Intermediate 16 New Babylon_Constant, "Grand Secteur Jaune", 1967

Architecture as a Lever of Transformation

Salwa Mikou and Selma Mikou

As forms of work, consumption, transportation and entertainment evolve, so too do our conceptions of living together. Architecture has to accompany, and even anticipate, these developments. In its first year, Intermediate 16 will explore architecture's ability to re-invent - to make new spaces that emerge alongside new urban objects, and in turn produce new processes of city-making.

Students will investigate the transformation and resilience of particular territories - abandoned urban areas - through an approach of regeneration in programmatic, social, urban and architectural terms. Guided by our studies of interactions between programme, diagram and architecture, we will engage with a spatial strategy that formalises both Louis Kahn's notion of 'spaces which serve and are served' and Rem Koolhaas' 'stable and unstable spaces' in order to question the potential of programme and elaborate on an architectural figure - a simplified representation of a concept that expresses architectural intentions. As a response to the transformations of ways of life and the mutations of spatial and built morphologies, projects will test the idea of hybridisation via a reflection on new metropolitan buildings.

These plural, multi-functional buildings, which seem to exist partway between large buildings and urban quarters, superpose and condense varied uses, blur scale and scope and create new hierarchies, producing a new form of urbanism. They are more like open processes than finished objects. Students will first analyse existing metropolitan buildings and then explore this idea in their own projects.

Like the New Babylon imagined by Constant as a sort of 'social city' that brings people together, students will work on a building to provide a variety of programmes that are both reflective of specific temporal requirements and powerful generators of use and atmosphere. Designs will reflect on modularity, taking account of societal developments and new aspects of the city. At the same time, projects will create a variety of spaces and atmospheres to enable conditions for encounters and collective living, questioning current forms of public space while also developing new contexts for social exchange (from the solitary individual to the collective). By allowing the unpredictable, projects (much like Constant's city) will recreate 'dynamic labyrinths' - impromptu spaces and places for movement.


Salwa Mikou and Selma Mikou Salwa and Selma Mikou founded Mikou Studio in 2006 in Paris. Both studied architecture at Paris-Belleville School of Architecture and have worked at a number of international practices, namely Ateliers Jean Nouvel (Salwa) and Renzo Piano (Selma). Since founding Mikou Studio, they have won numerous competitions worldwide. In 2014, Mikou Studio was selected to take part in the Moroccan pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Most recently 2016 they were nominated for the 2016 Arcvision Prize for women in architecture.

Programme Handbook

Projects Review 2017


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Links & Downloads


Prospectus 2016-17
Foundation Course Booklet

Graduate Prospectus


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