London Board schools as a fertile ground for studio design work

Undergraduate studio 6 at the School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of North London had been concerned for many years with the decline of public space and the way that this space was being used in a climate of diminishing resources. The studio had observed the shifting relationship between urban landscape, both natural and artificial, and its occupation, both ephemeral and enduring. This relationship appeared obscure and unpredictable.

In order to explore further, the studio began looking for a typical family of existing buildings each set within its own topology, with established social uses, and occupiers who were accessible to questioning and might even be persuaded to take part in the design process. If there was a pressing programme for change that could be enlivened by animated interaction with the users then the imagination and creativity unleashed by such a process might be profound.

In the teaching year 1999-2000 the studio focused on the problems and opportunities of London Board schools. The design briefs of the architecture students were to be derived from both their own empirical responses to the fabric of the school and their dialogue with pupils and staff.