Unit 14 – Mad about Barking [and Dagenham]

Liveness 2020 (Archive)

Tutors: Pierre d’Avoine and Pereen d’Avoine

Unit 14 was invited by Barking and Dagenham Council to work in the borough again this academic year after a highly successful collaboration with Tamara Horbacka, the Council’s cultural policy and commissioning manager, and colleagues in 2018-19, researching and making proposals for the newly formed Creative Enterprise Zone along the River Roding. As a result David Harley, head of Be-First Regeneration Ltd, provided Unit 14 students with a space at River Mill Studios, Barking to exhibit their work and where students engaged with members of the public, developers as well as Council policy makers.   

At a time of intense political speculation and potential upheaval owing to Brexit Unit 14 focussed on the necessity to encourage trade in the borough. Exchange occurs naturally when individuals come together. The nature of exchange as a socially inclusive enterprise forms the basis for the complex modern economic, legal and political systems that have been created in order to regulate our democracies, to engender a sense of the civic and enhance a duty of care and neighbourliness at all scales. 

“A part of what ecological urbanism does is expand the palette of precedents beyond landscape architecture to embrace the phenomenological and experiential sense of the city all the way to sustainability at the scale of architecture.” Charles Waldheim.

In this context Unit 14 discussed the making of architecture and the city as the setting for public life – a landscape theatre. Students speculated on what constitutes an inclusive public realm and have designed scenarios for exchange which impact positively on the extensive new mainly commercial development under construction in the borough. Student design theses questioned the way in which land is procured and commodified in the city and proposed new ways of forming communities and livelihoods through intelligent design and building strategies. Students were asked to consider the environmental impact of new development and the influence of digital technology on the way we live, work and play, its potential for social exchange and the means by which their projects may be brought into being. 

Thanks to:

Tamara Horbacka, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Cultural Policy and Commissioning Manager

Pat Hayes, Managing Director Be First Regeneration

David Harley, Head of Regeneration, Ge First Regeneration

Karen Rushton, Borough Archivist

Peter Murray, New London Architecture

Tony Swannell

Miraj Ahmed


David Roy, The work of James Gorst Architects

Doug Hodgson and Tom Lewith, The work of TDO Architects

Barnaby Hughes, 

Kaori Homma, Art practice and installation at St George’s Church, Ivychurch, Romney Marsh  with Kai McLaughlin

Caspar Rodgers, The work of alma-nac

Alec Scragg, Essex Marginal Landscapes

Liz Adams, The work of Adams and Sutherland

Dean Hawkes, The Environmental Imagination

Miraj Ahmed, On Drawing

Rosie Hervey, Community led housing

Portfolio and IDS presentations

Jessica Phillips

Tunde Oyebode

Dylan Radcliffe Brown

Ollie Riviere

IDS/ ATA consultants

Stephen Foster, Foster Structures Ltd

David Grandorge

Sian Moxon

James Payne


Liz Adams

Matthew Barac

James Binning

Sandra Denicke

Ros Diamond

Dean Hawkes

Andrew Houlton

Barnaby Hughes

Nate Kolbe

Jon Lopez

Jane McAllister

Colin O’Sullivan

Tunde Oyebode

Jessica Phillips

Dylan Radcliffe Brown

Ollie Riviere

Caspar Rodgers

David Roy

Ben Stringer

Tony Swannell

Keita Tajima

Tamara Horbacka

Brendan Woods