EVOLVING SPACES
Architects in Residence

Autumn Term Residency
Dulwich College, London, 2018

Architecture is not static but is an ever-changing phenomenon that is constantly responding to its environment and the users that occupy it. alma-nac took up residency in The Store at Dulwich College to explore this idea with the students.

Evolving Spaces residency concept model.

Evolving Spaces residency concept model.

The empty Store space .

The empty Store space .

The Store building provides an ideal setting within which to begin to explore architecture and time, allowing one to consider how the space itself has been reappropriated and how it may continue to adapt and change in the future.

The Store is a former disused pump house in Dulwich College in London, which has been given a new lease of life over recent years as a space for art exhibitions, performance and music for students and visiting artists. However, the building itself lacks identity, it is tucked away between various other buildings and has poor connections to surrounding buildings and public spaces.

“I like ruins because what remains is not the total design, but the clarity of thought, the naked structure, the spirit of the thing.” - Tadao Ando

Ground floor view. A large skylight allows north light to pour into the workshop/gallery space while retaining the roughness of existing painted brickwork and exposed roof structure.

Ground floor view. A large skylight allows north light to pour into the workshop/gallery space while retaining the roughness of existing painted brickwork and exposed roof structure.

To introduce the students to the world of architecture and the various methods by which architectural ideas manifest themselves, alma-nac have created three distinct zones of investigation within on the site, each depicting a different aspect of the discipline: Experience, Process and Realisation.

Experience; an installation exploring how a design affects its occupant.

Process; by transposing elements of their London studio within the space alma-nac illustrate some of the various ‘tools of the trade’ that can be employed in order to assist in the development and realisation of architectural projects, be they finalised buildings or conceptual propositions.

Forum; the key space required for any architectural project. A place where the collective formation and visualisation of ideas can be shared, discussed, and mutually explored.

The process of exploring and re-interpreting the architectural precedents was introduced to students. Their architectural response addressing the observations about the Store began with the analysis of natural light, [1]  spaces for learning [2]  and building reuse and re-purposing, [3]  evident in the works of past architects and theorists.

The process of exploring and re-interpreting the architectural precedents was introduced to students. Their architectural response addressing the observations about the Store began with the analysis of natural light,[1] spaces for learning[2] and building reuse and re-purposing,[3] evident in the works of past architects and theorists.

alma-nac ran an interactive workshop, aiming to introduce the students to different modes of architecture (Photo credit: S. Mulholland).

alma-nac ran an interactive workshop, aiming to introduce the students to different modes of architecture (Photo credit: S. Mulholland).

During the residency alma-nac developed a dialogue with the students and staff through a series of workshops in the Store exhibition space. This resulted in a collaboration with year 12 and year 13 students aimed to design and reimagine the next iteration of The Store that could help to revitalise the disused pump house and to allow new and unexpected activities to take place. It was an exploration of space and material but also the School’s pedagogy.

Forum - a place where the collective formation and visualisation of ideas can be shared (Photo credit: Agnese Sanvito).

Forum - a place where the collective formation and visualisation of ideas can be shared (Photo credit: Agnese Sanvito).

Different massing studies by students exploring the new opportunities for the roof at the Store space.

Different massing studies by students exploring the new opportunities for the roof at the Store space.

The wider student and local population were also invited to have their say and become involved in how the Store space can evolve and develop in the future. The workshop feedback and gathered findings were then converted into quantitative data.

The wider student and local population were also invited to have their say and become involved in how the Store space can evolve and develop in the future. The workshop feedback and gathered findings were then converted into quantitative data.

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[1] Richardson, M. (2014). John Soane, Architect: Master of Space and Light. London: Royal Academy of Arts.

[2] Hertzberger, H. (2013). Lessons fo r Students in Architecture. Rotterdam: 010 Uitgeverij.

[3] Richardson, M. (2014). John Soane, Architect: Master of Space and Light. London: Royal Academy of Arts.