Unit trip to Havana

The next weeks 11 and 12, we will travel from Saturday 8th to Thursday 20th of December to HAVANA, capital city of Cuba. Specific visits to local exemplary buildings in Havana will be arranged, such as the exceptional National Art Schools by Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, Roberto Gottardi, the wavy concrete shells of the Nautic Club and Tropicana Cabaret by Max Borges y Recio, and gigantic Coppelia ice-cream parlour by Mario Girona.  Besides these architectural highlights, some visits will be focus on understanding past and new housing examples.

This trip will help to get certain knowledge of local architectural culture, material experimentation and ways of living. After the unit trip, some analytical drawings of the architectural examples visited should be elaborated. All documents produced will be compiled in a Unit Booklet or Video that will complete the first hypothesis reflected in London. A conclusion from this portfolio will help later to define both the CONTEXT or location for each building proposal and its programmatic CONTENT.

– Luis Eduardo Rodriguez, The Havana Guide: Modern Architecture 1925-1965, Princeton Architectural Press, 2000.
– John A. Loomis: Revolution of forms : Cuba’s forgotten art schools, New York : Princeton Architectural Press, 2011.
– Barry Bergdoll & Carlos Eduardo Comas: Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2015.
– Luis E. Carranza & Fernando Luiz Lara: Modern Architecture in Latin America: Art, Technology, and Utopia, University of Texas Press, 2015.

W11 City Presentation

Tutorials next Tuesday 28th of November will start at 10am with each group presentation of city studies in the following order:

GROUP 1 –L –
GROUP 2 – M1 –
GROUP 3 – M2 –
GROUP 4 – M3

After presentations, we will  check your pdf submission for Tuesday and new models. The time is limited so we will go through your work done in 15min.

Tutorials W10_2

Tutorials on Friday 30th November individual tutorials of work in progress will be as follows:

From 10,30  to 1pm – Third Years- Dana, Carlo, Cheri, Mira, Emily

From 2 to 6pm – Second Years – Jumana, Carmen, James, Marina, Defne, Logan, Laetitia & Sonia

Remember next week Tuesday you should submit all your portfolio pages, including a catalogue of rules and variations over the proposal (diagrams)

Sample of Proposal rules by Kwang Yi Goh (Inter 8 2015-16)

Tutorials W10

Tutorials next Tuesday 27th of November of work in progress will be as follows:

10:00 GROUP 3 – M2 – Emily, Laetitia and Jumana
11am – Lecture on Havana by Kirsten Tan (University of Bath) altogether

12:00 GROUP 2 – M1 – Mira, Defne & Sonia
12:30 GROUP 1- L – Cheri & Marina
2:00  GROUP 3 –M3 – Dana, James and Logan
2:30 GROUP 4 – S –  Carlo and Carmen

From 3 to 6pm- Tutorials of individual work in progress following feedback from Jury. Remember that for the end of the week you should finalise:
– Concept revised – The page or pages with an image (collage or photograph of your proposal) with 300 words and a title summarising your argument (not project description).
– Transformations following key concepts and case studies
– A set of interior perspectives and a collage of your proposal.
– All work in progress and final models of proposal

Field Research

Havana Urban Fabric

Before deepening into material aspects of the block the unit should be familiarise with the different formal aspects of Havana City In groups, the unit will create an archive of drawings in different scales (Large, Medium
and Small) with information about the urban grain, voids, density and urban form. A special attention will be given to urban voids, buildings in derelict state and borders generated by tourist-directed developments and
local constructions. Readings on Havana city history and an understanding of its complex social structure will be also conducted to learn about its evolution and configuration of its urban fabric.

Seminar: Havana urban history and contemporary configuration (date tbc)

– Arturo Almadoz Marte: Planning Latin America’s capital cities 1850-1950, London: Routledge, 2002, pp. 193-213.
– Mario Coyula and Jill Hamberg: “The case of Havana, Cuba”, Understanding Slums: Case Studies for the Global Report on Human Settlements, UCL: London, 2003.
– Joseph L. Scarpaci, Roberto Segre, and Mario Coyula: Havana : two faces of the Antillean metropolis, Chapel Hill ; London : University of North Carolina Press Rev. ed. 2002.
– Roberto Segre, “The Pearl of the Antilles”, in Cruelty and Utopia, Princeton Architectural Press, 2005, pp.134-145.

End of the First Term Jury

First Term Final Jury on Friday 23rdth of November in 32FFB from 10 to 1pm and from 2 to 6pm. Our guest critics will be Naiara Vegara ( AA H&U; AA Semester Program), Pol Esteve (AA First Year), Amelia Vilaplana (AA First Year), Alicia Nahmad (AA DRL),  Georgios Eftaxiopoulos (AA Intermediate 14) & Gabriel Fernandez Abascal (Chipperfield Architects), Nacho Martí (AA First Year) and Francesco Zuddas (AA H&U)

Please place your models in the central table and pin-up drawings on the walls. As wall space is limited, the first three presenting should pin-up the work on the walls at 10am and 2pm, then you will swap with the next ones.

Tutorials W9

Last tutorials before the End of First Term Jury will be at unit space on Tuesday 20th of November as follows,

Morning –
10 Carlo
10.30 Dana
11 Cheri
11.30 Jumana
12 James
12.30 Defne

2 Carmen
2.30 Logan
3 Marina
3.30 Sonia
4 Laetitia
4.30 Mira
5 Emily

Perspective samples from Zaha Hadid


Tutorials W8_2

Tutorials at the end of the week will be on Friday 16th of November at unit space as follows,
10.00 Dana
10.30 Mira
11.00 Cheri
11.30 Emily
12.00 Carlo
12.30 Carmen

2.00 Marina
2.30 James
3.00 Laetitia
3.30 Jumana
4.00 Defne
4.30 Logan
5.00 Sonia

Please bring your work in progress printed!


Tutorials W8

Next tutorials will be on Monday 12th of November at unit space as follows:
10:30 Jumana
11:00 Emily
11:30 James
12:00 Dana
12:30 Logan

2:00 Cheri
2:30 Mira
3:00 Carlo
3:30 Dephne
4:00 Marina
4:30 Laettitia
5:00 Carmen
5:30 Sonia

Tutorials W7

Next tutorials after Rhino workshop will be on Friday 9th of November at unit space as follows:
10:00 James
10:30 Dana
11:00 Jumana
11:30 Emily
12:00 Cheri
12:30 Carmen

2:00 All student sin the unit. Presentation of last year portfolio by Marina Gubbins at unit space.

3:00 Mira
3:30 Dephne
4:00 Sonia
4:30 Laetitia
5:00 Marina
5:30 Logan

Please bring all your work in progress drawings printed and sketch models. It is highly importanmt that drawings are printed.

Tutorials W6

Next Monday 29th of October we will be working all together at unit space from 10am to 6pm.At 10am we will present you new brief. We will check everyone´s work in progress as we will go through the different tables. Please have your formal case studies selected.



FORM 2: Finding Formal Principles

Here, we will study diagrammatically various spatial organisations of medium and small scale buildings to find new composition solutions for this typology. General aspects defining these different examples form, such as voids, modularity, porosity, repetition and circulation, will be explored by diagrams. The initial proposals will evolve through different compositions iterations defining their formal intricacy.


We will be working from models to drawings and viceversa.

Seminar: The Sphere and the Labyrinth – Friday 26th of October at unit space
Workshop: Diagrams with Rhino at the Open Week

– Gonzalez de Canales, Francisco & Alvarez Lombardero, Nuria : “Right to the Form”, Arquitectos, 2010, Núm. 181, pp. 62-63.
– Aldo Rossi, “The Structure of Urban Artifacts. The individuality of Urban Artifacts”, in The Architecture of the City, Chapter 1, MIT Press, 1984, pp.20-57.
-Rafael Moneo, “On Typology”, Oppositions, MIT Press, 1978.

Tutorials W5_2

Tutorials at the end of this week will be on Friday 26th of October at unit space as follows:
10 Carlo
10.30 Chery
11 Emily
11.30 Logan
12 Sonia
12.30 Laetitia
1 pm All the unit case studies presentation and discussion Linear Blocks. Plese put all case studies in one pen drive for making the presentation smoother. you will have 3min to present your two case studies.

2.30 Mira
3 James
3.30 Carmen
4 Jumana
4.30 Marina
5 Dephne
5.30 Dana

6 pm All the unit lecture “The Sphere and the Labyrinth”

Sample pages

FORM 1: Understanding the Strip Block

Following the definition process of individual proposals, examples of linear urban configurations, such as Pedregulho by A. Reidy,  or L’illa by R. Moneo and M. Solà-Morales, will be scrutinised this week to understand this urban typology. As we are working with a building typology with a big presence in the city, critical studies on bigness and large-scale formal proposals will help to understand STRIP-BLOCK spatial organisation. Consequent findings of previous exercise will be later applied to initial SB proposals.

List of Buildings – Linear Blocks

-Ingrid Bock: “Wall: Exodus, or The Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture,, London, 1972Six_Canonical_Projects_by_Rem_Koolhaas” in Six Canonical Projects by Rem Koolhaas


Tutorials W5

Next tutorials will be on Tuesday 23rd of October as follows:

10 Carlo
10:30 Dana
11 Mira
11:30 Emily
12 James
12:30 Laetitia

1.00 All third years meet TS tutors at unit space

Brief meeting all unit at 2pm
2.30 Chery
3 Marina
3:30 Sonia
4 Dephne
4:30 Carmen
5 Logan
5:30 Jumana

Please work on your strip-block concept(samples of pages below) and keep working on your shape pages, models and design.



Shape Jury

First brief Jury will be next Friday 19th of October in 32FFB from 10 to 1pm and from 2 to 6.30pm.

The minimum work to present comprises:
– sketch models from Pin-up
– 1/250 material model of a 100m section of overall strip-block
– 1/500 material model of the whole strip-block and some material tests.
– 3-4  A2-panels with good sketches, drawings (axonometric, plans, section), photographs (general, close ups), a collage showing interior (see previous post samples) and a brief explanation of the proposal.

Other work pieces can be included as well as more A2 pages.

Models should be in a big central table and drawings pin-up on the room walls. Please be there the whole Jury and listen comments for you and your unit mates.

Guest critics are Alexandros Kallegias (AA VS Athens & Bartlett BPro), Fragkiskos Konstantatos (HAKON Studio), Amar Mehta (AA Part2 & Farrells) and Fang Lee (AA Part2 & Cambrige MA).



Tutorials W4

Tutorials before the Jury will be on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th of October in unit space as follows:

Monday 15th
3 James
3.30 Carlo
4 Logan
4.30 Carmen
5 Sonia
5.30 Jumana
6 Defne
6.30 Dana

10 Marina
10.30 Mira
11 Laettitia
11.30 Chery
12 Emily


Tutorials W3_2

Next tutorials this week will be on Friday 12th of October at unit space as follows:

Morning- from 10.30 to 1 – Third Years

Afternoon- from 2 to 6.30 – Second Years

Tutorials W3

Tutorials on the second phase of shape brief, material, will take place on Monday 8th of October  at unit space as follows:

From 10 to 12.30am – Third Years

12.30 to 1pm – All unit together- Presentation of some material examples.

From 2 to 6pm – Second Years

Please bring your work on material to advance on your shape definition. Please have a look to unit bibliography at library shelf on material.

Shape First Phase Pin-up

This Friday 5th of October we will have a pin-up of first schematic models at unit space starting at 10.30 am till 6pm. Bring all your models, sketches and drawings. If you have some material tests for next steps, please bring them as well. Please place your work in the central big table.

Tutorials W2

First tutorials of the academic year will take place on Monday 1st of October  at unit space as follows:

From 10 to 12.30am – Third Years

12.30 to 1pm – All unit together- Presentation of some examples.

From 2 to 6pm – Second Years

Please bring your work on the shape. The models to be produced for Friday are: a 1/500 model of the overall strip-block and a 1/250 model of a 100m section


As a starting point the unit will explore through models the initial shape of 2,5 Ha plan STRIP-BLOCK (SB) For this aim, this exercise will encompass two main explorations: the overall SB shape and the intricacy of its

Firstly, this exploration will be developed in a purely intuitive manner. Different materials, such as paper, cardboard, cloth, foam, cables, wood and metal sticks, will be initially use to have a range of schematic shapes
that will be later used to define formal ideas.

After a critical analysis of these first models to find their intrinsic principles, two models of the SB will be constructed individually. The first a 1/500 scale model showing the overall shape and the second a 1/250 model showing in more detail its intricacy. In this second exploration, the experimentation will be focused on material aspects of the proposal. Stiffer materials such as wood, metal, stone, terracotta and plaster are recommended to discover other possibilities for SB schematic designs. Students are invited to feel comfortable with these materials, and learn rules and modelling criteria out of their manipulation.

References: Mathias Goeritz, Manuel Felguerez, Jorge Yazpik, Jorge Oteiza, Eduardo Chillida, Saloua Raouda , Lygia Clark, Gego and Helio Oiticica, among others.
Reference Books:
– Yve-Alain Bois: Geometric abstraction: Latin American art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection, New Haven : Yale University Press, 2001.
– Chris Lefteri: Materials for Design, London: Laurence King Publishing, 2014.
– Studio Aikieu: Material Alchemy, Amsterdam : BIS, 2014.
– Catherine, David: Wilfredo Lam, The EY Exhibition, Harry N. Abrams, 2016.
– Molly Donovan and Ann Gallagher.: Rachel Whiteread, London: Tate Publishing, 2017.


Intermediate Unit 8 Brief

Politics of a Strip Block

Communities beyond two Havanas

“In the Kingdom of Heaven there is no grandeur to be won, inasmuch as there all is an established hierarchy, the unknown is revealed (…). For this reason, bowed down by suffering and duties, beautiful in the midst of his misery, capable of loving in the face of afflictions and trials, man finds his greatness, his fullest measure, only in the Kingdom of this World”

Alejo Carpentier

Considering Cuba’s gradual exposure to a global economy, the future development of Havana City has come into question. Physically frozen for decades, Havana has addressed its slow urban redevelopment with a keen eye on tourism. Clear examples of this tendency can be found in the ongoing plan to build a 42-fl oor luxury hotel and the Ministry of Tourism has proposed the construction of a further 7,500 new hotel rooms by 2025. However, in adjacency, 132,000 Cubans have no home and live in government shelters as urban decay continues to displace Habaneros across the city. All these conditions reinforce the idea of two different, but co-existent Havanas: a visible and festive haven for tourists and certain elites, on the one hand, and a dense and hidden constellation of local communities on the other. This academic year, Intermediate Unit 8 proposes to work on new building typologies in Havana capable of imagining scenarios for a possible inclusion of these ‘two Havanas’ into specific strips of friction.

Students will work on a linear urban block strategy for 3,000 inhabitants (ranging 300 to 500 metres long and 10 to 50 wide) to negotiate these political tensions and their occurrence in urban, social, cultural and material contexts. Examples of linear buildings will be scrutinised so as to understand this urban typology and material experimentations will be conducted to challenge local prefabricated construction methods. In short, confronting the relation of these ‘two Havanas’ not only informs a deeper understanding of local community, but also – as forms of knowledge that can challenge the global status quo – forces a consideration of its technologies and economies.