Architecture Open Lecture Series

Giorgio Ponzo - (architectural) form and (form of) life / Olivia Marra - Fields, Gardens and Workshops

  • 17.00 - 17.45
  • 11 Mar 2020
Giorgio Ponzo - (architectural) form and (form of) life / Olivia Marra - Fields, Gardens and Workshops

Giorgio Ponzo
(architectural) form and (form of) life


In Los Angeles, the Architecture of Four Ecologies, Reyner Banham describes how, at the beginning of the 1970s, the American metropolis was able to support distinctive lifestyles in environments characterized by clearly different urban forms. Today, the concept of lifestyle seems to belong to the fashion pages of magazines and websites only, pointing more towards infinite series of consumerist practices than to the possibility of shaping one’s life following set of rules or a model. Rediscovering the original meaning of life-style (including its possible association with fashion) allows us to take into account the ethical value of the concept and to see how different urban and architectural forms could enable and support extra-ordinary forms of life.


Giorgio is Teaching Fellow in Architectural Design and Pedagogy at ESALA since 2016. Giorgio studied architecture at the Turin Polytechnic (MArch, 1999), at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam (MA, 2011), and is currently pursuing a PhD at Leeds Beckett University. He worked as an architect in Italy, completing projects and prize-winning competition entries both in Italy and internationally. Giorgio taught at Turin Polytechnic, at the Berlage in Rotterdam and Delft, at Leeds Beckett University, and at the Harbin Institute of Technology (China) as visiting lecturer. Giorgio’s research investigates the relationship between work and life, their unfolding and intertwining, in the spaces of the post-industrial city.

Olivia Marra
Fields, Gardens and Workshops: Or Architecture Combined with Horticulture and Brain Work with Manual Work


The seminar puts forward an alternative theory of the English Allotment as a paradigm of common space. Gardening becomes, in this sense, both an architectural project and a spatial praxis, fundamental for small groups of people to share resources, self organise and do things in common. The speaker will argue these prepositions through brief historical analyses of three allotment sites in London in the light of recent scholarships on the concept of commoning.


Olivia Marra is an architect and educator. She has recently earned her PhD from the Architectural Association, London, with the thesis The Garden as Political Form, supervised by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Mark Campbell. Olivia has lectured at the AA, Royal College of Art, Yale University, and practised in various architectural firms in Paris and Rio. She currently directs the AA Visiting School Tropicality and teaches a Design Studio at the Leeds School of Architecture. Her work has featured on several exhibitions and publications, such as those by the AA, TU Delft Bouwkunde, São Paulo Biennale, Abitare, AU, and the book ‘Tehran: Life Within Walls.’

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