Copyright 2007-2012
Built with Indexhibit

City Crowns

This year we will engage with the urban intensity of London and propose groupings of dwellings on the rooftops of the existing city. In contradiction to official plans to price council tenants from city centres and relax planning regulations for out of town greenfield sites, we propose to densify the city. Making use of 'air-rights' we will investigate spatial and structural opportunities for new living space to 'top up' existing buildings. We will then make proposals for new rooftop worlds with special attention to material and detail while exploring spatial and sculptural ideas.

Strategy of Addition

This strategy of addition follows on from previous studio 5 proposals for community sports halls inserted into post-war social housing areas. We will return to similar areas as well as investigating a range of buildings from different eras that reflect the social and economic mix of London.

Rooftop Inhabitation

The Victorians understood very well the potential of the London rooftop, many robust brick schools from this period support roof-top playgrounds. In the 1920s Le Corbusier called for the 'systematic utilization for domestic purposes' of the roof for roof gardens as one of his 'Five Points Towards a New Architecture.' The steady progress of building and services technologies bring further opportunities and challenges to the task of making an inhabited roof.

We will travel to Milan and Northern Italy to study the rich tradition of apartment living and the innovative work of a generation of post-war architects including Ernesto Rogers, Franco Albini and Luigi Moretti. We will study the spaces and quality of life within, relationships to the city and access to the sky - with its promise of quiet and fresh air.


New construction on an existing building is as much about understanding the old as proposing the new. A nuanced understanding of materiality and atmosphere will be as important as pragmatic structural considerations such as transfer of load and heavy versus lightweight construction.

There will be an emphasis on model making as a method of representation and we will once again explore materials and joints through a furniture scale design project.


Torre Velasca, Milan, (with the Duomo to the right) Ernesto Rogers and BBPR, 1958.