Survey of British Architecture

The London R&D Workshops: SURVEY of British Architecture

The architectural survey course is directed toward developing architectural literacy in evaluating buildings and urban assemblages in situ, and in placing these artifacts within historical and cultural frameworks.  A survey of British architecture could take us to many parts of the world, given the vast stretches of the globe in which Britain, in her days of empire, built structures and cities.  Many UK design firms have offices in London and abroad, and it is precisely this sense of a global design network intersecting with British design traditions, that situates architectural inquiry in this course.

The architectural survey course involves two key aspects: directly engaging works (whether archival objects or physical buildings visited in the field) and producing analytic representations of those works in order to glean lessons and construct architectural arguments.  Students produce their own sketchbook as well as analyze a palimpsest: these composite buildings offer examples of London’s changing field of opportunities, where architecture operates by continuous juxtapositions, stratification and transformations.

The Survey portion of the London R&D Workshops include local, regional and extra-regional trips related to the Workshop themes.  Regional excursions include locations such as Cambridge and Bath, and longer-range trips include cities such as Edinburgh, Rotterdam and Paris. Students also partake in local specialized tours, including for example the Lloyds building, the Soane Museum, and new works at London Bridge station.