Mr Matthew Butcher
The Bartlett School of Architecture
Faculty of the Built Environment
- Joined UCL
- 15th Feb 2010
My research seeks to explore the relationship between architecture and other disciplines – in particular art practice and performance art. Recently the research has sought to utilise the history of innovative responses to the environment, seen in the history of art and performance, as a means to consider and develop an architecture that responds to rising sea levels, climate change, and inhabitation of coastal sites. Within this framework my design research – manifesting as built structures, events, drawings, texts and scaled models – explores spaces and forms that are performative in that their material state changes, or is perceived to change, in relationship to conditions such as the environments in which they are located, or through the actions of the people who inhabit them.
My research has gained significant attention and eminence both nationally and internationally and has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2012 ), The Prague Quadrennial (Prague, 2011), and in Guimarães, Portugal, as part of the city’s programme as European Capital of Culture 2012. When exhibited at the V&A the work was seen by over 126,000 people. I have also received commissions from major public institutions and organisations including the Royal Academy of Arts (London, 2014), the Architecture Foundation (London, 2011) and Sadler's Wells (London, 2010). My work has also been published and written on extensively including in articles in The Observer (April 2016), Architecture Today (Apr 2016, Sep 2012) and Art Review (Sep 2012).
I have been teaching architecture and design to undergraduate and postgraduate students since 2007. I have run design studios at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, University of Greenwich, London and Chelsea College of Art, London. Currently, at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, I am teaching a Masters level design studio, Unit 12, on the MArch Architecture course with Professor Jonathan Hill and Elizabeth Dow.
Central to the teaching ethos I have developed since 2007, and in particular within the context of the student work of Unit 12, is an on-going response to concerns that students’ relationships with the history of the discipline of architecture is diminishing. To counteract this we have created a design methodology that asks students to explore a historical architectural style, or movement, as a starting point for their own contemporary design proposals. Within this methodology students must assess the aesthetic, theoretical and historical contexts of their individual case studies to see if there is a resonance with a contemporary context. Through this analysis, individual design agendas emerge. This methodology can be seen as a counterpoint to traditional structures for design curriculums, which teach history parallel to design.
In addition to this theme, the design studio generates ongoing discussions around what architecture’s relationship to a specific context might or should be, whether this is political, social or physical. Also emphasized within the pedagogy of the studio is the need for students to define and develop specific and individual methodologies of architectural representation. This is achieved through the progression of their project.
Although each year the design studio has a particular theme, it is critical that the design studio helps students develop, and expand, their individual design agendas – either within or outside of the particular unit agenda. And, that the emphasis expressed by the studio can be seen as a starting point for students distinct projects.
- University College London
- DipArch, Architecture | 2004
- University College London
- BSc Hons, Architecture | 2000