Negroni Talk #6 – 19th November 2018

Is Architecture Under Control ?

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Architects were once seen as ‘master builders’ controlling the process and delivery of buildings, and the spaces that shape cities. This role has weakened over time with developers, contractors and project managers empowered more than ever. Some might argue that architects are complicit in agendas that are predominantly profit driven and no longer define what Architecture is or can be?

The stakes are high. London has become a political playground with an increased culture of surveillance, class division, austerity, commodification of culture, policed public spaces, taxation measures, high land prices, offshore investment, free market economics, planning regulation and an acute crisis in housing.

David Harvey once said, “The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.” Do architects want to take back control of the building process and in doing so help empower ‘the people’ toward gaining greater rights? Can architecture inspire new forms of invention with the architect taking on more responsibility for the consequences of the built environment? Or does the architect fade into the background with many others in the city, accepting their position, and losing control of any positive change within the built environment?

Speakers include:

Francesca Perry, Blueprint/Thinking City (Chair) 
Biljana Savic, The Academy of Urbanism
Duncan Blackmore, Arrant Land
Domincia Papa, s333
Andreas Lang, Central Saint Martins/Public Works