Contemporary Urban Design Education Symposium
Organised by Sam Jacoby - Part 1
Date: Wednesday 10 February 2016
Venue: Lecture Hall
The symposium brings together urban educators to discuss how new practices and research have changed urban design conventions and disciplinary assumptions. This is a discussion not only important to urban researchers, but all architects involved in the different scales of designing the built environment.
While the term ‘urban design’ originates from a conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1956, this was not the first time that the urban was defined as a problem arising between planning and design. Ildefons Cerdà already recognised this a century earlier when coining the term ‘urbanisation’. Also, rather than considering urban design as an academic field with practical orientation that operates between architecture, landscape architecture and planning as an inter-, intra, multi- or cross-disciplinary practice, what if its value is not a management of differences, but the instrumentalisation of conflicts?
The resurgence of urban design education and research is only partially explained by global urbanisation, or the failure of other design disciplines to make meaningful claims to ‘urbanism’. Contemporary urban research challenges the commonly held belief that the urban requires a homogenising intervention and process. The approach of unifying the urban through ideas of place-making, nostalgia for past public spaces, or the codification of ‘good’ urban form is no longer tenable. Instead, richer multi-scalar design research enquiries are emerging, which, for example, make a simultaneous consideration of domesticity, typology, morphology, infrastructure and territory possible. A particular strength of urban design hereby is a framing of abstract contexts such as policy, legal frameworks and planning through considerations of specific constituencies, urban plans, design frameworks, design proposals and physical implementation.
The symposium seeks to clarify how teaching and research methodologies can have a relevance and impact on urban practices and design.
10:20 am = Welcome (Sam Jacoby, AA Projective Cities)
10:30 am = 'Representative Cities', Ingrid Schröder (Cambridge University)
11:10 am = 'Urban Design in China: Practice and Challenges', Dr Fei Chen (University of Liverpool)
11:50 am = 'The New Urban Professional: Experiments in Pedagogy', Prof Diego Ramírez-Lovering (Monash University)
12:30 pm = Round table discussion (chair Prof Peter Bishop, UCL)
2:00 pm = 'Private Investigations', Prof Alexander Lehnerer (ETH)
2:40 pm = 'Propositions for Urban Design Research', Dr Sam Jacoby (AA)
3:20 pm = 'Architecture of Territory', Prof Milica Topalovic (ETH)
4:00 pm = 'Scales as Pedagogy', Dr Adrian Lahoud (RCA)
4:40 pm = 'Linking the Physical to the Social', Prof Ricky Burdett (LSE)
5:30 pm = Round table discussion (chair Tarsha Finney, UTS)
Ingrid Schröder is a practicing architect and the founding Director of the Cambridge Design Research Studio. She has taught at the University of Cambridge since 2001 as a Design Tutor and Lecturer on Urban Theory. She previously taught at the Architectural Association and ETH Zurich. She has been directing the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design/RIBA Part II programme since 2011. Her current projects in teaching, research and practice focus on the relationship between political thought, civic space and urbanism.
Fei Chen is a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool. She was trained as an architect and urban designer at the University of Bath and Southeast University, China. She received her PhD on Chinese urbanism from the University of Strathclyde. Chen was previously a researcher working on the AHRC funded project ‘Sensory Urbanism’ in Strathclyde and is the co-founder and convenor of the ‘Urban Morphology and Representation Research Network’ under IAPS.
Diego Ramírez-Lovering is Head of the Department of Architecture at Monash University. He has taught and practiced architecture in Australia, Italy and Mexico. His teaching and research examine the contributory role that architecture can play in addressing the significant challenges facing contemporary urban environments – climate change, resource limitations, rapid population growth and changing household demographics. His practice based PhD focused on these contemporary urban issues through the platform of affordable and sustainable housing. He is the co-founder of Monash Architecture Studio (MAS). This research unit undertakes design-based research from the scale of dwelling to the scale of the city/region around a range of contextual issues in collaboration with researchers from other universities, government and industry.
Peter Bishop is an urban planner and urban designer. He is a director at Allies and Morrison and Professor of Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. His interest lies in the strategies and approaches that can be employed to shape cities within the social, economic and political forces that operate. For over 20 years Peter was Planning director in four Central London Boroughs and worked on major projects including the Kings Cross railway land developments. In 2006, he was appointed as the first Director of Design for London, the Mayor’s architecture and design studio; and in 2008 as the Deputy Chief Executive at the London Development Agency.
Tarsha Finney is an architect and urbanist, holding the position of senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests cross several areas: domesticity and the problem of multi-residential housing with specific knowledge of the cities of New York, Beijing and Sydney; architectural typology and notions of disciplinary specificity and autonomy; and the architectural urbanism of innovation in cities.
Alex Lehnerer, an architect and urban designer, currently holds a position as assistant professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Prior to that he was based in Chicago, where he was a professor at the University of Illinois. He received his PhD from ETH Zurich, his MArch from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), is partner of the firm Kaisersrot in Zurich, and founded the Department of Urban Speculation (DeptUS) in Chicago. Together with Savvas Ciriacidis he is leading the architectural office Ciriacidis Lehnerer Architekten in Zurich.
Adrian Lahoud is an architect, researcher and educator. Prior to being appointed Dean of the School of Architecture and Head of the Architecture programme at the Royal College of Art, Adrian Lahoud was Director of the Urban Design Masters at The Bartlett School of Architecture and served as Director of the MA programme at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths. He received his PhD from the University of Technology Sydney where he taught for a number of years while running an award winning architectural practice. His dissertation titled ‘The City, the Territory, the Planetary’ explores the way architecture structures problems through the concept of scale. He has written extensively on questions of climate change, spatial politics and urban conflict with a focus on the Arab world and Africa.
Milica Topalovic is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Territorial Planning at the ETH Department of Architecture. From 2011-15 she held research professorship at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, studying the relationship between a city and its hinterland. In 2006 she joined the ETH as head of research at Studio Basel Contemporary City Institute and the professorial chairs held by Diener and Meili, where she taught research studios on cities and on territories such as Hong Kong and the Nile Valley. Milica graduated with distinction from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and received a Master’s degree from the Berlage Institute for her thesis on Belgrade’s post-socialist urban transformation. Since 2000, she worked on projects in different spatial scales and visual media. With Studio Basel she authored and edited Belgrade. Formal / Informal: A Research on Urban Transformation, and The Inevitable Specificity of Cities.
Sam Jacoby is a chartered architect with an AA Diploma and a doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin. Jacoby has worked for architectural and planning offices in the UK, USA and Malaysia. He has taught at the AA since 2002 and is currently the director of the Projective Cities programme.
Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. He is a member of the UK Government’s Independent Airports Commission and a member of Council of the Royal College of Art in London. Burdett was Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University in 2014 and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University from 2010 to 2014. He has been involved in regeneration projects across Europe and was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. Burdett was also a member of the Urban Task Force which produced a major report for the UK government on the future of English cities. He is editor of The Endless City (2007), Living in the Endless City (2011) and Innovation in Europe’s Cities (2015). Burdett acts as an adviser to national, regional and local governments on urban issues, and has worked with private companies and architectural practices on the development and framing of urban projects.
Image caption: Alvaro Arancibia Tagle, Cité Housing in Santiago de Chile (AA Projective Cities, 2013)