This website presents the research activities by staff at the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster. It is intended to keep students, teachers and scholars updated on research related activities, events and awards by members of the School and to allow them to share their work and achievements with the wider academic and professional community.
the modernists,(45; 17-20) Winter MMXXII/XXIII
In 1960s civic restructuring and political ideals led to progressive design of the new Hounslow Civic Centre. Jakobsen Landscape Architects and Urban Designers, led by Danish landscape architect Preben Jakobsen and his English architect wife Maggi Jakobsen, was appointed to create a landscape design and to integrate the new build with the adjacent Victorian park. Preben, inspired by geometry and geology, created a series of linked modernists gardens connected by polygon concrete paths, terraces, boulders and cobbles. Inside he furnished the Bürolandschaft with hanging and winter gardens. Completed in 1976 the Jakobsen design secured multiple awards, yet by 2019 the complex was demolished.
The new international project led by Enrica Papa and named Knowledge Hub ACUTE (Accessibility and Connectivity knowledge hub for Urban Transformation in Europe) just started. The Knowledge Hub for knowledge transfer on urban accessibility and connectivity will address the challenges of sustainable urban passenger mobility, freight transport and connectivity as an integral and essential part of sustainable urban development. ACUTE will enable cross-project cooperation, extract and consolidate knowledge and initiate efforts to support practitioners.
Hocine Aouchal, Khedidja Boufenara & Giulio Verdini (2022) Heritage Exclusivism in Postcolonial Algeria: Assessing Local Heritageness in Annaba, Towards a Holistic and Participatory Approach to Urban Heritage Management, The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice, 13:4, 399-425, DOI: 10.1080/175675
This paper focuses on urban heritage meanings, values, and management challenges in postcolonial Algeria, and particularly on the question of exclusivism of non-traditional urban places in heritage discourse. In the process of reconstruction of homogenous national postcolonial cultural identities, local heritage views and perspectives are often ignored. This paper suggests looking simultaneously into national policies and legislative texts on urban heritage, and local stakeholders’ perceptions of what heritage should be, to identify gaps and potentially ways to improve current urban heritage governance.
With a local/regional focus, we asked 4 speakers to present on “resilience, recovery, and rejuvenation” and what it means for present and future tourism professionals. A key focus of the discussion was around the ways tourism education and industry can work together to build a better future for tourism.
In each location, we heard from a key industry player, a DMO, an academic, and a graduate alumnus, followed by an open forum discussion.
Corinna Dean has been awarded a Gender Ecologies Grant in collaboration with Marvi Mazhar Associates, as part of the Pakistan UK Season 2022.
This fund offered three to four grants, each worth £30,000 to support the development and delivery of projects that contribute to the Gender Ecologies programme, which explores the intersection of women, climate change and arts. The grant is being awarded to support collaboration between Pakistan and the UK. The proposal is Pakistan-led.
Corinna And Marvi will enter into a dialogue around environmental justice with Marvi engaging with Activism and fisherwoman around the Punjab and Corinna looking at contamination as agency around the River Lea.
A swimming pool is typically an occasion in a story but rarely its heroine. This is unsurprising because on the surface, it is a simple object. However, its shadowy depths reveal a powerful space of imagination where spatial, socio-political, physiological, and psychological constructs are framed.
Through a series of short essays, each of which is coupled with a single image, we are going to compose an incomplete mosaic that reasserts the protean quality of the space and its relevance in contemporary society, including and equally importantly, as a space of exchange, dialogue and narration that is underlined in the format of the event.
A symposium organised by Naina Gupta.
Davide Deriu from the School of Architecture + Cities is one of the participants.
Corinna won second prize in the The Architecture Foundation’s new architectural writing prize. Entrants were invited to submit texts to one or more of three themed categories: Architecture and Representation, Writing as an Architectural Medium, and Design and the Climate and Biodiversity Emergencies.
The categories were respectively sponsored by Drawing Matter, the Jencks Foundation and the Marchus Trust. Corinna won in the Climate and Biodiversity category which will feature in an Architecture Foundation publication to be released in 2023.
This project uses pioneering cross-disciplinary methods to examine the adaptive reuse of cinemas in London as places of worship. In doing so, the research will capture a vital snapshot of faith and diaspora in the contemporary urban landscape, which may be used to inform future heritage practices.
Guest editor Nora N. Khan assembled a cast of luminaries to consider the far-reaching implications of AI and computational culture. Organised into thematic chapters on the limits of knowledge, myths of prediction, mapping beyond language, and the (in)explainability of abstract computational processes, Khan and contributors measure the gap between machine learning hypotheticals and the mess of lived experience. From virtual assistants in the living room to algorithmic sentencing in the courtroom, the collected essays, archival research, and artworks probe our problematic faith in and deference to AI.
Production: HOLO: Alexander Scholz, Filip Visnjic, Greg J. Smith // Art Direction & Design: zmyk, Oliver Griep & Jan Spading // Copy Editor: Andrew Wilmot
Green New Deal Landscapes is a podcast series on the Urban Next Platform hosted by Jose Alfredo Ramírez and Clara Olóriz Sanjuán who are co-directors of AA Groundlab. Each session discusses the relationship between policy making and our environment and explores how we can tackle climate change through landscape design. In session 2, Lindsay Bremner joins Alfredo to talk about new methodological procedures and narrative strategies in mapping the landscape to understand complex relationships within the Earth.
Associated with the planning model of ‘tactical urbanism’ and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘city street experiments’ or experimental changes in street use, regulation and/or form aimed at exploring aimed at exploring systemic change towards a ‘post-car’ city have become increasingly prominent. In the seminar, members of the EXTRA research project will present research on parklets and school streets in the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Redbridge. They will discuss preliminary results on how local people use, perceive and experience street changes.
K.Kamvasinou, G.Verdini, C.Dean, R.Kalra, and S.Cioboata have been selected to present their QHT-funded research, and prior work leading on to it in relation to Cody Dock, a post-industrial site of community-led regeneration, river revitalisation and social entreprise on the River Lea in East London, at the conference ‘Repurposing Places for Social and Environmental Resilience’ organised by Counterarchitecture,UEL and ARUP (23-24 March 2023).
Join us for the launch of Experiments with Body Agent Architecture, with a reading by the author, Dr Alessandro Ayuso.
Please RSVP through the link provided.
Davide Deriu has been invited to open the conference on ‘Made in Italy’ organised by the IR.IDE research infrastructure at the Iuav University of Venice. The event (in Italian) is the culmination of a 4-year project to which Davide previously contributed as Visiting Professor (2021-22).
The shortage of housing is an acute and pervasive problem in the contemporary city and young people are perhaps the most affected. Faced with housing that is either exorbitantly expensive or hopelessly inadequate, they are increasingly pushed out of urban centres, isolated and marginalised. To address this condition, PLP worked with the start-up Collective to develop a strategy for new and affordable ways of living predicated on high-density, communality and shared experience. Collective Old Oak, in West London was the first of this model to be built and, at the time, the world’s largest co-living building.
Journal of Historic Buildings and Places, Volume 01, 2022, 113-124
This essay is a consideration of the very sensitive issues around the restoration and extension to the iconic modern masterpiece by Mies van der Rohe, the Neue Nationalgalerie (NNG) on the Kulturforum in Berlin. The NNG is important for the City of Berlin, not least because it is the only building realised by Mies in Europe after his emigration to the USA. But the importance of the NNG goes further than that. It is an icon of the history of twentieth century art and architecture, embodying the ideals of cosmopolitan modernism.
Between 1946 and 1951 the London County Council promoted their post-war re-construction efforts through the organization of visitors’ tours to their ‘Out-County’ estates, run in conjunction with the Ministry of Health in response to a UN proposal to co-ordinate knowledge sharing on housing production. In this presentation Julian Williams examines the LCC records of these tours and the rich insights they offer into the development of the estate as a concept for organizing housing provision in London and beyond.
Smith, A., Osborn, G. and Quinn, B. (Eds.) Festivals and the City: The Contested Geographies of Urban Events. London: University of Westminster Press. Pp. 1–15. London: University of Westminster Press.
This edited collection explores how festivals and events affect urban places and public spaces with a particular focus on their role in fostering inclusion. The book focuses on Western European cities and features 15 chapters written by 28 contributing authors and edited by Andrew Smith, Guy Osborn and Bernadette Quinn. There are chapters by some of the worlds’s leading festival experts (including a Chapter on Venice by John and Maggie Gold), as well as contributions from some of the best early career academics in the field. We’re proud that the work of several PhD students is featured too.
You can download the 308 page book for free by clicking on URL below.
At the conference, organised by the Raymond Williams Society to celebrate 100 years since the birth of socialist, cultural theorist and public intellectual Raymond Williams, Nick Beech presented a paper on the significance of William Morris in the formation of Williams’s thought. In ‘…no more than a kind of generalized swearing’: the positive valuation of William Morris by Raymond Williams’ Nick argues that ‘architecture’ – understood as a material cultural practice – illuminates Williams’s writings of the mid-1950s and early-1960s.
International conference ‘What’s Happening to Cultural Studies?’ is a three-day workshop designed to provide a focus for conversations about the shift in the role and capacities of cultural studies as an academic discipline in the twenty-first century. We stress the dual nature of the ‘discipline’: cultural studies is taught and cultural studies is researched. The relationship between these two aspects is one of the questions we hope this event will explore.
Enrica Papa, from the Transport and Mobilities Research Group, led the Transport Planning track and presented results of the EXTRA project to the Association of European School of Planning – AESOP Annual Conference in Tartu.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2022.2108041
This article explores the intersect between the human right to water, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the reality of hotels water use. Our qualitative study was based on semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and focus groups with hoteliers, government agencies and community stakeholders in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It examines the challenges faced by hoteliers to respect the human right to water and why hotels do not voluntarily adopt the Guiding Principles. The impeding factors identified include a lack of awareness, a lack of substantive voluntary schemes, the water tariff, the absence of data management; return on investment, profit and
An exhibition on Climate Resilient and Healthy Cities was launched at Cody Dock in East London, 20 July, as a result of an interdisciplinary project funded by the Quintin Hogg Trust. Students from urban design, planning, psychology, law, worked together to produce accessible scientific material to a wider audience, and to facilitate community engagement, discussing the changing perception and new demands of green spaces among people after the pandemic. The research project was coordinated by Krystallia Kamvasinou, Giulio Verdini, and Ripin Kalra, with the contribution of Rachel Aldred and Corinna Dean, and research associate Sabina Cioboata.
Giulio Verdini presented his research work on Climate Studios in North Africa at the panel organised by GPEAN, Global Planning Education Association Network, and HABITAT UNI ‘From theory to practice. Universities contribute to the New Urban Agenda’, at WUF11, the UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum in Katowice, 30 June. His presentation highlighted how climate emergency can be a trigger to rethink planning paradigms, providing meanwhile a unique opportunity to co-develop new public narratives of inclusion, adaptation and resiliency with non-academic stakeholders. The panel was chaired by Raphaëlle Vignol, UN-HABITAT, with closing remarks from Bruce Stiftel, Georgia Tech University.
Strange finding out one has been given an award one did not apply for nor know one was nominated for, as a member of an organisation one retired from 16 years ago, in a powerpoint presentation sent as an attachment in an email by a friend!
Verdini, G. and Dean, C. 2022. Climate Urbanism in the Post-pandemic World: Mapping Vulnerabilities and Exploring Community Activism in East London. in: Giorgi, E., Cattaneo, T., Flores Herrera, A. M. and Aceves Tarango, V. (ed.) Design for Vulnerable Communities Cham. Springer. pp. 245-262.
This chapter proposes an approach to understand and map city social and environmental vulnerabilities, alongside bottom-up and emerging community experiences in response to the pandemic, with the aim to provide a critical understanding on whether the goal of designing climate resilient and socially inclusive post-pandemic neighbourhoods can be achievable. A framework of city resiliency based on the principles of climate urbanism is applied to the Lower Lea Valley in East London, in the context of studio pedagogy. This helps envision how to design post-pandemic sustainable climate actions, while critically taking into account the role of communities and other local actors.
Giulio Verdini coordinated a summer workshop in the Oasis town of Figuig in Morocco, near the border with Algeria, called ‘Figuig Climate Studio’, 31 May – 4 June, to explore scenarios of sustainability and resiliency with local people, linked to the impact of climate change on water provision, agriculture and liveability of the town. Students and staff from the University of Westminster, University of Wageningen, International University of Rabat, and National School of Architecture of Oujda attended. The workshop was promoted by ILAUD and My African Competition, and sponsored by the Municipality of Figuig, under the auspices of Union of the Mediterranean.
Kate Jordan (2022) Urban churches in an infrasecular landscape: three case studies from the Anglican Diocese of London, The Journal of Architecture, DOI: 10.1080/13602365.2022.2072933
Church architecture is an overlooked barometer of urban life. It holds up a unique mirror to economic models, demographics, cultural and ritual practices, and aesthetic movements in late modernity. In turn, the changing complexion of secular society has had a marked influence on the type and style of Christian architecture in the twenty-first century. This article explores the dialectical relationship between church architecture and secular society within recent critical frameworks, examining, in particular, the value of infrasecular geographies as an alternative to the post-secular lens.
This round table will gather a panel of early career researchers, practitioners and academics to discuss concerns around democracy, protest, public engagement and empowerment, social stratification and elitism. The speakers – Professor Marion Roberts, Professor Pippa Catterall, Nayyar Hussain, Minerva Fadel, Dr Kate Jordan and Dr Maja Jović (chaired by Dr Adam Eldridge) will discuss their experiences of working with marginalised social groups, negotiation of power, agency and identity globally, soft spacial practices and ephemeral heritage, and recording oral histories.
This LFA event is free but ticketed. Please book via Eventbrite (URL below).
Lindsay Bremner has been awarded a one-year, €150,000 European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept Grant for ‘Climate Cartographics,’ a project to test the societal and commercial potential of the cartographic techniques developed during the Monsoon Assemblages project. She and two research fellows will work with the Active Travel Academy, Southwark Borough Council, Trees for Cities, and Pelagian (a sub-sea cable company) to develop pilot cartographic products using visual sensemaking and visual story-telling techniques. On the basis of these pilots and further market research, a business case for offering the services more widely to different sectors will be developed.
Lindsay Bremner has been invited to participate in and give a plenary address at a workshop titled ‘Societal Aspects of Climate Change,’ organised by the Institute for Advanced Study at KU Leuven in Belgium, 24-25 May. The workshop aims to provide a basis for exchanging views with international scientists from various non-European countries on their cultural, political and economic development conditions and on the challenges that climate change poses to their societies.
We are pleased to share one of the outputs of our HERA funded FESTSPACE project which examines the ways festivals and events affect the inclusivity of London’s parks. In collaboration with a local film maker we have produced a 21 minute film that illustrates how festivals can contribute to, rather than detract from, the publicness of park settings. The film focuses on one event – Latino Life in the Park – which was staged in Finsbury Park, London, in August 2021.
Professor Christine Wall has been awarded a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship (2022) (£21,730) for the project:
“If I had a hammer”: feminist activism and the built environment 1975-2000.
Using archive sources and oral history interviews, the project charts the origins and significance of key campaign groups which emerged during a period of optimism and dynamism in feminist, built environment activism. The research will document the working lives of many of the women who were involved, the policies they influenced, the the building work they completed and aims to situate and include feminist activism in the history of the twentieth century, built environment.
Cities are becoming increasingly affected by climate change while also being one of its major contributors. Since more sustainable and resilient design approach represents a key challenge for the near future, the Next-Generation built environment will most likely focus on regenerative design, adaptation rather than mitigation, and the ability to deal with uncertainty in both acute and chronic ecosystems and communities’ status. How to drive this transition? Which the key priorities and which the barriers?
Monsoon Assemblages will launch Monsoon as Method: Assembling Monsoonal Multiplicities (Actar 2022) online on 8 June, 13.00 – 14.30 (BST). Do join us to celebrate the publication of the book.
At the launch, Lindsay Bremner, Christina Geros, Harshavardhan Bhat, Anthony Powis and John Cook will be joined by Edd Wall, Alfredo Ramirez, Karen Coelho, Pamila Gupta and Jonathan Cane to discuss the book and its methods. To attend, register using the Eventbrite link provided.
The book puts forward the notion of body agents: non-ideal, animate, and highly specific figures integrated with design to enact particular notions of embodied subjectivity. Body agents present opportunities for architects to increase imaginative and empathic qualities in their designs, particularly amidst a posthuman condition. Structured around speculative historical fiction from the viewpoint of body agents, the book presents a fragmented history of the figure in architecture that informed the process of creating the multi-media design experiments, moving from the design of the body itself as an original prosthetic to architectural proposals emanating from the body.
Researchers from UoW Transport Research Group will present their work at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2022, which will take place at Newcastle University from 30 August to 2 September 2022. Ersilia Verlinghieri, Asa Thomas, and Rachel Aldred organised a session titled’Road-reallocations and social infrastructures: Debating the social in car-centric cities’. Emilia Smeds organised a session titled ‘What is the street for? Interrogating ‘ways of seeing’ and the epistemic justice of reconfiguring street space. Papers by Enrica Papa, Emilia Smeds and Asa Thomas will be presented. The Conference regularly attracts over 2,000 geographers from around the world.
Ex-TRA JPI Urban project has been included in a UKRI blog for Earth Day highlighting some of the great research and innovation projects that ESRC funded that are tackling climate change. The blog piece can be found on Medium via Url link below.
Pete Silver, Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Cities has been awarded a patent from the UK’s Intellectual property Office for his design for a helical structural framework. Hopefully, we shall be able to prototype and construct this at a large scale on campus.
Davide Deriu will give a lecture at the Addressing Dizziness symposium which takes place at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, on 4-6 May, 2022. This process-oriented working symposium aims to discuss ways of localizing, recognizing, approaching, and countering dizziness at different scales and disciplines. Through the prisms of art, architecture, philosophy, somatics, post-colonial theory and remembrance cultures, the event aims to uncover various layers of physical and social dizziness. Curated by Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond, artist-researchers and professors at the Zentrum Fokus Forschung, University of Applied Arts.
Professor Sean Griffiths will present a paper, ‘Act without Agency,Production without Purpose, Competence without Comprehension’ at this year’s Royal Academy Architecture Symposium on Tuesday 7th of June 2022.
Based on almost 10 years of applied research by Paolo Cascone between Europe and Africa, his work investigates the potential role of indigenous and spontaneous architecture in the contemporary debate on sustainability in architectural design: How to respond to climatic changes reconciling nature with tekné? What is the social role of technology? How architects reconsider their practices in supporting community-oriented projects?
These questions are discussed through a number of paradigmatic projects in order to shape an interdisciplinary approach that bridges different knowledge.
The launch of Michael Neuman’s book Sustainable Infrastructure for Cities and Societies on Marylebone Campus and online.
Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88352581921?pwd=ZHZlQWVUYjlab01hQ3FXV0hKZ05pUT09
Meeting ID: 883 5258 1921
Citation (publication only):
This is the first in a series of Incomplete Works documenting the practice of Doctor Watson Architects. These architects have recoiled from the methods of architectural design to invent a new form of material practice known generically as Air Grid.
Luz Navarro has been awarded a £4,822 grant from the UKRI Participatory Research Fund, via an internal call of the UoW. Expanding on previous participatory research funded by the QHT, the project will explore the experiences of BAME women cycling within different types of urban environments and cycling infrastructures. The project is co-organised with JoyRiders – a BAME women cycling organisation– and will articulate through a series of participatory design-research workshops in four different locations in London. The participatory nature of the research places women as experts of their environments and their own needs and aspirations regarding cycling
Enrica Papa and Emilia Smeds were successful in securing a £4588 grant from the UKRI Participatory Research Fund, via an internal UoW call. This expands the participatory research activities and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion of the EX-TRA project led by Enrica Papa (Experimenting with City Streets to Transform Urban Mobility). Recent parklets and School Streets will be discussed through a community-led approach. It is an interdisciplinary collaboration between transport planning, architect colleagues and social sciences colleagues. Co-I: Ipshita Basu, Maria Kramer