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RCA talks

Architectural Type and the Discourse of Urbanism

14 December 2015 | 10.30am – 5pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Free but booking essential.

The School of Architecture, University of Technology Sydney, in partnership with the Architecture Culture and Tectonics Research Group, Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham present a symposium on Architectural Type and the Discourse of Urbanism, hosted by the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London.

Architectural Type and the Discourse of Urbanism

Architecture’s relationship to the city is one of the key themes in architectural and urban theory and practice. This relationship bears upon questions of architecture’s disciplinary autonomy, its agency in the change and transformation of the city, and the possibility of its politics. Indeed, recent years have seen a plethora of publications addressing architecture’s relationship to the city, seeking to understand the seemingly uncontrollable urban growth as a network of flows and infrastructures, or as an aggregation where architecture and the urban form an unquestioned, apparently natural, continuity. However, neither the descriptions of the complexities of the city nor the insistence on architecture’s formal autonomy as some sort of language articulate architecture’s precise relationship to the urban.

The following one-day symposium proposes to explore typology as a mode of spatial reasoning that underlies architecture’s autonomy as a field of thought and action, its agency in the transformation of the city, and its strategic intersection with the spatial politics of the liberal metropolis. It brings together academics and practitioners to reflect on typology both as critical project and design strategy.

Organised by Dr Katharina Borsi, Tarsha Finney and Dr Pavlos Philippou.

To download the abstracts to be discussed and biographies of the speakers, please click here (Word Document).

Confirmed Speakers:

Dr Sam Jacoby – Director MPhil Projective Cities, Architectural Association London

Dr Adrian Lahoud – Head of Programme, School of Architecture. Royal College of Art, London

Chris Schulte – Allies and Morrison

Lawrence Barth – Professor of Urbanism, Graduate School, Architectural Association London

Dr Katharina Borsi – Director MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2), Department of Architecture and Built Environment Faculty of Engineering, Nottingham University

Tarsha Finney – Senior Lecturer, University of Technology, Sydney

Dr Pavlos Philippou – Partner at J+A Philippou Architects, Nicosia, Cyprus


10.30am: Introduction

11am: Dr Katharina Borsi – The Dwelling Cell, the City and the Autonomy of Architecture

11.30am: Dr Maria Shéhérazade Giudici – Counterplanning from the kitchen: For a Feminist Critique of Type

12pm: Dr Sam Jacoby – OM Ungers: Dialectical Principles of Design

12.30pm: Roundtable discussion, chaired by Dr Renee Tobe

1pm: Lunch

2pm: Tarsha Finney – Urban Instability: Typological Reasoning, the Housing Project and the transformation of notions of Public Benefit

2.30pm: Chris Schulte – Radical Distance: the role of contingency in contemporary urban typologies

3pm: Dr Pavlos Philippou – Cultural Buildings and Urban Areas

3.30pm: Lawrence Barth – Type and Urban Strategy

4pm: Roundtable discussion, chaired by Adrian Lahoud