BA Unit 2: Overwrote: Architecture and the Palimpsest. Sean McAlister & Ian Pollard

The Rotunda at Soane’s Bank of England, 1925

In Unit 2 we will explore the layered nature of architecture, the city and the landscape. We will involve the physical and the fictional in our expedition. This is a study across time – we are interested in the continuity of ideas in architecture, and how the past may inform the future. Architecture is a palimpsest.

We will consider how fields beyond architecture inform the work of architects, from science though economics, politics, art and craft. We will test Vitruvius’s statement:The architect should be equipped with knowledge of many branches of study and varied kinds of learning, for it is by his judgment that all work done by the other arts is put to test. This knowledge is the child of practice and theory’.

In Unit 2 we will prioritise material exploration through model-making, drawing-making, place-making, dialogue-making. If we create something digitally we’ll become the experts of making it physical. If a text or work of art impacts us, we will become experts of making an architectural proposition informed by that.

Our unit will be split into two groups. For Project 1 some will investigate and make proposals for an urban site in a London borough. For Project 2 we will relocate to a landscape near the coast. Others will do the same in reverse. Students will have individual projects and each will leave their mark.

For Project 1 we will produce a fragment of architecture, an inhabited place for ritual. We will begin with found objects and prescribed references. For project 2 we will produce a complete ‘house’ building of sorts, on or near the sites of the previous group’s individual Project 1 proposals.