Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Sanderson, L., Lee, SJ., Stone, S., 2019.

Small Settlements Research Projects

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:Education, Design and Practice - Understanding Skills in a Complex World
Venue:Stevens Institute, New York / New Jersey
Dates:17/6/2019 - 19/6/2019

Deep significance is attached to familiar places by individuals and by communities, and thus, complex relationships can develop between the residents and the place that they inhabit. This quality that is present in the nature of the buildings and the streets is often generated by the ordinary actions of local people, many of who believe that their identity is essentially tied to the place that they inhabit.

Continuity in Architecture, a post-graduate studio for research, practice and teaching at the Manchester School of Architecture has been working directly with the local communities of Small Settlements surrounding the city, to develop meaningful and productive proposals for the development of the built environment.

Collaborative practices are embedded within this pedagogy. Partnerships have been established that break the boundary of the traditional educational establishment. These include relationships with local architects, with official organisations: town councils, planning departments, Twentieth Century Society, and English Heritage, and with unprofessional societies such as Neighbourhood Planning groups, and Church committees.

The Atelier encourages an awareness of particular craft-making processes, this practice goes beyond the studio and into the factory; for example, terracotta works and cast-iron foundry. Students developed detailed and ornamental elements that were directly forged from their understanding of material and place.

The students also worked with academics from different disciplines; including English, Ceramics and Geography. Relationships were established with poets, who interpreted the place in a similar manner with vastly differing results (verbal rather than visual).

The first section of the paper will discuss the embedded nature of this radical approach within the contextual practices of the atelier. The second section will explore a series of collaborative live design projects. The final section will show how these research-through-design projects have directly led to significant developments in the public planning of local places.