MSA Atelier

Chelsea Bland (Y6: 2019-20) - Sailortown, Belfast
Chelsea Bland (Y6: 2019-20) - Sailortown, Belfast
Y5 (2019 -20) Group 2 Street Elevation: Celia Brearley, Irena Renata Dewi, Sung Jie Koh, Cezara Misca
Y5 (2019 -20) Group 2 Street Elevation: Celia Brearley, Irena Renata Dewi, Sung Jie Koh, Cezara Misca
Rebecca Rose (Y6: 2018-2019) - Springburn, Glasgow
Rebecca Rose (Y6: 2018-2019) - Springburn, Glasgow
Project date
  • Lecture
  • Training
North West England
Manchester School of Architecture
Associated team members
Associated documents

In 2018, Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) launched the "LULU Landscape and Urbanism" Atelier in partnership with URBED. The aim of the Atelier is to provide architecture students with a greater understanding of masterplanning and urban design by bringing together the academic rigour of the MSA and the experience of URBED as practitioners. Each week a member of the URBED team joins the regular MSA tutors. So far we have led walking tours, given lectures, provided design tutorials and guided workshops.

The Atelier includes both fifth and sixth year students. At fifth year the objectives are to introduce the masterplan as a mechanism for managing urban development; demonstrate the balance of control and creativity in creating coherant streets and architectural variety; and develop innovative proposals to re-invent the terrace as a housing type. Sixth year students focus more on urban analysis and students are required to act as a team to design, execute and communicate an investigation of a particular place, looking at it's cultural, socio-economic and physical context. Sixth years are also required to develop a critical understanding of a range of urban design theories and explore how these can be applied to a strategic urban design framework.



We kicked off the year with an exciting multidiciplinary "crash course" in site analysis and design, modelled on our own "Design for Change" workshop. This is a workshop we have delivered over a number of years, primarily to non-professionals as part of hands-on consultation events. This time we brought together over 100 students from different diciplines to masterplan at speed with trace paper, pens and plasticine! 


2019- 2020

We have just completed tutoring for the 2019-20 academic year. The LULU students produced some amazing work, and adapted very well to Covid-19 disruptions, with surprisingly few technical difficulties in the weekly Zoom tutorials!  

Project blog

11.06.2020, 17:22
LULU Y6 Student Urban Design Projects

The aim of the Y6 Urban Design Project is the preparation of an urban analysis, framework and masterplan for an agreed site. Y6 students work more autonomously, deciding which city to base their project within. This year, students focussed on Blackpool, Belfast, Leeds and Milan.

  • The first stage of the project involved thorough analysis of the chosen city. Evaluation covered cultural, socio-economic, environmental and physical analysis of the city.
  • The second stage of the project saw the preparation of an urban design framework, to encourage and control future development 
  • Students reviewed the potential implications of at least three urban design theories on their chosen city and considered their potential, selecting one to take forward as the foundation for the project. 
  • Next, students selected an area within their framework of around 30 hectares, to develop at a masterplan scale of 1:1000
  • Finally, students were asked to focus in on a key space or building within the masterplan, including developing a landscape design, specifying materials and planting. This included considerations around the type of development agencies best suited to your project and establishing who the stakeholders would be, as well as funding and phasing determinations. 


Here are some of the exciting masterplans and key spaces developed by this year's Y6 students:


Chelsea Bland - Sailortown Masterplan, Belfast 


Florence Bell - Approaching a Landmark, Inner East Belfast


Farah Arar - Blackpool Central Link


Oliver Thomas - Transit Orientated Development in the Leeds Masterplan


Jessica Abbott - Cavehill Masterplan, North Belfast


Alice Lu - Blackpool Spectacular! 


11.06.2020, 16:05
LULU Y5 Student Projects: A Terraces House in Edgeley

In order to meet a wider diversity of housing needs and ensure a mix of demographics throughout any urban area, we need to think more creatively about how to offer housing capable of meeting the needs of a broader range of people. In particular, there is a challenge to be addressed about how to maintain a diversity of demographics in our city centres. So how do we offer housing that is simultaneously dense enough to achieve developers’ profit requirements, young families and older couples in our city centres and robust enough to be adaptable over time.

Could one possible response be the terraced house? This typology has been used for hundreds of years and has endured because of its robust urban design qualities and adaptability to different users’ needs and different times. Its ability to achieve mid-density in a low-rise form has led it to receive renewed attention from designers, developers and local authorities.Through a Masterplanning Masterclass (separate brief provided) you will first collectively develop

Following the whole group masterplanning process, students worked within smaller groups to refine the parameters of the housing block:

  • Defining the public, communal and private thresholds as part of the open space design. 
  • Exploring different approaches to the sustainable development of a housing site, which are socially, environmentally and economically responsive.


Having established the group masterplan and open spaces, each student was allocated an individual client brief and a plot within it, to develop an innovative and technologically resolved terraced house. Here is some the great work produced by this year's Y5 students.


Y5 Group 4 Block Design: Celia Brearley, Irena Renata Dewi, Sung Jie Koh, Cezara Misca


Y5 Group 4 Street Elevation: Celia Brearley, Irena Renata Dewi, Sung Jie Koh, Cezara Misca


Y5 Group 2 Street Elevation: Sophie Chappel, Eva Cheung, Anna Rezin, Ka Hei Wong, Bismah Zafar


Individual Projects:

The Little Creative Space by Sonia Mancxia Balaguru


The Antique Dealer's House by Alex Williams

The Cyclist's House by Sung Jie Koh


10.02.2020, 10:09
Masterplanning Masterclass (2019-2020)

Stockport in Greater Manchester is a large regional town facing numerous challenges and distinct potential for regeneration. This year (2019- 2020) the Y5 students have been based in Edgeley, close to Stockport train station. 

The masterplanning class was led by URBED in January 2020. Y5 and Y6 students were encouraged to work together and produce a figure ground plan, determining primary, secondary and tertiary roads around the existing site. Secondly students identified the existing building typology, and comprehended open space provision. 


Atelier LULU Y5 + Y6 Masterplanning Workshop

Mapping exercises analysing the site


Finally, students worked up proposed masterplans in small groups. This included exploring the layout of built form and open space, vehicular and pedestrian movement channels, land uses, building heights, set-backs, plot dimensions, parking allocations, and other rules to govern development. 


Testing masterplans in groups


Following this testing exercise, Atelier LULU students agreed key principles of a finalised masterplan.

The key principles of the proposed masterplan involve increasing connectivity between the north and south of the site and closing a number of ‘broken’ blocks to reinstate the division between public and private spaces. Additional public spaces were provided and a green link introduced, parallel to the reservoir, to link the site to Alexandra Park and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.


The following drawings were produced by Y5 Group 2 students: Sophie Chappel, Eva Cheung, Anna Rezin, Ka Hei Wong, Bismah Zafar.


12.06.2019, 17:23
LULU Exhibition 2019

With projects complete, the students have spent the past few weeks setting up a fantastic exhibition over at the Manchester School of Architecture, showcasing a year's worth of hard work.

URBED 'Winner' award to Y6 student Rebecca Rose


URBED 'Highly Commended' award to Y6 student Muhammad Faris


Y6 students located their projects within Salford, Liverpool, Glasgow and Shenzhen.


Y5 students looked at Stockport at a variety of scales, from the overall town masterplan, to the blocks and down to individual housing units.


The exhibition closes on 19th June. 

04.03.2019, 12:46
Sustainability workshop

On Friday 1st March our 6th year LULU Atelier students had a full-day sustainability workshop with Helen Grimshaw of URBED. 

This workshop was an interactive session, encompassing some theory (e.g. what do we mean by sustainability), but most importantly, encouraging the students to critically engage with their emerging masterplan and assess how well it meets particular objectives in relation to people, the environment and economy.

The day was structured around three main themes (people, planet and closing the loop), which were then broken down into topic areas. Students were encouraged to consider how the masterplan framework can enable a high standard of environmental performance and meet the needs of users – but also identify risks and consider some of the realities of the development process once the masterplan goes to detailed design and is built out.

In the last session of the day we shared learning, with each student developing some key actions and areas for focus as they further develop their masterplan.