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22 Gordon Street receives royal approval

ucyow3c22 December 2016

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Written by Nathan Capstick, UCL Bartlett Faculty Communications Officer

Credit: Jack Hobhouse

Credit: Jack Hobhouse

With Christmas around the corner, it’s often easy for the celebrations to merge into one. The opening of 22 Gordon Street on Friday 16 December, however, was anything but your regular festive celebration.

In a day with talks, tours, a visit from royalty and an impressive cake, UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and its School of Architecture returned home.

The event itself had been a long time coming; everyone had for years acknowledged the irony that one of the best built environment faculties in the world was housed in, arguably, the worst building on campus.

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Collective practices vs. the Neoliberal City?

ucyow3c29 November 2016

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Written by Harshavardhan R Jatkar, UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit 

 

Has democracy failed to resist the neoliberal vision of the city and does architecture have anything to contribute to the debate? A presentation by Leonardo Cappetto, an architect and co-founder of Grupo TOMA, came as a fresh and potent ray of hope on Thursday evening – 17th November 2016. Thanks to Dr. Camilo Boano, Leonardo was invited to present at the Development Planning Unit.

His presentation commenced by juxtaposing the rise of populist right-wing politicians almost all around the world and the seeming demise of an alternative to the neoliberal city. But the optimism rose as he presented the work done by the Chile based collective – Grupo TOMA towards attempting to find that alternative.

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The promise of an alternative reflected within the very structure of Grupo TOMA, defying the norms that governed the 20th century professional world.

Grupo TOMA is a collective of architects without any hierarchical internal relationships.

It is a nomad organisation that resents the idea of growth for its sake and it works with temporal communities inherently being denied the chance for any permanent architectural statement.

What motivates a group of architects to let go of the egotistic practice of the 20th century?

What inspires their continuing reconciliation with temporal existence?

Leonardo’s presentation was just a glimpse into some of the aspects that may answer these questions. (more…)

UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit at UN Habitat III Conference

ucyow3c24 October 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Alexander Macfarlane, UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit

Last week in Quito, Ecuador, more than 36,000 global urban actors gathered for Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, culminating in the adoption of a “New Urban Agenda”, meant to guide the actions of national governments in pursuit of a more sustainable urbanisation.

The conference aimed to build on the work of Habitat II in Istanbul in 1996 and Habitat I in Vancouver in 1976. Habitat III represents the opportunity to make a real transformative commitment in pursuit of a sustainable and just urban future, and will coordinate global action on sustainable urbanization for the next 20 years.

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU) at UCL have actively been contributing to the Habitat III between 17th – 20th October, and were represented by 11 academics in Quito, with staff members participating and contributing to 15 official events.

 

Quito

Virtual Control: Security and the Urban Imagination

ucyow3c17 July 2015

pencil-icon Written by Freya Rudd, work experience student, UCL Communications and Marketing

Virtual Control exhibition

Can you have imagination where there is also control? Is freedom possible where there is security? These questions are explored in photographer Max Colson’s new exhibition, ‘Virtual Control: Security and the Urban Imagination’, currently on display at the Practice Space of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Colson’s first solo exhibition at RIBA, presented and sponsored by UCL Urban Laboratory, showcases how public spaces seem to be guiding people toward social freedom and comfort; however, they are owned by commercial entities, with everyone venturing into these areas constantly being observed by security cameras, surrounding them at all times, watching.

Colson graduated from UCL in 2007 with a BA in English Literature, and from London College of Communication in 2012 with an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. Since then, his work, mainly consisting of collaborations, has been exhibited at Brighton Photo Fringe, C/O Berlin and the UCL Slade Research Centre, just to name a few.

His involvement in the works Hide and Seek: The Hidden Nature of Plant Life in High Security Spaces and Neighbourhood Watch have been printed in Hotshoe and Darwin Photography magazines. In 2013, he won the title of UK winner in the Flash Forward Emerging Photographer competition. These achievements caught the attention of the Leverhulme Trust, who offered him a grant in 2014. So far, I’d say he’s doing pretty well.

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