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Vertical Studio

About the project

Vertical Studio is a collaborative project for students in BSc years one and two. Students choose from a variety of different (also units, many of which are run by architects, artists and other practitioners from outside of the university. All studios encourage experimentation and speculation, to develop design thinking in new directions.

By engaging with activities that go beyond the core learning criteria of our BSc programme, Vertical Studio provides opportunities to enrich and diversify our students' skills and experience. The work that students produce within their selected studio can also be used to broaden their design portfolio.

Units for 2020

Unit leader: Zoe Berman

A rural design and community participation workshop. The Rural Works participants will spend a week on the Staveley Farm estate in Cumbria, exploring the landscape through observational drawings. Together we will acquire learning about the specifics of this place, and propose small and mid­scale ideas for interventions that would improve and enhance this rural village.

Unit leader: Arjun Rajah

The School of Computer Science and Informatics and the School of Mathematics are to move into a new, purpose built facility on the Cathays Campus. The Schools have tasked Welsh School of Architecture students to design a ‘Civic Gesture Feature’ that could form part of the public realm outside their new home. This is suggested to consist of two benches that could be designed to reflect the type of studies taking place in the building.

Unit leader: Mhairi McVicar

'Make yourself at home' is a collaboration between artist Chris Williams, Mhairi McVicar (WSA and academic lead of Community Gateway), and the Grange Pavilion. Working in small groups, you’ll design and make prototypes for a moveable storage unit, a foldable or stackable chair/bench and/or demountable table for the Grange Pavilion, a community-owned building opening in April 2020.

Unit leader: Shanks Raj

How do we design an outdoor swimming pool for a community? Offering more time in nature and increased health and well-being.

Unit leaders: Amalia Banteli and Jon Dafydd-Kidd

Students will explore the needs of performers with physical and/or learning disabilities and how these performers relate to performance spaces. Their investigations will be based on a live brief with two inclusive community drama groups.

Unit leader: Alexandros Kallegias

Specific elements like ‘ingredients’ come into place for a form to perform like a wall. Bake my wall will revisit the notion of a wall through the theme of generative design and architectural computation.

Unit leader: Stephanie Bolt

The unit will encourage students to identify, explore, visit (locally) and research meanwhile spaces, spatial theory and economic processes linked to redevelopment, regeneration and gentrification, as well as thinking about why there is a great emphasis on meanwhile use and little acknowledgement of the desire from users (artists, etc.) for permanence and self-determination

Unit leaders: Graziella Corti and Gianpiero Latorre

Nowadays people are used to rushing incessantly. Everything is scheduled and booked, and most people worry about how time flies and wonder where it goes. This studio will ask its contributors to ‘pause’, breathe, investigate and design innovative ways to creatively stop and make up more time for themselves.

Unit leaders: Andrew O’Murchu and Kate Rushe

Students will be challenged to adopt and consider the habitats of animals and plants through the exploration of textbooks, scientific journals and online study. Through close drawing of their subject, students will make this knowledge visible, while developing their capacity to communicate through drawing in line and tone.

Unit leaders: Antonio Capelao and Mark Zudini

Responding to the Cork House and the Cork Studio case studies research and focused on the possibilities of cork as a sustainable construction material, and as a starting point, the students will be asked to present their research and to make an object to a scale, that demonstrates their findings and crystalises their ‘emotional’ response to a context of their choice.

Unit leaders: Alessandro Columbano and Anna Parker

Futuremakers is a design initiative with an aim to highlight the value of design and the built environment to different participatory groups through a process of play, make, build. The making will focus on creating a series of usable and connecting play-kits or large-scale toy structures that allow for users of all ages to assemble an interconnected environment - a playscape for the public.

Unit leader: Alt Architecture

This studio will explore and celebrate the properties of one material - paper. Students will undertake investigation and experimentation with paper in order to understand its integral properties and possibilities.

Unit leaders: Caroline Esclapez and Georgia Habützel

This studio will ask the students to engage with Cardiff as a site and encourage them to think critically about how they see, record and translate the city. We will explore the ways in which books have been used and constantly re-invented to carry different social, political and architectural ideas.

Unit leader: Sam Parsons and Rob Stiles

In light of the planned improvements to Bute, this unit will give students the opportunity to consider their studio environment, fabricating solutions that foster productivity and creativity. Sam and Rob use CNC technology to manufacture bespoke furniture, cabinetry and architectural joinery.

Unit leader: Sarah Hayton

Considering the work of photographers, and theorists of urban space, the group will study different ‘Sidewalks of Cardiff’ and develop their own photography projects based at shared group sites then work together towards exhibition.

Unit leader: Claire Reed

The welcome hut at The Courts has been much adapted. Students are asked to respond to a client brief for a new ‘hut’ and interpret this in line with an understanding of the site, its unique spirit of place, and operational and commercial need.

Unit leader: Richard Powell

Building a prototype ‘public seat’ for three locations in Treherbert.  An imaginative and practical exercise, fusing the past, our present, and what might become years ahead.

Unit leader: Selim Halulu

Cinematic architecture. Speculative responses that seek new definitions for: moving-city, plasti-city, mall-city, no-stop-city, univer-city, food-city, garden-city, plug-in-city. Nothing is excluded, everything is questioned. Film as sketchbook. Enthusiasts but all things that have the character of their time. Culture is what most people do most of the time. Sequence and storyboard. Director’s cut. 60 seconds.

Unit leader: Claire Parry-Witchell

In the interest of embedding enterprise education into learning for students studying at university, students will embark on a journey of discovery which will take them from idea generation to developing a business pitch. The enterprise can be anything from a new product or service to something that has social impact and they can be as creative as they like.

Unit leader: Hiral Patel

‘Making the Vertical Studio exhibition' unit will make a critical contribution. The unit will develop exhibition strategies by engaging a range of different audiences through a participatory method. Through this unit, the students will learn research techniques, collaboration and communication skills to develop exhibitions.

Unit leader: Ed Green

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, BSc Year 2 are working in teams to design a chair. Through a live design competition, one or more of their designs will be selected by a panel of judges. The winning designs should be comfortable, true to their constituent materials, sustainable and elegant.

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Vertical Studio