Emergent Studio Architecture Brixham Devon8

Door for a Priest – Brixham [50.3951° N, 3.5139° W] – MArch

Door for a Priest – Brixham [50.3951° N, 3.5139° W]

Emergent Studio - MArch - University of Portsmouth

So having spent 10 years teaching at under graduate level, I have stepped out of my comfort zone to teach at post graduate level. I have committed  to teaching in two studios this academic year, Landscape and Emergent studio. The Emergent studio holds a special place for us at PAD studio, as its run by my first boss Roger Tyrrell ( a kindred spirit) who is also our practice spiritual mentor! The Emergent studio has produced two of the current PAD studio crop, Ricky Evans and Collette Raine.

Three weeks into my new teaching experience and we have just been on our first field trip to Brixham in South Devon, a very small fishing town on the South West coast. For me this place is, solitude, a retreat, a place of contemplation and a place for mindfulness. The Emergent studio is all about mindfulness and careful consideration of understanding the principles of architecture and context.

So we arrive in Brixham at 12.00am  on 06.10.16, a latitude of  50.3951° N, 3.5139° W. The weather is a North Easterly, so our 16 students, feel the full effect of the rawness and bleakness of place like Brixham in the Autumn,  the fishing fleet are all at home in the Harbour, with local Fisherman busying themselves repairing nets and trawlers. We commence our weekend with a reading by Roger of Steven Holls Anchoring, which holds much resonance and importance related to everything we are about to discover and discuss :


Building Transcends physical and functional requirements by fusing with place, by gathering the meaning of a situation. Architecture does not so much intrude on a landscape as it serves to explain it. Illumination of a site is not a simplistic replication of its context : to reveal an aspect of a place may not confirm its “appearance.” Hence the habitual ways of seeing may well be interrupted. Architecture and site should have an experiential connection, a metaphysical link, a poetic link.

When a work of architecture successfully fuses a building and situation, a third condition emerges. In this third entity, denotation and connotation merge: expression is linked to idea which is joined to site. The suggestive and implicit are manifold aspects of an intention.

With the above resonating in our subconscious  we set out for a weekend of peeling pack the layers of our coastal location. Asking our students to forensically get beneath the skin of this place.

Visiting a range of scars left within the town, we ask students to carefully consider, how one might understand the context from a local perspective and how the Town might be organically, self repairing itself?

Real clients with live briefs and buildings are, visited and interrogated, with a view to students speculating on not only the architecture, but the commercial viability of such coastal located businesses

We complete our coastal journey at Berry head, a Napoleonic fort that presents the stunning morning light breaking through the clouds on the Horizon. The final act of our trip is to reflect  on Gottfireid Sempers Four Elements of Architecture and the Sterotomic Sketch!

As we continue our journey through the Emergent Studio, I will endeavour to publish updates on students progress.

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