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UCL events news and reviews


Buddhas of Suburbia: faith, migration and suburban change in London

By zclfg58, on 11 March 2014

If there’s one thing to take home from American film culture, from The Virgin Suicides to American Beauty, it’s that the suburbs are a place to be avoided at all costs. Replete with murderous instincts and repressed sexual desires, they are to be treated with scorn by urbanites and the few suburban refugees who manage to escape.

Hindu goddess in gold at the Shri Kanaga Thurkkai Amman Hindu Temple

Hindu goddess

Perhaps this unfair reputation stems from the suburban aesthetic: when the soul is furnished by identikit architecture that presumably houses conservative cultural habits, it is unsurprising that we see the suburban subject as living a boring life, unworthy of academic reflection or investigation.

In her Lunch Hour Lecture, Dr. Claire Dwyer (UCL Geography) rescued suburbia from this prejudicial inertia, demonstrating through an architectural, geographical and cultural comparative analysis of faith loci in Greater London that the suburbs can be a place of dynamic modernity where space is contested, deconstructed and re-mapped.

The first half of Dr. Dwyer’s lecture focused on newly developed or proposed institutions such as the Jain Temple in Potter’s Bar, Hertfordshire and the Salaam Centre in Harrow, which show how the suburbs are on the forefront of cultural innovation. (more…)

Peter Cook: Designing for Students

By David R Shanks, on 15 December 2011

My final blog article of the semester responds to architect Sir Peter Cook’s Lunch Hour Lecture on the subject of designing for students. Despite being in the wrong city at the time, I managed to attend by watching the live stream, furiously typing notes while trying to eat lunch in the spirit of the occasion.

Before studying at UCL, I had been an ardent admirer of Sir Peter Cook’s work as part of the Archigram group, and of his subsequent drawings and writing. At the UCL Bartlett School, where he had been Chair and Professor of Architecture until 2005, an influence still loomed large, with most of the tutors having studied under his watchful eye.

This reputation was largely predicated upon his output of ‘paper architecture’ and the strength of revolutionary ideas in architectural education, rather than on built work. If the construction of the Kunsthaus in Graz (2003), a collaboration with Colin Fournier, was an exception to these more academically-orientated pursuits, the formation of CRAB studio, in partnership with Gavin Robotham, signified a commitment to testing spectacular, playful thinking in a commercially driven environment.


Open House London 2011 at UCL

By David R Shanks, on 3 October 2011

Open House London is an annual event designed to showcase the city’s architectural treasures. This year UCL again opened its doors to become one of seven hundred properties that could be visited free of charge.

The Flaxman Gallery at UCL

The Flaxman Gallery at UCL

Regular tours took place around the cloisters overlooking the main quadrangle, taking in the Flaxman Gallery and Jeremy Bentham’s ‘auto-icon’. In addition, the Grant Museum, Strang Print Room and Petrie Museum extended their visiting hours.

As a recent graduate of the Architectural Diploma programme, I was looking forward to revisiting these spaces afresh, to learn about their history rather than simply scurrying through them to return library books or construct exhibitions.


Architecture and Art: the UCL Bartlett at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

By news editor, on 19 July 2011

The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open annual art exhibition. It is one of the key events of the London Summer, and this year the UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment is once again extremely well represented.

Andrew Porter, Programme Director & Course Co-ordinator of the Master’s in Architectural Design at the UCL Bartlett, explores the exhibition.

Museum of Comics + Cartoon, New York by Professor CJ Lim

Museum of Comics + Cartoon, New York by Professor CJ Lim