Projective Cities Alumni Forum

Date: 19/10/2020
Time: 15:00-18:00
Venue: Zoom, register to attend

Join us for a collective discussion on research by design practices at the intersection between academia, professional practice, activist work and policy making. Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design is inviting distinguished graduates of the programme to share their recent and past work that combines new design trajectories and forms of speculative research, while challenging existing disciplinary boundaries and contributing to emerging multiscalar questions and problematics about the future of cities and the built environment. The forum will discuss individual and shared methodologies, as well as how the programme’s teaching has impacted the future of their practice.

Social Integration Project in Santiago de Chile (Ministry of Housing 2017-2018).

Reinterpretations of the Cité Housing’s Formal and Social Diagrams

The presentation focuses on the analysis and possible reinterpretations of the cité: a typical housing solution for the first half of the 20th century in Santiago de Chile. Through a series of arguments and projects, it is intended to account for the possibilities of using this row housing typology in two novel ways. First, as a means for urban design, including morphological aspects (of spatial and functional proximity) to Santiago’s expansion and densification process. Second, as a mechanism to promote social assemblages and to include domestic programs, aiming at overcoming the limited conception of the minimum dwelling.

ALVARO ARANCIBIA is an architect graduate of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, holding an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities Programme) and a PhD in Architectural Design from the Architectural Association. Since 2007 he has been undertaking research and practice on the problem of social housing and urban design in Santiago. As a researcher, he received the AA Graduate Prize for Research: Outstanding Work 2015-2016 for his PhD thesis ‘The Social Re-Signification of Housing: A Design Guide for Santiago de Chile’. As a practitioner, he has participated in a number of housing competitions, among which stands out the first prize in Architecture and Social Integration: Communities of Different Incomes (2008) and first prize in Socially Integrated Density Housing Design, 290 dwellings in Ciudad Parque Bicentenario (2017). In addition, his practice focuses on commissioned private houses, being the CS House nominated for the Mies Van der Rohe Crown Hall Americas Prize – Emerging Architecture (2016). Alvaro’s writings and design proposals have been published internationally and also has lectured in several universities. Most recently: Universidad de La Salle (México), The Royal College of Art, The Bartlett School of Architecture, The Architectural Association (UK), and Pontificia Universidad Católica (Chile).

“Collective Forms in China – Exhibit at Venice Architecture Biennale (2018)” 

Staying with the Unsettling

The talk will share a personal path of design research, meandering through architecture, anthropology and art. From architectural urbanism adopted at the AA Projective Cities, to design ethnography practiced throughout the doctoral study on Chinese rurality at AA PhD by Design and postdoctoral works on community and governance at the RCA, to the idea of structured ambiguity that explores the form of scroll drawing as a synthesis of research and a means of argumentation, then to the deep entanglements between agents of the Earth and planetary feedback loops as an architectural domain, I hope to reflect on my practice as a design researcher that does not dwell on a defined subject matter, but rather as a form of personal enquiry, and indeed struggle, driven by an urge to unsettle the domination of all those constituted as others, which underpins the rather wide ranging themes, i.e. diverse ways of cultural knowing and being, non-canonical histories and socio-spatial models, and alternative cartographic imaginaries. The ultimate questions I seek to explore are: To whom are we responsible and accountable? And what might be the constitutive role of architecture in the production of knowledge, imaginations and practices concerning these responsibilities and accountabilities?

JINGRU CYAN CHENG is currently a design tutor in MA Architecture (ADS7) and postdoctoral research associate at the Royal College of Art. She holds a PhD by Design and an M.Phil Projective Cities from the Architectural Association in London. Cyan’s doctoral work on Chinese rurality, domesticity, and the resistance and care in the practices of rural dissolved households, received a commendation by the RIBA President’s Awards for Research (2018). Her postdoctoral research centres around the idea of the collective, the construct of collective subjectivities, and the socio-spatial design of community. Another line of Cyan’s work, through studio teaching and exhibition practice, looks into the atmosphere as a transformative terrestrial subject that reshapes global and local politics, as well as struggles and conflicts in the climate crisis. Cyan’s work has been exhibited at Critical Zones: Observatories for Earthly Politics (2020-21), Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (2019), Venice Architecture Biennale (2018) and Beijing Design Week (2016), among others.

Rethinking housing and care cooperatives, from dissertation to practice.

Rethinking Housing and Care Cooperatives in the Netherlands

In recent years, cooperatives and social support networks have come to the centre of attention in search for an alternative response to traditional forms of assistance. Community-led care networks such as Buurtzorg, District Care, and care cooperatives are being developed in the Netherlands as a result of new legislation. Through the administration of the Right to Challenge (2016), the funding of community organisation and the establishment of the cooperative in the Housing Act (2015 and 2020), the Dutch government is framing cooperatives as an urban strategy to develop social initiatives, decentralised care models and affordable housing in order to renew neighbourhoods.
Through an analysis of housing acts, spatial forms and dwelling types the seminar reflects on the role of housing (cooperatives) in relation to healthcare and wellbeing. Moreover, the seminar illustrates how the shift towards decentralised care models has led to new design questions about the use and organisation of the home environment in relation to care work, district services and cluster living. The aim of the seminar is to start an open discussion on how we can challenge and rethink the dwelling as an infrastructural project to organise the provision of support, services and cooperation.

GIANNA BOTTEMA holds a MSc in Architecture from Delft University of Technology and a Taught MPhil (Projective Cities) in Architecture and Urban Design from the Architectural Association in London. Her thesis was focussed on the development of housing and care cooperatives and formed an investigation into decentralised and cooperative care models in the Netherlands. Currently, she is working as an architect on different housing projects and developing the research projects Collective Home Ownership: New Protocols for Architecture, and Vital Home: Dwelling as an Infrastructural Project.

Experimental Cell Partition Walls for the Millbank Penitentiary by Michael Faraday and Abel Blouet.

From Violin to Axes: Falling in love with Robin Evans

Through the cell partition detail, Evans displays architecture’s agency where the designer is questioning what it means to be isolated? It is the moment where architecture pushes back and demands a reckoning in an existing political order. Evans’ writings were my gateway into understanding what architectural agency meant, which was one of the more enduring take-aways from Projective Cities that has underlined the teaching I did in Aarhus and my own research since. I will retrospectively look at some of my own work since 2013, linking it back to some of the important moments in the programme and Evans’ essays that guided me during this journey.

NAINA GUPTA is an architect with a BArch from India, and a March and a MPhil from the Architectural Association (AA) in London, U.K. Currently she is completing her PhD. at the AA and her research is titled A Curious Constellation: An International Sensibility and Modern Architecture, that departed from her MPhil dissertation titled Palaces Without A People: Constructing a Post-National Forum, which was done at Projective Cities. She has practiced as an architect in India, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Russia. Between 2015-2018 she taught a unit at Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark.

Barcelona’s Besós Frontline on top of the ringroad. Avilla + Llindar

‘Housing Systems’

In every major city, housing is being disputed as a right and as a commodity within a transformation process that affects its urban fabric as much as its social structure. Architecture and urban design play major roles in these transformations, as they are seen as instruments both by public authorities and developers. With the PC dissertation “The Role of Public Housing in Barcelona” (2018) I analysed the impact of local associations and dwellers both during the design process and once the building is inhabited, reconsidering notion of standards – “what” and “for whom” – and shifting traditional housing design and procurement process by starting it from the domestic space. This lecture will present the continuation of that research after 2018 through public and cooperative housing projects in Barcelona.

RAÜL AVILLA-ROYO  is an architect and researcher. He studied architecture in Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB-UPC) and in the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio (AAM-USI), after which he pursued a Taught MPhil at the Architectural Association (AA). He is currently tutor at MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) at the AA and since 2013 he runs his own practice, focused on public and cooperative buildings. He is also PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) and member of the collective Arquitectos de Cabecera in Barcelona.

From Haringey to the Bronx.

Just Housing

Focusing on two large scale projects in London and New York, the lecture will reflect on Ricardo’s experience working in the early phases of design for affordable, cooperative living schemes in Haringey and the Bronx. The projects span his time as a student researching for his thesis and as a practising architect, both with the aim to conceive just housing.

RICARDO PALMA is an architect who graduated in Architecture and Design from the Instituto Superior de Arquitectura y Diseño (ISAD), Chihuahua and from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Ricardo has worked in Mexico City, Copenhagen and New York where he currently resides. His dissertation focused on community-led housing in Haringey, and thereafter he went on to work on an affordable housing project in the Bronx.

Workers’ housing of the former State Agricultural Farm, in Opole Voivodeship, Poland. Source: Archive of the ‘Trouble in Paradise’ exhibition, photo: Wojciech Mazan, 2019. 

Hidden Remains
Architecture of Former Workers Settlements of State Agricultural Farms in Contemporary Poland

Wojciech Mazan is an architect, he graduated with an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and with an MSc from the Faculty of Architecture of the Wrocław University of Technology and studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. In 2017 he co-founded architectural practice PROLOG, which curates Polish Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition preparing the project concerning the countryside of Poland named ‘Trouble in Paradise’. He currently works as an assistant researcher at the Royal College of Arts in London.

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