London’s rich and multilayered urban environment is the crystallization of centuries of dramatic events, political decisions, economic opportunities and social conflicts. From the street grid of the Roman Castrum to the monasteries of the medieval city, from the elegant squares of the Lords to the overcrowded working class estates, from the exposed concrete of the welfare State projects to the shiny glass of financial speculation and communication age, every significant shift left a trace in the urban form and redefined London’s territory.
Investigating the process of territorial formation through the lens of history, theory, representation and narrative, the Syracuse Architecture London Program deploys conceptual, cultural and technical instruments to read the city and address the contemporary condition.
Walking through the history of London’s built environment the Program examines the role of architecture in responding to epoch-making events like the Great Fire and the WWII blitz, while through drawing and direct observation, it investigates how the distinction between the public and the domestic sphere has been constructed through architectural elements and details. Furthermore, by studying examples of European cities and the role of representation techniques and visual culture in defining their territorial relationships, London’s urban condition is measured against the wider continental context.
These inquiries and reflections construct a body of knowledge which allows the architectural project to become critical instrument to address the contemporary condition, intersecting to intersect the dramatic housing crisis with the crucial issues of preservation, building conversion and urban regeneration, to envision radical scenarios of co-habitation.
Working from different perspectives and across scales and disciplines, the multilayered approach of the Syracuse Architecture London Program constructs a research platform which uses the complexities of London’s urban environment as a material and architecture as a method to propose a project for the city.