Negotiated Section: Thinking through Drawing and Making



Walmer Yard, Detail Section, Peter Salter


A “Negotiated Section” navigates, responds and adjusts to the conditions through which it cuts, to reveal and explore critical conditions and relationships in a project.  For the Inter-Change the process of developing the “Negotiated Section” will help explore and develop the critical technical ideas for the proposed environmental design, materials, construction and structure.  In each case you will be negotiating technical constraints and performance requirements against the conceptual, spatial and experiential design possibilities and opportunities.


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Fortune-teller café, atmospheric section, Rosie Helps, Unit G 2016-17


The first step is to choose two divergent but intrinsically linked activities, preferably one internal, the other external.  The link between may be spatial, conceptual, or material, it could be shared equipment, processes, materials, light, people or something else.  For example a kitchen preparing/cooking chips, and a potato growing space, warmed by the kitchen, and using compost from potato peelings…



Pickled Fish Factory, Malting Negotiated Section, Isobel Taylor, Unit G 2013-14


Critically the Negotiated Section is a device to work things out through drawing, testing and research: a mechanism to find out what your design wants and needs to be, allowing your technology ideas to inform and enrich he design process.  For 3rd yrs the Negotiated Section, research, process and site responses form the core of your Advanced Technology.

Part 1:  Sketch:  Choose two activities in your proposal and make a “Speedy” sketch section drawings for each activity to capture and define:

  • the community and activities in the two chosen moments of the building
  • the critical tools/equipment/spatial/ conceptual arrangement for each activity/processes/people
  • the location of the activities on site



Cider-house Pig farm, Negotiated Section, Maya Basdal, Unit G 2013-14


Part 2:    Draw:  On a single sheet draw a notional 1:20 section through the chosen activities and external envelope of your Inter-Change (the condition may not actually exist in your proposal), and through the process of drawing, explore your initial technical response to:


  • Internal conditions (or external where controlled) defined by the activities: thermal, acoustic, visual, air quality
  • Response to external environmental conditions: orientation, light, wind, rain, snow, stars, tides, etc.
  • Response to local site specific environmental conditions: shadow, air movement, noise, views, smells
  • Response to the spatial/sensual/conceptual ideas or experience
  • Resources on the site and local sources of energy to drive the processes (wind/sun/ice/water/waste/bye-product….)


  • Construction response to the site and location: topography, access, views, audience, other
  • Construction response to activities and internal environmental requirements
  • Construction response to external environmental conditions
  • Response to what is local, abundant, gleaned, reclaimed, recycled, culturally typical or traditional, new
  • Response to ideas of durability, change, cleaning, staining and weathering
  • Response to the spatial/sensual/conceptual ideas or experience
  • What is heavy/light, hard/soft, thick/thin, flexible/rigid, wet/dry, hot/cold, reflective/absorbent, conductive…Is the construction sequence critical?


  • Structural response to the site and location
  • Structural response to activities, environmental conditions and construction
  • Nature of the ground: Rock, mud, gravel, sand, water, lava, seismic movement
  • Response to ground: Stilts, embedded, buried, stepped, floating, and possible foundations: Strip, piles, mini-piles, raft
  • Structural typology: Post+beam, Portal frame, Diaphragm, Shell, Grid-shell, Space-frame, Tent, Cable-net, other
  • Structural materials: Metal (steel, aluminium), Timber (panelised, mass timber, clt, sheet), Concrete (in-situ, pre-cast, composite), Masonry (Stone, Brick, Earth, Adobe)


Part 3:  Develop:  Research your ideas and work into your Negotiated Section to present a first draft of the drawing and your ideas on Monday 12th March

Document your research of all materials/processes/systems etc. Develop and complete the Negotiated Section by Monday 19th March

Negotiated Section Brief and Introduction:

Unit G_Negotiated Section_Task_2017-18

Unit G_Negotiated Section_Thinking through drawing and making_2017-18