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Preview: The Youth Yard by Maelys Garreau

Completed in the winter term 2018, here we take a first look at the design ideas emerging in the current Proto-Practice Year

In Second Year – our Proto-Practice Year – students develop individual thesis design projects. To commence the year, each student undertakes the module Architectural Design: Speculation, where they test their design approach through a specific proposal.

Here, current student Maelys Garreau’s objective is to rethink youth employability and learning spaces, providing a vision of industrial landscapes that sensitively engages with all forms of life, making the most of youthful wildness and openness to new forms and aesthetics.

This project will be developed over the coming two terms and will be exhibited at the Summer Show in 2019. Click below to see more projects from current students:


Youth Yard is an informal learning garden for everyone. A safe and inclusive shelter, and skills training to marginalized youth in transition from homelessness. It highlights the need for an open platform in which youth can establish their own identities and enhance their employability through varying activities, redefined as play.
For previous generations, nature has been the host of play, but modern societies seem to have neglected the value of such environments and reduced play to a never-ending list
of safety regulations and nature to a bright idealised green. The Youth Yard ‘constructed’ landscape takes on a radical position ecologically, making the most of youthful wildness, and an openness for accepting new forms and aesthetics. It aims to recalibrate our comfort zone in the light of activity and happiness by providing a new, complex vision of landscapes through young eyes, which engage with all forms of life more sensitively.
Site plan.
The proposal language must reinforce the manufacturing and industrial heritage of the area. Explicitly referencing local industrial materials, the scale of the neighbouring constructions and the urban grain. The Gasholder is listed under the Planning Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest and planned to be in the future the centrepiece to a new leisure destination. A new park on this site or in the longer term the site of the integrated waste management facility is suggested by Area of Action Plan.
Night Storage.
Suspended above toxic landscapes.