd.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'The School of Constructed Realities'


FRI, 12.06.2015–SUN, 04.10.2015

A collateral project of the Vienna Biennale 2015

As a collateral project of the VIENNA BIENNALE 2015: IDEAS FOR CHANGE, the British designer duo Dunne & Raby have been invited this year to present an intervention in the uniquely furnished study interior from the Empire and Biedermeier era. For many years, Anthony Dunne, Professor and Head of the Design Interactions Department at the Royal College of Art in London, and Fiona Raby, Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, have been considered spearheads of a conceptual and critical design movement that makes speculations about alternative ways of life. They mainly work with research and educational institutions such as museums to contemplate the implementation of new technologies and their impact. With their most recent publication Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming (2013), they propagate an approach that uses
design to illustrate and make negotiable plausible scenarios— rather than to simply visualize images of the future.

With 'The School of Constructed Realities'—the title references a short story by Dunne & Raby for the textile company Maharam—, the designers make use of the Geymüllerschlössel as a meeting place for the founders of a fictitious school that both researches and teaches unreality. The gathering could take place in the past, present, or future. In several workshop scenarios, works by the studio are treated as case studies, such as United Micro Kingdoms (2012/13), a speculation about the continued existence of the United Kingdom, and Not Here, Not Now (2014), a series of interface objects from an alternative society. In their analysis of fiction and reality, they explore among other things the Theory of Objects by the Austrian philosopher and psychologist Alexius Meinong (1853–1920), which is hardly known today.

In regard to the motto of the first VIENNA BIENNALE their speculative schooling is an invitation to contemplate the future, change, and the role of design

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

University of Bath Urban Design Workshop 2015: Manchester

Readers of this blog may well recall the April visit to Manchester by M.Arch students from the University of Bath for an Urban Design Workshop, in lieu of their customary continental field trip. MA A+U was very pleased to host the group, with the Manchester students acting as observers of the methods and processes by which several group projects were woven into a single strategy for an extensive site stretching from the NOMA regeneration project, along the Irk Valley towards Collyhurst, images of which are shown below. These observations will form a component of the MA A+U cohort's 'Research Methodologies and Events' submissions this August.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'MAIFINITO'

Architecture +Urbanism is pleased to recommend a new publication MAIFINITO by Professore Gaetano Licata of the University of Palermo.

"These essays, projects and original drawings, together with a survey of international artistic, social and architectural experiences, all gravitate around the phenomenon of maifinito. A way to describe, and make visible, an enormous quantity of unfinished buildings diffused throughout urban and extra-urban areas, mainly in the South of Italy. A phenomenological investigation which is bound to overcome ideological biases, in order to let reveal paradoxical and hidden qualities. What can we learn from this phenomenon? Are there maifiniti buildings or settlements, which, as architectures, urban areas, and landscapes, can propose positive elements from which to learn, concepts to absorb and complex practices to borrow, both for their own transformation and for new projects? Which hypothesis of future development is still viable for maifinito buildings? The degree of incompleteness of the maifinito is ever-changing and, given its entity, we may attempt to see it as potential heritage that can be reactivated at any time, starting from the meeting between today’s current needs and the new tangible and intangible conditions produced by the maifinito."

MAIFINITO is published in a bilingual Italian and English edition by Quodlibet Studio

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