AF Turns 30

A new weekly series looking back at the people, projects and policy that have shaped the architectural landscape over the past thirty years

AF Turns 30 is a new weekly series looking back at the people, projects and policy that have shaped the architectural landscape over the past thirty years.

The programme marks thirty years since the Architecture Foundation was established in 1991. Each episode will be guest presented by a new generation of practitioners, writers and historians; reflecting on landmark architectural projects in the U.K. and beyond. From BedZed to Nubia Way, Kirchner Museum to the Social Value Act, each film will build a picture of the unique social-economic and political factors at play through interviews with the architects, community groups, clients and policy makers involved at each step.



Episode 01: Le Medi with Bushra Mohamed

Made up of 93 new houses, Le Medi, is named for its notion of the middle, or the mediator. Designed by Dutch practice Geurst & Schulze for a predominantly north African community living in an outer district of Rotterdam, the development is a unique example of how a housing scheme in northern Europe can take on board the cultural heritage of an immigrant community. Bushra speaks to co-founder of the practice Jeroen Geurst, and resident Catja Edens, to investigate if designing with broader references has created dwellings that are better places for the residents to live.  Bushra Mohamed is an architect based in London, working for David Kohn architects, teaching with him at the AA and running a research studio with Nana Biamah Ofosu called Studio Nyali.

Episode 02: Chance Street with David Ogunmuyiwa

A stone’s throw from the Boundary Estate, one of London’s earliest social housing schemes, lies Chance Street in Shoreditch. Lured by the availability of properties to support both residential and studio use, a number of prominent ‘young British artists’ moved here in the 1990s. The street has since generated a considerable architectural legacy, with David Adjaye’s Dirty House designed for artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster in 2002, Stephen Taylor’s terrace houses replacing a former print factory in 2007, and most recently 6a’s restoration of the corner block in 2018. Speaking to Adjaye, Taylor and Steph Macdonald and Tom Emerson of 6a, David Ogunmuyiwa asks how the projects are connected by their context. • David Ogunmuyiwa is founder of ArchitectureDoingPlace. He combines practice with teaching architecture at Portsmouth University and is a Mayor’s Design Advocate.

Episode 03: Kirchner Museum with Biba Dow and Alun Jones

Created to house the art of the German expressionist painter Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the museum is located in the Swiss town of Davos, where he spent the last twenty years of his life. The first major commission for Zurich architects Gigon Guyer, the Kirchner Museum blends into the snow-topped mountainous landscape of Davos. Wrapped in glass panels, the cladding’s opacity varies depending on where it is located on the volume; clear in the lower hall, matt in the skylights to diffuse the bright alpine light, and translucent to cover the thermal insulation to the concrete walls. London based practice Dow Jones, speak to Annette Gigon & Mike Guyer, to compare their parallel practice in designing cultural and exhibition spaces. • Biba Dow and Alun Jones founded Dow Jones in 2000. They have since completed numerous cultural projects including Maggie's Centre Cardiff and the Garden Museum. 

Episode 04: BedZED with Maria Smith

The Beddington Zero Energy Development – BedZED for short – is an 82-unit mixed-use project designed around achieving ambitious reductions of energy, water and car use. Constructed in the Wallington suburb of London, the 1.4-hectare scheme for the Peabody Trust features a mix of social rent, shared ownership and market sale private housing along with community facilities and commercial units. The project was constructed from locally sourced materials and features its own on-site water treatment plant and woodchip fuelled combined heat and power plant. Smith talks to ZEDfactory principal Bill Dunster and resident Tom Nicholls to discuss the legacy of pioneering urban village, almost two decades after its completion; and the insights it can offer architects today amid the climate emergency. • Maria Smith is Director of Sustainability and Physics at Buro Happold. They are a Trustee of the Architecture Foundation, a member of the Architects Declare Steering Group, co-founder of Turncoats, and a Design Advocate for the Mayor of London.

Episode 05: TFL International with Lee Ivett

Commissioned to design a new headquarters for TFL International that would be both dynamic and economical, Studio BAAD constructed a two-story shed using prefabricated and low-cost materials. The building lies at the western side of the city of Preston, near the banks of the River Ribble. Clad with alternating black profiled metal and expanded aluminium mesh, the building glows at night from within. The mesh screens act to shade interior offices from direct sunlight whilst allowing the sliding doors to be left open for natural ventilation.  Lee Ivett of Baxendale talks to Philip Bintliff, director of Studio BAAD, to discuss the principles of low tech construction and the importance of developing contemporary practice outside London. • Lee Ivett lives and works in Gourock and Preston. He is the founder of participatory architecture, art and design studio Baxendale. His practice is organic and generative, developing low-budget socially-led projects within communities across the UK. Ivett is Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for BSc. Hons Architecture at the Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture, Preston. 

Episode 06: Green Park Station with Neba Sere

The refurbishment of Green Park Underground Station, completed as part of TfL's Olympic Games investment strategy, introduced a new street canopy featuring artwork by John Maine RA within the Portland stone cladding. The historic station was made fully accessible for the first time, with step-free access to all three lines through new lifts and a new ramp from the ticket hall into the park. Elsie Owusu OBE, in collaboration with Feilden+Mawson, led the masterplan for the area and the redesign of the station, relocating the Diana fountain from its original site in the centre of the park to form the centrepiece of the new entrance. Neba Sere talks to Elsie Owusu OBE about her reflections on the scheme 10 years on. • Neba Sere is a Senior Project Officer at the Greater London Authority, and is co-founder of Black Females in Architecture, She has led design & construction projects with young people atBuild Up Foundation, and was formally one of six young trustees of the Architecture Foundation.