Working with ‘Liveness’ at Sheffield…

There will be a book.

The book will be about the nature of ‘live’ pedagogy; ‘liveness’ in general rather than just Live Projects as an ingredient for that condition; the applied nature of researched-based practice and ‘live’ as a way of teaching; drawing things out from 13 years of teaching at the Sheffield School of Architecture, to derive something broader and more meaningful for practice.

It will also look at the civic role of a project office based within a university. The Bureau of Design Research (BDR) has been doing projects in the city, bringing students back in after their formal education, but also pushing them out into the city to work. As a model, it is a way of teaching and a way of doing consultancy. Its location within a university is important – BDR probably wouldn’t have won certain work without the foundation of a project being in work carried out by students as part of their studies. The research informs – and leads – practice.

The Soar stream of projects is a prime example. Direct commissions (for BDR and others) than come out of ‘live’ work conducted by students (feasibility studies, participative exercises, etc), that then come full-circle to allow further ‘live’ opportunities for civic engagement by and with a university. (The Soar projects are discussed in a chapter of ‘Architecture and Participation’ – search Amazon). Further projects often feature shared organisations and procurement methods, further evidencing the live ‘effect’ – projects that continue to have a life outside of the university and beyond the academic career of its students.

Other Schools of Architecture are picking up on the value that Live Projects can add to an educational offer, but few (maybe none) are getting anywhere near the implications that ‘liveness’ can have for practice too, rather than remaining merely a pedagogical initiative.

Live is a model for education and for practice. It has implications for how you commission architects and where the power lies in the process of commissioning the built environment.

It also addresses the challenge of building an awareness of what people do in universities .

 

 

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