Architecture – MArch students have been evolving their thesis from initial fieldwork, via an intense process of research-through-making, to speculative propositions for the bay of Havana. 

Emma Henderson, Emma Bennett and Shona Sivamohan, all part of the Architecture – MArch Integrated Pathway programme, have been working on conceptual architectural interventions in the city of Havana, which have been continuously developing to form the basis of their thesis. From their fieldwork in Havana, the team translated their initial responses and findings into an architectural device – a tool which presented them with an imaginative landscape to work with.

Emma Henderson, MArch Architecture, Havana
Edinburgh College of Art
Architecture - MArch. Emma Henderson, Emma Bennett, Shona Sivamohan

"We’ve worked through a reverse on Obama’s attempts to end hostility between Cuba and the USA in the election of Trump, the death of Cuba’s first communist leader Fidel Castro and the effects of Category five Hurricane Irma.”

Emma Bennett, Architecture - MArch

Despite the conceptual process behind it, it still responds to the economic, social and political context of the city. The trio have been working into this landscape, designing a transient city for the displaced people of Havana as their city is being restored.

“We have found allies in seemingly disparate places; filmmakers, Cuban novelists, nautical charts, a construction workshop in Hungary. Havana – ever since we first witnessed it in our initial field trip – remains the biggest influence over our work” said Emma H. 

The Integrated Pathway, unique to the MArch programme at ECA, is a two-year long pathway anchored typically around a major city or territory.

“The nature of the Integrated Pathway in the MArch programme means that from day one you are developing a way of thinking about, and reacting to, complex conditions of a contemporary city,” said Emma B. 

Focused on a major (usually European) city, this pathway will lead you through a series of architectural studies and design projects that allow you to engage the full range of architectural scales; from the urban strategy right down to the detail in a comprehensive project. The pathway emphasizes research-led teaching and design.

"Our studio unit leaders, Adrian Hawker and Victoria Bernie, are excellent tutors and I am glad to be part of their unit" said Shona. "Their conceptual and speculative approach to architecture has led us to develop a rich, in-depth architectural thesis which has been both enjoyable and fulfilling." 

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