David Kohn Architects
39–51 Highgate Road
London NW5 1RT
+44 (0)20 7424 8596 tel
This year Unit 5 will be considering spaces of music and performance in secondary schools. With changing attitudes to arts education and the government committed to the largest ever schools investment programme, there has never been a better time to explore the subject.
We will begin by considering architecture as layers upon layers of contexts that extend from the body into the world and back again. Each context has its own specific rules, requirements, pleasures, contradictions and each layer has a relationship to all of the others. In his 1949 essay, ‘Heavenly Mansions’, the architectural historian John Summerson, made a case for understanding Gothic architecture as an agglomeration of contexts, little houses that, piled one upon another, created city’s social spaces, the cathedrals of the day. We will make our own aedicules and then speculate as to the kinds of architectures that might be created as the space of individuals grows to encompass a school and the wider community beyond.
This process will be shared with children’s client groups at six secondary schools in Croydon who will set the briefs for little houses of music, performance and progressive cross-disciplinary teaching. We will be responsible for developing the briefs into credible urban propositions that suggest how school music facilities might become more integrated into their urban contexts and therefore encourage non-institutional uses. Croydon Council will be providing funding to then realise one of the projects later in the year.
The unit is interested in bridging the divide between the imagination and the city, to discover delightful architectures able to situate children in the world and provide memorable backgrounds to education. As in previous years the unit encourages playful exploration of form and programme. The year’s process is intended to be speculative and the outcome unexpected.
Tutors: David Kohn, Silvia Ullmayer