Public Space Crawl with Madeleine Kessler and Manijeh Verghese

Join the co-curators of this year’s British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for a critical walk through public-private spaces in Fitzrovia


02:00pm, Saturday, 21 March 2020


04:00pm, Saturday, 21 March 2020

Tour Guide:

Madeleine Kessler

Manijeh Verghese

Duration: 2 hours

Time: 14:00 - 16:00

Tickets: £15 // AF Members and Supporters can receive 20% Discount with code

Start: Meet outside the Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3ES

Getting There: Tottenham Court Road underground station

This is a past event

**Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we will be postponing our tours programme until further notice. If you have already purchased tickets, you may choose to donate the cost of your ticket to the Architecture Foundation, rebook for a future date or receive a refund. We will be in touch with you via email in the coming days.**


Kessler and Verghese – founders of new practice Unscene Architecture – will lead participants on a special tour previewing some of the themes and concepts behind their vision for the 2020 British Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. Open from May to November, The Garden of Privatised Delights will re-frame the emerging debate around privately owned public spaces at a time of their rapid and often contentious proliferation across UK cities.

Starting at the Architectural Association in Bedford Square, the Public Space Crawl will delve into a surprising sequence of historically privatised public spaces – including London squares (temporarily ungated during World War II), public houses and public toilets – before concluding at a pub where the conversation will continue.


The event will unseat the predominant image of privatised public spaces being simply paved plazas within developments and push beyond the all-too-often confrontational positioning of public versus private in popular discourse. It will also propose a new discussion around ownership, access and agency with the aim of unlocking better approaches to public-private partnerships.

A second version of this tour will be held on Saturday 27 June and will explore additional themes and concepts revealed following the public opening of The Garden of Privatised Delights in Venice.

Tour Guides:

Madeleine Kessler
Madeleine Kessler is a founding Director of Unscene Architecture and co-curator of the 2020 British Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. Trained as an architect and structural engineer, she is an Associate Architect at Haptic Architects and was named one of RIBAJ’s 2019 Rising Stars. She sits on the National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Group and Young Professionals Panel. Previously she worked at Haworth Tompkins, HHF Architekten and Studio Weave, on cultural and public realm projects including Battersea Arts Centre, St James’s Market Pavilion and Theatre Royal Drury Lane. She has taught and lectured at universities including the Architectural Association, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Sheffield and the University of London.

Manijeh Verghese
Manijeh Verghese is a founding Director at Unscene Architecture and co-curator of the 2020 British Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. She is the Head of Public Programmes at the Architectural Association where she organises lectures, exhibitions, open seminars and other special projects for a diverse range of audiences. Manijeh is a seminar leader for the AA Professional Practice for Fifth Year course and the editor of the website AA Conversations. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. Over the past seven years, she has led postgraduate and undergraduate design studios at both the Architectural Association and Oxford Brookes University. She has worked for architecture practices including John Pawson and Foster + Partners, and has contributed to design publications such as Disegno and Icon, as well as think-tanks, books and peer reviewed journals.