Group 21

Founded 18 years ago, The Architecture School for Children (TASC) is committed to creating healthy and happy communities and promoting social inclusion. The following event will involve the design for the renovation of an existing studio at TASC in order to provide a multi-functional space with a high degree of flexibility. Additionally, the MAKE • SHAPE • DISCOVER event will also involve the design of bespoke flexible furniture concepts with the premise of encouraging social interaction and creativity. You will work in group design workshops in order to inform the production of models and visuals. These will showcase a series of interventions that will enhance the TASC studio. You will analyse the site and contribute to the overall renovation design for the studio, as well as work together on the bespoke flexible furniture concepts for the project. The models will vary from mock-up models to a final scaled presentation model. You will use SketchUp and the Adobe Suite to digitally formulate the developed designs in order to produce the final publication. This project will provide TASC with the necessary space to further enhance their ability to engage with the wider community, as well as the tools that will allow ideas to flourish.

Patrick Charles D / Natalie Man Sum C / Andrius O / Ovidija Z / Vickie T / Cheuk Ki M


Introducing Group21 MSA team, we are a group of six MArch 1 students at the Manchester School of Architecture.

- Vickie Tang
Advanced Practice

- Andrius Ovsiukas
Continuity in Architecture

- Patrick Charles Davies
Advanced Practice

- Cheuk Ki Ma
Advanced Practice

- Natalie Man Sum Chan
Advanced Practice

- Ovidija Zemaityte
Advanced Practice
Posted 16 Mar 2020 16:37

The Architecture School for Children TASC (formerly known as 'Places') a community Interest Company working across Greater Manchester. Over the past 18 years, it has worked with children and communities with the aim of engaging them effectively in their built environments. It does this through bringing together schools, artist, developers, architects, educators, children and the wider community to look at and contribute to the development, design and build of their environment in a creative and collaborative way.

TASC works in partnership with a number of organisations including One Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester, local schools and community based organisations.

Dan, Catherine and Tam are the collaborators from TASC who will be working with the team during EVENTS.

Visit TASC website for more information:
Posted 16 Mar 2020 16:44

During our first visit to TASC we were taken on a tour of the site by Catherine, Dan, and Tam who highlighted the various aspects of the existing studio that were in need of intervention. As we became more familiar with the building and the immediate context, TASC explained to us what their particular intentions were for the project, before asking us if we had any initial ideas. We proceeded to discuss these in more detail from inside the studio, which resulted in a fast-paced and exciting exchange of creative thoughts.

We then collectively recalled all of the key points that were raised throughout the tour, and also made notes of the possible solutions in preparation for the production of a detailed design brief. Among a number of much-needed architectural solutions, it quickly became clear that achieving a high level of flexibility is considered a fundamental requirement for the project. This led to the discussion of integrating flexibility and adaptability into some of the internal interventions, such as furniture and workstations. Stay tuned for our next blog update, which will document the site analysis of the TASC studio!
Posted 17 Mar 2020 00:14

The Architecture School for Children is located on Varna Street and Barrass Street at Rogue Artist Studios in Gorton.

Based in a Grade II listed Victorian building, with high ceilings and mill-like appearance, the building was erected as a school on May 16th 1898. The building is nestled in a corner formed by the Lanky Cut and the train line below, surrounded by terraced homes. With one thousand five hundred pupils, it was dubbed the largest school in Lancashire. Eventually, the school bell rang for the last time, lights were turned off and the doors of Varna Street Primary School were closed.

Rogue Studios were offered the site by the local authority, and soon after they created a home for artists, project space and a community resource. Today many of the old-school features remain at the Barrass Street building, while much-needed creative space is provided for talented artists.

TASC, Rogue’s partner organisation, moved into Rogue studios a couple of years ago. This move was a testament to how ambitious Rogue are about cultivating a diverse creative community. TASC are based on the ground floor of school block 2, with a spacious studio/workshop environment, however currently the space does not function as TASC would want it to.
Posted 17 Mar 2020 19:19

This is a neighbourhood that has its challenges and whilst close to the city centre it is one of the most deprived spots in the county, ranking 11th most deprived in the UK. There is high unemployment and Ofsted reports that for local school children there is a dearth of extra curriculum activities. Young people do not ordinarily engage with art and culture outside of school and participation in art and culture generally is low.

The community today has a very mixed ethnicity with around a third white British, a third of people have African background and others represent a range of minority ethnicities, so the area is very culturally diverse but economically deprived.

Through this project, we aim to create a space that allows a diverse range of people to enjoy, explore and learn more about what architecture has to offer. We hope to create a flexible, interactive space that pushes the boundaries of creativity and exploration.
Posted 17 Mar 2020 19:58

TASC is driven by community based projects and has a strong social ethos. By upgrading TASC’s studios via the design and application of flexible furniture, the studio will serve as a community space for art and architecture in the Gorton Community, show-casing student's works and projects as well as attracting new comers to the TASC programme. The design outcome of the flexible furniture should exude the underlying aim to inspire and enthuse students to explore their physical surroundings through its basic use and ability to transform, aligning with TASC's main aims.

Our events project will allow BArch and MArch students to explore human proportions while thinking of the interrelationships of human and furniture to establish a strong tangible solution to enhance the social learning space.

Past projects include ‘Going Places, Growing Places’, ‘Den City’, ‘looking at the city sideways‘.
Posted 17 Mar 2020 21:09

During our second meeting, we presented our session plan and preliminary design brief to Catherine, Dan, and Tam. We then proceeded to discuss both elements in further detail, as well as the roles of the undergraduate students for the project. Following from this, the conversation moved to the major aspects of the design brief including the flexible furniture solutions. All the while, we made sure that we compared the details of the design brief and our overall planning with TASC's specific aspirations for the project, to ensure that we get the best results as possible!

TASC then spoke a bit more about the work that they have done in the past as well as show us their physical portfolios. This was very useful as it enabled us to further familiarise ourselves with the kind of work they have produced, and the values that they advocate through their collaborations.

In addition to this, we also agreed on a suitable date for the next meeting, during which the undergraduates would be able to see the site and meet TASC. Catherine, Dan, and Tam responded very positively to the progress we made in terms of the planning for the event. Indeed, great enthusiasm remains at the centre of the project!
Posted 18 Mar 2020 13:24

After receiving confirmation from TASC regarding the possible design solutions for the renovation of their studio, we produced a final brief to work with.

In addition to the key points outlined in the post displayed above, we identified a number of important factors to consider, which are as follows;

- As part of the design process, it is proposed that 1:2 concept models should be produced in order to quickly and efficiently test ideas related to flexible furniture and working areas. It is intended that these interventions should encourage immersive and creative learning upon completion of the project.

- There is an opportunity to open up the ceiling and extend upwards in order to gain additional floor area and internal volume. This would be an effective way of creating a space with an increased ceiling height in order to provide a space tall enough for large installations and art pieces. TASC was also enthusiastic about the addition of a mezzanine floor which could provide alternative viewpoints for exhibitions, as well as adding an experiential element to the concept.

- A maximum of 30 children will use the space at any one time. Community groups will also use the space, therefore, achieving a free open-plan space with a high degree of flexibility is of critical importance.

- Considerations should also be made regarding the possibility of leaving elements of the building fabric exposed where possible (major structural components) to provide a real and tangible form of architectural education to both children and adults.
Posted 18 Mar 2020 14:35

We will use computer software programmes such as Autocad and Sketchup to digitally model the developing designs for the project, however, for the early stages of the design process, it was decided that physical models will be produced in order to quickly and efficiently test our ideas, particularly for the flexible furniture designs, where we will work to a scale of 1:2.

This will be completed in a workshop environment, where we will invite undergraduate students to aid our conceptual investigations. Through an iterative process, we will combine a general understanding of ergonomics and the application of anthropometric data with a creative exploration into the possibilities of flexible furniture, which will ultimately result in a collective critique of a series of tangible design solutions.

The primary objective of the workshop scenario is to efficiently test multiple ideas so that we can provide TASC studio with a thoughtful and innovative design solution that will not only enhance their workspace in terms of improved flexibility and adaptability but also one that will encourage social interaction and creativity.

After a series of mock-up models have been tested, the design for the flexible furniture concept will be finalised before we produce a final presentation model. We will then present the final model alongside a digital publication that will exhibit the overall design of the renovation of the TASC studio.
Posted 21 Mar 2020 11:28

Ergonomic furniture describes products which have been designed with comfort, functionality and the movement of the human body in mind. This type of furniture is becoming more and more popular in modern workspace design schemes and is something we would like to reinforce when thinking about sustainable design solutions for schools and offices for long term use. Moreover, ergonomics must be considered as part of any upcoming refurbishment or fit out project. As of today, it can be observed an increased concern about the school classrooms, in particular about the study and design of school furniture fitting the students' needs and anthropometrics characteristics therefore as part of Events 21, we will explore the human dimensions from children to adults in order to create the comfortable and fitted flexible furniture solution for the new TASC studios.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 18:45

One of the final outputs for this project is to design and build a 1:2 flexible furniture concept model. The furniture designed should increase the flexibility of the multifunctional space. It should be an interactive piece that encourages interaction and creativity.

The students will be split into 3 sketch-model making groups. Each group will come up with their unique idea for a multipurpose flexible furniture piece. Students will share and discuss their designs within their group and come up with a final design which could be a chosen design of one of the individuals or a new design of merged themes gathered from the group’s ideas. With a confirmed idea, students build the 1:2 sketch model. It is expected that it can show the multi-function purpose of the design and is structurally stable.

The flexible furniture design will also be drawn up in CAD/ modelled and should show the makeup of the furniture piece as well as how it is put together.

Through this task students will utilize the following skill sets: sketching, designing, communicating, model making, photographing & CAD.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:14

As a group, we have decided to meet up once a week to further discuss the details of the project. In the first few meetings, we brainstormed ideas of how we would plan the event and organise group work. With a finalised design brief and session plan, we were able to plan ahead and outline which workshop facilities would be required during the events weeks e.g. computer suites. We were also able to determine how the group would complete each task. For this, we decided the team would be split into smaller groups, with specifically assigned tasks. We have also agreed to brief our team both every morning to ensure each team member is completely aware of the desired outcomes and at the end of each day to review the team's progress.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 19:58

Firstly, we will brief the group on the project aims to ensure that everyone is familiar with the tasks that must be completed in the following two weeks. Students will also have the opportunity to visit the site and meet the collaborators to have a deeper understanding of the project. The first week consists mostly of group work that promotes social interactions allowing group mates to get to know each other better while producing the required project outputs. There will be a lot of sketching, designing, workshop, model making, photographing and group discussions.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:16

This week focuses on the design process and development and ensuring that final outputs are met. With ideas, confirmed students will begin to produce final visuals, technical drawings and models using the skills and knowledge they have learnt the previous week. After the majority of the project aims are met students will present to the TASC collaborators and amend their work according to the collaborators and groups feedback. All loose ends will be tied up and in the end, a final publication and final model should be produced along with the documentation of the entire design process from the beginning. After a group debrief we will conclude events 20 and celebrate while having tea and biscuits.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:16

As an architecture student and a future architect, we need more skills than simply designing a building. In our group, students will be able to learn essential skills that they will be needed in the future and for their study.

Furthermore, we will also provide a workshop for the student to learn how to use 2D and 3D software such as AutoCAD and Sketchup, to design and built flexible furniture models. These workshops will serve as a testbed for the physical model and allow students to visualise in 3-dimensional ways.

Other than that, we will also provide workshops for students to learn photoshop and In-design for the publication.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 20:35

As stated previously, one of the primary outputs for the project is a presentation model, which will be used to showcase the final design for the flexible furniture unit. This will be made to a very high standard using a range of machineries such as drills, bandsaws, vacuum forms and sanding equipment.

The model will be constructed by a small group of three; one master’s student and two undergraduate students, and this will be completed in the university workshop. Particular students for this role will be confirmed at a later date after the concept workshop has been completed and the chosen design for the flexible furniture unit has been developed.

Sustainable and locally sourced materials will be used during the manufacturing process and great effort will be made to ensure that the flexibility enabling mechanisms integrated into the design work as the real product would.

The presentation model will be produced to a scale of 1:2 to ensure that the design is accurately represented to a high level of detail, but also to ensure that the model is a small enough size to be easily transported to multiple locations for future exhibitions and meetings.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 21:10

For the second final outcome, Dan and Catherine expressed their desire for a publication, both online and printed versions. They have already produced some publications to showcase some of their previous completed projects. They all seemed to follow the same format (21cm x 21cm) and a similar layout, so we agreed the events publication would also reflect this.

For the content, Catherine was very keen to see hand-drawn images in addition to digital visualisations, as a familiar medium that children can also acknowledge and enjoy viewing. Hand sketches are also good at communicating quick ideas and its a skill that everyone within the group possesses. As well as that, all the models produced during the 2 weeks, both mock-up models and the final presentation model will be photographed along the way by the group and then included in the publication. The models, as well as sketch drawings, would document the overall process and tell the story of the project. Final visualisations produced throughout the second week of the external space, studio and flexible furniture design would round the publication off.

The Master students will create a template for the publication for the overall content, and then members of the team will fill this in as the content gets developed. This will be produced in InDesign, and the final outcome would be professionally printed and bounded before the presentation to TASC.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 21:10

Events 21 involves live participation from different working parties and collaborators, such as MSA, TSAC, Rogue Artist Studios and the Manchester City Council. All our efforts will be in hopes to attain support from the Manchester City Council, to convert TASC and Rogue Artist Studio into a creative and flexible social hub for the Gorton Area. This means that students will get the opportunity to meet and collaborate with clients, receive working feedback and present a proposal to the directors of Rogue Studios.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 21:59

A study on the flexible box by Studio Precht was used to aid the discussion on solutions that address the issue of space-saving and storage space. While we do intend to design a flexible furniture concept that could be integrated within the TASC studio, we also intend to apply space-saving techniques to other areas of the interior. The box by Studio Precht contains a working desk, a sliding drawer for artwork and a seating area and has been designed so that its elements can be pulled out and pushed back in according to the desires of the user.

The precedent study on Robson Square was used to highlight effective design moves that create welcoming and accessible external spaces. As prescribed by the design brief for the renovation of the TASC studio, it is important for us to consider the importance of the immediate external landscaping. A key requirement is to improve the entrance to the studio, which is currently accessed via a narrow ramp and leads to a door with steps on the interior side, ultimately resulting with a problematic entry point for disabled people. It was decided that successful projects such as the Robson Square should stand as inspiration when designing the key external areas of the TASC studio renovation.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 23:34

Once the design of the flexible furniture unit is finalised and has been presented to the collaborators, the team will have the opportunity to put their ideas to the test by presenting the concept to the children at TASC.
It is a chance to see if the actual users of these furniture units are able to engage with the design as intended by the team. This also allows to demonstrate how the workshop space can be improved from its current state, as well as how adaptability of the furniture can transform the space for different uses.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 23:36

After conclusion of EVENTS, all the creative effort and hard work of students will be showcased at a public exhibition at Rogue Studios. All the sketch models, design ideas together with the final outcomes – presentation model of a flexible furniture unit and a publication will be on display for everyone to see.

This provides an opportunity for people to engage with the work that TASC are doing, create new links between the people of the community and TASC. Everyone will be able to see the vision the EVENTS team is proposing for the workshop, and provide their feedback and thoughts about the project.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 23:37

We have some unfortunate news. We regret to announce that due to the outbreak of COVID-19 we can no longer continue with the events project. However, we are reflecting on the fulfilling experience we have had as a group up until this point of planning the event. We are confident this would have continued to be a successful project which would have had a positive impact on the wider community of Gorton.

We would like to thank our tutor Becky for organising Events 20 and the invaluable feedback she provided to our group during tutorials. Most of all, we would like to thank our collaborators Catherine, Dan and Tam from TASC who were so passionate and enthusiastic about the Make • Shape • Discover project, they infused us with bundles of energy from day one!

What we take away from this project is the understanding of the fundamentality of cooperative group work, the understanding of design for the greater good and social value. Collaboration and communication with the collaborators have been a unique, invaluable experience.

Despite the project coming to an abrupt end and the design stage of the project not taking place, we hope that the work that we have produced so far serves as a good foundation for concepts of what could be done for TASC and the community.

Thank you and look after yourselves!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 23:40