Y3 Friday 17th March reviews

Hello year 3,

It was very nice to see your progress with the drafts and bookmaking, well done! Please continue experimenting with fitting the text and the images into your chosen formats for the next week and editing the text where needed.

Please prepare each 5 minute presentation that summarizes the key research material and how this has driven or impacted your design. We will be joined by the design tutors and they will be hearing for the first time about your books and projects. Schedule TBA. You can also think of a question related to your dilemmas that you need the help with and that you can pose to the jury.

Those of you who haven’t yet uploaded their work on blogs should be reminded to do so. Those of you who have submitted material for this week – you can edit those posts or submit a new post in the usual time-frame.

Have a good weekend!





Critical Reflection: 1st draft of your publication

For this Friday class you are required to finalise your detailed argumentation (developed in the last 5 weeks), which presents the relation of the specific research material with your: a)design method, b)architectural/programmatic decisions, or c)both a and b.

You should produce both:

  • a draft version of your 1500-words text and
  • the first complete version of your artist’s book.

These two levels of drafting will help you gauge how thick/big/foldable/buildable is your actual design output of this unit. The work should also include your thoughts on the links between the text and the image, and the status of the two put together. Thus, you are encouraged to combine the two at this stage, simulating the final artist’s book (even at the places where you might need to add some visual/textual material during the next two weeks).

As previously discussed: those 1500 words do not have to be  in a linear essay format, and can accompany specific elements of your design approach and tests. If they can be imaginatively embedded in the ‘design language’ of your publication, then we are on the right track! Each publication’s own format should be conceptually driven by your individual research topic and therefore visually communicate this carefully framed, original idea.

The use of specialised graphic software like InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop is expected. Although, the treatment of the materials other than plain white paper and format other than the conventional book for the final publication can be equally important to test at this phase, if this is central to communicating your unique concept, and as long as the manual fabrication is done with the same design dexterity. Remember that one publication can also consist from several volumes and a variety of materials.

TO KEEP IN MIND: relevance of your research material for the project output

Any design proposal does not exist in a socio-political vacuum, forms are derived to communicate meanings. Your graduation project has to have critical and social importance (e.g. show ability to question an identified impasse and propose an alternative solution) and this in turn has to be readable through/translated in your design, e.g. it cannot stay on the level of description like ‘the light will go on and off to give the effect of fear’. This has to be translated into specific spatial and material relations, which create such sensation through use. This needs to be readable in your experiments, sketches, drawings and models before they are then expressed verbally.

You should be reflecting on the treatment of spatial elements in your proposed design resolution that are supported by your argument, which in turn is built with the help of the research done (developed in the last 5 weeks). This research is based on the conceptual precedents, whose character we discussed in each class and I clarified several times.

I am looking forward to seeing your work online by 9am Thu 9th March, and discussing it accordingly in class on Fri 10th March!

Typical page 3rd March 2017

Dear year 3,

As stressed earlier, now is the time that parallel to questioning your design concept – you begin to make, fabricate and rethink what your typical page may look like in your artist’s books. I am saying typical page, as this will drive your uniform approach to the physical side of bookmaking (throughout your future book), but also conceptual side of what kind of thematic resources you imagine your design project can be reflected through. This may be on the level of the physical material, but also the elements of your visual language on the level of the graphic communication.

See for example how Ed Ruscha (the artist whose books we had the chance to flip through) rationalises his decision to make his artist’s books in the way he does.

He explains his choice of the research material that is related to the mode of viewing – from the air. You need to enquire your method of analysis in the similar way. Thus, in order to make the typical page for next Friday, 3rd March, please think of the mode in which your book will be read. This can be helpful, if, for example, you are exploring speed as a theme: how will your book ‘embody’ this theme? Will it have a device for speed reading? will the book emulate the vision from the car, that presents the landscape in the form of the horizontal lines? Will the book be designed to be read on the move (while cycling, while driving etc.).

Here you are welcome to think of the book conventionally (paper pages bound in an imaginative way), but you may want to go further and explore, what happens when your physical material of the book goes beyond the paper? For example, if tactility, or weight matters you will probably think more of 3rd dimension of the page and its material. Can text be communicated through relief inscriptions otherwise? If yes, you can still document that on the paper (if that seems the most pragmatic for your future reader): for example you can photograph your experiments of inscription in concrete, if it proves impossible to have book made of concrete as that would make it non-portable etc.

Your typical page may include the text only, image only, or both. Your final book will have to have both, but don’t be too concerned about the final outcome now. For the moment we are exploring the concept of translating your design topic into the communicative message in the book form.

Tate has quite a good collection of the artist’s books, if you wish to explore further from the UCA.
You would need to register in order to visit the collection. Or you may just broke through the catalogue for reading the descriptions of some books.

This can help you think of your unique concept that drives your bookmaking format.

Looking forward to seeing and discussing your experiments with the typical page.


Blog Survey 15th Dec: thank you!

Dear year 2,

Thank you for completing the survey about the blogging practice last week. The results of the 50% of the year sample (those of you who returned the survey), shows quite a high mark of the blogging impact on your learning: 7.33. Hopefully all that additional guidance for the readings/blog entries will reflect in your essays, too.

It is very nice to get your suggestions and comments on how the blogging can be improved to become even more useful for your learning. We will take them into consideration for the next year and your Dissertation/Critical Reflection work next year. So far, films/videos seem to be your favourite format for analysis.

As your personal Contextual and Theoretical Perspectives blog page is your own platform, you can still improve your weekly assignments until the final submission date and customize your pages outlook.

Thank you to those who participated!




Essay and Dissertation formats

Dear year 2 and year 3,

You will find the necessary information on the submission of your essays on 6th January and 27th of January respectively on myUCA. All uploaded under ‘Assessment Information’ of your respective modules.

Wishing you all Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!





Multistory lecture 24th Nov, G14 Cinema @5pm: Fran Cottell and Marianne Mueller

photo credit: Terry Watts

Artist Fran Cottell has been collaborating with architect Marianne Mueller since 2011, when documentation of Fran’s House Projects were exhibited by the Concrete Geometries Research Cluster; an initiative lead by Marianne that investigates the relationship between architectural form and social behaviour. The installation: The Relational in Architecture was then jointly developed for the research group at the Architectural Association. They recently co-produced (July-August 2016) the intervention Pentagon Petal for the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground. Publication published by Camberwell Press 2016. A book chapter: From House to Square, Rethinking the Social, edited by Jennifer Mack; Sten Gromark, Roemer van Toorn for Architecture in Effect, Rethinking the Social,  Sweden will be published 2017. links:http://www.pentagon-petal.org/


Pentagon Petal video


Fran Cottell is an artist, producing performance and installations since the 1970s. Her work questions live experiences within the fixed frame of the art institution – how to preserve life, or rather the breath of ‘aliveness’. She has featured in exhibitions, performance art festivals and lectured about her work worldwide. Her work has been presented at the South London Gallery, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, Mima, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Ulster Museum, Belfast, the Architectural Association, London and other institutions nationally. For over 10 years she has been staging of live installations displaying the contents, visitors and occupants of her house for CGPLondon, documented in House: from Display to Back to Front; published by ktpress and supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation. Fran is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts.



 Marianne Mueller is an architect and academic. She is a founding director of Casper Mueller Kneer Architects based in London and Berlin. The practice has been recognised in the fields of art, culture and fashion. Recent projects include the critically acclaimed galleries for White Cube in Bermondsey in London, commissions for Paris based fashion house Celine worldwide and exhibition designs for the Wellcome Trust and Science Museum in London and the Jewish Museum in Berlin. A graduate of the Technical University Darmstadt and the Architectural Association in London, Marianne worked with Chora / Raoul Bunschoten, taught at the University of East London, the Technical University Berlin and the Architectural Association in London. She leads the Concrete Geometries Research Cluster, an initiative that investigates the relationship between architectural form and social behavior. Marianne holds a Professorship for Architectural Design at the MSA, Münster School of Architecture.



Thursday 10th Nov, Multistory guest lecture by Helene Kazan, artist and researcher

(De)constructing Risk: A Domestic Image of the Future
Image from Dream Ramlet, a construction project situated near the ocean front Corniche, in Beirut, depicting one of the visualisations onsite, 2014. Image courtesy of the Helene Kazan.
Biography: Helene Kazan is a spatial practitioner, writer, and a current PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London. Kazan has recently lectured at XIII. Internationales Bauhaus-Kolloquium in Weimar (2016), the New School in New York (2016), the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry (2016), the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (2015), the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow (2015), and at ‘Urban Encounters: Movements/Mobilities/Migrations’ at the Tate Britain (2014). Recent published works include ‘Engineering Shelter’ for Ibraaz (2015), ‘Risk (De)constructed: Through the Future Image of Home’ in the 24th Edition of Cambridge University’s Architecture Journal, on the ‘Future Domestic’ (2015), and ‘A Cartography of Risk’ for ‘Forensis, The Architecture of Public Truth’ (Sternberg, 2014). Kazan was also a visiting lecturer at Hertfordshire University, in the Critical & Contextual Studies stream in the Interior Design, Bachelors Degree (2015).