Natalie Newey
Richa Mukhia

Shifting Territories: Tidal City

Our year’s work explored the shifting relationships between nature and culture, in the context of Albert Island, a post-industrial landscape, bordered by The Royal Docks and the River Thames. We explored the intangible qualities of the river, the energy, history, life and memory that has accumulated along this threshold between water and solid ground over millennium. Looking closely at this edge condition, students made proposals which mediate between nature and the man made, responding to the ebb & flow of history, time and changing use.

The studio was invited by the GLA to engage in a live project developing proposals for Albert Island, a designated Enterprise Zone, and part of the Royal Docks regeneration project.

The design process began with a flurry of activity, engaging with the Thames Festival, investigating the river and site through local walks, taking inspiration from Peter Ackroyd’s THAMES Sacred River, and a bit of Mudlarking to get our feet wet. All of this led to proposals for Riparian Encounters, a collection of ‘meanwhile’ projects, fostering connections between nature and culture and drawing the disparate local communities to the island.

Semester two began with a visit to Holland to explore projects engaging with the Circular Economy, Floating Farms, City Labs and Co-creation projects. On our return to London, students were able to ‘pitch’ their semester 1 proposals to the GLA team, project Architects, and other stakeholders at a Pecha Kucha event where their many and varied ideas were received with great enthusiasm.

Research into Future Trends generated speculations for a Riparian Future, imagining the island and its watery boundaries as a proving ground for investigating new futures and developing ideas about how we might respond to the many challenges we face - environmental, technological, political, cultural and commercial. The resulting projects propose radical futures, imaginative and practical solutions and inspired narratives about the future of architecture.

Guest Critics: Scott Batty (TS tutor), Callum Bleasedale (MArch Student), Matt Chan (Architect), Rafaella Christodoulidi (Architect), Corinna Dean (DS[02]1 studio leader), Karen Fitzsimon (Landscape Arch), Jason Flanagan (Flanagan Lawrence Architects), April Glasby (MArch student), Abiel Hagos (Part 2 Architectural Assistant), Clare Hamman (Designer), William Mclean (TS tutor), Laura Nica (Architect dRMM), Mirabell Schmidt (Architect), Anissa Colaco Souza (MArch Student), Nick Stevens (Mudlarker/co-founder Thames Museum), Ben Stringer (MArch Tutor), Jason Sandy (Mudlarker & Architect), Camilla Wilkinson (DS[02]5 studio leader)