UEL Unit G 97/98 Unit Trip
Degree Unit G
The University of East London 1991 - 1999
The programme of the Unit concentrated on the relationship between
architecture and its site. Projects in the year usually comprised a
theoretical study, site investigations, a full-size construction
project, and a main design project on an urban site. 1991/92: projects
for two unplanned areas of Rotterdam - the Blaak railway station in the
city centre, and a new city in the Waalhaven docks - using the existing
and new planning grids; 1992/93: projects for two empty areas of Berlin
- the Kulturforum and the Potsdamerplatz; 1993/94: projects for two
unused parts of London - a cafe on the South Bank and an opera-house in
Soho. The unit trip was to Vienna: cafes by Hermann Czech and WWII
the unit trip was to Portugal, looking at the work of Alvaro Siza; the
project was the making of place in the landscape of Sagres. 1995/96:
a project on the South Bank, on a site currently used as a car-park. We
were guests at Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation in
Marfa. 1996/97: projects in the Royal
Albert Dock and a warehouse in Clerkenwell. The unit trip was to
Switzerland:Le Corbusier, Herzog &deMeuron and Luigi Snozzi. 1997/98:
to Mexico to experience urban life in Mexico City and Oaxaca and to
study the work of Luis Barragan; a design project for housing in
Wapping. 1998/99: a trip to Liechtenstein
through Germany and France; a workshop in the
Spörryfabrik, an abandoned textile factory in Vaduz. The main
project was for a mixed-use building in Deptford.
> The Book of the Year 1 [University of East London 1994]
> The Book of the Year 2 [University of East London 1995]
> The Book of the Year 3 [University of East London 1996]
> The Book of the Year 4 [University of East London 1997]
> The Book of the Year 5 [University of East London 1998]
> The Book of the Year 6 [University of East London 1999]
While teaching at UEL Thomas Deckker was the the originator and leader of an important initiative in architectural education: the first visit by a European school of architecture to the Chinati Foundation in Marfa.
While teaching at UEL Thomas Deckker, Elden Croy and Graeme Little were invited to lead an international student urban design competition for the new University in Sarajevo, run by the University of Sarajevo in conjunction with the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, a EuropaForum initiative to reintegrate the former Yugoslavia into the European system of architectural education. The siege in the city had just been lifted but there was still open conflict in the surrounding countryside in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which made travel difficult.
Thomas Deckker published a photographic study "Sarajevo: post siege" by Elden Croy and Graeme Little in Issues [University of East London 2000].
|Gideon Brimmer Degree Unit G 1995/96
Sketchbook for Landscape/Architecture Block Project
|Thomas Deckker ran
Degree Unit G at the University
of East London between 1991 and 1999.
During this time he evolved a teaching programme which focussed on
developing the students' direct experiences of architecture.
A video for The
Atelier Project in
Teaching demonstrates the ethos and practices
of the Unit from both the
teachers' and students' viewpoints.
Thomas Deckker based his conference paper on architectural education at the First International Seminar on the Teaching of the Built Environment [SIEPAC], University of São Paulo, Brazil
on his work in Degree Unit G.
The year began with a studio project so that students could develop conceptual as well as drawing and model-making skills. We then moved to design projects at various scales, from built projects in warehouses to urban design. The Unit Trip was an important part of the year, as it allowed students to experience relevant works of architecture and to work together as a team (as a result eating together became a wonderful unit experience).
The students kept a record in sketchbooks of the entire year's work,
including the development work of the projects and the unit trip, which
were presented with the final design drawings and models. Each student
received at least one hour of personal tutorial a week, in which their
individual progress was monitored and any problems discussed. The
progress of the unit was monitored by frequent reviews to ensure that
the objectives of the programme were being met and overall performance
satisfactory. The Unit programme, timetable, reading lists, and records
of reviews were maintained in the Studio as a teaching resource.
The technical studies formed an integral part of the design process.
They started simultaneously with the design of the building, to explore
and define specific issues of the material nature of architecture. An
artificial sky and artificial sun - to duplicate the conditions of
light on the site - were used to investigate specific proposals.