Assemble, Atelier Mob, Atelier Georges, Markus Miessen, Raumlabor, REAL, studioBASAR, We Made That, Harriet Harriss, Joachim Declerck, Jeremy Till, Kathryn Firth, Melanie Dodd, Peter Swinnen, Olly Wainwright, Pooja Agrawal. Chaired by Flavien Menu
The Bedford Tapes: Recording the Emerging Generation
Date: Friday 9 December 2016
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
In the midst of ongoing growth, change, doubt, elation, frustration and exaggerated self-worth, all of which are characteristic of the architect’s life, a group of young practitioners from around Europe will come together to share their work and readings of Europe’s shifting paradigms. Accustomed to live in a lifecycle littered by crises, a bench of new protagonists has moved away from the traditional boundary of the practice to self-initiate projects rather than being dependant of the market demand. Led by a strong culture of independence, these offices exploit a void being left by the increasing commodification of the architecture. Driven by an unprecedented need for action, initiatives are fed by everyday concerns to built forms of resistance including temporary structures, opportunistic occupation and the involvement of participants in the project process. From Bedford Square to London and beyond, a concordance of beliefs and hopes shape new attitudes toward the discipline. This is a sign of the need to build alternative commitments to society, clients and territories through architecture.
Flavien Menu is a London-based architect with a postgraduate dual degree in urban policies (London School of Economics/Sciences Po Paris). Alongside his practice - Office for Cities -developing strategic research projects and urban development schemes, his writing aims to fuel the social, political and cultural debate on built environment issues, and has been widely published. Flavien taught at the Architectural Association and his a regular guest critic at the Royal College of Arts, London Metropolitan University and ETH Zurich.
Assemble are a collective based in London who work across the fields of art, architecture and design. They began working together in 2010 and are comprised of 18 members. Assemble’s working practice seeks to address the typical disconnection between the public and the processes by which places are made. Assemble champion a working practice that is interdependent and collaborative, seeking to actively involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the ongoing realisation of the work.
Ateliermob is a multidisciplinary platform which develops projects, ideas and research within architecture, design and urbanism. They believe that this is the way it usually starts. From this point, everything is worked out. The impossible is to work on the unexciting, on the uncreative, on what diverges from people needs.
Georges is an urban practice composed of architects, landscape architects and urbanists who conceive of projects led by collective intelligence. Georges works with basic tools: ears, eyes, mouths and hands. Georges listens, Georges observes, Georges constructs dialogues and Georges engages with users, communities, and public and private sectors to develop alternative ways of practicing within territories. Georges is engaged towards people and places, and tries to make virtuous partnerships out of the complex relationships between users and the challenges of city-making.
Practice Architecture is a London based design and build practice founded in 2009 by Lettice Drake, Paloma Gormley and Henry Stringer. Practice Architecture supports local and community initiatives by offering permanent or temporary architectural interventions that place the user at the centre of every design decision. Practice strongly believes in a certain autonomy of architecture and its capacity to produce self-sufficient communities.
REAL is a cultural foundation with a double mission of critical inquiry and cultural production. They conduct original research to promote innovation in the built environment. Their methodology uses analysis and critique to present bold propositions and credible alternatives to conventional practice. They aim to influence how and where people live, and the conditions of that life.
Raumlabor is a Berlin-based collective of 9 practitioners created in 1999. Raumlabor works between architecture, urbanism, and artistic practices. Raumlabor strongly believe in complexity and that our society today does need a more substantial approach; therefore their spatial proposals are small scale and deeply rooted in the local condition.
StudioBASAR is a Bucharest based architectural studio and a public space practice founded in 2006 by Alex Axinte and Cristi Borcan. Preoccupied with the dynamics of urban culture and the disappearing importance of public spaces, studioBASAR initiates and develops actions and projects within public space. Ranging from temporary to permanent, these processes include applied research, community activation, participatory programing, urban design and live education.
Studio Miessen is based in Berlin and work with individuals, collectives, institutions and organisations, specialising in spatially rethinking, redesigning and promoting cultural institutions. They also work closely with artists, who they assist to realise small-to-large-scale spatial ideas and support the realisation of exhibitions and large-scale institutional shows. Their work also includes self-initiated activities and projects that span from physical construction to writing and criticism.
We Made That is an energetic architecture and urbanism practice with a strong public conscience. They aim to make imaginative and considered contributions to the built environment through socially engaged design processes. The relationship between local communities, development and creative practice is a particular focus of their work and they believe that - if handled correctly - it can lead to enriched, exciting and engaging places.
Harriet Harriss is largely focussed upon pioneering new pedagogic models for design education in her teaching, research and writing, particularly those models that respond to specific community challenges: as captured in her most recent publications, Architecture Live Projects: Pedagogy into Practice (Routledge, 2014); and Radical Pedagogies: Architecture & the British Tradition (RIBA Publishing, 2015). Her most recent publication, A Gendered Profession (RIBA publishing, 2016) asserts the need for widening participation in architecture, as a means to ensure the profession remains as diverse as the society it seeks to serve.
Jeremy Till is an architect, writer and educator. His research is known for exploring the social and political dimensions of architecture and the built environment.Till’s major written work is Architecture Depends (2009), which suggests a new way of understanding architecture in terms of its dependency rather than its autonomy.
Joachim Declerck is a founder and partner of the Architecture Workroom, Brussels. Educated as an architect and urban designer at Ghent University (BE) and the Berlage Institute (NL), Declerck’s activities focus on innovation within the disciplines of architecture and urban design, while exploring their role within the transformation of the built environment
Kathryn Firth works on masterplanning and urban regeneration projects in the US, Europe, the Middle East and the UK for both the private and public sector. She is currently focused on large-scale regeneration projects in both the UK and the US. She was the Chief of Design at the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) from 2011-2015 where I was responsible for design direction and implementation of multiple masterplans and guidance for planning applications.
Melanie Dodd is an architect and academic, currently Programme Director of Spatial Practices at Central Saint Martins. Educated at Cambridge, she has taught architecture at a range of institutions since 1995, including London Metropolitan University (CASS), Royal College of Art, and RMIT University in Melbourne - where she was Programme Director of Architecture from 2005-2013. She has been a collaborator with muf architecture/art since 1997. Both her teaching, practice and research interests focus on the relationships between social and political infrastructures, and built environments, explored in her book 'Live Projects: Designing with People' (RMIT Press, 2012) and her PhD By Practice (RMIT 2011).
Oliver Wainwright is the Guardian's architecture and design critic. Trained as an architect, he has worked for a number of practices, both in the UK and overseas, and written extensively on architecture and design for many international publications. He is also a visiting critic at several architecture schools.
Peter Swinnen is a Brussels based architect. He currently practices architecture at CRIT, conducts PhD research on The political praxis of architecture (KUL University) and runs the ETH Zürich design studio on Architectural policy whispering.
Pooja Agrawal is an architect working on regeneration at the Greater London Authority. Prior to the GLA, she worked as an architect and an urban designer at practices including We Made That and Publica. The common thread running through her career is the ambition to create beautiful places with a public agenda. Pooja is also a member of Design South East – a design review panel for the SE of England, a guest tutor at Central St Martins and is a key member of StART, a community land trust campaigning to build 800 affordable homes in Tottenham.
10.00 - Introduction
10.15 - We Made That
10.45 - Georges
11.15 - Coffee/ Tea served in the South Jury Room
11.30 - StudioBASAR
12.00 - Raumlabor
12.30 - Discussion
2.30 - Assemble
3.00 - Jack Self
3.45 - Coffee/ Tea served in the South Jury Room
4.15 - Atelier Mob
4.45 - Markus Miessen
5.15 - Discussion
6.30 - Closing words
All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.