Archive for the 'Discussion' Category

Hunters Bar Infant School

13 October, 2006


As part of an overall strategy to re-create the outdoor play spaces for the children at Hunters Bar Infant School, this Live Project intends to create a series of devices to help include the children in the design process. Due to the level of awarenss of a childs surrounding being extremely limited, such devices need to increase this awareness to then begin to encourage a process of relfection to draw out design proposals.

However, the term ‘devices’ is an unnecessarily architectural term for what the group are trying to do. The first ‘device’ was a play in which King Bertiys magical treasure had disappeared, and the children needed to find it! By looking for the treasure and then describing where they found it, the children could begin to think about the spaces around them. The treasure was then used in a variety of other games to help think about what changes could be made to the play areas to make them better.


The intention of the groups work is to empower the children to take a propositional role in the re-designing of their play spaces, which will encourage a futuer sense of ownership within the space.

Please see the comments section for updates to how the project progresses, and please feel free to add your own comments on what the group are up to…


what is alternative practice trying to achieve?

13 October, 2006

I was wondering yesterday whether alternative practice may be defined by what it is trying to acheive… IYO have spoken about techniques and whether a certain methodology or trait is alternative… and perhaps as kenji points out this is fluid, but maybe there is some continuous thread within the aims of alternative practice…
When I was ‘infiltrating’ the Accrington Live project group yesterday, I discovered that like us they were using a number of devices/ situations to interact with all of the people whom they had made contact with or were yet to make contact with in Accrington… (they were hoping to be in the paper, speak on the radio, attend the plasterers’ college prize giving, have a holloween market stall etc etc) and perhaps if we named these methodologies and what they were hoping to achieve from each one we may get an idea of what alternative practice was interested in as a subject and what it was trying to do… Carolyn (Butterworth, their tutor) spoke of making the richness of Accy visible to itself, not to outside investors like the grand regeneration development plans… each student in the live project meeting had stories of Accy to tell and discoveries about triumphs and humourous interactions that they were delighted by… it is perhaps finding a forum to ‘make things public’ as Bruno Latour may say…
But in doing this the contradictions between each of these aspects of a town must be explored…. Julia Thorne and Anne Dwyer point out in their evaluation of Matirx (a feminist collective, consisting of architects, builders, artists and designers) that it was always unhappy with terms such as ‘equlity’. They sought to explore ‘difference’ as a reality and a creative force rather than form an unhappy consensus that attempted to make eveyone the same. Perhaps alternative practice may be attemtping to make public invisible people’s concerns and desires and rather than solve pragmatic problems…

Can the roles for participants involved in a live-project ever be changed?

12 October, 2006


The client’s role would seem to be pretty much fixed when it comes to live-projects. It is the role that is highlighted by most as making the live-project different from a studio project. But what happens when this is challenged? What happens if…

  • the student/students become the client?
  • the tutor/tutors become the client?
  • the client becomes a student?
  • the client becomes a tutor?

IYO are exploring this condition by using ‘office hats’ which are switched throughout the project’s duration. Will this end in complete chaos? or perhaps something else?> Watch this space…

Practice in General

9 October, 2006

It would be a starting point to look practice in general to divide into (Alternative/ Traditional):


In General Practice is an action or performance, but the term also implies a method of action, in the sense of habitual, customary, or routine. A professional practice, then, is the customary performance of professional activities.

Architectural Practice emerges through complex interactions among interested parties, from which the documents for a future building emerge.

Page 4 Chapter 1Architecture: The story of PracticeDana Cuff.

Mapping & DNA

8 October, 2006


1. We divided these previous projects into a set of objective categories:

  • Tutors
  • Clients
  • Date
  • Size/ Location
  • Types

Read the rest of this entry »

Name the interdisciplinary architectural event

5 October, 2006

Use the comment facility to propose names for the three day event in Sheffield 23 – 25 October.

Alternative Practice – Feminism

5 October, 2006

Traditional <-> Radical

This would be an alternative thought influencing the traditional practice. Before feminism has been concerned and developed, should we consider this is an alternative practice during this period?So perhaps alternative practice is a process of development or investigation of new thoughts:

in organizing the material is the tracing of a number of different historical trajectories: the development of feminism over time, the shifting role of feminists in architectural history and the changes taking place in women’s role as architects, while at the same time aiming to charify the key conceptual points and theoretical concerns which define the paths of each trajectory and form the areas of their overlap. Another difficulty has been to create a framework which is simple yet complex enough to relate the different forms of architectural practice – history, theory and design.

Gender, Space and Architecture Chapter 26 Page 225endell, J., B. Penner, et al., Eds. (2000).
London, Routledge.
P.S. there are more questions and discussions about feminism and architecture in this resources.

Architecture and sex (yawn)

5 October, 2006

Although the analogies between architecture and sexuality have now been explored to their tenuous limits, this extract from the essay Making Love / Making Architecture by Adis Didaskalou in Desiring Practices (ed. Rüedi, Wigglesworth and McCorquodale) is still remarkably apposite to our discussion. Surely a characteristic of all alternative architectural practice is that they employ an alternative method of practising architecture (you get my drift?).

Could this approach to questioning architectural practice be appropriate for our study of alternative practices, in that a relevant (and even contraversial) comparison or interpretation can be utilised to question what we take for granted?

Why is it that the stable building has to be the only ‘raison d’être of architectural practice, the only origin and recognised end?

Why, in architectural education, is such an emphasis given to the final product? Why is such pressure exerted on the students to produce (ejaculate) visible, even spectacular, completed projects?

Why do all students have to reach, after a carefully monitored process, a male-like orgasm (only one will be accepted) by the end of each studio?

How many successful, male-like architectural orgasms must a student be able to exhibit in his/her portfolio before he/she can possibly be recognised as a (male) architect?

Why are we inclined to attribute so little (if any) meaning and value to all the preliminary investigations and design ‘foreplay’, and this only to the extent we think they will lead us safely (though, not prematurely) to the predefined and prescribed final climax? Where might such students’ pleasure (if there is any left) come from? Will such pleasure spring from a labyrinthine design process, from some apparently insignificant details or singular moments, or will it result from its final achievement and absolute physical exhaustion?

ed. Rüedi K., Wigglesworth S. and McCorquodale D. (1996) Desiring Practices: Architecture, Gender and the Interdisciplinary. London, Black Dog Publishing

Live project is interesting!?!

5 October, 2006

Live project is interesting!
• dealing with LIVE matters
• non-restrictive rules
• opportunity to innovate new idea
• practical learning
• team working
• improvement of personal skills
• a step forward towards the social life
• help the others
• etc…

• out of control
• time consuming
• time = money!!!

Do you agree with me?

If you are interested, please come and visit the OFFICE, art tower 17th floor

Live projects, a waste of time..?

4 October, 2006

Why do we do live projects? Why do they have to be alternative? If the majority of students go on to work in commercial practices then shouldn’t the projects reflect this? They could be used as a stepping stone for future jobs, why not? Are we being taken advantage of? OK so it feels good to put something back into the community but as a student wouldn’t it feel better to have enough cash to eat and afford your rent, or to have free printing and model making materials? We’ll be in enough debt by the time we qualify so why shouldn’t we be able to avoid some?

Just to play devils advocate you understand…

Tom Vigar

Sliding scales

3 October, 2006


During our open minded discussion on 2 October, a number of parameters emerged that could be used to define ‘alternative’ architectural practice. On reflection this appeared to have become an area we overlooked during the early stages of the project. It was interesting to begin to ask questions about where the past and current live projects that we have collated could sit on sliding scales that could be used to connect the extremities of architectural practice. The possibility of mapping certain projects on these different scales raised the possibility of actually creating some kind of two or three dimensional representation. Paul refered to this in his comment on Architectural practice is… as a potential globe of parameters.


In order to define alternative practice, we paired some key definitions with their imagined opposites. All these pairings are purely suggestive and open to comments (click at the bottom of the article). If you feel some are inappropriate, edit this article and highlight them.

Do not be put off by their traditional linear pairing: these could easily be explored more easily through a series of three dimensional chords.

Competitive < – > Co-operative

Theoretical / Practical < – > Theory / Practice

Teacher / Student < – > Changeable roles

Hierachical < – > Flat

Structured < – > Flexible

Degree orientated < – > Process orientated

Knowledge < – > Judgement

Fixed (thinking) < – > Flexible (thinking)

Product < – > Process

Tutor centered < – > Student centered

Conservative < – > Speculative

Design / style < – > Design / research

Male < – > Inclusive

Individual < – > Group

Genius < – > Self critical

Traditional < – > Radical

Closed < – > Open

Internal < – > Sharing

Enclosed < – > Cross-disciplinary

Personal < – > Participatory

Profit < – > Non-profit

Regulatory < – > Freedom

Temporary < – > Permanence

Exclusive < – > Interactive

Dictated < – > Discussion

Infamiliar < – > Familiar

Distanced < – > Close

Telling / preaching < – > Understanding

Easy < – > Difficult

Blind < – > Aware

Problem Solving < – > Problem Making

Answers < – > Questions

Negotiable < – > Non-negotiable

Alternative architectural practice is…

2 October, 2006

(use the comment facility to finish the sentence)


27 September, 2006

From: James Brown

To: Zoe Lee, Emma Williams, Julia Udall, Kevin Ryan, Matt Plummer, Paul Bower, Pete Buist, Tom Vigar, Doina Petrescu, Florian Kossack, Tatjana Schneider

Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2006

Subject: James has invited you to use WordPress

Hi, this is James and this is your invitation to join the Live Project Live Project blog.

This will become our online conversation about the process our live project goes thorugh. Every member of the live project can log on and publish an entry, which is presented in chronological order on the homepage. Photographs and videos can also be embedded.

As agreed in Wednesday’s meeting, anyone who visits the blog can comment on a published entry, although you must be registered to write an actual entry.

Follow the instructions on the link below to subscribe. Just get an account, and then you can start writing and uploading.

Shall we begin by asking at least two contributions a week from each person? Please begin by writing up and publishing your personal ‘minutes’ and opinons on today’s Wednesday’s) meeting.

See you Friday,