Liveness 2020

Unit 12 – Everything is Transformation

Liveness 2020 (Archive)


Hanan Abdulamir, Arbana Berdynaj, Fraser Biggins, Cosmin Chirpac, Matthew Lo, Hannah O'Flaherty, Rashi Shah, Ciara Tobin, Charlie Tomlinson, JY Khoo, David Turner, George Fiddes, Minsung Lee, Ran Li, Yuxin Wu, Deborath Robles Claudio


Peter St John, Fabienne Sommer, Ben Speltz & James Hand


Philip Christou, Nina Lundvall, Christian Frost, Matthew Barac, Dirk Somers, Amy Perkins, Takero Shimazaki, David Illingworth, Joe Jack Williams, Stephanie Macdonald, Bernd Schmutz, Florian Summa, Sam Casswell, Thomas Back, Maria Conen, Raoul Sigl

The idea of transformation was the subject of Unit 12’s work this year. In an attempt to look more thoughtfully at ourselves and what we represent in this unstable time, the studio looked to make propositions for a new architecture department for the School of Art, Architecture and Design at its site in Aldgate. We focused on the transformation of the existing buildings, which are themselves conversions from previous uses, looking at the potential of those existing structures, and how they could be enlarged and improved to make a permanent home for the school at Aldgate. 

In the European city, everything involves changing what already exists, every architectural project is a form of rebuilding. Students explored the ethics and aesthetics of transformation; the deep, almost alchemical, process of re-use and reinterpretation which enables and expresses the continuing development of urban life. Learning from many examples, we demonstrate how a respect for found things, and an enjoyment of the act of overlaying and accumulation in the history of a building, can lead to architecture as diverse, spirited and radical as any new structure.

We began by examining models of transformation and travelled to Berlin to visit historic and contemporary examples of reconstruction and reuse in the transformation of the metropolitan city. Students then examined how the School’s teaching and organisation works now, with each student preparing their own Manifesto’s for how teaching should work today.  Students explored examples of architecture schools from the 20th century where the building represents the teaching philosophy of the school. The culmination of the year was the transformation of the School of Art, Architecture and Design; reusing, extending and building upon the existing structure, in a more eloquent and idealistic version of itself.

MA-Architecture Students Work

5th Year Students Work

4th Year Students Work