Dissertation and Exhibition introduces students to the diverse realm of landscape architectural research. The unit is structured into two distinct elements: the Research Methods workshop and the individual Dissertation.

This year’s Research Methods workshop introduced students to the histories and futures of the architectures and landscapes of post-1945 public housing. In the face of today’s growing housing and environmental crisis, it is crucial that we understand the built, landscape, and ideological legacy of the post-war period if we want to uncover long-term sustainable solutions. The continued demolition of housing estates built during the decades after WW2 makes the documentation of these buildings and their landscapes a timely intervention and reinforces the relevance of historical research to contemporary design.

Landscape and architecture students worked together to understand the interconnected questions of welfare, nationalisation, state policy, architecture and landscape architecture through the case studies of Lillington and Winstanley Road in London, Chamberlain Gardens in Birmingham, Delph Lane and Queen’s Park Estates in Blackburn, Claremont Court in Edinburgh and Hutchesontown C in Glasgow.

The production of the case studies themselves enabled and instructed a variety of research approaches relevant to architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture. Field and archival research were complemented by oral history interviews and desktop study analyses. Invited guests delivered archival workshops and talks, and these, together with the oral history interviews, offered first-hand experience of core research methods and the opportunity to engage with external partners in a professional working context.

Building on the methods learned in the Research Methods workshops, students develop and define their own research question, methodology and analysis of their chosen area of interest in their individual Dissertations. The projects are supported by a series of interdisciplinary methodological lectures and a series of landscape focussed research talks delivered by invited guests.

The course team is very pleased that MLA student Beavan Flanagan’s Dissertation was shortlisted, and Reema Khan’s dissertation won the Landscape Institute’s prestigious Dissertation Award.