Stavros Oikonomidis

City Design, 2017–19

What were you doing before you started studying at the RCA?

After studying Architecture in Greece I worked both as an architect and as an audio-visual specialist in short film and documentary production. This work helped me develop a broader approach to my practice and investigate different types of narration through other media in order to illustrate the social dimension of urban transformations during the Greek debt crisis.

Can you describe what it’s like studying at the RCA?

Our Programme is based on group work, so meetings in the studio are an essential part of the day, with regular lectures and classes. At the Kensington campus, the Library and the Art Bar’s terrace have become regular destinations in between lectures and meetings.

Have you been set any particular briefs or projects that you’ve really enjoyed working on?

The most challenging and inspiring work was the development of the collective studio brief ‘New Logics of Collectivity: Housing, Care and the Urban Field’. We were set a brief to carry out research on the socio-spatial dimension of domesticity, preparing the ground for a spatial disruption of the nuclear family. The six of us developed a re-conceptualisation of housing as an infrastructure of care, with models of procurement and ownership premised on an alternative set of values.

For my personal project, I developed a set of design guidelines for the co-location of residential, commercial and community uses with industry. Titled ‘Productive Synergies: A hybrid plan for Canada Water’, the project asked what the future of urban production will look like and how it can keep evolving amid the pressure from the housing crisis.

How has your work and/or thinking changed or developed while you have been at the RCA?

During the group work I developed my capacity to coordinate with different people in a non-hierarchical environment. The City Design Programme required us to constantly present material to a range of different audiences, including commercial developers. This meant we had to learn to make quick decisions and have sharp arguments.

What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?

The Programme allowed us to speak with some of the best urban practitioners in London as well as commercial developers, giving us a great picture of the industry as it stands. The mentorship programme is a unique opportunity to get close to some of the most innovative work going on in London at the moment. The varied programme of lectures allowed for a diverse set of perspectives: this is something we all cherished. These events created the opportunity for real exchange and learning with students from other Programmes.

What are your plans for this year, and what do you intend to do after you graduate?

Though some of my peers are leaving London, I see it as a fertile ground for innovations in housing, public ownership and social enterprise. I hope my practice will allow me to collaborate with public entities like the GLA, local authorities and directly with communities.


"The Programme allowed us to speak with some of the best urban practitioners in London as well as commercial developers, giving us a great picture of the industry as it stands. The mentorship programme is a unique opportunity to get close to some of the most innovative work going on in London at the moment."
Stavros Oikonomidis
Stavros Oikonomidis