Regenerating King's Cross: A Topology of People, Place and Urban Life

This workshop offers an exciting opportunity for architects, designers and artists to study urban space and by example reimagine the everyday spaces located in and around the area of King’s Cross, the largest mixed use regeneration development to take place in central London for over 150 years...

Taught by: Nuno Coelho, Tom Spooner.


This workshop offers an exciting opportunity for architects, designers and artists to study urban space and by example reimagine the everyday spaces located in and around the area of King’s Cross, the largest mixed use regeneration development to take place in central London for over 150 years. With a notorious history of economic decline and social problems, King’s Cross is currently undergoing a crucial stage in its redevelopment. It is home to two major public transport hubs and a combination of commercial, residential, cultural and educational spaces, which present opportunities to work with local communities in redefining the nature of the site. Over a two-week period, participants will be required to explore and embed themselves within the site and to collaborate in the design, and possible insertion of, pragmatic and socially engaged interventions. The course aims to foster new ideas and approaches that participants should b e able to take away and utilise within their own personal practice. 

Placing emphasis on a collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach, we are inviting practitioners from a diverse range of backgrounds to come and take part. With an objective of addressing the city design process with a range of perspectives, this course aims to broaden conceptions of conventional design processes. It encourages participants to draw from a combination of their own personal and collective observations of the development as outsiders, and from the perspectives and experiences of the people who inhabit, and use the site. The aim is to address the need for more research into the often neglected, but essential complex components of public space, such as social networks, behavioural patterns and perceptual dimensions. The outcome is a better understanding of the reality of urban life, namely the interaction between people, situations, technology and architectural / urban infrastructures. This in turn will inform the design process. 

This course will comprise of a series of insightful and challenging guided tours, lectures, workshops, group-based discussions, and periods of self-directed working aimed at gathering data, evaluating it, and processing it through informed outcomes. It has been devised as an explorative research methodology in which tangible outcomes are encouraged.

This methodology is based on four distinct stages: 

  • Observation / Research
  • Synthesis / Identifying opportunities
  • Generating ideas / Designing
  • Evaluating

We prefer to work with smaller groups to ensure the best possible experience is provided for all those involved. The number of participants for this workshop is limited to 25. 

Level: Advanced

Entry Requirements:  All students should have a good command of the English language, spoken and written.

We welcome students who are currently studying, or have studied within the following subjects at an undergraduate or post-graduate level:

  • Architecture
  • Urban Planning
  • Product design
  • Interaction Design
  • Anthropology / Ethnography
  • Visual Communication
  • Humanities / Critical Writing
  • Fine Art
  • Creative Writing

Who should take this course?

Students who are interested in re-addressing the nature of urban design processes, working collaboratively and thinking critically. Students should be confident working independently and as part of team.

Support tutors: 

Cláudia Palma
Cláudia Palma Romão is an architect, creative-director and lecturer. Her work explores data archives of philosophical, technological and cultural content. Her work spans a range of different media via: in-situ installations, visual & aural essays, and scientific research. Cláudia's work is designed to perform sensory stimulus in memory and perception. She is interested in: the failure, the transformation, the extraordinariness of art, science and technology, and how they are critical instruments and vehicles to project fictional near-future scenarios. Her work promulgated creativity and excellence, which was recognised by OMA Rem Koollhas, Prada, Hermitage San Petersburg, United Visual Artists, Sharjah Museums, and European Capital of Cultural (among others) with whom she has collaborated.

Cláudia holds an MA in Aural & Visual Culture from Goldsmiths University, an MA in Cultural Heritage and an Architecture Degree. She is currently associate lecturer in the department of Spatial Practices, Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London and subject leader on the MA Environment Design at Ravensbourne.

Andrew Friend

Andrew Friend is an artist and designer who’s work explores experience, and the relationship between people, landscape, and their desires. He is interested in the extraordinary, fantastic and desirable (or indeed undesirable) experiences and outcomes that may result from these interactions. His work spans a range of media, through narrative and drawings to large scale physical objects designed to promote, facilitate, and question these experiences, examining relationships between the known and unknown, the real and imagined in the individual quest to harness the sublime.

Andrew holds an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, London and is currently Associate Lecturer in the department of Spatial Practices, Central St Martins, University of the Arts London, and department of design, Goldsmiths College, University of London.

James Sanderson
James Sanderson is a graduate from LCC. After graduating James worked at a number of studios before returning to education, studying Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. Primarily a graphic designer, James’ personal practice often revolves around the exploration of political, historical and cultural landscapes which form the complex society we live in. As a visual communicator these factors inform and drive his motives, ideas and representations. Through his work, James attempts to engage, inform and instill a nature of criticality into the viewers perception of the surrounding world.

Tutor information

Nuno Coelho is a design theorist, lecturer and curator. After his MA in History of Design at the Royal College of Art, Nuno has published several papers, curated exhibitions and lectured extensively, both in Britain and overseas, on topics ranging from aesthetics to social and political design. Nuno currently lectures on critical theory at Central Saint Martins in London. Last year he held a series of workshops on psychogeography during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven and this summer he held a series of lectures for the Travelogue Summer School held at the Univesity of Porto, Portugal.

Tom Spooner is a London-based illustrator, writer and lecturer, and is currently studying for an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. His practice is driven by a fascination with the urban landscape, the socio-political structures of public space, and ideas surrounding place. Walking-based praxis and observational drawing initiatives take the fore in his approach to image making and work as processes for study of the built environment and its impact on human consciousness, individually and collectively. He has lectured, run workshops, contributed to exhibitions, and self-published a number of books in these fields.


Students should bring the following materials to the first session:   

  • Sketch book
  • Laptop
  • Smart phone
  • Camera (optional)
  • Sound recorder (optional)

Please note that all other materials will be provided by the college, and may include: 

  • Digital cameras
  • Camcorders
  • Sound recorders
  • Tripods
  • Pens and pencils
  • Paper
  • Free Wifi

Suggested reading list:

  • Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity by Marc Auge
  • Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space by Jahn Gehl 
  • How to Study Public Life: Methods in Urban Design by Jan Gehl and Birgitte Svarre
  • Social Justice and the City (Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation) by David Harvey
  • The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre
  • Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture by Christian Norberg-Schulz
  • Space and Place by Yi-fu Tuan 
  • The Social Life Of Small Urban Spaces by William H. Whyte

Details for booking

Alternative Dates and Times

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