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.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Rethinking the 'Village in the City' in Zhengzhou

In 2014 MA A+U graduate WENHAO YUE created a thesis project entitled

'Design for a sustainable future: Innovation projects in Chenzhai Village, Zhengzhou, China'

The issue of urban density was explored in the situation of Zhengzhou, a Chinese megacity which is host to the phenomenon of the chengzhongcun or 'village in the city'. In response to the unfettered urbanisation on recently developed land at very high densities of occupation, design strategies were employed by Wenhao Yue to improve living conditions, reducing density and introducing social areas into these close knit urban communities.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

More Graduation Selfies 2014

Following a graduation ceremony held on 9 December 2014 in the Whitworth Hall at the University of Manchester six of the latest group of graduates from MA A+U posed for selfies with the programme leader Eamonn Canniffe

Xiao Weng MA

Seton Wakenshaw MA

Yubing Xie MA

Zhenyu Yang MA

Aidin Ahani MA

Wenhao Yue MA

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'BEATRIZ COLOMINA: Manifesto Architecture - The Ghost of Mies

Professor Beatriz Colomina (Princeton University) will be lecturing on her recent publication MANIFESTO ARCHITECTURE: THE GHOST OF MIES

1.00pm Tuesday 9 December
Floor 4 Manchester School of Art (Benzie Building MMU)

"An essential part of the architect’s education is in representation. We are taught that our materials must speak, that we need to be able to convey our ideas clearly and concisely. While formats such as drawing models or texts are often posited as privileged sites for architectural discourse, the forum where this intervention takes place is rarely investigated with the same rigor. In the third installment of the Critical Spatial Practice book series, Beatriz Colomina narrates an alternative history of modern architecture that doesn’t focus on what was proposed, but instead where, how, and even at times why modern architecture was formulated as a project."
(Nick Axel - Domus May 2014)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Aldo Rossi: The Architecture of the City (1966)

Reviewed by Thisvi Christou

The Architecture of the City was written by Aldo Rossi in 1966 and it was characterized as one of the most influential books for urban studies. The Architecture of the City constitutes a system of City analysis, by giving the reader the chance to rethink architecture from several aspects instead of just functional aspects which were promoted by the Modern Movement. Rossi criticized functionalism by providing historical methods for city analysis. He assumes the City to be architecture, which is a construction overtime. He describes Architecture as a man-made object and as a construction of urban artifacts . The Architecture of the City is an analytic material for Urban Artifacts.

The Structure of Urban Artifacts
Urban Artifacts are unique places of the City and withstand the passage of time; they are characterized by their own form and history. Urban Artifacts can have different functions overtime which are independent of their form and they can shape the City. An example which is given by Rossi, is Palazzo della Ragione in Padua. The Palazzo as Rossi states, forms the City, its function varied throughout the years, and it has historical value. The uniqueness of Urban Artifacts depend on their form, which is affected by time and space and by being considered as a work of art, because they are related to space, events and the form of the City.
In order to criticize naive functionalism which addresses typologies in relation to function, Rossi emphasizes typological questions. Functionalism considers an artifacts’ function to be static, but Rossi argues that this classification causes problems to the City. He supports his idea through his argument that Urban Artifacts change depending on time and needs. Rossi considers type as a logical principle, which constitutes the form and the permanence of an object. Moreover, he believes that function can be articulated into form, and form has the possibility to exist as an Urban Artifact, so form can be articulated as an Urban Element. The form can persist through transformation and become an Urban Artifact par excellence.
Although Urban Artifacts are complex, some features to understand them are: their permanence beyond function, their nature is like a work of art and also they have a collective character. Rossi describes the City as a totality, as a result of its collective character. Concerning the Urban Artifact in its totality, this gives us a complete picture of the City.

Monuments and the Theory of Permanence
Permanence is mentioned by Rossi based on Poete’s theory about persistence that says that monuments are the physical signs of the past. Rossi conceptualises permanence as having two sections. The first one are the propelling elements which have different functions overtime but still condition the urban space, for instance Palazzo della Ragione in Padua. The second section are the pathological elements, which are artifacts not in use and are isolated in the City; an example is the Alhambra in Granada. Persistence can transform an artifact into a monument, and a monument takes part in urban development.
‘A monuments persistence or permanence is a result of its capacity to constitute the city, its history and art, its being and memory. ‘
Rossi considers that the qualities of the parts of the City have sociological, formal and spatial characteristics that are cultivated through time and space. He opposed the Modernist idea of zoning based on function. Rossi believes that you can understand a part of the City from different aspects such as physiological, historical, geographical aspects. In this case Rossi uses the dwelling area as a study area in order to emphasise his side of the arguement. A study area can be the area of an Urban Artifact, it belongs to urban context and is a constituent part which is useful to analyze the City.

Primary Elements
A residential district is a part of the City’s form and it has a close relationship to Urban structure; for example Berlin’s dwelling area division affected Urban structure. It reflects peoples’ lifestyle and problems of the City and it needs long periods of time to get altered. Residential district can be considered as Primary Elements.
Rossi introduced the concept of Primary Elements which are elements capable of accelerating the process of urbanization in the city in a permanent way and also constitute physical structures of the city along with area. They permanently take part in a City’s revolution, being ‘nuclei of aggregation’. They can be considered as fixed points in the City. An example of a Primary Element is the Amphitheatre in Nimes, which became a small city. Other examples are the Pantheon and the Roman Forum which are transformed overtime.

The concept of Locus
Rossi also introduced the concept of Locus, which is the relationship between a location and the buildings that are situated there. Locus gives singularity to an Urban Artifact and it can be identified by a particular event that happened there. The Roman Forum, for instance, had some primary characteristics which were shaped by topographic conditions that were persisting through transformations. Through permanence the Roman Forum can be considered as a great Urban Artifact and as a monument that shows the history of the City. Based on Cataneo’s theory that the City forms an indivisible body with its region, Rossi mentions history as the formation of Urban Artifacts, and that history is the collective imagination and continuity of urban structure and as a result he conceptualises the City as a collective memory.
Following the above, Rossi talks about Athens and argues that it not only relates to myth but also to politics and administration. Athens was considered as the first example of an Urban Artifact where the development of thought and imagination became history. During Athens's evolution its Primary Elements were variously located within the residential district.

The Evolution of Urban Artifacts
In the last part of the book Rossi focuses on the evolution of the City and the forces, mainly political and economic, that influence this process. Based on Halbwachs's thesis, he describes expropriation. Halbwachs classifies expropriation in two parts. The first part he relates to individuals and in the second part he relates expropriation with Urban Artifacts.
Rossi also mentions Bernoulli’s studies on urban development. Bernoulli was against private land ownership, and he believed that the communal should belong to the collective. However, Rossi argues and supports that expropriation and land subdivision were necessary for the evolution of the City.
The Industrial revolution transformed the City. However, the scale of the transformation modifies an Urban Artifact but does not erode its quality. In addition Primary Elements were created from this transformation, for example the Adelphi residential district by the Adams Brothers which were designed based on a sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci.
At the end of the book Rossi mentions that a City can choose its image by choosing a political institution. Citizens can choose the political institution which controls the City’s transformation. Some examples of Urban Artifacts that present political ideas are Athens, Rome, Paris etc.

Peter Eisenman on ‘The Architecture of the City’
Eisenman believes that Rossi sees the Architect as the Subject that studies the City and the City is the Object of the study. By using a humanist conception, Rossi integrates the Subject into the Object as a way to oppose the practice of Modernism that separates the Subject and the Object.
According to Eisenman, Aldo Rossi reintroduces the elements of history and typology. History as a collective Artifact allows us to understand Rossi’s metaphor of the City as a giant man-made object, through the process of production and time. Time is in Rossi’s concept of Permanence; based on that concept he presents housing and monuments as Primary Elements and states that monuments can accelerate or retard city growth.
Eisenman discusses Rossi’s concept of Locus as an individual Artifact. Similar to permanence Locus is determined by space, time, event, topography, and form. A locus constitutes an event itself, a 'locus souls'. Furthermore, he argues that Rossi considers history as a form that relates to its original function, but only the form remains vital and history becomes memory. Time is a collective memory and type becomes an analytical material of history. Rossi discovers in typology the possibility of invention, because type is both a process and an object.
Eisenman criticized Rossi for two reasons: the first one because he sees the City as a man-made object separated from man, like Modernist architects did. The second reason is although Rossi seems to believe that individuals cannot influence history, he sees the city as human achievement par excellence which opposes this view.

In conclusion, Rossi used historical methods to oppose the Modernism’s concept of the City. He assumes the City to be architecture which is a construction over time. He also mentions the multiple forces within the Urban Artifacts in the City. As Rossi said

‘This book is a corner stone of urban studies rather than the perfect theory and it will be gradually completed by supplements of new considerations related to the city.’

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends '50 Shades of Green: The benefits and challenges of managing urban greenspace'

Professoriate Lecture from Prof. C. Philip Wheater

Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

50 Shades of Green: The benefits and challenges of managing urban greenspace

Most urban dwellers look favourably on the greenspace that lies close to their homes or places of work, few realise the richness of the wildlife that can be supported by such environments. Nor do many of us understand the different benefits, pressures, opportunities and challenges that are involved in designing, maintaining and enhancing such spaces. This talk presents a wide ranging tour of the different types of space and considers conflicts and resolutions to these issues with reference to work carried out by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University. The topics covered will include benefits (including on the public’s health and wellbeing) of urban habitats, urban ecology, problems in urban open spaces, and the management of urban wildlife and habitats.

Phil Wheater is the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering and a Pro-Vice Chancellor at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has been teaching, researching and writing about wildlife and urban ecology for over 30 years, including textbooks on urban habitats and invertebrate animals, reports on site management, and articles on human / environmental interactions. Phil has worked on many different aspects of urban management from wildlife ecology, through habitat management, to personal security and public health issues. He has worked with a wide range of organisations associated with urban habitats. These include metropolitan authorities (such as Manchester City Council and the Corporation of London), national organisations (including Natural England and the National Trust), and managers of a number of urban fringe areas including sites of special scientific interest and national nature reserves.

Wednesday 26 November 18.00-20.00

John Dalton Building
Manchester Metropolitan University

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'The Liveable City - a Danish-British Dialogue in Manchester'

The Liveable City Programme
Exhibition and all events are free and take place at Manchester School of Architecture, Benzie Building. Please sign up for seminars in advance via the Danish Embassy in London website.

OPEN 20-27 NOVEMBER 2014

The exhibition shows some of the highlights of contemporary Danish architecture and gives a unique insight into the core values that Danish architecture embodies: a green, environmentally sustainable profile and an empathetic and democratic approach, in which good design and great architecture are not reserved for the elite.


Riccardo Marini, Director, Gehl Architects, UK Director
Simon Kjær Hansen, Director, Centre for Urban Planning, Copenhagen Municipality
David Roberts, Director, igloo

It is not hard to imagine and agree on the ideal, liveable city. The hard bit is how to make the change happen. The seminar focuses on the political process of moving from vision to action, bringing in experiences from the recent year’s transformation of the Danish capital as well as other cities around the world.

9.30am: Registration and refreshments
10.00 – 12.30am: Seminar


Chair: Tom Jefferies Professor, Head of MSA
Klaus Bondam, Director of the Danish Cyclists' Federation
Helen Ramsden, Head of Travel Choices and Active Travel, Transport for Greater Manchester
Marianne Weinreich, Head of Mobility, Veksø
Sten Sødring, Head of Communications, Gottlieb Paludan

Cycling should be considered a practical, everyday means of transport, not an extreme sport reserved for Lycra-clad young men. How do we get more grannies and children to cycle? And how can this help to improve traffic safety, attract tourists and create people-friendly, liveable cities?

1.30pm: Registration and refreshments
2.00 - 4.30pm: Seminar


Jørgen Korsgaard, owner, AutoPilot

Danish company AutoPilot will introduce its philosophy of turning project managers into business managers through efficient project management, registration and invoicing. AutoPilot invites up to 20 British architects and consulting engineers for an exchange of views and information on current project management practices in the UK and feedback on the AutoPilot concept.

1.30pm: Registration and refreshments
2.00 – 4.30pm: Seminar



The Human Scale is a vital documentary dedicated to rethinking urban space and our assumptions about modernity, exploring what happens when we put people into the centre of our equations. For forty years acclaimed architect Jan Gehl has systematically studied human behavior in cities, what he calls life between buildings. His ideas inspired the creation of walking streets, the building and improvements of bike paths and the reorganization of parks and squares from Copenhagen to Melbourne, Dhaka, New York, Chongqing and Christchurch.
Director: Andreas Dalsgaard.



Helle Frost, Partner, Juul & Frost Architects
Ruairidh Jackson, Senior Project Director, Argent

A holistic, future-proof and sustainable campus improves the dialogue between the university, the city and its businesses. By inviting business world in, the modern campus can become the missing link between academia and enterprises - an urban hub for innovation and growth.

1.30pm: Registration and refreshments
2.00 – 4.30pm: Seminar


Chair: Richard Brook, Senior Lecturer, MSA, Manchester Modernist Society
Rune Veile, Architect and Partner, BCVA
Gavin Elliott, Director, Architecture, Chairman BDP Manchester
Claus Gade, Architect and Partner, NOVA5

The influence of Modernism is still strong in contemporary architecture, but for all its virtues, Modernism also has its flaws. Many of the idealistic projects from the sixties and onwards have proved to be inadequate in terms of liveability. How can we approach existing buildings and housing projects to make them - and the surrounding areas - more people-friendly?

9.30am: Registration and refreshments
10.00 - 12.30am: Seminar


Chair: Ged Couser, Architect Director, BDP
Robert Knudsen, Dominator Technology ApS
Mike Lee, RMIG Ltd.
Esben Øster, A/S HAI Horsens
Søren Ravn, Sjølund A/S

RIBA members and other construction professionals are invited to a free CPD event focusing on facade materials. Danish companies with expertise in facades will present their solutions. Specialising in respectively coating, perforation, polymer technology and roll forming, the companies’ products make it possible to create unique constructions for leading architecture.

1.30pm: Registration and refreshments
2.00 – 4.30pm: Seminar


Chair: Eddy Fox, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, MSA
Flemming Rafn Thomsen, Architect and Co-founder, Tredje Natur (meaning 'Third Nature')
Paul Simkins, Architect, Urban Designer, Arup

Climate change means that we have to prepare our cities for heavy downpours and flash flooding. Rainwater solutions are not just about enigeering, they can also add value to cityscapes. Sustainable, landscape-based rainwater handling can bring nature back in our cities and create new meeting places and spaces for activities.

1.30pm: Registration and refreshments
2.00 – 4.30pm: Seminar


Chair: Sally Stone, Principal Lecturer, MSA
Teva Hesse, Head of London Branch, C.F. Møller
Phil Griffin, freelance writer and curator
Nick Johnson, Market Operations Altrincham, CABE Commissioner
Tomas Bur Andersen, COO, HansenGroup UK

Cost efficiency and sustainability are obvious advantages when you ‘recycle’ existing buildings. Adapting and expanding historic structures to contemporary use can also help linking the past to the present and preserving heritage by giving it new life. How do we approach the old buildings with boldness as well as respect?

1.30pm: Registration and refreshments
2.00 – 4.30pm: Seminar

Monday, 20 October 2014

Where are they now? Jack Penford Baker

After achieving a Distinction from MA A+U in 2012 for his project "Global Commons”, Jack Penford Baker continued his research into globalisation with his M. Arch project “The Defragmentation of Bradford” for which he also achieved a Distinction and was nominated for the Silver RIBA President’s Medal Award in 2013. Having worked in London after his studies, Jack moved to Rotterdam in the spring of 2014 to work for the internationally renowned office MVRDV. Jack writes

“Since starting at MVRDV I have worked on a series of high profile design competitions which have transformed my approach to Architecture and Urbanism significantly. I am surrounded by a vibrant community of thinkers who are producing work at an exceptional level, I hope to bring the sensibilities and ideologies back to the UK at some point in the future.”

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'SAVE LIBRARY WALK PUBLIC INQUIRY'

The Library Walk PUBLIC INQUIRY takes place at The Council Chamber in Manchester Town Hall 10am October 21st & 22nd and is open for the public to attend – please join us to show the strength of our opposition!
Background information is at

On October 21st campaigners battling to preserve one of Manchester’s most unique walkways will present a dossier of evidence challenging Council plans to close Library Walk. The Planning Inspectorate has called a Public Inquiry in response to hundreds of objections from people who want to preserve the right to walk the streets of our city, and to ensure they are accessible for disabled people.

Library Walk is a pedestrian area between St. Peter’s Square and Mount Street in Manchester city centre. Its distinctive curved shape is formed by Grade-II* listed buildings Manchester Central Library and the Town Hall Extension, both created by the celebrated architect E. Vincent Harris in the 1930s. Ian Simpson Architects designed the glass and metal “link” building which has been erected in the space, despite widespread public opposition and its absence from original plans and public consultation on the transformation of St Peter's Square.

Morag Rose, Spokesperson for Friends of Library Walk says

“We are fundamentally opposed to the closure of public space. We believe everyone should have the right to enjoy our cities streets. Library Walk is beautiful, and of significant architectural merit. We have testimonies from 100s of people who love and cherish it and want to preserve the right of way for future generations. The Council has only spurious arguments, we believe our evidence can successfully challenge every one of them. The closure sets a terrible precedent which blights the cityscape and wastes £3.5million which could have been used to significantly improve the public realm instead of stealing it.”

Author and journalist Owen Hatherley has voiced support, saying

“Library Walk is not only an extraordinary architectural space, an effortless transition between a classical library and a gothic town hall, it is also an extraordinary public space, free, atmospheric and wholly unique, in a city which has been lately intent on privatising and filling in all free spaces. In between these two masterpieces of public provision, to shove pointlessly this stunted black glass stub is inexplicable and inexcusable. A council that is – rightly – proud of these buildings should not be reversing the public-spiritedness that lay behind them in the first place”.

Witnesses who will be speaking at the Inquiry include representatives from The Open Spaces Society, Manchester and Warrington Quakers, The Twentieth Century Society, Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group, Liverpool School of Architecture, Manchester Modernist Society and Friends of Library Walk as well as concerned citizens and experts in planning, architecture, Manchester history and urban space.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Fifth Annual MA A+U Colloquium

The Fifth Annual MA A+U Colloquium will be held on Thursday 9 October at 2.00pm in Chatham 809 with research presentations by three recent successful graduates.



Saturday, 4 October 2014

Manchester Re-United

Eamonn Canniffe will be talking about David Gosling's 1962 'Townscape' - inspired MANCHESTER RE-UNITED project at the

Gordon Cullen Memorial Event - Manchester
Location: Manchester
Date: Wed, 08/10/2014 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

You are invited to join us for an evening of discussion exploring the idea of Townscape and the influence of Gordon Cullen. Held as part of the centenary celebration of Cullen’s life and work this is a joint Academy of Urbanism and Urban Design Group regional event.

The evening will include talks by three speakers:

Simone Ridyard, architect, artist and founder of Urban Sketchers Manchester, will discuss the growing interest in urban sketching

Robert Thompson, Principal Planning Officer (urban designer) at Sheffield City Council will present a summary of his research into Cullen’s work

Eamonn Canniffe, leader of the MA Architecture + Urbanism at Manchester School of Architecture, will discuss townscape in a Manchester context

The event will be held at the offices of Turley, 1 New York Street, Manchester, M1 4HD. Starting at 5:00pm, drinks will be provided.


1 New York Street

Manchester, M1 4HD

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Graduation Selfie

CURTIS MARTYN (2013) and LAURA MINCA (2012) two recent graduates of MA A+U appear in this selfie taken at the degree ceremony held at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, when in addition to their MA degrees they were presented with their Master of Architecture degrees.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'Sinister Dialogues'


A collective symposium on the negotation of sinister uses through building reuse

Thursday 25 September 2014 10am - 5pm Manchester School of Art

This day long symposium will focus on reusing existing buildings, memory and architecture and includes talks from Irish architect Sheila O'Donnell who worked on the Good Shepherd Laundry and Letterfrack Furniture College, German architect HG Merz who transformed the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Berlin, architecture academic Margherita Vanore from Venice School of Architecture who writes about Industrial Ruins, interior design academic Terry Meade who writes about violence and domestic space in Palestine, artist Abigail Reynolds who created a series of artworks for the Topophobia Exhibition in Liverpool and Principal Lecturer Sally Stone from Manchester School of Architecture author of Re:Readings who writes about building reuse.

Document? Monument?
HG Merz (HG Merz Architekten Museumsgestalter)

Folds in Time
Abigail Reynolds (Artist)

Strangers in the House
Terry Meade (Brighton School of Architecture)

Landmarks of Memory
Sally Stone (Manchester School of Architecture)

Tracing Ruins in Producing Landscapes
Margherita Vanore (IUAV Universita di Venezia)

Addition and Subtraction
Sheila O'Donnell (O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects)

Organised by Laura Sanderson the event is free of charge and includes refreshments throughout the day.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Declaration of Results 2014

We are very happy to announce the following postgraduate awards for the 2014 MA A+U cohort

Aidin Ahani MA with DISTINCTION

Anna Krysa MA with DISTINCTION

Reece Singleton MA with DISTINCTION

Seton Wakenshaw MA with DISTINCTION

Wenhao Yue MA with DISTINCTION

Xiao Weng MA with MERIT

Yubing Xie MA

Zhenyu Yang MA

Congratulations to all our new graduates after a very enjoyable year. We wish them all well with their future careers.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends "Identity, Sovereignty, and Global Politics in the Building of Baghdad: From Revolution to the Gulf War and Beyond"

Conference, "Identity, Sovereignty, and Global Politics in the Building of Baghdad: From Revolution to the Gulf War and Beyond"

Harvard University Graduate School of Design 18, 19 and 20 September 2014

Using the history of urban development in Baghdad as a reference point, this conference examines the extent to which interventions intended to modernize and integrate different populations in the city were part of a larger process of negotiating competing visions of political economy, sovereignty, and identity in post-WWII Iraq. By gathering political scientists, architectural and urban historians, and scholars of Iraq and the larger Arab world, the conference engages theoretical and empirical questions about the ruptures and continuities of Baghdad’s urban and political history, using the built environment of the city as a canvas for understanding struggles over Iraq’s position in a global context shaped by ongoing war tensions (from the Cold War to the Gulf War and beyond) to more recent Middle East conflicts. The full day event (September 19) will be preceded by a Keynote Panel held the prior evening, focused on the relationship between war and urbanism, a theme that will re-emerge comparatively and historically in subsequent day’s panels which focus on a range of theoretical, historical, and practical dilemmas facing Baghdad and other cities in the region. The conference ends with a half-day discussion of the urban planning, design, and governance challenges facing the city now and in the near future.

Organised by -
Professor Diane Davis, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Professor of Urban Planning and Design, and Weatherhead Center Associate; Co-organisers: Dr. Łukasz Stanek, University of Manchester, Manchester Architecture Research Centre; Phillip Baker, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


MA A+U student Seton Wakenshaw's thesis project

‘Sidewalks in the Sky’

Based in Manhattan the ‘Sidewalks in the Sky’ project considers a series of smaller ‘perfect states’ as a more realistic proposition to improving the underused cities that we inhabit. A series of strategically placed ‘lungs’ within our urban realm are created, that offer up smaller scale, temporary utopias that will enrich our individual and collective wellbeing.

The design recalls Jane Jacobs’ observations of New York that “Streets and their sidewalks, the main public spaces of a city are its most vital organs” with the introduction of functional rooftop ‘sidewalks’ establishing a new sense of community through pedestrian occupied spaces in the sky.

The images below document Seton's design process and the development of his project.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'MISSION: POSTMODERN'

MISSION: POSTMODERN – Heinrich Klotz and the Wunderkammer DAM

German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt am Main

10 May – 19 October 2014

Guided tours on Saturday and Sunday, 15:00

In 2014 Deutsches Architekturmuseum will be proudly presenting a true treasure: the diary entries by the DAM’s founding director Heinrich Klotz. He relied on a truly world-wide network and personally knew all the major architects of the day, including among others Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Aldo Rossi, Hans Hollein, Richard Meier, Peter Cook and Tadao Ando.
On the occasion of DAM’s 30th anniversary, the most important works Klotz acquired from these architects will be on show in a “Wunderkammer” – but the marvels will also include an oil painting by Martin Kippenberger, a collage by Christo and invaluable drawings, models, furniture, original components, and photos.

DAM was the first new museum to be inaugurated on Frankfurt’s “Museumsufer”. Moreover, it was the world’s very first Architecture Museum with a programmatic and striking architecture, not to mention a collection that reflected the contemporary and increasingly globalized architectural scene. In his many powerful books and articles, and especially in his legendary architecture exhibitions, Klotz saw it as his mission to spearhead an international movement that went down in history as Postmodernism.

Postmodern architecture continued to shape the face of Frankfurt: Schirn Kunsthalle, Messeturm, Museum für Moderne Kunst and other major eye-catching buildings as Kunsthalle Portikus all arose at that time. Not that there were no opponents. Yet with the benefit of hindsight, the pluralism Klotz championed has won the day. Irony, Pop themes and historical quotations are long since accepted elements of architecture.

From 17 October the Museum Angewandte Kunst shows the exhibition “1984 – Zeit zwischen den Zeiten”, which will celebrate the founding year of the DAM as groundbreaking year of the era for fashion, music and pop culture.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Alternative Visions of Post-War Reconstruction: Creating the Modern Townscape

Eamonn Canniffe has contributed the last chapter, entitled


to the new book 'Alternative Visions of Post-War Reconstruction
Creating the Modern Townscape' edited by John Pendlebury, Erdem Erten and Peter J. Larkham

The history of post Second World War reconstruction has recently become an important field of research around the world; Alternative Visions of Post-War Reconstruction is a provocative work that questions the orthodoxies of twentieth century design history.

This book provides a key critical statement on mid-twentieth century urban design and city planning, focused principally upon the period between the start of the Second World War to the mid-sixties. The various figures and currents covered here represent a largely overlooked field within the history of 20th century urbanism.

In this period while certain modernist practices assumed an institutional role for post-war reconstruction and flourished into the mainstream, such practices also faced opposition and criticism leading to the production of alternative visions and strategies. Spanning from a historically-informed modernism to the increasing presence of urban conservation the contributors examine these alternative approaches to the city and its architecture.

The book will be published by Routledge in August 2014

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


The documentary of the MA A+U 2014 Symposium MANUFACTURING UTOPIA: Happiness in Emerging Environments is now available to watch at the symposium website!video/cusu

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Eamonn Canniffe's chapter 'Publoid Space in the Microcosmopolis: Two new business districts of Manchester and Salford' has been published in

ideas, methods, techniques, tools, case studies

edited by Marco Bovati, Michele Caja, Giancarlo Floridi and Martina Landsberger

The two volume set is published by Il Poligrafo, Padua

Architecture schools are fundamental deposits of knowledge and abilities, which have contributed productively for a long time to the growth of studies on architecture and the city. The aim of this book is to share the results of research work carried out under the patronage of EAAE and ARCC in the main European and American architecture schools on the issue of the city and its recent transformations. Through the comparison of different points of view, the goal is to hi-ghlight the need for a broad and open discussion, appropriate to the vastness and complexity of the problems faced. The well known sentence by Leon Battista Alberti, “The house is like a small city and the city is like a large house”, is a brief indication of the subjects of the volume: the widespread phenomena of urbanization of large parts of the world, the problems of diametrically opposed socalled shrinking cities and the severity of the effects of climate change and energy issue. Architectural and urban contents are also main themes in EU policy where the crucial role of Architecture has been stressed in many documents concerning the development of European cities. These arguments are developed in a thematic interweaving that goes from architecture and city's analytical and design techniques to those connected with organization, construction, security, planning, conservation and practice of a profession whose role has taken on ever greater responsibility within the human destiny.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture'


Design Museum, London

09 July 2014 – 12 October 2014

The American architect LOUIS KAHN (1901-1974) is regarded as one of the great master builders of the Twentieth Century. Kahn created buildings of monumental beauty with powerful universal symbolism.

This exhibition encompasses an unprecedented and diverse range of architectural models, original drawings, travel sketches, photographs and films. Highlights of the exhibition include a four-metre-high model of the spectacular City Tower designed for Philadelphia (1952-57). Each project is fully represented in this timely exhibition, which seeks to bring one of the twentieth century’s greatest master builders to a new audience.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'Architecture to Scale: Stanley Tigerman and Zago Architecture'


Art Institute of Chicago

Thursday, June 26, 2014–Sunday, September 14, 2014

As concepts are developed and represented across a range of scales, an architect's work requires a variety of approaches, media, and outputs. ARCHITECTURE TO SCALE demonstrates the complex architectural processes from research to production through the work of two groundbreaking architects in adjacent installations: a selection of architectural models by Stanley Tigerman and Zago Architecture’s series of monumental films, XYT: Detroit Streets.

Since founding his architectural practice in 1962, Stanley Tigerman has been a major figure in Chicago’s postmodern architecture movement. Tigerman has covered vast territory while developing a multifaceted critique of history, the architectural profession, and even his own personal narrative. The diverse array of models in this exhibition—from single-family homes to religious institutions—illustrates his formal sophistication and conceptual rigor while showing how his ideas about irony, religion, and humor manifest themselves in architectural form.

Taking a much different and exponentially larger form is Zago Architecture’s film series XYT: Detroit Streets, created as a research project in 2008. Founded by Andrew Zago in 1991, Zago Architecture employs a rigorous practice of research and experimentation in parallel to its architecture projects. With XYT: Detroit Streets, the mechanics of representation have been expanded and exaggerated in order to capture the essence of the contemporary urban condition as seen in Detroit. This exhibition also highlights how the firm’s research on representation has influenced the development of its architecture projects.

From the micro to the macro, architects rely on scale in order to articulate and present their projects, and this exhibition demonstrates unique architectural approaches through the contrasting scales of Stanley Tigerman and Zago Architecture.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends 'LAGOS WIDE AND CLOSE'

In 2001, architect Rem Koolhaas and filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak went to Lagos to document one of fastest growing cities in Africa. Based on research by Koolhaas' Harvard Project on the City, this interactive film presents an intense and chaotic engagement with a then hardly documented city, capturing multiple perspectives of a volatile moment in its evolution.

'Lagos Wide and Close - An Interactive Journey into an Exploding City' is an interactive documentary adapted from the groundbreaking 2004 interactive DVD. As one of the first interactive documentaries ever made, it offers a rare documentation of Lagos at a volatile moment in its evolution. Submarine Channel now makes the groundbreaking work available to all audiences online. Free.

Increased bandwidth now makes it possible to play the two video channels and three audio channels in parallel online in realtime.

Available at

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Where are they now? Number 13

MA A+U graduate Justina Job was recently in Venice for the presentation of a group project from the University of East London 'A portal between two cities: enhancing the dialogue between Venice and London' which is installed in the Doge's Palace during this year's Architecture Biennale. Who should drop by to admire the students' work but Charles Jencks? The eminent architectural figure is pictured below with Justina and other members of the team.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Architecture + Urbanism recommends "Venice Architecture Biennale 2014"

Director of the 14th Architecture Biennale Rem Koolhaas writes about the theme ABSORBING MODERNITY 1914-2014

"In 1914, it made sense to talk about a “Chinese” architecture, a “Swiss” architecture, an “Indian” architecture… One hundred years later, under the influence of wars, diverse political regimes, different states of development, national and international architectural movements, individual talents, friendships, random personal trajectories, and technological developments, architectures that were once specific and local have become seemingly interchangeable and global. Has national identity been sacrificed to modernity?

Participating countries will engage a single theme – Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 – and will show, each in their own way, the process of the erasure of national characteristics in favor of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language and a single repertoire of typologies. But the transition to what seems like a universal architectural language is a more complex process than we typically recognize, involving significant encounters between cultures, technical inventions, and hidden ways of remaining “national.” In a time of ubiquitous google research and the flattening of cultural memory, it is crucial for the future of architecture to resurrect and expose these narratives.

By telling the history of the last 100 years cumulatively, the exhibitions in the National Pavilions will generate a global overview of architecture’s evolution into a single, modern aesthetic, and at the same time uncover within globalization the survival of unique national features and mentalities that continue to exist and flourish even as international collaboration and exchange intensify…"

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Our Day Out

After a series of taxing deadlines MA A+U enjoyed a relaxing day out in Lancaster recently. We visited the Castle, the Priory, the Ashton Memorial and the Butterfly House. Here some members of the cohort adorn the portico of the Custom House (Richard Gillow 1764).

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