DS11 is a studio with a long track record in examining and researching the ‘European City’. This year we went north; to Reykjavík, Iceland. The journey began in London with four short week-long projects in the first semester; utlit-misskilnigur-safna-neyta, appearance-suggested-gathered-consumed. Reykjavík was studied at a distance in preparation for the second semester visit, with MArch I developing a Reykjavík Hallmerki as a new space of consumption for the city and MArch II developing a catalogue and thesis proposal in response to personal research and contextual investigations. Our field trip proved challenging as expected, but also invaluable, establishing a strong sense of place. Assumptions and preoccupations in programme and placement were challenged and tested in situ, and then revised and refined on return to London. The visit to Reykjavík was instrumental in developing a series of quick masterplans in response to discussions with local planners and first-hand observations. It kickstarted a vision that linked the north of Reykjavík with its old port, through the Tjörnin lake, to reimagine the domestic airport as a new Miðborg, culminating in the southern geothermal beach at Nauthólsvík. This fertile context enabled diverse projects, from an Arctic Research Centre in the old harbour, and an Rescue Training Facility, to a Growing Library and a Genetic Research Institute, around DS11’s new Miðborg town centre, where Nature Trails bring people closer to their environment. A Bamboo Paper Mill harnesses Iceland’s aptitude for creativity and self-expression, and a Culinary School helps asylum seekers settle in. A Dream Laboratory harnesses the un/sub-conscious power of Reykjavik, whilst a new City Cemetery introduces a new approach to death. Each project develops sensitive, and emotive programmes for Iceland, responding deeply to contextual, socio-economic, and political concerns exposed through study.
DS11 is guided by Dusan Decermic and Elantha Evans, both experienced architects and educators, who present the studio in a supportive, open-minded, reflexive and critical manner. The students and tutors would like to offer a special thanks to Roudaina Alkhani, Simon England, Sam Giles, Sean Griffiths, Clare Hamman, Nick Jackson, Daria Konopko, Gill Lambert, Johanna Muszbek, John Ng, Ben Pollock, Layton Reid,Yara Sharif, Ben Stringer, Jacob Szikora, Daniel McLean, Massimo Santanicchia, and Haraldur Sigurðsson.