Brave New World: New Visions in Architecture
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in ‘t!
The Tempest, Act 5, Scene 1
Few generations have been so acutely observed as those born roughly between 1980 and 2000, commonly referred to as millennials. Natives of that digital world to which earlier generations are still learning to adjust, this generation is coming of age during a period of extraordinary technological change as well as of post-9/11 political instability and post- 2008 economic uncertainty. They will have to confront the consequences of increasing wealth inequality, unstable working conditions, crippling rents and unaffordable housing as well as changes in family structures and gender roles.
Common to a number of young architects and artists, therefore, is the feeling that the present system of designing the built environment is not addressing the economic and social needs of their generation. All the architects in this programme and many others seek to venture beyond the traditional role of the architect. They often initiate social enterprises that aim to compensate for the demising role of the state. At the same time, millennials are the first generation to depend more on their peers than on figures of authority since they are able to access and share information on the web. They drive the rise of self-initiated projects. Assemble, a practice in our programme, describes itself as ‘committed to both the practice of making things and the practice of making things happen.’
This generation is seen as the force behind the new sharing economy and the increase of both shared working spaces and shared living spaces.
Many predict that such digital natives will have a revolutionary effect on architecture and urban planning and on the way in which we experience space and that, in turn, will affect how we work, play and socialise.
Brave New World aims to investigate the nature of some of the changes that are being brought about by this younger generation of architects and designers. It therefore proposes a series of questions: What forms do this new vision of architecture take? Are younger designers driven by a renewed social consciousness and more utopian ideal of what can be done by design? Alternatively, are young designers simply being pragmatic? And what exchanges are taking place between British and Italian architects?
The programme will focus on keynote lectures and case studies (round table discussions and exhibitions) – two case studies on British architects and one case study on the relationship between British and Italian architects. Brave New World is organised in collaboration with the Architecture Foundation, the British Council and the Royal College of Art.
A selection of Italian architects and critics will lead the discussions and draw parallels to developments in architectural design in Italy. Adam Nathaniel Furman (Rome Prize-winner in Architecture 2014-5) and Alison Crawshaw (Rome Scholar in Architecture 2010-11) will also participate.
15 May 2018
Reinier de Graaf | The century that never happened (Lecture)
Introduced by Pippo Ciorra (Professor of Design and Theory at SAAD, University of Camerino and Senior Curator MAXXI Architecture)
De Graaf is a Dutch architect, urbanist and writer. He is a partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and responsible for projects in Europe, Russia and the Middle East. De Graaf is a co-founder of OMA’s think tank, AMO, a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and author of the book Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession (Harvard University Press, 2017) named as a best book of 2017 by both the Financial Times and the Guardian.
25 June 2018
Phineas Harper | The kids aren’t alright (Lecture)
Introduced by Luca Galofaro (Associate Professor of Architecture and Design at the University of Camerino, Director of the practice LGSMA and of Campo, a gallery in Rome run by architects)
Chief curator of the 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale and Deputy Director of the Architecture Foundation in London, Harper is an architecture critic and columnist at Dezeen. His lecture will discuss the changes in the role of the architect and of architectural thinking at large being brought about by this younger generation of designers.
8 October 2018
Assemble | Ways of Listening (Exhibition and round table discussion)
Founded in 2010 to undertake a single self-built project, Assemble has since delivered a diverse and award-winning body of work, whilst retaining a democratic and co-operative working method that enables built, social and research-based work at a variety of scales, both making things and making things happen. Assemble
Assemble will curate an exhibition focusing on three ongoing projects: Granby Four Streets, OTO and Baltic Street Adventure Playground. The projects will also be presented through the voices of collaborators, residents and volunteers and illustrate different approaches to work that have developed through incremental collaborative processes. The exhibition provides an opportunity to reflect on the experience and the reality of long-term collaborative work from the point of view of people who are often not given a platform but without whose help the projects would not exist. All works represent Assemble’s approach to practice – hands-on and interdisciplinary, employing a range of means to make spaces which support independence, creativity and difference.
The round table discussion with Fran Edgerley and Audrey Thomas-Hayes from Assemble, as well as Juan Lopez Cano from the young Italian practice Orizzontale, will be chaired by the architect Alberto Iacovoni, founding member of ma0, a practice that specialises in projects that interact with the public as collaborator. Iacovoni was part of Stalker/Osservatorio Nomade from 2004-8 and is an author of numerous publications. He has taught at Cornell in Rome among other universities and has directed the IED (Istituto Europeo di Design) in Rome. Orizzontale is an architect’s collective based in Rome whose work crosses the fields of architecture, urbanism, public art and DIY practice.
Assemble is a multidisciplinary collective of eighteen members which includes architects, artists and designers. Their earliest work was the construction of a temporary cinema at an abandoned petrol station in Clerkenwell. Assemble became the first architecture studio to win the Turner Prize in 2015 for their Granby Four Streets project in Liverpool, a collaboration with residents to challenge oppressive planning initiatives through re-building housing and public space as well as providing employment in the neighbourhood. Assemble’s largest project to date, Goldsmith’s Centre for Contemporary Art, is due to open in 2018. The GCCA will transform a series of found historic, listed and infrastructural spaces into a new public art gallery and a site for an active public conversation around contemporary art practice. /assemblestudio.co.uk
13 February 2019
Alison Crawshaw, David Knight, Finn Williams & Pooja Agrawal | New Publics (Exhibition and round table discussion)
The 2008 financial crisis ushered in a decade of austerity and deregulation that has reshaped the role of the state in Britain and Italy, and in turn reshaped the public life of our cities. The generation of architects who started their careers under these conditions are increasingly stepping across sectors and beyond traditional roles to build new forms of publicness. Crawshaw, Knight, Williams & Agrawal.
Three projects by Finn Williams & Pooja Agrawal, David Knight and Alison Crawshaw describe the challenges of progressing a public agenda from within local government, through civic society and through private commissions.
The round table discussion will be chaired by Luca Montuori, Professor of Urban Design at Roma Tre University and Assessore all’ Urbanistica at the Comune di Roma. (Director of Town Planning at Rome City Council). Montuori is also the founder and director of the practice 2tr.
Alison Crawshaw is an architect with a diverse portfolio that includes landscapes, urban strategy, buildings and installations. As Rome Scholar in Architecture at the BSR, she researched public planning in Rome, post war to the present day, exploring both the opportunities and the impacts of the system’s submission to private interest. In her built work, she has endeavoured to expand given briefs and the scope of private commissions in order for each project to engage with the public life of the given city. For the exhibition at the BSR, she will present a selection of this work. www.alisoncrawshaw.com
David Knight is co-director of DK-CM, a London-based architecture and research practice which works primarily with and for the public sector. Since 2010, through a PhD at the Royal College of Art School of Architecture, Knight has been exploring how wider society discusses and practices planning outside official processes. He will present a series of research outcomes and design proposals for re-connecting public planning with popular discourse, including the website Building Rights. www.dk-cm.com
Finn Williams and Pooja Agrawal are co-founders of Public Practice, a social enterprise placing a new generation of architects, urbanists and planners within government to shape places for the public good. They will present a short documentary film that will be screened at the BSR as part of the exhibition. It will follow the first ever cohort of Associates, exploring their roles within the public sector, the challenges they face, the changes they make and the lessons they learn. www.publicpractice.org.uk
9 May 2019
Adam Nathaniel Furman, Fosbury Architecture and Jack Self | Mean Home (Exhibition and round table discussion)
Neoliberalism is a moral imperative that uses perpetual short-term crisis as a way to mask long-term structural polarisation of wealth. It is not a monolithic ideology, and while its principles are consistent, they always adapt themselves to a local context. Mean Home attempts to find the ‘mean’ (or middle) ground between Italian and British housing contexts, in financial, political and formal terms. It is also an attempt to develop a strategy for generosity in the home (against ‘meanness’). Jack Self
Jack Self (REAL Foundation) will curate an exhibition which will focus on what both the British and the Italians require/demand of their housing and consider a housing scheme designed by REAL Architecture, Adam Nathaniel Furman and the Italian practice, Fosbury Architecture. The exhibition will also analyse the relationship between British and Italian architecture from the 1960s to the present day and compare the economic and political contexts of housing in both countries.
Maria Claudia Clemente will chair the round table discussion between Jack Self, Adam Nathaniel Furman and Giacomo Ardesio from Fosbury Architecture. Clemente is the co-director of the practice Labics that she founded in 2002, together with Francesco Isidori. Since 2001, she has taught Exhibit and Public Design at Sapienza University of Rome. Clemente is also visiting professor at Cornell University in Rome and Ithaca, New York.
Fosbury Architecture (F.A) is an Italian architectural design and research collective based in Milan, Rotterdam and Hamburg. Founded in 2013, F.A. engages in a wide range of projects, from urban strategies to domestic environments and from independent fanzines to labyrinths. F.A has received many awards and has recently exhibited at the Chicago Biennale (2017) and the Venice Biennale (2016). F.A is the curator of Incompiuto-The Birth of a Style, the first extensive survey of all the unfinished works in Italy. fosburyarchitecture.com
Adam Nathaniel Furman has been described as one of four rising stars of 2017 by Rowan Moore, architecture critic for the Observer. He directs Saturated Space, a colour research cluster at the Architectural Association, as well as running a studio Productive Exuberance at Central Saint Martins. A former BSR Rome Prize-winner in Architecture (2014-15) and Design Museum Designer in Residence 2013-14, he recently co-authored the book Revisiting Postmodernism with Sir Terry Farrell. (RIBA, 2017). www.adamnathanielfurman.com/
Jack Self is an architect and writer based in London, Self is founder and director of the REAL Foundation, an organisation concerned with alternative forms of development, property and ownership, and is also editor-in-chief of the REAL Review. Self writes extensively for a number of international publications and was the youngest person to curate the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, together with Shumi Bose and Finn Williams. www.jackself.com/
18 September 2019
Rowan Moore | Just what is it that makes millennial architects so different, so appealing? (Lecture)
Introduced by Pippo Ciorra
Architecture critic of the Observer, Moore was previously editor of the architecture journal Blueprint and then critic for the Evening Standard. Director of the Architecture Foundation from 2002 to 2008, when he left to concentrate on writing full-time, he is the author of numerous books including; Slow Burn City (Pan Macmillan 2017) and Why We Build (Pan Macmillan 2012). Moore will lecture on relationships with the work of previous generations.
Round table discussion, London (in collaboration with the Architecture Foundation)
Concluding round table discussion in London that will bring together the main protagonists of the programme and focus on the convergences and divergences between the work of young British and Italian architects.
We are grateful for the generosity of all those who make the Architecture Programme possible. Brave New World is co-sponsored by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Bennetts Associates, The Marchus Trust, Eric Parry Architects and the John S Cohen Foundation, with additional support from Jamie Fobert Architects, the Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust and the Embassy of the Netherlands as well as a donation from Carmody Groarke.
Curator, Architecture Programme
British School at Rome