The DPU summerLab was born out of the MSc Building & Urban Design in Development (BUDD) course in 2009 and expanded in 2010 into a wider The Bartlett Development Planning Unit initiative.
Drawing on the progressive action-research and practice-based ethos of the DPU in collaboration with local partners in various host cities, the workshop series aims to leverage the reality of the city as a laboratory for developing socially responsive design measures. It is intended to provoke, stimulate, and reconsider the role of designers in promoting spatial justice.
Focusing on cities’ contested spaces, their mutable landscapes and visible/invisible thresholds, the DPU summerLab asserts that – to appropriately engage in this arena – a critical recalibration of (architectural and urban) design practice is required: every year’s workshop series lies within, and wants to contribute to, this paradigmatic shift.
The DPU summerLab seeks to establish a unique rotating platform for in situ immersion and experimentation where the boundaries of spatial agency and design processes are actively pushed, hinging upon critical analysis and design research.
The workshops – which are geared toward students and emerging professionals with backgrounds and/or keen interest in the urban environment – offer a vital testing ground for the proposing of contextual, hybridised spatial interventions deeply embedded into socio-political agendas.
Read and download (pdf) for free the latest DPU summerLab pamphlet, with works and reflections from the 2014 workshops.