Royal College of Art
The ill defined niche

25th November 2011

The ill defined niche symposium begins with the provisional premise that our environment is composed of a multiplicity of ill-defined ecological niches, each of which is a potential home for living and non-living forms. Through an understanding that objects cannot be fully explained in terms of their material constituents and the energy within them, objects seems to be something over and above the material components that make it up, but at the same time it can be expressed only through the organization of matter and energy. This paradox allows burgeoning design practices to go beyond shaping geometry, to shaping the internal structure of material. But in that case, what is the connection between the empirical ground, the contingent material support of human thinking, and the abstract ‘designer’ that is the condition for a ‘whole’ of thought?

The symposium will be quite speculative in talking about doubt and value of design and the strange shifts in understanding materials differently through the use of new technologies in design practices from architecture, art, performance and philosophy.


1200 Ideation

Dr. SHAUN MURRAY (Architect) Eniatype:


1245 Ecological Design Visions
Visionary thinking on methodologies of communicating an architecture along with new models and ecological contribution.

NIC CLEAR (Architect) University of Greenwich:

Coffee Break

1400 Notational Design Visions
Notational systems used as a communication tool have made the composition of design an activity like the composition of fiction: the activity of communication.

FELIX ROBBINS (Architect) Make Architects, London
Dr. KARIN SONDERGAARD (Performance) School of Architecture, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark

1445 Instructional Design Visions
There are many kinds of relationships between participant and environment within context, design and communication. An extremely important one is who communicates with whom and who instructs whom.

DONALD SMITH (Artist/ Curator) CHELSEA space:

1530 Aesthetical Design Visions
Aesthetic experience is one of the most common ways to value our environment. Whether it is having a walk in the park, cycling through a country lane, or just sitting in your garden, we can appreciate the aesthetic qualities. We could go on to say that we should be developing environmental sensitivity through aesthetic experience.

Dr CHRIS SPEED (Digital Architecture) University of Edinburgh
NORBERT SCHOERNER (Photographer/ Filmmaker)
(Live Stream from Pinewood Studios, UK)
1615 Discussion
Through original design exploration, this symposium proffers a critical vision towards the built environment. These conceptions challenge the everyday thinking in design by offering a transdisciplinary framework for design production.