Rethinking The City: MSA ‘Crossings’ Event 2013

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Words by Neil Harrison

MSA Crossings Event 2013
Students from Manchester School of Architecture have been collaborating on a series of events aimed at re-imagining city life.
‘Crossings’ saw the budding architects and designers working on tasks which ranged from film-making to bricklaying, and from upcycling household furniture to thinking of ways to organically restore dilapidated buildings.
First and second year students worked on twenty four entirely separate projects, each from a brief drafted by fifth year students, resulting in vastly differing, but equally engaging end products. The overall event culminated in a documentary film screening at the Odeon cinema at The Printworks, Manchester, produced by Arian Lehner of, an MMU Erasmus student from Austria.
Event #12 – All Mod Cons
The projects that were eventually showcased included, among others, Tectonic Bodies. This event focussed on the influence of nature within architecture and resulted in a design for, and a working model of a pavilion that responds and reacts to the movements of people passing through. Working to a tight deadline on the visionary project, student Emmanuel Pop said:
“The atmosphere is quite inspiring as the final debates are taking place; new problems turn up and easier solutions are found every minute. Working together with other people, seeing their passion for this project and their will to see things done, ideas that pop out from nowhere, but make a lot more sense than our calculated ones, amazes me, and it will continue to do so as we grow more positive and committed as the project draws to an end.”
Examples of other events include students’ cityscape designs being displayed at The Cube Gallery as part of Event #09 – Can You Tell What It Is Yet?, a full size interactive hoarding board being constructed during Event #17 – Let’s Hoard!, and double-takes aplenty as Sir Alex Ferguson appeared at bus stops around the city centre in Event #22 – Guerilla Tactics.

Event #08 – Urban_Upcycle

Programme co-ordinator Laura Sanderson said:
“Arian has done such a good job with the film… it’s great that the students can see all their hard work up there on the screen and it’s a nice way for us to bring the whole thing to a close.”
“The events were very much about students teaching students. I wanted to support each of the groups but it was important that they were allowed to work independently and without the feeling that they may be being watched or judged whilst they worked. All the students were so involved in what they were doing, it was great to see and the work they have come up with has just been fantastic.”
Muna Al Fayez, a year 1 student who worked on “Can You Tell What It Is Yet?” added:
“It was a great opportunity to experiment and to showcase my skills without the worry of getting assessed on the outcome. Knowing this, I was more confident to take risks, enjoy what I’m doing, and still learn so much from it all. Another great thing was meeting the different students in both my year group, and the older year groups.”
“The film screening did a great job in showcasing and informing the audience about all of the events. I love MSA and MMU!”
To see the events in full please visit: or click here to watch the documentary.
Neil Harrison is studying Social History at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is an aspiring journalist and a terrible guitar player. Read his blog LooseRiver and follow him on Twitter @LooseRiver

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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