Unit 13 [2023-2024] The Year of Magical Thinking

Ifigeneia Liangi & Daniel Wilkinson

Unit 13 works with a foot in the magical and a hand in the practical. We are interested in exploring hybrid forms of practice by learning from the methods of other disciplines and cross-pollinating them with architectural concerns. Examples of hybrid forms of practice might include painter-architects, geographer-architects, actor-architects and everything in between. The nature of these hybridisations will be determined by you, our students and the interests that you will bring to the table. You will develop your own ways of working, which could be autobiographical, while also speaking to wider concerns. We are interested in personal, poetic and critical proposals that add to the available stock of reality.

Not so long ago, it was expected for an architect to be as familiar with the designing of outfits, theatre sets, pyrotechnics and even snacks, alongside the designing of buildings. As well as being a military expert, artist, theatre designer, engineer and architect, Bernardo Buontalenti also found time to invent ice cream in the 16th century. During this era these activities were considered as inseparable. This year, we want our students’ projects to develop by reflecting on this history from our current position in the 21st century. As such, we will look at how the slowness of building might be informed by quicker disciplines such as entertainment and fashion. Our group will look into the lives and works of architects who have created with artistic concerns and will explore today’s issues through practical yet poetic positions. As an example, this might involve the designing of furniture and everyday objects alongside the designing of spaces that are inseparable from them. This might also involve an interplay between the domestic and the civic, and explorations on how objects may enable domestic or civic rituals.

Our fourth year students will be given sites in Lewisham and our fifth years will choose their own sites anywhere in the world that makes sense for their own projects. We are interested in exploring civic architecture in relation to concerns that you will bring to the table, while translating wisps of ideas and niche interests into architectural fantasies. We value designs that are spellbinding, critical and socially aware.

Tutors: Ifigeneia Liangi & Daniel Wilkinson
Image credit: By Night Kitchen Studio