Open Lecture

Open Lecture Series 2019/20, Semester 2

  • 17.00 - 18.30
  • 26 Feb 2020 - 25 Mar 2020
Open Lecture Series 2019/20, Semester 2

Drone Futures: UAS for Landscape & Urban Design

Cities will have to change in the new Drone age as visions found in media such as Bladerunner (1982) have materialised. New lower airspace must be developed to accommodate the future world of drone technology and the whole fabric of our cities must change to accommodate this new lifestyle. The first study of its kind, ‘Drone Futures’, predicts a whole new built environment and examines how it will impact our cities in the future.

Paul Cureton is Senior Lecturer in Design at ImaginationLancaster, Lancaster University, UK, and member of the Data Science Institute (DSI). His primary research interests include Future Cities, Geo-Design, GIS, UAVs, mapping, modelling and digital fabrication. His recent publications include the monographs, Strategies for Landscape Representation: Digital and Analogue Techniques (Routledge, 2016) and Drone Futures: UAS for Landscape & Urban Design (Routledge, 2020). He is co-author, with Nick Dunn, of Future Cities: A Visual Guide (Bloomsbury, 2020). Paul is also working on Digital Twin concepts through the development of Lancaster City Information Model (LCIM) with Garsdale Design, supported by ESRI, Bluesky Ltd and CyberCity 3D.


Futurism and a bit about what is going on in Leeds

This talk will be based around Futuring and how architects and designers need to equip themselves for the rapidly changing world of Design, and a little bit about what is happening in Leeds.

Nadir Kahn is currently part of the Leeds City Council Environment and Design Group. He studied at Leeds Polytechnic (pre Leeds met and Leeds Beckett) and worked in private practice for a few years, before joining Leeds City Council. He has experience in Conservation, Regeneration (worked on the regeneration of the Chapeltown Harehills area after the Chapeltown riots), Housing, Urban Design, Tall buildings, national transport infrastructure (HS2), City wide transport infrastructure (station development), expert witness on design at public enquiries, consult on all and every type of planning application that requires design input for Leeds City Council.



Jay Gort MA (Cantab), Dip Arch (Cantab) first took a foundation course in sculpture before studying architecture at Cambridge University. He has taught at Cambridge University since 2003 where he was appointed a Design Fellow in 2007. Jay is also a Design Advisor for Hackney Council. Before founding Gort Scott, Jay was Associate Director at architecture and urban design practice 5th Studio, and worked on projects including The Wolfson Building at Trinity College, Cambridge, a masterplan for South Cambridge and a number of substantial private homes.

Architects for Social Housing: For a Sustainable Architecture

The urban conditions that we have been witnessing and responding to in London over the past 5 years are a direct result of the global phenomenon of the privatisation, marketisation and financialisation of housing, the neo-liberalisation of our processes of development, and the consequent decimation and destruction of our urban communities, environments and cultures in favour of short-term financial gain and increasing inequality. Simultaneously, the issue of sustainable cities, or more accurately ‘how we can develop sustainability’, is one of the most urgent issues of our time, and one in which architects and fellow built-environment professionals have both the opportunity and the duty to take a leading role. To be genuinely sustainable, just and equitable development must go far beyond the simplistic notions of the environment characterising so-called ‘green’ architecture. Architectural approaches must not only improve the physical, built and ‘natural’ environments in which we live, but also be socially beneficial and financially viable if we are to call them truly sustainable. Very few architectural treatises on the environment talk about the relationship of the environment to the economy, to the social dimension of the environment, or its relationship to the political sphere. The work of ASH pushes all these constituent contexts to the forefront of the architectural debate.

Geraldine Dening is the co-founder and Director of Architects for Social Housing (ASH), and a qualified architect with her own practice based in London. She is also a senior lecturer at the Leicester School of Architecture, where she lectures on professional practice and ethics, as well as running a design studio. In 2018 Geraldine was named by the Evening Standard newspaper as one of London’s 30 most influential architects. and with ASH co-founder Simon Elmer she is working on a book titled ‘For a Socialist Architecture’. Recent projects with Architects for Social Housing include designs and feasibility studies for additional housing and improvements to 6 council and social housing estates in London threatened with demolition. These include proposals to increase the housing capacity on Central Hill Estate in South London by up to 50% with no demolition, and on West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estate, as part of the community’s application for the Right to Transfer the estate into community ownership. She also devised and co-ordinated Open Garden Estates, a series of events hosted by estates threatened with demolition. As ASH’s lead architect she is also currently working with a number of housing co-operatives to explore new forms of community-led development.

(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.


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.’


This talk focuses around three fields of activity: architectural practice, academic teaching and research. These are autonomous but complementary areas of work that allow connective possibilities in the areas of design, fabrication and deployment. In architectural practice we take a hands-on approach to projects that range from furniture, interiors and small buildings to sets for television production. The workshop provides a venue for open-ended experimentation and making prototypes as well as the pre-fabrication of architectural and design commissions. The building is in itself an ongoing project taking on gradual transformation from abandoned Coach Garage to Workshop House, through a series of built elements and installations - a testing ground for material detail and construction.

Chung Tyson Architects are based in Manchester and regularly collaborate with architect makers, specialist tradespeople and design engineers. Their teaching and research explore design through making, aiming to close the gap between speculation, the representation of architecture and realisation - the building of things. Both analogue and digital tools are employed to create alternative possibilities for design and fabrication. Machines and materials are investigated within the contemporary contexts of sustainability, economics and lifecycle, driving the potential for new modes of architectural production.

Uncanny Migrations: Architectural Appropriations in Contemporary Sculpture

This project looks at the way contemporary sculptors repurpose the forms and attendant associations of architecture, why and how they do this and to what effect.  It focuses on sculptors who have returned to this way of working repeatedly in their practice, adopting and adapting the medium-specificities of architecture for their own purposes. The research will focus on Mike Kelley, Mark Manders, Gregor Schneider and Rachel Whiteread among others. Using a psychoanalytical methodological approach, and examples of gothic or ‘uncanny’ literature, I examine the echoes of narratives which reinforce the viewer’s psychic and sensory experience.

Kirstie Gregory, BA (H) History of Art (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Dip Museum Studies (University of Queensland), MRes History of Art (University of Huddersfield), is Research Programme Assistant at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. Kirstie recently completed a Masters by Research on the work of Romanian/British sculptor Paul Neagu and worked as a curatorial assistant on the exhibition ‘Paul Neagu: Palpable Sculpture’ (2015) at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. She is an interviewer for the British Museum’s National Life Stories oral history project for which she is currently interviewing sculptor Phyllida Barlow. She is Assistant Editor of the Subject/Object: New Studies in Sculpture series of publications. Her writing has been published in numerous art history, review and research journals.

A Feminist Approach to Architecture

The built environment that we use and interact with on a daily basis has been designed primarily through a patriarchal understanding of user experience. As a result, most urban and domestic spaces have been designed in a manner that is by default gendered. Therefore, there is an urgent need for rethinking the way that we approach architecture in order to overcome the gender bias that has been historically attached to this ancient design practice. The first segment of this presentation briefly explains why the majority of us typically inherit a way of thinking that is gender-biased. Then the second segment offers an overview of urban and interior architecture
examples, demonstrating that architectural design as a practice (whether consciously or unconsciously) is heavily gendered. The third segment of this presentation moves on to explain how we may be able to overcome this deeply entrenched issue of ‘discrimination by design’ (Weisman, 1994). This presentation is a candid attempt to re-assess how we approach architectural design, revealing truths that perhaps we were not previously aware of, in the hope that through a collective effort of self-reflection we can slowly, but gradually, discover ways to successfully design for the many, not the few.

Dr Artemis Alexiou is a senior lecturer in design history at York St John University, UK. She holds a PhD in design and women’s history from Manchester Metropolitan University. She teaches design history (19th-21st c.) at undergraduate and postgraduate level, particularly focusing on issues of gender, race and disability. Her research concentrates on late 19th century feminist periodicals, and the manner design practice, visual culture, and text co-existed and co-functioned in relation to socio-cultural and gender politics. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a member of Design History Society, Royal Historical Society and Women’s History Network. She has held faculty roles at different HE institutions in the UK, including Manchester Metropolitan University and Salford University, has presented at international conferences in the UK, US, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Greece and Cyprus, and has published articles with Taylor and Francis Group.

A Woman’s Own Architecture

The role of women in architecture and indeed in society as a whole, has traditionally been confined to the domestic sphere, yet, as Alison Ravetz wrote in 1995 ‘although women are identified with houses in our society as in many others, throughout history they seem to have had remarkably little do with house design’ (1989, p. 187). Drawing on the work of late 20th century feminist design historians, this lecture looks at the role of women inside, but more importantly outside, of the architectural professions. Through the work of Ravetz, Elizabeth Darling, Judy Attfield, Pat Kirkham, and others, this lecture focuses on the affect women had on the development of the domestic built environment. Design, architecture and urbanism, so often male dominated spheres, have significant contributions from women, often erased by traditional methodologies in architectural history. The role of women has often been diminished by being seen as amateur or advisory, thus peripheral to male creative endeavour. Looking at the Architects Revolutionary Council (Coates, 2015) and Matrix (1984) this lecture will also explore the non-professional ordinary people, focussing on the women who contributed to the resistance by the people of the (male) architects’ grand plans for us all. It was so often women residents and their communities that led to some of the most radical (social and political) advances in late 20th century domestic built environment. The pressure of women, so vital in their communities was major catalyst for the ‘uprising’ of many working-class communities in response to mass regeneration in the period.

Michael Coates is a Principal Lecturer in the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Met University. Educated in both Architecture and Interior Design, Michael has taught at Manchester Met since 2008. For the last 2 years he has been the Head of Postgraduate Taught for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities overseeing all its MA, MFA and MSc courses. His research is concentrated on radical approaches to architecture and the built environment generally; particularly urbanism, place making, psychogeography, regeneration/gentrification, and alternative modes of participatory architecture. His principal focus has been on mass housing and the domestic environment in Britain since 1945. His work concentrates on the relationship of anarchist modes of doing, and organisation of the architectural profession. He advocates for the desacralisation of architectural knowledge and skill, and the democratisation of access to the “building of buildings”.