Diploma 13 Above: Alex Butterworth, Diploma 13 (2015-16), Hospital Choreographies

Sick City Rehab: London City of Care

Lily Jencks and Jessica Reynolds

The Gross Internal Area of the NHS estate in London is twice the area of the City of London. How could this vast area totally alter the way the city functions? Expanding on last year's research, Sick City Rehab will use this massive building stock to turn London into a City of Care. Pursuing the extreme scales that a healthcare architecture implies - from the abstract social contract providing free care on point of entry, to the most personal experience of the sick body - we will operate at the scales of urban masterplan and intimate architectural detail. Specifically, students will reinvent the typology of the GP's surgery to create a new urban health infrastructure throughout London, and develop a highly crafted set of architectural details to interrogate the issues of transparency that are plaguing our institutions and cities.

Transparency in modern architecture was used to promote health and hygiene - literally, to increase natural daylight and ventilation; phenomenologically, to control the visual field; and metaphorically, to represent ideals of accessibility and progress as a new morality. We will interrogate the implicit contradictions in these definitions through model-making and historical and contemporary research, studying the hyperreflectivity of glass that results in opaqueness, the pictorial ambiguity of foreground and background, and the invisible economic structures masked behind corporate glass towers.

Our students will develop a family of types that reinterpret the first points of interface between the public and the NHS, whether it is a telephone booth for 24/7 private medical advice or a window detail in a GP's surgery that sets up a new relationship to the city. Diploma 13 seeks new visions for how London, through the NHS, can care for its citizens. To achieve this, we will draw inspiration from art precedents from Marcel Duchamp to Dan Graham, generating our own spatial experiments that posit architecture as rehab for our Sick City.

Unit Staff

Lily Jencks is the founder of JencksSquared and LilyJencksStudio, which looks at how content-driven forms can create strong identities for meaningful public interaction through architecture, landscape and interior projects in the UK and abroad. Work spans from intimate interiors to urban parks. She studied at Columbia University and holds a Masters in architecture and landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jessica Reynolds is a director at London-based vPPR Architects with residential and cultural projects in the UK, US, China and Russia focusing on architecture's ability to create conditions for collectivity in the city. She is a founder of the Architecture Exchange, a platform that fosters debate between architecture and philosophy. She studied at Cambridge University and Princeton University.


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