The three units of Semester 1, Bodyscape 01- 03, are about encouraging students to develop an alternative approach to spatial design. It is important that students begin to develop their own unique styles and approaches early on in their studies - and careers - to allow them to push themselves as far as physically and mentally possible in their chosen directions, under the guidance of many different practitioners and creatives and tutors.
To do this, we have been working within a framework of alternative methods that explore more than just designing a space. This framework allows the design of machines and sculptures and performances that all approach spatial programme and spatial psychology from an unusual angle.
Bodyscape 01 is an exploration into the definition of space, analysing negative space and the dialogue between body, object and positive space. To do this, a series of explorative drawings were created, as well as the casting of a large sculptural object of these various elements at 1:1 scale. As an added dimension, the work was then exhibited in a disused car park structure located on the Arlington House site of Margate - students were tasked with curating and marketing the exhibition themselves.
Bodyscape 02 was a development of Bodyscape 01, again exploring the definition of space but then taking it further and analysing the programme of space. Spatial programme is what defines a space and how it is used, so this unit sought to change that via the creation of a fictional machine. Machines are very specific in what they do and are designed to do, but what happens when they become redundant and are discarded? Students were tasked with collecting this discarded machinery and fashioning it into a new machine with a specific purpose to alter the programme of the chosen space it was to be used in.
Bodyscape 03 is a combination of the previous two units and looks at the human body as an extension of space. A series of dance workshops to explore movement of the human body are given and then become the beginning steps towards the design of a device that alters the human body and its performance - the performative devices are to explore the forces at work in a space (gravity, light, tension...). Again, another dimension is added in the guise of an exhibition-style performance involving a team of volunteer performers that the students must curate and market together with the show's production manager.
Through these projects, we give the students opportunities to develop their own approaches and pursue their own interests. Semester 1 has been about teaching the basics of spatial programme/psychology/design in unusual methods that they can begin to develop and apply to their future work.
The learning objectives of Semester 2 are similar to those of Semester 1, however, are developed further through the design of site specific installations and design proposals.
Terrain 01 is a 10 week unit in which the students must work with Canterbury Castle and develop a design proposal that re-develops the heritage site.
During phase one, the students are taken on a guided Promenade Architecturelle around Canterbury City, and use this walk to develop a series of drawings that reappropriate aspects of time, as well as different spatial qualities and social situations into a series of alternative spatial configurations. These drawings are then re-used and re-configured a number of times until they become a series of abstract models that then become a design proposal for the students to implement in Canterbury Castle.
The second phase of this unit is the completion of the design proposal. Students develop their concepts into a final spatial design (whether that be a structure or installation) that is then ready to be implemented. This phase focuses heavily on real structural qualities and materiality to give their conceptual designing a strong foundation of realism.
The second and final unit of Semester 2, Synoptic 01, continues with site-specificity by tasking students with the creation of a piece of furniture that reacts to a specific location and a series of specific items assigned to them. The piece of furniture will be constructed at 1:1 and placed in-situ to be used. This unit is designed to solidify a concept into a real finished item that will encourage them to push the boundaries of the materials they are using and develop their own unique structural qualities.