A podcast about architecture, buildings, urban culture and space with Ambrose Gillick, discussing ideas, artefacts and people with scholars, designers, artists, teachers and architects. Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music. w. aisforarchitecture.org i. @ais4architecture t. @AisArchitecture f. @aisforarchitecture Transcripts available via Medium here: https://medium.com/@AisforArchitecture
Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman: Architecture, justice, the spatial and the social.
53:43In episode 23, Season 2 of A is for Architecture, I spoke with UC San Diego professors, Fonna Forman and Teddy Cruz about their two recent books, Spatializing Justice: Building Blocks and Socializing Architecture: Top-Down / Bottom-Up, published by MIT Press in August 2022 and March 2023 respectively. Fonna and Teddy run Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a ‘a research-based political and architectural practice in San Diego, who investigate ‘issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure and public culture […] Blurring conventional boundaries between theory and practice, and merging the fields of architecture and urbanism, political theory and urban policy, visual arts and public culture’ [leading] urban research agendas and civic/public interventions in the San Diego-Tijuana border region and beyond’. Fonna is Professor of Political Science and Teddy is Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism at UC San Diego, where they also co-direct the Centre on Global Justice and the X-Border Lab. Both books are well worth a read, and are full of thoughtful, practice-based insights and provocations, drawing on a rich, political interpretation of the spatial conditions of exclusion found in a very extreme condition. Spatializing Justice is ‘a practical handbook for confronting social and economic inequality and uneven urban growth in architectural and planning practice’. Socializing Architecture follows this, urging architects and urbanists ‘to design political and civic processes that mediate top-down and bottom-up urban resources, and to mobilize a new public imagination toward a more just and equitable urbanization.’ Big, important stuff, so be a diamond and have a listen. You’ll find Spatializing Justice and Socializing Architecture on the MIT Press website, linked above, where you can buy them. Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman’s website is here, with more information on their work and practice to be found all over the internet; their Instagram is here, Fonna’s LinkedIn is here, Teddy’s UC San Diego profile is here, Fonna’s is here. Thanks for listening. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
Kim Dovey: Informal settlements and emergent urbanism.
1:06:51Season Two’s twenty-second episode features Kim Dovey, Professor and Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, Melbourne School of Design, University of Melbourne, speaking about his very wonderful body of work on informality, informal urbanism, place and placemaking. We discuss his forthcoming Atlas of Informal Settlement: Understanding Self-Organized Urban Design (Bloomsbury 2023, with, Matthijs van Oostrum, Tanzil Shafique, Ishita Chatterjee and Elek Pafka), Mapping Urbanities: Morphologies, Flows, Possibilities (Routledge 2018), and Becoming Places: Urbanism / Architecture / Identity / Power (Routledge 2010), and just one of his marvellous papers, Towards a morphogenesis of informal settlements (2020, Habitat International, with van Oostrum, Shafique, Chatterjee and Pafka). Kim is fantastic, of course, at describing the most common form of urban form and housing type of all: ‘In a formal urban design and planning process, the urban design and planning comes first, and then the architecture follows. In an informal process, in the most informal of informal settlements, the architecture comes first, or tends to come first. So the people just build buildings. And if you like the, the street network is then an emergent phenomenon that comes out of the whatever's whatever spaces are left after the buildings are produced. But then, there's a lot of processes, which are much more mixed on that as well.’ For more like that, listen and learn. You can get Mapping Urbanities andBecoming Places from the Routledge website here and here, and bookmark this link to the Bloomsbury website for August, when the Atlasdrops. Kim’s can be found on the Melbourne School of Design here, and on ResearchGate here. Kim co-leads the Informal Urbanism Research Hubtoo. Thanks for listening. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
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Maurice Mitchell and Bo Tang: Detective, narrator, craftsman, architect.
51:59In Episode 21, Season 2 of A is for Architecture I spoke with Maurice Mitchell and Bo Tang, respectively Professor and Reader of/ in Architecture, within the School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University, and together directors of Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources [A R C S R], an ‘an emergent, studio based, teaching and research area within the practice and academic discipline of architecture’. I got to hear about their 2017 book, Loose Fit City: The Contribution of Bottom-Up Architecture to Urban Design and Planning, published by Routledge, which is ‘about the ways in which city residents can learn through making to engage with the dynamic process of creating their own city. It looks at the nature and processes involved in loosely fitting together’. The idea of loose in the sense of [a] loose fit city, Bo suggests in our conversation, may be defined as ‘bringing together different intentions, or allowing them to come together in a way that more than one party is able to contribute to the conversation, to the decision making process, to have a voice across scale, across time to try and come to an understanding of shared matters of concern that may then lead to a civic assembly’. As before, lovely guests, a wonderful, inspiring book and proper, easy conversation. Listen, share, want, get. You can get Loose Fit City off the Routledge website here but also elsewhere online. Bo can be found on the London Met website here, and Maurice here. Bo is here on Twitter, and here on LinkedIn. There's a boss video of Maurice giving an online lecture for the Architecture Foundation on Laurie Baker and Balkrishna Doshi here. Thanks for listening. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
Flora Samuel: Housing, health and eudaimonia.
56:38In Episode 20, Season 2 of A is for Architecture’s I spoke with Flora Samuel, Professor of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, holding the professorial chair and until recently, professor at and founding member of Reading School of Architecture, University of Reading about Housing for Hope and Wellbeing, published by Routledge this year which, Flora said, is ‘the best one I ever wrote, I think, & certainly the cheapest.’. Flora was elected the first RIBA Vice President for Research in 2018 and has been instrumental in the development of the Urban Room movement in Britain, through her CCQOL research project on community consultation through mapping. She co-authored Public Participation in Planning in the UK for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Excellence and also wrote the very well received Why Architects Matter in 2018, also by Routledge. Housing, Flora says is ‘really a very slippery subject, isn't it? It's the one about which we all intimately know a lot from our own lived experience, but has been very poorly studied […] because it's very difficult to make comparisons, you can never compare one bit of housing over the other because everything is different. So it's not a tidy like hospital or something like that’. Tidy, like a hospital. So is this episode, so enjoy it. Flora is a significant voice in the British architecture scene and there’s much on and by her online and in paper. Have a look around, for sure. There’s a good video – The Social Value of Design - of Flora and Peter Murray speaking for New London Architecture here. Flora is lively on Twitter here, and her LinkedIn is here. Thanks for listening. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Available on iTunes/ Apple, Spotify, Google and Amazon.
Alex Ely: Resilience, networks and architectural practice.
58:52Episode Nineteen of A is for Architecture’s second season is a conversation with Mae’s founding director, Alex Ely, talking about his practice’s recent book, Towards a Resilient Architecture, published by Quart in 2022. Mae’s work has an increasing focus on sustainability integrated into the whole life of the scheme. As Alex put it when we spoke, ‘I suppose reflecting on 21 years of practice, I suddenly sort of recognise that, in every project we've done, there's been an element of inquiry or hunting for alternative ways of doing things that might lend themselves to more sustainable solutions. That's not to say that environmental architecture has always been at the forefront of our mind. But the point about the book was actually saying: Right, now it needs to be, and we need as a practice to step up. But then so does the industry.’ You can get Towards a Resilient Architecture off the Quart website here but also elsewhere online. You can have a look at Mae’s built work on their website and all the online magazines too, but of particular pertinence to our discussion are their Sands End Arts & Community Centre, Fulham, their proposal for the Oxford to Cambridge Corridor and the John Morden Centre, Blackheath. Alex’s professional profile is here, and his LinkedIn is here; Mae’s is here. Mae’s Instagram is here, their Twitter is here, and Pinterest is here. Cheers! + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
Ed Parham: Space Syntax, cities and digital futures.
1:08:41In episode 18, season 2 of A is for Architecture, I met (on Zoom…) with Ed Parham, Director of Design & innovation at Space Syntax, to talk about its origins, objectives, methods and motivations. Space Syntax, the brainchild of Bill Hiller, formed as the Space Syntax Laboratory at The Bartlett, University College London, and now led by Tim Stonor, is ubiquitous in architectural thinking, almost a shorthand for any form of data-led complex spatial analysis. I wanted to understand it better, and Ed, as an architect, seemed like the ideal person to unpack it for a naïf like me. Space Syntax describe their work as providing ‘a science-based and human-focused approach to the urban planning and design process. We help people to see, in clear and straightforward terms, how buildings and urban places can be designed to optimise their functional performance.’ Ed and I spoke about Space Syntax’s work at Astana/Nur-Sultan work, which you can watch on YouTube here, and the AD article, Urban Futures: Designing the Digitalised City. You can read Bill Hiller’s seminal text, Space is the Machine, at spaceisthemachine.com, and here’s a lovely essay, A Tribute to Bill Hillier, given at the 13th Space Syntax Symposium, in 2020, by Margarita Greene, Tao Yang, Vinicius Netto, Ruth Conroy Dalton, Sophia Psarra and Frederico De Holanda. Ed’s professional profile is here, and his LinkedIn is here. Space Syntax’s Instagram is here, their Twitter is here, YouTube here, LinkedIn here and Facebook here. Listen ‘n’ learn. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
Sally Stone: Interiority, interior design and change.
54:52In this the seventeenth episode of A is for Architecture’s second series, I speak with Sally Stone, Reader and Programme Leader for the MA Architecture and Adaptive Reuse programme and Director of the Continuity in Architecture Atelier at the Manchester School of Architecture. Among other things, Sally writes a lot, and we spoke about one recent book of hers, Inside Information: The Defining Concepts of Interior Design, co-written with Ed Hollis (Edinburgh College of Art) and published by RIBA Books in 2022. Inside Information deals with interiors, which is an under-interrogated part of Capital-A Architecture, focused as it is so often on exterior conditions, formal aesthetics and urban presence. Sally, and the book, unpack this quite a bit. As the blurb puts it: ‘We spend most of our time inside buildings [so] [m]astering the language, thinking and history of the interior is critical to understanding and designing spaces. This essential primer transcends the boundaries and genres that often define interiors, providing a comprehensive view of the concepts and vocabulary of interior design.’ The book (and Sally) do this indeed. Sally’s professional profile is here, Instagram here, and Twitter (even) here. You can get the book via the link above. It’s graphically well lush and full of ideas, information and insight. Listen around, and find out. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
Gevork Hartoonian: Architecture, spectacle and the image.
1:06:58In Episode 16 of Season 2 of A is for Architecture, I speak with Gevork Hartoonian, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture at the University of Canberra, Australia, about his 2012 book, Architecture and Spectacle: A Critique, published by Routledge. The issue of the architectural spectacle has perhaps been the dominant idea in urban and architectural thinking for the last two or three decades, most explicitly seen in Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao, a model of design that has been replicated globally since that building’s opening, but permeating design education and practice almost everywhere, in the near universal pursuit of spectacular solutions to the postmodern urban condition. Gevork’s book discusses this phenomenon, ‘[f]ocusing on six leading contemporary architects: Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, Bernard Tschumi, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Steven Holl’ and putting forward ‘a unique and insightful analysis of "neo-avant-garde" architecture [and] discusses the spectacle and excess which permeates contemporary architecture in reference to the present aesthetic tendency for image making, but [also] by applying the tectonic of theatricality discussed by the 19th-century German architect Gottfried Semper. In doing so, it breaks new ground by opening up a dialogue between the study of the past and the design of the present.’ Gevork’s professional profile is linked above, he’s on LinkedIn here too, and his Instagram can be found here. There’s a great wee critique by Gevork on Zaha Hadid on The Charnel House here. There’s a serious academic piece by Gevork in the Journal of Architecture (v7/ 2 2002), on the merits of Gehry too: Frank Gehry: roofing, wrapping, and wrapping the roof. Happy listening! + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
Jonathan Hale: Phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty and architecture.
1:06:30In Season 2, Episode 15 A is for Architecture, I speak with architect and writer, Jonathan Hale, Professor of Architectural Theory at the University of Nottingham, about his 2017 book, Merleau-Ponty for Architects, published by Routledge as part of their Thinkers for Architects series. Merleau-Ponty was a leading phenomenologist, whose work ‘has influenced the design work of architects as diverse as Steven Holl and Peter Zumthor, as well as […] architectural theory, notably […] Dalibor Vesely at Cambridge, Kenneth Frampton, David Leatherbarrow and Alberto Pérez-Gómez in North America and Juhani Pallasmaa in Finland. Merleau-Ponty suggested that the value of people’s experience of the world gained through their immediate bodily engagement with it remains greater than the value of understanding gleaned through abstract mathematical, scientific or technological systems’ and gives us tools to think about other ways of understanding ‘space, movement, materiality and creativity’ in architecture. Phenomenology was very front-and-centre when I was a student, but has sort-of become implicit in design thinking now, and (apparently) barely needs explaining. Jonathan does explain it though, which I am grateful for, through Merleau-Ponty’s work. Jonathan’s professional profile is here on the University of Nottingham website, and he can be found on LinkedIn here too. Jonathan tweets on Twitter, so have a follow if that’s your thing, and have a read of Merleau-Ponty’s ‘Body Schema’ on the Body of Theory website, an article Jonathan originally wrote and published in Understanding Merleau-Ponty, Understanding Modernism, edited by Ariane Mildenberg, and published by Bloomsbury in 2019. Happy listening! + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk
Henry Sanoff: Participation, design and play.
1:14:13In Episode 14 of the second season of A is for Architecture, I speak with architect and scholar (and personal hero), Henry Sanoff, professor emeritus at the North Carolina State University. Henry has a remarkable story to tell, starting in the office of Frank Lloyd Wright (on the Guggenheim!) and then on to Edward Durrell Stone, before heading off to Jamaica to test his mettle as an architect and to develop a programmatic, ethnographic approach to design. This led to a long career in community participation design, and we discuss three texts he produced through this: Community Participation Methods in Design and Planning (Wiley, 2000), Participatory Environmental Design (CreateSpace, 2018) and also Visual Research Methods in Design (Routledge, 2018). Henry has produced an abundance of academic outputs over his long career, but this pales in comparison to his very broad and deep community projects, which are the basis for his writing. All his texts are filled with cases and examples of how stuff can get done with communities to make better architecture. You can hear him speak about it in this informative Lockdown Era online lecture ‘Henry Sanoff - Community Participation Methods in Design and Planning’ for North Carolina State University College of Design. Henry is on LinkedIn here and his ResearchGate profile contains links to downloadable versions of most of his works. Happy listening! + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Music credits: Bruno Gillick + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + aisforarchitecture.org Apple: podcasts.apple.com Spotify: open.spotify.com Google: podcasts.google.com Amazon: music.amazon.co.uk