The Conservation of National Assurances

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Above: an example of presenteeism in the office

This morning the publication of the ‘Thriving at Work’ report, commissioned by Theresa May, revealed the material impact that mental health is having on the British economy (up to £99 billion)*. Although the evaluation of the cost impact, over the experiential impact, embodies current consumerist attitudes towards personal suffering, It couldn’t have come at more relevant time.

Alongside the impact to the British economy, our mental health has a huge impact on the finite life of the individual and the continuing life of society.

With the rise of secular society, loss of spiritual and community benefits, and the collapse of the welfare state (along with all its assurances), collective anxiety is at an all time high.

Without a narrative or collective identity to which we belong, I am intending to conserve a lost sense of national assurance, with which we used to find in cultural, institutional and government authorities.

Eleanor C.Hill

*Thriving at Work: a review of mental health and employers. (26th October 2017). Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health.

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ADS2 CPD #2: Economics

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Photo: 13 proposals expressed in Microsoft Excel

This year, whilst on sabbatical, ADS2 is holding a series of three CPD* workshops, one per term, open to all MA Architecture students.

Based on the sessions that ADS2 has run for several years, the workshops will be opportunities to ground projects in the realities of practice – law, economics and politics – and see these not as constraints but as fields for critical and creative design.

Each workshop will involve developing students’ thesis projects through an unfamiliar lens, and an unfamiliar format, to produce potentially profound and surprising design outputs.

Workshops will start with an evening briefing, a day-long working session with tutorials, and then an evening review, each framed by talks and criticism from invited special guests from outside of architecture: politicians, activists, economists, lawyers, policymakers, developers.

Each workshop will be run by David Knight and Finn Williams, with support from Asif Khan and Charles Holland and from invited guests.

The second workshop, Economics, happened on the evening of 28 February and all day on the 1 March, with guests George Turner (campaigner and journalist), Michelle Hannah (Cast), Euan Mills (Future Cities Catapult) and Charles Holland. Using only Microsoft Excel students explored the possibilities of their proposals in the context of viability and expressed their financial models – again solely using Excel – in A4 diagrams for presentation to the rest of the group. The results can be seen above.

* ‘Critical Professional Development’

ADS2 CPD #1: Law

gDSC_3923.jpgPhoto: 16 current laws and 16 transformations, Gilbert Leung at DK-CM.

This year, whilst on sabbatical, ADS2 is holding a series of three CPD* workshops, one per term, open to all MA Architecture students.

Based on the sessions that ADS2 has run for several years, the workshops will be opportunities to ground projects in the realities of practice – law, economics and politics – and see these not as constraints but as fields for critical and creative design.

Each workshop will involve developing students’ thesis projects through an unfamiliar lens, and an unfamiliar format, to produce potentially profound and surprising design outputs.

Workshops will start with an evening briefing, a day-long working session with tutorials, and then an evening review, each framed by talks and criticism from invited special guests from outside of architecture: politicians, activists, economists, lawyers, policymakers, developers.

Each workshop will be run by David Knight and Finn Williams, with support from Asif Khan and Charles Holland and from invited guests.

The first workshop, Law, happened on the evening of 21 November and all day on the 22nd, with guests Cat Drew of the Cabinet Office Policy Lab, Asif Khan (ADS2) and Phineas Harper (The Architecture Foundation). Using only the Comment and Track Changes functions of Word, students explored the possibilities of 16 existing pieces of legislation and then developed interventions in each law, teasing our latent potentials or transforming them to achieve new ends.

* ‘Critical Professional Development’

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Sam Brown: London Coventry

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London Coventry is a blueprint for how industry can play a productive role in the future of mixed-use development and an antidote to the monoculture of urban peripheries.

Remixing edge and centre, luxury and popular, mobility and comfort, emerging manufacturing techniques sample the post-war city to create a poly-centric aerotropolis edge-city structured by a series of industry-enticing ‘enterprise zone market crosses’.

With emerging manufacturing techniques come new and difficult labour and social relations. As people’s behaviours alter through the inception of autonomous travel, and Coventry modifies its relationship with London, tensions begin to arise and are played out through the project.

Cecily Chua: Murky Waters

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Murky Waters proposes a counter-regeneration strategy for London’s Docklands, a heavily overwritten area littered with the results of late twentieth-century masterplans and economic zoning. Drawing on a rich history of conflict (including between Thatcher’s London Docklands Development Company and The People’s Plan for the Royal Docks, a popular movement aided by the GLC in coalition with local campaign groups) the project is an experiment exploring the possibilities unlocked by embracing conflict as a creative and necessary design agent in the planning of contested sites.

Sited within the LLDC ‘site’ boundary, the project uses real tensions present in 3 large-scale proposed developments as the catalysts for creating new democratic typologies which reflect multiple desires.