Films produced by Year 3 and Year 5 students at the Manchester School of Architecture for the Humanities and Studio courses run by Eamonn Canniffe and Continuity in Architecture
framing architectural exploration
The teaching of the architectural humanities at manchester school of architecture is characterised by a balance of traditional and innovative teaching and assessment methods developed from the research expertise of the staff. Since 2006 the medium of film has been used to broadcast undergraduate students’ experience and interpretation of the architectural and urban environment through the use of buildings as case studies.
Following seminars on the history of recent architectural debates and their representation in different media, critical responses to architecture are developed in the time and space of a 5-minute film. These student contributions are Youtube films of buildings visited on study trips principally in major European cities. The 200 plus films so far submitted in this project are discussed at seminars within the cohort. Beyond this teaching function, though, the films continue to attract international interest so far having achieved well over a quarter of a million hits. These new methods of visualizing and presenting the connections of architecture and urbanism introduce the students to the exploratory culture of the post-graduate degree, a basis which is expanded upon in future research.
The limitations of the brevity of the film format are countered by the combination of media which can be composed in the film. Avoiding the seduction of complex editing for its own sake, combinations of film and still images, computer generated models, text, narration, the architect’s testimony or that of the end user and the careful choice of music together provide an augmented architectural experience. The opportunities presented by this mediated exploration include the foregrounding of the experience of architecture over the traditional hegemony of the scholarly text, the placing of the subject building in its context and, therefore, the overcoming of the isolation of the architectural object.
Eamonn Canniffe leads the Architecture Research Centre and the MA in Architecture + Urbanism at the Manchester School of Architecture. He was educated in Architecture at Cambridge and Harvard Universities. In 1996 he held a Rome Scholarship in the Fine Arts at the British School at Rome. Between 1986 and 1998 he taught at the University of Manchester School of Architecture, and between 1998 and 2006 at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. He is the author of Urban Ethic: Design in the Contemporary City (Routledge 2006) (Chinese edition 城市伦理--当代城市设计 2013) and The Politics of the Piazza: the history and meaning of the Italian square (Ashgate 2008). He is co-author (with Tom Jefferies) of Manchester Architecture Guide (1999) and (with Peter Blundell Jones) of Modern Architecture through Case Studies 1945-1990 (Architectural Press 2007), (Chinese edition 现代建筑的演变 1945--1990年 2009) (Spanish edition Modelos de la Arquitectura Moderna -Volumen II 1945-1990 2013). For a number of years he has served as Architecture Series Editor for Ashgate Publishing.