‘Our eye need only became a bit sharper, our ear a bit more receptive. We need to take in the taste of a piece of fruit more fully. We should be able to tolerate more odours and become more conscious and less forgetful when touching and being touched, in order to draw consolation from our immediate experiences, which would be more convincing, more paramount, and truer than all the suffering that could ever torment us.’ • Rainer Maria Rilke
This year the unit focused on spatial experiences that enhance awareness of our senses and emotions. Our main source of inspiration was the enigmatic Villa Palagonia in Sicily: reflective domes, sinuous staircases, coiled passages and elliptical rooms figured amongst the architectural elements we examined, reproduced, redesigned.
Faithful to the Intermediate 2 tradition, we worked predominantly with our hands; this year we specifically focused on the techniques of plaster casting, gilding, acetone print, charcoal and pencil drawing.
We had a series of stimulating seminars exploring historical precedents for the architectural fragments we were designing, including Palladio, Boffrand and Soane. The discussions ranged from straightforward spatial analysis to deep philosophical reflection, with a rigorous focus on our aim of bringing poetry back into a practice that runs the risk of becoming increasingly standardised and soulless.
Our site of intervention was Bloomsbury, in London, and we developed programmes related to the themes of the hotel, the bathhouse and the retirement home. The images that follow reflect, we believe, the depth, the intensity, and at the same time the playfulness of our work. The architecture we make is born out of intuition, sensorial and emotional awareness, which we contend are the most powerful tools we have to transform the world into a more productive, enjoyable and meaningful environment.
Miraj Ahmed , Simone Brewster, Barbara-Ann , Campbell-Lange, Antonino Cardillo, Judith Clark, Willem de Bruijn, Catja de Haas, Stewart Dodd, Sarah Entwistle, John Foxx, Jennifer Frewen , Takako Hasegawa, Jonathan Hill, David Philips, Vicky Richardson , Brett Steele, Yuki Sumner, Alex Wateridge