What has empathy got to do with architecture? Can a room full of children help us find out? Or maybe an actor, a psychologist, a meditation teacher, and a storyteller? How to design a process that makes space for others? Gain new research and brief making skills, and apply them to a concrete design.

This 10 day workshop provides the opportunity to enter the minds of visitors and staff of the Markfield Project, to practice and develop participatory strategies, and to establish design principles for the future development of the Markfield building.The site of this research is the inextricable evolution of programme and building at Markfields, a charity providing an inclusive place for children of all abilities to play, which will provide a rich mine into an understanding of the architect’s role as an operator on the interface of people and place.
A series of expert workshops will jumpstart a conversation around the multi-faceted nature of social spaces, covering play, landscape, lighting, learning among others. The opportunity to engage with a concrete place that is working hard to provide a variety of programmes to people of acutely varying needs will challenge you to

  • shape your understanding of briefmaking and agency
  • bring an overall accuracy to multidimensional briefs
  • test your idealism against a detailed understanding of pragmatic real world constraints and bring precision to your assumptions about ‘what people want’.
  • learn to communicate to different audiences in appropriate lingo
  • act on your sense of social responsibility
  • gain an understanding of the value of establishing relationships when working with existing communities, and the ability to understand that more than its physical envelopes, places are defined by their uses and their perception.

You will attend a series of workshops that will provide a range of skills in a short period of time and receive feedback from the educational experts of Markfield throughout. For Markfield, the summer school will provide an opportunity to take stock of the opportunities and challenges presented by their building, and to articulate a vision for its future development.

The Summer school is a collaboration of the Markfield Project and the University of East London. It is part of on ongoing research into designs of spaces which better accommodate a wider range of uses and users to form socially sustainable communities.

Email us a short message as to why you would like to join, or to find out more.