Master Project

The Master Project, which is open for Diploma and MA students, is a design project run over the course of a semester. The project, framed within a thematic investigation, is carried out in small groups, each contributing to a wider group study of a given situation and project. A specific neighbourhood or context is chosen in a European city within which students act on a variety of sites.

The main design engages with three overall themes: programme - examining arrangements of use and the spatial potential in the plan, type - exploring how type informs use and affects our experience and construction – seeking a rigorous and conceptual understanding of construction.

Underlying these themes is an interest in atmosphere in relation to experience and adjustment in relation to place. In the last two years emphasis has been given in the teaching to the programmatic theme of spatial planning and then to building type or typology. This year we are focusing on construction.

When we refer to construction we do so as both an artistic and practical endeavour. We encourage construction ideas which, through their strategy and detail, reinforce the idea of the building, the space within and the space between. We expect a practical understanding and an appropriate respect for structure and material. What we seek overall is an expression of an appropriate character, atmosphere and presence through the physicality of construction. Our interest is in the relationships between building, place and use. We therefore prioritise a phenomenological approach to the study of this theme which is analytical but based upon ideas and concepts rather than rules and dogma.

WS 20/21 – Master Project Collective Domestic
Re-purposing buildings in Munich

Proposed solutions to the housing crisis in the European city are often reduced to the single ambition of building more homes year-on-year, while the more profound question of what type of housing should be built goes unanswered. With more people living alone than within a family unit, the cost of living and property rising, there is both a need and a demand for a wider range of options, including the opportunity to live within small collectives where resources can be shared, individual privacy retained and small communities established. Inter-generational housing, housing that can adapt to changing need, housing that could accommodate those who wish to live on their own, those who wish to live in groups, those who are part of families - even extended families as is favoured by some communities, those who need assistance in living but at the same time wish for independence, all represent the broadening of housing models and bring with them the need to find appropriate and sustainable architectural solutions.

The idea of co-living emerged from counter culture movements of the 1960s and 70’s and has since evolved and found structure through housing co-operatives and co-housing models. The housing co-operative is a group of people who manage and control the housing in which they live. Each person is a member of the housing co-operative and has an equal say in decision-making. No member individually owns or makes profit at the expense of another. All members are expected to take an active role in providing and managing the accommodation. Collective housing is based around an intentional community based on a framework of shared ideals with residents agreeing to live according to a shared set of rules and a share in responsibility. Members of shared households benefit from mutual support and shared resources, such as childcare and cost efficiencies, but they must in turn invest in the smooth running of the micro community.

Alongside these possibilities for alternative living models is the need to address Climate Emergency in which buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. The linear model of an economy based on consumption relying on an inexhaustible provision of raw material is no longer sustainable and it is imperative to shift our thinking towards the circle economy - to design with an economy of means, utilising Re-use, Re-cycling, Re-ducing waste and Re-ducing extraction.

This semester we shall address these two key themes to develop a micro community consisting of different living types within re-purposed buildings in Munich. The typology of these buildings will be strong - towers, courtyard buildings, car parks, palaces, bunkers - their structure and presence will be a key protagonist in the underlying character of the project and its accommodation.

Stephen Bates and Bruno Krucker, October 2020
Collective Domestic map of sites


WS 20/21
Semester brief

Semester introduction

Plan material

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Introduction exercise one

Introduction exercise two

Introduction exercise three

Introduction exercise four

Introduction exercise five

Introduction exercise six

Introduction exercise seven

References for models and images

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