OSA Issue #5 'CRAFT'

In today’s mass produced consumerist society in which our clothes come from China or India, our flat-pack furniture is quickly and simply erected, and our language is increasingly confined to abbreviations and word counts, is craft still relevant to our everyday lives? Craft can be described as an activity involving skill in the making of things by hand and as Amanda Game (curator of applied arts at RCA) describes it, it is the ‘expressive possibility’ that it unleashes that gives it extra vitality. Michaelangelo used the hammer and chisel to construct, an evidently traditional practice of craft, however today, as the computer becomes the norm, can the notion of craft be unearthed from the n

14th Annual Oxford Human Rights Festival | Increasing global empathy

One of the major challenges of those wishing to raise awareness about issues in distant lands is that of humanizing them and making them relevant to local audiences. However, in a world of increasingly interconnected politics and economies the idea of problems being foreign and only affecting people in far-away countries is becoming less and less relevant. In 2015, more than a million people including refugees and migrants crossed the European borders, some escaping war and others running away from dire economic conditions. In their quest for survival, both of these groups have had to leave their families and the life they once knew to venture into unknown territories where at many instances

Redefine convention

See things differently? Show us your idea. Enter the Re-think competition and your work could be showcased on TiP, Balmond Studio’s influential online ideas lab. The winner will also receive a £100 iTunes voucher and enjoy a private call with Cecil Balmond himself, one of the world’s leading thinkers on space form and structure. What is a Re-think? Anything with an original idea at its core is a Re-think. To put it simply – a piece of work that challenges the norm. Something that pushes the boundaries, creating an alternate way of thinking. What work can I enter? There really are an infinite number of possibilities. Your entry could be a standout design project, architecture research, a pio

Architecture 1999

Oxford School of Architecture, MArchD graduate considers the potential for both success and failure in predicting future trends of technology and their impact on architecture. I spoke to some people in a pub beer garden recently. After the usual introductions, and revealing myself to be an architecture student, one of the group made a comment ‘oh, haven’t you heard you’re out of a job?’, and proceeded to tell me how we as a profession are to be replaced with 3D printing. Now the conversation that followed could make an article on its own – suffice to say I don’t see a 3D printer doing that dodgy conversion and infill job in Cambridge town centre, or meeting the client to discuss their latest

Disease and efficiency

Architectural Researcher and Tutor at The University of Hong Kong presents a contemporary Baroque that engages with unknown truths in ways which current architectural styles cannot. “Beyond our immediate ends, man’s activity in fact pursues the useless and infinite fulfillment of the universe” - Georges Bataille. We live in an occulted world, which is seemingly indifferent to the human economies, linguistic divisions, and expectations which we continue to place upon it. Disaster after pandemic, and then disease after disaster, the world is ultimately inconceivable, constantly resisting the comprehending tools of both socio-economic and scientific research. In short, we exist as part of an ob

What lies beneath

UCL Space Syntax PhD Candidate Fani Kostourou consideres what we may learn from digging deeper into what archtects could call failure, highlighting six qualities of informal paths which she argues are worth integrating in formal planning. What becomes clearer than ever is that slums constitute an integral counterpart of contemporary cities. Most of the times they are portrayed as inappropriate and chaotic settings lacking of structure and basic infrastructure desperate for drastic solutions. Else, they are opaque urban zones yet “spaces of closeness and creativity”[1]. Instead of clearing, disregarding or re-inventing them, we as architects and planners can investigate more what most people

Skaters at the Centre of the World

In the heart of London, underneath a brutalist concrete jungle, lies ‘the Undercroft’. Once it was a huge sprawling space, stretching all the way to Belvedere Road at the back of the Southbank Centre. Slowly over time, the area was squeezed, lights were turned off, the ground cut into. A world class performing arts centre has got tired of kids with skateboards. Fifty years after the Festival of Britain, the Southbank Centre revealed plans for a huge development providing much needed space for the decaying venue, the Festival Wing. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios no one could have predicted the uproar that followed. Countless newspaper articles discussed the issue, and most surprisi

Be part of OSA Magazine

You are OSA Magazine. It is that time of the year when it is almost out with the old and in with the new. OSA Magazine is looking for fresh new students to collaborate with the existing team for the Spring issue. However that is not all. We are looking for enthusiastic, hard working ... wired, wild, passionate, committed and determined students to help us continue sharing ideas. OSA is looking for the next generation. We want students with initiative to take the magazine into the future and make it their own. If you are interested in reading, writing, sketching, editing, illustrating, designing, printing or talking on the radio about the world of architecture, then we have just the spot for

Multi-Sensing Space in Noise-Cancelling Architecture

“A thing, until it is everything, is noise, and once it is everything it is silence.” (Antonio Porchia) The dualism of sense and non-sense already is complicated by the dual nature of sense itself, where sense stands for both the sensual and the sensical. The limited range of architectural phenomena that extend into the senses, as in the haptic-optic spectrum, are imprinted and registered into the sensorium of the individual. The sensations of a space lies in its pulses, ambience, tones. In parallel, the nearly undetectable signals from spaces can also infiltrate our logical assumptions and cultural codes, with both forming the parameters of emergent possible architectural spaces for the des

Sensing Romania

The following pictures represent a photographic travel diary that speaks about how a group of young, IAESTE architecture interns, travelling for the first time in Romania, managed to discover and create a connection with the cities that they encountered throughout their journey. Following this summer experience, the process of designing became more enriching as a result of engaging all the senses. This ultimately led to a more meaningful sense of how surroundings are perceived whilst moving through space and time. “As we open a door, body weight meets the weight of the door, legs measure the step as we ascend a stair, a hand strokes the handrail and the entire body moves diagonally and drama

Beauty is Skin Deep

In countless communities around the world, old and historic buildings, which have withstood multiple decades, storms and (as with changing seasons) have seen different occupants, passers-by and guests across centuries, are being torn down. Erased from history and from memory, merely for being old. In instances like these, is architecture merely an opportunity to witness the end result, prime notoriety comprised of modern materials and a 'forward-thinking', encrypted vision? Or can old, decrepit shells of 'what once was', hold both beauty and lessons of practicality and good craftsmanship for new designers to take note? When you see an old home, descriptors like 'decrepit', 'unstable', 'old-f