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Freek Persyn (51N4E), Pooja Agrawal & Finn Williams (Public Practice), Rory McGrath (OK-RM), and Flavien Menu (Office for Cities)

Forms of Alliance

Series: Critical Practice
Date: Monday 26 November 2018
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 0 mins

Increasing specialisation within the profession of architecture and limited resources make partnerships across disciplines and fields of expertise inevitable for practicing architects. How can alliances ease the path for a common vision? Can they themselves be the legacy of a project? The discussion will explore forms of of non-monetary exchange, common values and trust.


Through a series of conversations, Critical Practice brings together leading European architectural practitioners that through their projects and attitudes challenge the conventions of contemporary practice, to examine and rethink relationships between the profession and the network of actors and conditions surrounding it.


The series is organised and chaired by AA Diploma students Love Di Marco, Tobias Hentzer Dausgaard and AA Part 1 graduate Arya Arabshahi. 


Freek Persyn graduated in 1997 from the Sint Lucas School of Architecture in Brussels. Very soon after graduating he co-founded 51N4E, a Brussels-based international practice that contributes, through means of design, to social and urban transformation. Parallel to his activities at 51N4E, he has been performing in international academia.


Pooja Agrawal is Co-founder of Public Practice, and works in the GLA Regeneration Team, overseeing strategy, policy and projects in North West London. She previously worked at Publica and We Made That. Pooja is a trustee of the Museum of Architecture, member of DSE Review Panel, a mentor at the Stephen Lawrence Trust, a Fellow at the Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose, and an advocate for diversity in the built environment sector. She was nominated for the Planner’s Woman of Influence 2018.


Finn Williams is Co-founder and CEO of Public Practice. He previously worked for OMA, General Public Agency, Croydon Council, and the GLA. Finn sits on the Raynsford Review Task Force, PAS Board, RIBA Planning Group, and the ‘Working in the Public Interest’ Advisory Group. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose, a tutor at the RCA, and was co-curator of the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.


OK-RM is a design studio based in London, founded in 2008 by Oliver Knight & Rory McGrath engaged in ongoing partnerships with artists, curators, editors, architects, designers and institutions. Their clients and commissioners include Alyx, JW Anderson, The Guggenheim, The Met and Het Nieuwe Instituut alongside collaborations with artists including Fos, Juergen Teller and Shezad Dawood. As creative directors and partners of Real Review OK-RM explore “what it means to live today” and as founders of their publishing house InOtherWords they create books and other printed matter in close collaboration with artists and other cultural protagonists. 


Flavien Menu is a London-Paris based architect with a postgraduate dual degree in urban policies (Sciences Po Paris / London School of Economics). Alongside his practice that aims to drive urban changes by intervening at the crossroads of architecture, politics and economics, Flavien extensively fuels the cultural debate through writings and talks. Flavien has been invited as a speaker and a guest crit at Harvard Kennedy School, Columbia GSAPP, ETH Zurich, and Architectural Association where he taught. Flavien recently curated and moderated talks at Tate Modern and Venice Biennale related to his first book - New Commons For Europe  - that followed a two-years research project on the urgency to build bridges between engaged practices in Europe.


Image credit:  Alien montage of the Superstudio group in A.D. 1971, by Adrian George.


*Arno Brandlhuber is unable to be here for this lecture due to unforeseen circumstances. 



All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.


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