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.

Friday 27 May 2011

Hepworth Wakefield

MA A+U had an expedition to Wakefield yesterday to visit David Chipperfield's new gallery dedicated to the work of Barbara Hepworth. Despite the unpromising weather spirits were  brightened by fleeting sunshine as we crossed the Pennines into Yorkshire.  The new building, which features a cluster of top-lit and individually expressed galleries stands adjacent to a weir on the River Calder

Craig thought it was contextually contrasting in terms of location and materials

Natalie was reminded of the work of Tadao Ando

Bill appreciated the relationship with the water

Angad thought the reflective quality of of the water added to the monumentality of the gallery"s scale

Supriya liked the free flowing organisation of spaces,  the big windows and top lighting in the galleries

Meliz thought the lighting system was very sophisticated

Chen liked the combination of blocks and the siting and connections across the water

Laleh liked the relationship established from the contemporary gallery with the medieval chantry chapel

Ketki preferred the subtlety of the circulation here to that of Zaha Hadid's MAXXI in Rome

Preeya liked the way the building sits on the site and the clean way it meets the water

Kathryn thought it was very welcoming and open

Luke was impressed with the complex and dynamic form of the building

Carrie thought the windows created interesting relationships with the gallery rooms

Christina thought the building was integrated well in its riverside context

Jack thought the bridge created a sense of journey across the different qualities of water

Tuesday 17 May 2011

GET OVER IT! An MA A+U Symposium

The second annual student-led MA A+U Symposium was held on 12 May at sandbar in Manchester. The venue was kindly donated by MA A+U student Stephen Gingell.

This year's theme concerned the ways by which British cities might overcome the current economic downturn and reinvent themselves.

The event was chaired by author and journalist Owen Hatherley who outlined the the social and economic context of the last few years before introducing the first speaker Dr. Mark Jayne, an urban geographer at the University of Manchester. Appropriately enough given the venue Mark's presentation was the relationship between drink and British urban life representing what is often problematic as a negative aspect of the contemporary condition as an activity through which social life is constructed.

The second presentation of the day was by Mark Lemanski of muf architects who discussed a number of the practices's public realm projects in London including their award-winning Barking Town Square.

A brief debate with interventions from the floor preceded lunch when entertainment was provided by MA A+U student Xu Chen at the sandbar's piano.

After lunch Rose Marley spoke about The Sharp Project in Manchester, a large scale digital facility intended to help regenerate New East Manchester. This presentation raised the issue of new educational and employment patterns which would create profound change in the life prospects of some of Manchester's most marginalised citizens.

Mid afternoon was anchored by Geoff Denton of Stockholm-based White Architects who talked about their competition winning project for Salford House 4 Life. Against the trend of anonymous apartment blocks the project proposes low-rise, robust family housing around communal spaces which offer a utopian prospect for future urban wellbeing.

The day was concluded by Elizabeth Varley from techhub an enterprise at the heart of 'Silicon Roundabout' who emphasised the global potential of the digital economy in turning the urban situation around.

The day provided a great opportunity for groups from different backgrounds and disciplines to debate the problems and possibilities of british cities in quite a tangible way. New connections were made and new ideas fostered ...

Tuesday 10 May 2011

MA A+U Symposium preparations completed

To register for the Symposium email

Sunday 8 May 2011

Do architects have a role in shaping 21st century cities?

MA A+U student Luke Butcher would like you to answer the above question? His survey is available on his blog

Friday 6 May 2011

Symposium attire ...

All welcome to this event - May 12 sandbar

Thursday 5 May 2011

GET OVER IT! MA A+U Symposium May 12 2011

illustration: Salford House 4 Life winner White Architects, Stockholm

The schedule for the symposium has now been published on the GET OVER IT! blog



10:15 DR MARK JAYNE - University of Manchester

11:00 MARK LEMANSKI - MUF Architecture/art


13:00 LUNCH


14:15 ROSE MARLEY - The Sharp Project

15:00 GEOFF DENTON - White Arkitekter

15:45 BREAK - Talk by Professor Tom Jeffries, head of Manchester School of Architecture talks about the new RIBA Hub



18:00 END

To register for this free event contact
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