May 19, 2017

New Cultural Infrastructure design charrette

Date: Friday 19 May 2017
10:30am – 6:0pm
Royal College of Art, School of Architecture, Kensington Gore, London 
We Made That, Assemble, DSDHA, Haworth Tompkins

The current Mayor of London, in his manifesto, committed to developing a Cultural Infrastructure strategy “to identify what we need in order to sustain London’s future as a cultural capital”, including the introduction of designated Creative Enterprise Zones and the use of planning law to protect and promote the development of cultural space.

In the autumn of 2016, Theatrum Mundi (TM) convened three roundtables to debate issues raised by the prospect of a Cultural Infrastructure Plan by asking artists, architects, writers, scholars, publishers, and institutional leaders: can we design the conditions for culture? In doing so, the aim was to contribute to an enrichment of the definition of infrastructure in relation to culture. These three roundtables raised new questions around the effects of cultural infrastructure on artists and the condition of their work, through collaborative thinking with makers of culture. 

Following this stage of research, Theatrum Mundi brought together a design charrette to develop propositions for new ways of imagining and creating cultural infrastructure in the city. Drawing from a working paper that provides a critical account of the roundtables, four architecture practices took part in a day-long workshop to debate the concepts it presents and then translate this thinking into spatial propositions. The results suggested that rather than designing individual spaces for cultural production, architecture can usefully intervene in conditions for culture at a more systemic urban scale. The design propositions will be published as part of a full report concluding the project in October 2017.

Participating practices:

We Made That is an energetic architecture and urbanism practice with a strong public conscience. All our work is public, and we aim to make imaginative and considered contributions to the built environment through socially engaged design processes.

Assemble are a collective based in London who work across the fields of art, architecture and design. They began working together in 2010 and are comprised of 18 members. Assemble’s working practice seeks to address the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made.

DSDHA‘ s architecture is always evolving: each project is a bespoke response to a unique brief, which develops through dialogue with their clients, stakeholders and collaborators as well as with the ultimate users of our designs. Their projects span from macro-scaled urban strategies and infrastructure studies through to highly acclaimed individual crafted buildings.

Haworth Tompkins was formed in 1991 by architects Graham Haworth and Steve Tompkins. Our London-based studio has designed buildings in the UK and elsewhere for clients across the public, private and subsidised sectors including schools, galleries, theatres, concert halls, housing, offices, shops and factories.