This year Diploma 11 chose toys as a way to infiltrate Central London. We looked for cracks and interstices, disrupted the constant activity of the bustling streets, identified networks with which to interact, and created new viewpoints to observe the city. Designing 1:1 toys for playing with the city enabled us
to engage directly with the interiority of our immediate environment – a one-mile radius from Bedford Square. We threw a layer of ambiguity onto the surrounding built environment and distorted the existing to inject alternative scenarios and acquire a new vision of neighbourhoods dominated by big masterplans and developer-driven construction.
Our discovery and understanding of Medellin’s social urbanism revealed the potential for educational and community spaces to act as true agents of urban revitalisation.
Inspired by the consideration of the citizen as a potential motor of transformation, our projects back in London became counter-proposals, responses to the momentum of economic forces pushing for an urban gentrification that is erasing cultural differences and limiting social mobility.
We sampled the city and drew window sections, mapped textures, collected fragments, collaged at 1:20 and reconfigured the existing. We broke down linearity and established vertical connections, we misplaced models, we added layers, we tested ideas of urban furniture at 1:5, we took over the city’s lowest depths and highest rooftops. By reading the city as playground, we opened up an environment of potential and an opportunity to reinterpret the urban landscape.
Seminar study took in Cedric Price’s Potteries Thinkbelt, Aldo Van Eyck and Team 10, Colin Stansfield-Smith and Hampshire County Architects, Colin Ward, Walter Gropius’s Impington Village College and the notion of the Village College.
Justo Arosemena, Mark Campbell, Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange, Peter Carl, Casa 3 Patios, Charlie Corry Wright, Georgie Corry Wright, Kate Darby, Monia De Marchi, Melina Escobar Duque, Jorge Mario Gómez, David Greene, Federico Gutiérrez, Samantha Hardingham, Takeshi Hayatsu, Hugo Hinsley, Carlos H Jaramillo, Andreas Lang, Jon Lopez, Farhid Maya, Edgar Mazo, Victor Ortiz, John Palmesino, Natasha Sandmeier, Patricia Schnitter, David Grahame Shane, Theo Spyropoulos, Brett Steele, Sylvie Taher, Peter Thomas, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Horacio Valencia, Carolina Vallejo, Ana Elvira Velez, Simon Velez, Tina Bird Wallbridge, Felipe Walter, Ilda Wolf