AF Book Week

Join us from 23-27 November for nightly talks from the authors of 2020’s best architecture books

From 23-27 November, the Architecture Foundation hosts nightly talks by the authors of 2020’s best architecture books. Free-to-view via Zoom, the ten-part series is the first instance of a festival that the Architecture Foundation will stage bi-annually. Speakers in the 2020 Book Week include Dan Pearson, Patrick Keiller, Dinah Casson, Owen HatherleyPaul Shepheard and Leslie Kern.  On Thursday November 26th, there will be an extended discussion about themes raised by the landmark publication Race and Modern Architecture, with contributions from speakers including Michael Badu, Shumi Bose and Neal Shasore.

The Architectural Association Bookshop is offering a 20% off on all titles featured in the programme using the discount code SagittArius1120 valid from 18 Nov - 04 Dec 2020

Slogans and Battlecries by Paul Shepheard (Canalside Press)

Paul Shepheard | Monday 23 November, 17:30 - 18:30, Zoom

Architects are a controversial bunch. Each new theory is heralded by a slogan that advertises its difference from what went before, piling complexity upon confusion. In the recently published collection of very short essays – or poems as he thinks of them - Paul Shepheard investigates the flurries of meaning that the slogans invoke. Slogans and Battlecries is the sixth book by renowned architectural writer and teacher Paul Shepheard, continuing his witty and eclectic investigations into the relationships between everyday life, the human imagination, and the natural world. It is the first book in the paperback series Reflection in Action published by Canalside Press, which is devoted to the poetic and philosophical writings of architects and artists.

Architecture and Labor by Peggy Deamer (Routledge)

Peggy Deamer in conversation with UVW-SAW | Monday 23 November, 19:00 - 20:00, Zoom

What forces prevent architects from empowering ourselves to be more relevant and better rewarded? How can these forces be set aside by new narratives, new organizations and new methods of production? How can we sit at the decision-making table to combat short-term real estate interests for longer-term social and ethical value? How can we pull architecture—its conceptualization, its pedagogy, and its enactment—into the 21st century without succumbing to its neoliberal paradigm? Members of UVW-SAW, the newly-formed grassroots trade union for architectural workers in the U.K., will chair a conversation with Peggy DeamerProfessor Emerita of Yale University’s School of Architecture and author of Architecture and Labor, to address these questions.

Alternative Guide to the London Boroughs edited by Owen Hatherley (Open House)

A conversation with Owen Hatherley and Fatema Ahmed | Tuesday 24 November, 17:30 - 18:30, Zoom

Encompassing everything from Brutalist Polish community centres to suburban garden cities, from pioneering modernist estates to ornate Victorian greenhouses, as seen through everything from grime videos to the films of Patrick Keiller, the Alternative Guide to the London Boroughs is a journey into the neighbourhoods, housing estates and public buildings of London’s rich urban landscape. The volume, edited by Owen Hatherley, compiles thirty-three essays by thirty-three writers; architects, activists, and Londoners, exploring famous and unheralded buildings, streets, estates and neighbourhoods across the thirty-three London boroughs. In this conversation between Owen Hatherley and Fatema Ahmed, who wrote the chapter on Barnet, they explore the buildings, places and landscapes that make London special.

London by Patrick Keiller (Fuel Publishing)

Patrick Keiller in conversation with Rae Hicks | Tuesday 24 November, 19:00 - 20:00, Zoom

London, published by Fuel Publishing, is the first time that Patrick Keiller’s film of the same name released in 1992, has been fully reproduced in print. The volume offers both a fascinating reflection on the diverse histories of Britain’s capital and an illuminating record of 1992, the year of John Major's reelection, IRA bombs and the first crack in the House of Windsor. The amazing locations reveal the familiar London of the near past: Concorde almost touches suburban houses as it takes off; Union Jacks fly from Wembley Stadium; and pigeons flock around tourists in Trafalgar Square. In this special evening, the celebrated filmmaker and writer Patrick Keiller, in conversation with artist Rae Hicks, presents the new book and the film that inspired it.

Closed on Mondays by Dinah Casson (Lund Humphries)

Dinah Casson in conversation with Catherine Ince | Wednesday 25 November, 17:30 - 18:30, Zoom

The transformation of museums from the ‘dreary, dusty places’ they used to be to places that people want to be in, alongside objects they want to be near and ideas they want to understand and then share has been extraordinary. During the last twenty-five years, millions of pounds have been poured into our national museums in the UK: as a result, they are certainly brighter and fuller. It is against this background that author of Closed on Mondays, Dinah Casson, co-founded museum and exhibition design practice, Casson Mann. Through a series of essays punctuated with comments from collaborators and visitors, the publication explores exhibition design and alerts the visitor’s eye to this invisible craft. In this conversation with Chief Curator of V&A East, Catherine Ince, they explore how the interaction between museums and their designers has encouraged each to change.

Migrant Marseille: Architectures of Social Segregation & Urban Inclusivity edited by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Marc Angélil and Something Fantastic (Ruby Press)

Charlotte Malterre-Barthes in conversation with Marc Angélil and Leonard Streich | Wednesday 25 November, 19:00 - 20:00, Zoom

At 9 AM on November 5, 2018, a pair of buildings in central Marseille collapsed, taking the lives of eight people hailing from Algeria, the Comoros, France, Italy, and Tunisia. This devastating toll of urban decay reflects both the diversity of the district and the hardship of living in Marseille, a city marked for centuries by migration, poverty, and social struggle. Divided along ethnicity and class lines, with wealthy conservatives dominating the south and an energetic but pauperized community of immigrant origins in the north, Marseille highlights the tensions stemming from problematic governance, a lack of housing-stock maintenance, a constant influx of migrants, widespread privatization of services, and rapid, profit-driven, and destructive post-industrial urbanization. Migrant Marseille: Architectures of Social Segregation and Urban Inclusivity (Ruby Press, 2020) examines this complex city through the prism of the correlations between migration on space, architecture, and territory. In this conversation with the editors; Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Assistant Professor of Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Marc Angélil,  Professor Emeritus of Architecture & Design, ETH Zurich, and Leonard Streich, co-founder of Something Fantastic, they will discuss the role of planners in fostering tactics and strategies to support social and spatial integration.

Landscape as Protagonist (Molonglo)

Rachel Elliot-Jones in conversation with Steph Donse, Dan Pearson and Thomas Doxiadis | Wednesday 25 November, 20:00 - 21:00, Live Stream

Nature is vital to our very being. And yet, our current system continues to neglect it. And we continue to discount it in our conception of cities and the buildings that make up our cities. Nature is out there. We are over here. We are disconnected. Landscape as Protagonist presents findings, essays and interviews that imagine landscape as the place to begin a built project, not a way to finish it. The book’s content is informed by a diverse group of people including landscape architects, architects, gardeners, Indigenous knowledge-holders, horticulturalists, property developers, writers, researchers and artists; addressing the problematic realities of trying to deliver meaningful landscapes in an urban setting. In a discussion with two of the contributors to the publication, landscape designer, gardener and journalist, Dan Pearson, and Thomas Doxiadis of architect and landscape architecture studio, doxiadis+, we will begin to uncover some of the reasons why plants and landscapes are seemingly undervalued in the development paradigm.

Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present edited by Irene ChengCharles L. Davis IIMabel O. Wilson (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Michael Badu chairs a conversation with Victoria Ogoegbunam OkoyeShumi BoseMary Vaughan JohnsonNana Biamah-Ofosu & Neal Shasore | Thursday 26 November, 17:30 - 19:30, Zoom

Although race—a concept of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power and domination—has played a critical role in the development of modern architectural discourse and practice since the Enlightenment, its influence on the discipline remains largely underexplored. Race and Modern Architecture, an anthology of 18 essays written by architectural historians, critics and thinkers, offers a welcome and long-awaited intervention for the field by shining a spotlight on constructions of race and their impact on architecture and theory in Europe and North America and across various global contexts since the eighteenth century. The volume, edited by  Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, Mabel O. Wilson, challenges us to write race back into architectural history and confront how racial thinking has intimately shaped some of the key concepts of modern architecture and culture over time, including freedom, revolution, character, national and indigenous style, progress, hybridity, climate, representation, and radicalism. In this discussion chaired by Michael Badu, and joined by Victoria Ogoegbunam Okoye, Shumi Bose, Mary Vaughan Johnson, Nana Biamah-Ofosu & Neal Shasore, we invite you to reflect on how architecture intersects with histories of slavery, colonialism, and inequality, and how the publication is situated within the UK’s context. 

Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World by Leslie Kern (Verso)

Leslie Kern in conversation with Yẹmí Àlàdérun & Zöe Berman | Friday 27 November, 17:30 - 18:30, Zoom

We live in the city of men. Our public spaces are not designed for female bodies. There is little consideration for women as mothers, workers or carers. The urban streets often are a place of threats rather than community. Gentrification has made the everyday lives of women even more difficult. What would a metropolis for working women look like? A city of friendships beyond Sex and the City. A transit system that accommodates mothers with strollers on the school run. A public space with enough toilets. A place where women can walk without harassment. In a conversation with Yẹmí Àlàdérun, housing architect, co-founder of Paradigm Network and core member of Part W, and Zöe Berman, founding director of Studio Berman and Part W, Leslie Kern explores the social inequalities hidden in plain sight in our cities, homes, and neighborhoods. It is time to dismantle what we take for granted about cities and to ask how we can build more just, sustainable, and women-friendly cities together.

***Verso Books is offering a 50% discount code for The Feminist City until the end of December

Ideas of Ambiente: History and Bourgeois Ethics in the Construction of Modern Milan by Angelo Lunati (Park Books)

Angelo Lunati in conversation with Tony Fretton | Friday 27 November, 19:00 - 20:00, Zoom

How did Milan become a city of such importance both economically and artistically? Its remarkable position is the result of the constant modernization Milan undertook throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The city’s upper classes were the main drivers of this development, which made Milan a true metropolis—one that reflected their common interests, rooted in keen entrepreneurship, a sense of history, and their origins. In Ideas of Ambiente, Angelo Lunati investigates the relationship among the Milanese upper class, its specific urban culture, and architecture. We are invited to appreciate Milan’s architectural trajectory, from its initial romanticism via bold modernism to the elegant yet politically charged aesthetic of the post-WWII period. In this conversation between director of Milan-based practice Onsitestudio, Angelo Lunati and London-based architect Tony Fretton, they discuss how the concept of 'ambiente' has influenced their own practice.