Professor Mari Lending from The Oslo School of Architecture and Design visited to give a talk on her latest book, which explores a history of the “copy and original” in architectural exhibitions, demonstrating that how, in the 19th Century, many plaster cast copies were taken of architectural monuments and distributed around Europe and North America, without any complaint that they weren’t an original piece of work. Indeed, the talk provoked important questions about the makeup of authenticity, and I was happy to present my current work which looked into the concept of the original in restoration and conservation theory.
This year’s lecture series by the MARG at the University of Manchester has been announced. Some of the academic staff will be involved in presenting their latest research topics, with an opportunity to discuss their ideas with the PhD students. I offered my assistance in the design of this year’s poster, and I look forward to attending a number of the talks.
Professor Andres Lepik from the Technical University of Munich, came to the University of Manchester to give a talk on his book and MoMA exhibition which he curated titled; ‘Small Scale, Big Change’. Whilst the talk was fascinating, it was also an opportunity for me to present an early stage of my work, in which I aimed to open up a conversation, based on Andres’s experiences, based on the process of curation, and the objects on exhibit.
It was very exciting to make a small appearance in the short anthropological documentary ‘What We Do Here’, which sought to explore learning through making in the B.15 modelmaking workshop. Following a series of students through their design process over the course of the year, the film shone a light on the various challenges to overcome in design, and the means by which a model can help traverse various design hurdles. Premiering at the Venice Biennale this year, the short film went on to receive a silver and bronze award for ‘Independent Short Awards’ at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film was directed by Kieran Hanson and Howard Walmsley. It was also a great chance to visit Venice once more and catch up with some of my old friends.
Before the completion of the Master’s degree, an end of year show has been curated and constructed by the Continuity in Architecture studio atelier, in which we were able to display our work over the course of the year. This included designing the exhibition, in which we painted plinths and tables, fitted appropriate spot lighting and draped some curtaining along the walls. The exhibition was made in time for visitors including architectural practices and family.
I have been accepted onto the University of Manchester’s PhD programme in Architecture starting from September 2019! My subject interest was an extension from the work I dedicated to my Master’s dissertation, in which I received a commendation for applying the works anthropologist and philosopher, Bruno Latour onto the corpus of Le Corbusier, to provide an alternative reading to his canonised architectural history. I will work with the supervision of Professor Albena Yaneva and with the co-supervision Dr Leandro Minuchin. I was very fortunate to receive funding from the external funding body of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), alongside the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP). I very much look forward to getting started!
This year’s study trip took us to Catania on the west coast of Sicily and under the watchful eye of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano. The trip was an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of the city and find a site of interest for the Master’s thesis project. The site which I discovered was located by a Baroque church, which overlooked a square now dominated by traffic. I thought it could be interesting to work with the square, and the frontage of the church to develop my programme.
As is customary at the beginning of the academic year, the school takes part in a week-long project involving teams of roughly 20 people across each year. The brief required us to develop ideas on future living in the city, in particular along Oxford Road, as the city council aims to make it a ‘World Class Street’.
Our project imagined dwelling as a transitory inhabitation in which the homeowner may move from place to place within their contained living space and the students were asked to design their living space for a chosen occupant.
My application to work at the university was accepted and this academic year I am contracted to one day a week assisting in the model making workshop. Applicants were required to diagram 'What makes a good session?' and include a 300 word statement on the link between skills and design.
The job entails aiding the technicians by assisting the undergraduates with the laser-cutter, the flat bed paper cutter and the 3D printer. Looking forward to it!
After a few late nights, my group and I completed our exam with full marks! I have made some wonderful friends in Italy and benefitted from an alternative perspective on design. Grazie mille miei amici: Francesco Madinelli, Edoardo Sartorato, Gabriele Folador e Matteo Isacco!