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The Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC)
Part of the School of Environment and Development and the Manchester School of Architecture

Past lecture and seminar series


12th June, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Research day Seminar - Dr Isabelle Doucet (MARC)

Venue: Room 1.69/1.70 Humanities Bldg. Building number 35

15th May, 11.00am – 1.00pm

Dr Leandro Minuchin (MARC)

Venue: Room 1.69/1.70 Humanities Bldg. Building number 35


13th March, 11.00am – 12.45pm

Research day Seminar - Dr Lukasz Stanek

Venue: Room 1.69/1.70 Humanities Bldg. Building number 35

Title: Othering Modernism. The International Trade Fair in Accra, Ghana (1962-1967).

13th February, 11.00am - 1.00pm

Research Day Seminar - Prof. Harald Rohracher

Venue: Room 1.69/1.70 Humanities Bldg. Building number 35

Professor Rohracher is Associate Professor at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, Faculty for Interdisciplinary Studies (IFF), at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Since November 2012 he has been professor in Technology and Social Change” at the Linköping University, Sweden.

16th January, 11am – 1pm Research Day

Dr Deljana Iossifova (MARC) Venue: Room 1.69/1.70 Humanities Bldg


Full listing of Autumn lectures 2012 (PDF 565kb)

20th November 2012 (last in 2012 series)

Speaker: Jean-Pierre Chupin, University of Montreal

Title:  "Aldo Rossi: Rethinking Analogy in Architecture"

13th November 2012

Speaker: Ariane Lourie Harrison, Yale School of Architecture

Title: “Posthuman territory”

6th November 2012 

Speaker: Jonathan Hill, UCL, Bartlett School of Architecture

Title: “Weather Architecture”

30th October 2012

Speaker: Jochen Monstadt, Technical University of Darmstadt

Title: "Urban infrastructure and green metropolitan development – The case of the Ruhrgebiet"

23rd October 2012

Speaker:  Peter Barrett, Salford University

Title: "Identifying and Representing Users' Needs in Design"

16th October 2012

Speaker: Marc Crinson,History of Art, Manchester

Title: "Stirling and Gowan Architecture from Austerity to Affluence".

2nd October 2012

Speaker:  Tatjana Schneider, Sheffield University

Title: "Spatial Agency"

11 June 2012

Field Work Reports, 10.00am-4.00pm,
Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, Room 1.69/1.70.

30th May 2012

25 April 2012

Leandro Minuchin: Researching urban materialities: assemblages, sociabilities and imaginations.

Victoria Henshaw: Walking in the city: exploring urban phenomenology through sensory walks.

Leandro Minuchin: Paper: Politics of visibility: materials and the invention of urban natures in modern Buenos Aires.

: Understanding Postmodernism in practice: or what we can learn from Brussels, a factory of counter-projects.

20 March 2012

Alan Lewis "Using Quantitative Methods in Architectural Research: Lessons from the EVOLVE Project"

Isabelle Doucet: Zoom-in/out: writing and structuring your thesis.

Alan Lewis"The Geometry of Moving Bodies: Mid-Twentieth-Century Urban Planning in Sheffield and Manchester"

Victoria Henshaw: Research project: The role of smell in urban design

15 February 2012

PGR Workshop MARC/Msa

Morning session: Introduction: Magda Sibley & Eammon Canniffe (MMU)

Workshops 1 & 2 (10 Posters each session)

Afternoon session: PGR student presentations and discussion

Discussion Forum

25 January 2012

Marc Research Seminar, 9.30am-4.00pm
Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, Room 1.69/1.70

Morning seminar (9.30am-12.30pm):

Magda Sibley:
Architect’s intentions versus users’ perceptions:  A post occupancy evaluation of mass housing estates in Algiers

Moa Tunström:
Using discourse analysis in urban research

Afternoon seminar (2.00pm-4.00pm):

Magda Sibley:
Public baths in North African heritage cities: lessons of sustainability in a living heritage: Magda Sibley's main strands of research are heritage led sustainable urban regeneration, courtyard buildings as sustainable urban matrix, and Hammams (commonly known as Turkish baths). Magda is involved in Hammamed project funded by EuroMed Heritage 4 programme.

Moa Tunström:
Constructions of the city and the urban - Contemporary Swedish planning discourse: Moa Tunström was visiting postdoc in MARC and has a background in Urban and Regional Planning and Human Geography (PhD from Örebro university 2009). She is otherwise based in the Division of Urban and Regional Studies in the Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden. Her research concerns contemporary discourses about the city, the urban and the planner in a planning context. 



22 November 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Matthew Gandy (UCL, London)

Parc Henri Matisse, Lille.
Parc Henri Matisse, Lille, May 2011. Photo: Matthew Gandy.

Entropy by Design: Gilles Clément, Parc Henri Matisse and the Limits to Avant-Garde Urbanism

Derborence Island, an inaccessible concrete structure set in the middle of Lille’s Parc Henri Matisse, is an intriguing example of recent landscape design.  The park, which was completed in 1995 as part of the vast Euralille development, is designed by the French landscape architect Gilles Clément.  The idea for the park is derived from several sources including the aesthetic characteristics of uncultivated ground, the symbolic reconstruction of a fragment of primary forest and the enhancement of urban bio-diversity.  It is suggested that Clément’s novel synthesis of nature and culture is significantly different from prevailing discourses of landscape design and is best interpreted as a form of site-specific art.  Clément’s project reveals tensions between the aesthetic and scientific significance of so-called “waste spaces” in contemporary cities and the widening scope of utilitarian approaches to landscape design.

Matthew Gandy is Professor of Geography at University College London and was Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory from 2005-11. His publications include Concrete and clay: reworking nature in New York City (MIT Press, 2002), The return of the White Plague (Verso, 2003, co-edited with Ali Zumla), Hydropolis (Campus, 2006, co-edited with Susanne Frank) along with articles in Architectural Design, New Left Review, International Journal of Urban and Regional and Research, Society and Space and many other journals.  He is currently researching cultural histories of urban infrastructure, cinematic landscapes and urban biodiversity.

15 November 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Cover of Henri Lefebvre on Space

Lukasz Stanek (CASVA: Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts)
Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory

In this talk I will focus on my recently published book Henri Lefebvre on Space. Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). In my book I argue that Lefebvre’s theory of production of space was formulated in the late 1960s and early 1970s from within an encounter between his critical reflection on the general condition of modernity; his research about the processes of urbanization; and his vision of urban spaces for the transforming society. Responding to the rapid urbanization processes within the post-war “bureaucratic society of controlled consumption,” Lefebvre identified emerging tendencies which, in many ways, have defined the global conditions of urbanization until today.

A key source of Lefebvre’s theory were empirical studies which he carried out and supervised in a range of French institutions. They included his studies on the Pyrenean communities during the Second World War; his research in rural and urban sociology at the Centre d’études sociologiques from the 1940s until the early 1960s; the interdisciplinary research projects headed by him as professor of sociology in Strasbourg (1961−1965) and Nanterre (1965−1973); and the studies about the practices of dwelling carried out by the Institut de sociologie urbaine which Lefebvre co-founded in 1962 and presided until 1973.

Not less important were his contributions to architecture culture during the transitory period between the death of Le Corbusier (1965) and the emergence of French post-modern architecture in the mid-1970s: the time when various paths within, beyond, and against the legacy of the architectural avant-gardes were tested. Lefebvre’s engagements into these vibrant debates included his critiques of several functionalist urban schemes; and his readings of architectural projects by architects as diverse as ÉmileAillaud, Ricardo Bofill, Constant Nieuwenhuys, and Jean Renaudie. Opposing much of Marxist discourse at that time, Lefebvre identified architecture’s disciplinary competence in the research about the possible futures of the society moving beyond Fordism.

Lukasz Stanek graduated in architecture and philosophy after studies in Kraków, Weimar, Münster, and Zurich. After his doctorate at the Delft University of Technology, he was a fellow at the Institut d’Urbanisme de Paris and the Jan van Eyck Academie Maastricht. He was teaching at the Faculty of Architecture, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, before being awarded the 2011-2013 A. W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery in Washington. In 2008 and 2009 he organized two international conferences about the theory of Henri Lefebvre, urban research, and urban design. He is a co-founder and editor of the first issue of "Footprint". Besides Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (2011), he published several articles in books and journals, including LOG, HUNCH, and Haecceity. He curated the exhibitions PRL™ Export Architecture and Urbanism from Socialist Poland (Warsaw Museum of Technology, 2010) and Postmodernism Is Almost All Right. Architecture After Socialism and the Postcolonial Experience (Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, 2011).

8 November 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Jane Rendell (Bartlett School of Architecture)
Site-writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism

With a background in architectural design, followed by research in architectural history, and then a period teaching public art and writing art criticism, my work has focused on interdisciplinary meeting points – feminist theory and architectural history, conceptual art practice and architectural design, art criticism and autobiographical writing. Recently my writing has explored the position of the author, not only in relation to theoretical ideas, art objects and architectural spaces but also to the site of writing itself. This interest has evolved into a number of ‘site-writings’ that investigate the limits of criticism, that ask what it is possible for a critic to say about a work, the site of a work and the critic herself and for the writing to still ‘count’ as criticism. This talk outlines some conceptual concerns that frame this project, followed bythe presentation of two site-writings, ‘Les Mots et Les Choses’ written in response to Elina Brotherus’ Springand ‘An Embellishment: Purdah’, written in relation to Nathan Coley’s Black Tent. These site-writings draw on architecture to inform their narrative, structure, scale, position and detail, and this talk will track their transformations fromessays to text-based installations as they move from page to place.

Jane Rendell is an architectural designer, historian, theorist and writer. Her work over the past ten years has explored various interdisciplinary intersections: feminist theory and architectural history, fine art and architectural design, autobiographical writing and criticism. She is author of Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002) and co-editor of Critical Architecture (2007) Spatial Imagination (2005), The Unknown City (2001), Intersections (2000), Gender Space Architecture (1999) and Strangely Familiar(1995). Her talks and texts have been commissioned by artists such as Daniel Arsham and Bik Van Der Pol, and galleries like the Hayward, the Serpentine, the Tate and the Whitechapel. She is Professor of Architecture and Art, and Vice Dean of Research at the Bartlett, UCL.

4 November 2011

Cover of Green Buildings Pay

BArch Guest Lecture, 10.00am-11.00am
John Dalton Building, Room T003

Professor Brian Edwards will be presenting the guest lecture "Green Buildings Pay" on Friday 4 November as part of the BArch Unit "Architecture as Urban Catalyst".

All staff and students are welcome to attend.

1 November 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Cover of the Yale Building Project

Richard Hayes (Rafael Vinoly Architects)
Agency and Activism: The Yale Building Project

In 1967, the first-year class of students from Yale’s School of Architecture travelled from New England to rural Appalachia to build a community centre they designed for impoverished residents of an isolated hamlet in Kentucky.  This small project inaugurated an educational programme that is now the oldest, continuous “design/build” studio in North America: the Yale Building Project, in which every year since 1967 students have designed and constructed a building for a community-based client.  Yale’s programme originated in the context of student activism and idealism during the 1960’s, and has served as a mirror for changes in American society and architectural culture over the past four decades.  Richard Hayes has documented each of the projects in the programme’s history, ranging from community centres and a health clinic in Appalachia, to pavilions throughout Connecticut, through affordable housing in New Haven.  The Yale Building Project has contributed to the education of many of America’s leading architects, while serving as a model for numerous universities which now incorporate similar live studios in their curricula. Hayes’s book, The Yale Building Project: The First 40 Years (Yale University Press, 2007) is the first comprehensive history of this important initiative.

Richard W. Hayes is an architect and architectural historian, educated at Columbia and Yale Universities.  In 2007, he published his first book, The Yale Building Project: the First 40 Years (Yale University Press), a comprehensive history of an influential educational program that began in the context of student activism and volunteerism during the 1960s.  He is currently contributing a chapter to a forthcoming book on two hundred years of architectural education in North America, to be published by MIT Press in 2012.  His previous publications include the essay “An Aesthetic Education: the Architectural Criticism of E.W. Godwin” in the award-winning book, E.W. Godwin Aesthetic Movement Architect and Designer (Yale University Press), edited by Susan Weber Soros. Hayes has received grants and awards from the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the American Institute of Architects, the American Architectural Foundation, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the MacDowell Colony.  In 2009-2010, he was a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge.

27 October 2011

Andrew Jamison Guest Lecture, 4-5.30pm
University Place 2.219
The University of Manchester

Professor Andrew Jamison, Aalborg University, will be presenting the guest lecture "Turning Science and Technology Green: Sustainable Development and Engineering Education".


24 October 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Mario Carpo (Yale School of Architecture)
The Alphabet and the Algorithm

Mario Carpo Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History, fall term. After studying architecture and history in Italy, Mr. Carpo was an assistant professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Since 1993 he has been a tenured associate professor in France and more recently a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. From 2002 to 2005 Mr. Carpo was the head of the Study Centre at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. His research and publications focus on the relationship among architectural theory, cultural history, and the history of media and information technology. Mr. Carpo’s award-winning Architecture in the Age of Printing (2001) has been translated into several languages. His most recent books are Perspective, Projections and Design (2007, coedited); a translation of and commentary on Leon Battista Alberti’s Descriptio Urbis Romae (2007, coauthored); a monograph on the work of Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati (2008, coauthored), and the recently published The Alphabet and the Algorithm (MIT Press, 2011). Mr. Carpo received a Dr.Arch. from the University of Florence and a Ph.D. from the European University Institute.

18 October 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Wendy Pullan (Cambridge University)
Contested cities Walls, Buffer Zones, Frontiers: The Spaces of Contested Cities

Historically the notion of the frontier has played a major role in military planning, empire building, the territoriality of states, and the hegemony of political regimes. It has come rather late and secondhand to architectural thinking, and for cities, the frontier has gained meaning in modern times primarily as urban areas have become suburban or ex-urban, growing beyond established borders, sometimes into contested or otherwise threatening no-go areas . In cities that experience extreme levels of ethno-national and/or religious conflict, this is particularly true.

Research on contested states indicates a well-defined frontier situation; as James Ron demonstrates in his study of Serbia and Israel, ‘nationalist states tend to be most radical at their margins, not their core.’ Can we say the same for cities? This paper will examine the frontiers of divided Jerusalem and consider whether a specific form of urbanism has developed from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in this city. Comparisons will be made with long divided cities of Nicosia and the German/Polish border town of Guben/Gubin.


11 October 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Yvonne Rydin (UCL, London)
Using an ANT Perspective to Analyse the Planning of Sustainable Commercial Office Development

There has been a growth in interest within planning theory recently in Actor-Network Theory (ANT). This paper explores the potential for ANT to deliver a distinctive perspective on planning practice. Using a case study of commercial office development and its carbon performance, an ANT-based analysis of the role of planning is provided. The paper also discusses the potential for ANT to deliver practice guidance and demonstrates how such guidance can be derived from this case study. The analytic and practice-based conclusions draw attention to the importance of highly detailed plan policies and of planners understanding and being able to challenge the knowledge derived from energy modelling tools. Together with a context of strong regulation, these are some of the elements by which planners can work in small spaces and local sites of practice to shape the role of intermediaries in network processes.

Proffessor Yvonne Rydin

Yvonne Rydin is Professor of Planning, Environment and Public Policy at University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning and Director of the UCL Environment Institute. She has extensive knowledge of environmental policy, governance and sustainability at the urban level. Her research projects include a study for HEFCE’s Higher Education Innovation Fund on Sustainable Construction and Planning in London as well as EU projects on decision-making for the sustainable city and the implementation of local sustainability indicators. She has a particular interest in networks of governing, the role of social capital and the potential for learning to deliver sustainable urban development. Her current EPSRC-funded research is on urban energy initiatives and the built environment. During 2007-8 she chaired the Lead Expert Group for the DIUS Foresight project on Sustainable Energy Management and the Built Environment. Past book publications include: Networks and Institutions in Natural Resource Management (co-edited with E. Falleth) (2006; Edward Elgar); Urban and Environmental Planning in the UK 2nd edition (2003; Palgrave); and Conflict, Consensus and Rationality in Environmental Planning: an institutional discourse approach (2003; Oxford University Press). Her latest two books are Governing for Sustainable Urban Development (published by Earthscan) and The Purpose of Planning (published by Policy Press). She is an accredited Mediator and a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


4 October 2011

Autumn Guest Lecture, 2-4pm
Coupland 1, Pear Lecture Theatre

Cover of Architectural Theory

Hilde Heynen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)
Architectural Theory Today

The first part of the lecture discusses the set-up of the Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory, a volume edited by Greig Crysler, Stephen Cairns and Hilde Heynen, which is about to be published. I will consider the main guiding principles, sections and specific themes addressed in this Handbook.

In the second part of the lecture, I will show how the interdisciplinary approach of architectural theory advocated in the Handbook can inform research projects. I will use as a case study my paper 'Gender inscriptions in the home. The garage as an ambivalent figure'. This paper analyses how masculine and feminine inscriptions render the garage a contested territory in the home, marking it as a site of contrasts and paradoxes.

Hilde Heynen is a professor of architectural theory at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Her research focuses on issues of modernity, modernism and gender in architecture. In Architecture and Modernity. A Critique (MIT Press, 1999) she investigated the relationship between architecture, modernity and dwelling, arguing that critical theories such as those of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno offer crucial insights when revisiting the Modern Movement. More recently she engaged with the intersection between architecture and gender studies, resulting in the volume Negotiating Domesticity. Spatial productions of gender in modern architecture (co-edited with Gulsum Baydar, Routledge, 2005). She is currently editing the Handbook Architectural Theory (with Greig Crysler and Stephen Cairns), which will be published by Sage late 2010.

Hilde Heynen studied architecture and philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where she also received her PhD. She was a J Paul Getty postdoctoral fellow, a research fellow at the Radcliffe Institute (Harvard University), and held visiting positions at MIT (Cambridge, Mass.), at the AA-school (London) and at RMIT (Melbourne). Her work was supported by grants from the Research Foundation Flanders, the Research Council of the KULeuven, the Netherlands Architecture Fund, the Graham Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies.

MARC Guest Lecture: Dr Francesco Mazzucchelli
14 March 2011

Dr Francesco Mazzucchelli (University of Bologna)
"Preservation and restoration: a semiotic perspective"

Abstract: Semiotics is the study of every signifying system and process, that is, of every configuration of signs structured in texts, practices, objects. Can city and architecture be analysed under a semiotic point of view? Following the suggestions of the writings by Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, Algirdas J. Greimas and Jurij Lotman on urban semiotics, cities and built environment can be studied as social objects that generate dynamically shared cultural meanings, in other words as texts. In my talk, after a brief exposition of the fundamentals of space and urban semiotics, I will focus on a particular architectonic practice: the preservation and restoration of the pre-existing architectures. In my hypothesis, preservation and restoration is always a (re-)writing of urban memoryscapes, in as much as it “manipulates” some particular signs of the city’s palimpsests: traces, and therefore, the “temporality” of a place. I will propose a reflection about some specifics signs of memory (spatial monuments and documents, but also remains and ruins) in order to show how their manipulation can lead to a re-semantisation (and also a “re-invention”) of the memory of a place. Semiotics – with its attention to social meanings and its narrative conception of the sense – can help to explain the way the “senses of a place” can change and be transformed.

Biography: Francesco Mazzucchelli is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bologna (Italy) and is currently a visiting fellow at SED in the University of Manchester. He achieved his PhD in Semiotics from the University of Bologna, with a dissertation, titled “The Memory of the City”, about post-war urban transformations in some cities of the former Yugoslavia. His research interests deal mainly with the relationship between memory and spatiality; he is also interested in architectonic restoration and reconstruction, seen as a practice of “urban memory rewriting” and in post-conflict societies (especially in regard to "divided cities"). He also works on conflict studies and urban ethnography. His current research project is about "Practices of mediation and communication of the conflicts". He is the author of several academics essays and of the book "Urbicide. The sense of places between destruction and reconstruction in former Yugoslavia".

MARC Guest Lecture: Dr Gavin Melles
14 February 2011

Dr Gavin Melles (Faculty of Design, Swinburne University)
"New Pragmatism in Architecture and Design: Zeitgeist not Method

Abstract: Pragmatism as a practice oriented and instrumental philosophical movement emerged in the late 19th and early twentieth century through the work of Charles Pierce, William James and John Dewey in the USA. Following a loss of currency in the fifties and sixties of the past century, pragmatism reemerged in it's neopragmatist form in the latter part of the 19th century through the work of particular philosphers, including perhaps principally with Richard Rorty, to reinvigorate discussion about the contribution of philosophy to many domains of human life. Most recently architecture and design have explored the potential relevance of (neo)pragmatism to the work of a generation of designers and architects looking for a socially responsible and aesthetic esprit that might  explain their current work and inspiration. In this lecture I attempt to explain some of the foundational pragmatic concepts, their application in architecture and design, and the work that remains to fully explore the neopragmatist agenda for practice and theory in the 21st century.

Biography: Dr Gavin Melles is lecturer in the Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne, Australia). His education background is Linguistic Anthropology (Master Linguistics, University of Costa Rica) and Education (Doctor of Education, Deakin University). His research interests are in the areas of Design Research and Methodologies, including Pragmatism in Design. His recent work has been published in Artifact, Design Studies, Design Issues, European Journal of Engineering Education, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Ethnography of Education, and other journals and books. He supervises Research Students in Design, Engineering and Education.


MARC Guest Lecture: Eli Støa
7 December 2010

Eli Støa: Towards Sustainable Residential Practices

Eli Støa (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
"Towards Sustainable Residential Practices"

Abstract: The practices of users are a frequently overlooked aspect of sustainable architecture projects. In this talk, Eli Støa will present an ongoing interdisciplinary research project set out to explore the planning and design process of a new sustainable neighbourhood called Brøset in Trondheim, Norway. She interprets architecture as a network involving artefacts, humans, and processes and will discuss the interrelationship between these aspects may be implicated in the transformation of residential practices and how this is approached in the research.

Biography: Eli Støa is a practicing architect and a professor in housing at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. She has been conducting research for about 20 years on the architectural, social, and cultural aspects of housing and homes, with a more recent focus on sustainable housing cultures.

MARC Autumn Lecture: Sophie Houdart
16 November 2010

The Architecture of Kengo Kuma

Sophie Houdart (CNRS, Paris)
"The Architecture of Kengo Kuma: An Anthropological Perspective"

After having been involved in postmodern architecture, like many of his contemporaries, Kuma later became known for upholding a philosophy of natural materials traditionally used in Japanese architecture (stone, bamboo, paper, etc.). Describing himself by turn as a carpenter or gardener, or even “digital gardener”, he has made wood one of the crucial driving forces behind his creativity – because of this,  he became known as an “environmental architect” as well as a very Japanese one… No matter how effective this rhetoric, it says nothing, however, about the way in which natural materials in general and wood in particular manage to take on these multiple roles in practice – making Kuma an architect of his time, internationally recognised for his intelligence and sensitivity towards natural materials, and making Kuma a Japanese architect, reconnecting with traditional architecture and expressing it in new ways. By observing ongoing projects in Kuma’s practice, I will consider wood as an entity as well as in its diverse metamorphoses, by considering the multiple ways of treating composition, formatting and representations which affect its meaning and use. How, in concrete terms, is obtained a thing "that could be called Japanese"? How and how far does matter matter to build up cultural markers in architecture?

MARC Autumn Lecture: Sophie Houdart
2 November 2010

Digital culture

Antoine Picon (Harvard Graduate School of Design)
"Digital Culture in Architecture: An Introduction for the Design Professions"

In a little more than a decade, the computer has profoundly impacted the practice of architecture. It has also begun to transform the way the discipline defines itself. Change is almost always a mixed bag of creation and destruction. Whereas new possibilities have arisen, some aspects of architectural design that used to be considered as fundamental are jeopardized. Using a theoretical and historical frame of interpretation, the lecture will discuss the complex situation that prevails today as well as some of the challenges that await practitioners and theorists.

More specifically, the lecture will first stress the more and more strategic nature of design in today's world. Digital tools have reinforced this strategic character. Computer-aided contemporary architectural design is in a paradoxical situation insofar that it oscillates between this strategic imperative that requires and understanding of design that extends far beyond its formal aspects and a highly formalistic turn epitomized by the architectural star-system. From diagrams to algorithms, from mapping practices to parametric design, the desire to go beyond traditional form-finding practices is everywhere. It could very well lead to a radically new conception of architectural form as event-based, a perspective that is clearly at stake in contemporary performalist attitudes.

Traditional dimensions of architecture have become meanwhile problematic. Scale is no longer evident in a world in which information is to be found at every level, from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Tectonics, that is structure conceived as space defining, is also in a state of crisis. This crisis finds its counterpart in the new importance taken by ornament, an ornament often more "structural" than structure itself. The lecture will discuss how such a situation is in deep accordance with the context generated by globalization as well as by recent technological evolution. The crisis of scale and tectonics finds its counterpart in a renewed interest for the material presence of architecture. A profound redefinition of materiality, envisaged as the interface between the physical and human spheres, seems ultimately at stake. In its most radical form, digital architecture should not be reduced to another neo-avant-garde. Actively engaged in the exploration of a new materiality, it represents first and foremost an experimental practice.

A number of problems remain however to be addressed. Despite the fact that what is happening today is rooted in a much longer history of the relations between architecture and an information-based society, a history that really begins at the dawn of the twentieth century, digital architecture tends to be oblivious to the historical dimension, to position itself implicitly in an everlasting present. This lack of historical perspective goes with a certain disinterest for the political implications of design. The time has perhaps come to address these shortcomings frontally. This might require the reinvention, or rather reinterpretation of some of the fundamental of architecture beginning with the need to shelter from the elements, let those be physical or digital. What could be the primitive hut of the digital age?

MARC Autumn Lecture: Doina Petrescu
19 October 2010

Doina Petrescu (University of Sheffield)
"Micro-politics of Architecture"

The lecture will introduce the work of atelier d’architecture autogérée / studio of self-managed architecture (aaa)  - an activist practice in architecture based in Paris which conducts actions and research concerning urban and cultural mutations  and social and political emerging practices in the post-capitalist city.  aaa develops urban tactics to accompany micro-processes and enable rifts within the standardised urban contexts, which are regulated by private economic interests and centralised policies. Their projects enable the re-appropriation of derelict spaces and the creation of new forms of urbanity by local residents through reversible designs and everyday practices. The lecture will follow the association between ‘desire’ and ‘politics’ in such projects and develop the argument of the ‘micro-political’ in a tradition of thinking which relates to Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari and engages with feminist ethics of care.

MARC Guest Lecture: Malcolm Shifrin
13 October 2010

Advert for Southampton Turkish Bath

Malcolm Shifrin
"The Victorian Turkish Bath: Victorian? Turkish? a bath?"

MARC Autumn Lecture: Christian Derix
12 October 2010

Christian Derix (Aedas, London)
"Synthetic Search: Mediating Analogue and Artificial Design Heuristics"

The presentation will illustrate some examples of the architectural purpose of computation. What type of design strategies are relevant for code-based design and what type of knowledge is produced that challenges the common description of design intentions? While architectural design with computers is mostly concerned with performance or geometry, inherent properties of spaces are rarely considered that would form the basis of occupancy-perceived design. The presentation will discuss projects developed by the CDR group applying computational-based logic to design strategies used for either complex spatial configurations or human-centric design aspects, ranging from interior design to masterplanning scales.

Bio: Derix set up the Research & Development initiative at Aedas architects London in 2004. He is Head of the Computational Research and Design group [CDR] where new design methodology is developed from a blend of computing science and other disciplines. The research has been implemented over various scales on many live projects such as furniture – VITA shelving system 2008 -, architecture – World Trade Centre Memorial Museum visual analysis, 2007 - or urban design, - Masdar City mixed neighbourhood MIST 340, 2009. Christian Derix is senior lecturer of the Master of Computing & Design at the University of East London since 2001. He set up the Centre for Evolutionary Computing in Architecture (CECA) in 2002 with Paul Coates and has taught Algorithmic Architecture at the Milan Polytechnic, Technical University Vienna and University College London.

MARC Autumn Lecture: Prof Steven Moore
5 October 2010

Coding the Future

Steven Moore (University of Manchester Simon Visiting Professor and Bartlett Cocke Regents Professor of Architecture and Planning, The University of Texas at Austin)
"Coding the Future"

The Alley Flat Initiative (AFI) provides an opportunity to consider affordable and sustainable housing in the context of a historically low-density and racially segregated city in the American South. Rather than develop efficient block-type housing as has been successfully done in the UK, the AFI is developing a distributed infrastructure approach that transforms units of consumption into units of production. One assumption behind this approach is that all systems have both a technical and a social side. Architects might design systems that are both economically and ecologically sustainable, but if we fail to design systems that are also culturally appropriate and politically poignant the system as a whole will not be sustained. Including cultural variables in a systems approach to architecture requires that system boundaries be expanded to include sociotechnical analysis and codes.

MARC Guest Lecture: Harald Rohracher
8 July 2010

Energy efficient housing

Harald Rohracher (University of Klagenfurt)
"Niche Development or Regime Change? Austrian Passive Houses Go Mainstream"

Abstract: The presentation will analyse the dynamic development of highly energy-efficient passive houses in Austria with a focus on the transformation of the current construction regime and the role of intermediary organisations in establishing a socio-technical niche for such buildings. Emphasis will be put on critical phases in the growth of the passive house niche and the challenges still lying ahead.

Biography: Harald Rohracher is Associate Professor at the Department for Science and Technology Studies, University of Klagenfurt and has been co-founder and director (1999-2008) of the Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFZ) in Graz, Austria. 2009-10 he has been Joseph A. Schumpeter Fellow at Harvard University. His research focuses on the co-evolution of technology and society and the governance of socio-technical change towards greater sustainability, particularly in the field of energy and the built environment.

MARC Guest Lecture: Harriet Bulkeley and Vanesa Castán Broto
30 June 2010

Harriet Bulkeley and Vanesa Castán Broto (Durham University)
" Experimenting with climate change? Global cities and low carbon transitions"
( Durham University)

This event is co-sponsored by the Manchester Architecture Research Centre, EcoCities, and SERG.

MARC Guest Lecture: Marc Schlossberg
20 May 2010

Marc Schlossberg (University of Oregon)
"From Ivory Tower to Tilling the Soil: Universities as Catalysts for Sustainable City Design"

Abstract: This talk and discussion will focus on an urgent new role for higher education institutions to serve as catalysts for sustainable city design. The Sustainable City Year programme at the University of Oregon (USA) directs the expertise of faculty and students toward a single city to help on sustainability issues. In this model of education, students get hands-on experience in working with city officials and city officials get a range of new ideas from the next generation of thinkers and practitioners. This year, the Sustainable City Year program is working with the City of Gresham (Oregon) and includes 15 faculty members, 24 courses, 7 disciplines, and 100,000 hours of student and faculty effort to address the city’s needs.

Biography: Marc Schlossberg, PhD, is an Associate Professor of City Planning and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the University of Oregon (USA). He is currently a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar at the University of Sheffield¹s Town and Regional Planning Department.

MARC Guest Lecture: Dr Tatjana Schneider
5 May 2010

Guest Lectures

Dr Tatjana Schneider (Sheffield University)

Abstract: Today, architecture often is simply understood as a matter of concept and design ending up in the production of a building. The problem with reducing the architect to someone who merely designs or conceptually develops buildings is that work and projects are determined by externally set parameters. Architects often merely re-act rather than initiate, re-spond rather than take action, re-ply rather than co-formulate. The lecture will unravel episodes of architecture where spatial intelligence is applied beyond a built project through engaging with the unknown in mutual collaborations yet starting from a clear theoretical or sometimes ideological basis. This form of 'spatial agency' transgresses traditional disciplinary boundaries to understand architecture as an essentially political event.

Biography: Tatjana Schneider is a lecturer at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, where she teaches design studio, history and theory. She worked in architectural practice in Germany and the UK, and has taught, lectured and published widely (including Flexible Housing with Jeremy Till) and was a member of the worker's cooperative G.L.A.S. (Glasgow Letters on Architecture and Space). Her work focuses on the production and political economy of the built environment. Current work includes a research project on Spatial Agency with Jeremy Till and Nishat Awan, Routledge (2011).

MARC Guest Lecture: Prof Thomas Barrie
29 April 2010

Prof Thomas Barrie (Professor of Architecture, North Carolina State University)
"The Sacred In-between: The Mediating Roles of Architecture"

Abstract: This presentation will discuss broadened contexts, approaches and understandings of architecture through the lens of the mediating roles often performed by sacred architecture. Its principle argument is that, similar to the intermediary roles of religion, sacred architecture typically served as a physical and symbolic mediator in support of the socio-political, doctrinal and ritual agendas of the religions it was built to serve. An essential means of understanding sacred architecture is through the recognition of its roles as an in-between place believed by its creators to establish connections to what otherwise would be inaccessible.

Biography: Thomas Barrie, AIA is a Professor of Architecture at North Carolina State University where he served as School Director from 2000 – 2007. Professor Barrie’s scholarship on the symbolism, ritual use and cultural significance of architecture has brought him to sacred places around the world, and he has published and lectured extensively in his subject area. He is an award-winning architect and the author of The Sacred In-Between: The Mediating Roles of Architecture (Routledge, 2010) and Spiritual Path, Sacred Place: Myth Ritual and Meaning in Architecture (Shambhala, 1996).

MARC Guest Lecture: Prof Jane Jacobs
9 March 2010

Prof Jane Jacobs (University of Edinburgh)
"Ecologies of Dwelling: Maintaining High-rise Housing in Singapore"

Abstract: We usually assume that a building gets first designed, then built, then inhabited. From Ingold's alternative perspective however, a ‘building is a process that is continually going on’ and it is always about calibrating the balance between human, organic and non-organic components. This talk applies this thinking to the large, bureaucratic, mass housing ‘system’ in Singapore. I demonstrate that once built, a high-rise starts on its journey of decay. To keep a building built as it was intended requires constant maintenance and repair work, a kind of everyday building.

Biography: Jane Jacobs is Chair in Cultural Geography at University of Edinburgh. Her work has been in the field of postcolonial studies and urban cultures and her most recent research is a sociotechnical
study of the many afterlives of the modernist high-rise housing. She is co-author (with K. Gelder) of Uncanny Australia (1998), co-editor (with R. Fincher) of Cities of Difference (1998), and co-author (with S. Cairns) of Architecture and Waste (2011).


Damian O’Doherty: "Spaced-Out in the City - An Ambulatory Automatism in Search of Organization"

Tuesday 1 December 2009

This lecture reports on a methodological experiment that inscribed the letters ‘order/disorder’ across a standard A-Z map of Manchester.

Deploying strict mathematical formulae in the spirit of the ‘Oulipo’ school, a series of urban walks were designed in ways that might permit exploration and analysis of patterns of organisation/disorganisation.

Damian O’Doherty is Senior Lecturer in Organisation Analysis at the Manchester Business School in the University of Manchester. He publishes widely across the social sciences and has recently co-authored the collection Manifestos for the Business School of Tomorrow published by Dvalin Press. Dr O’Doherty serves on the editorial boards of a number of journals and is executive board member of the Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism.

Jeremy Till: "Architecture Depends"

10 November 2009

Professor Jeremy Till is Dean of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster. He is the author of:

Samuel Y. Liang: " Beautiful Pictures on a Blank Sheet of Paper" Utopian Planning and Urban Sprawl in Contemporary China

21 April 2009

Samuel Y. Liang specializes in modern Chinese architecture and urbanism and has published articles in leading journals in architectural history and Chinese studies. His forthcoming book examines urban vernacular architecture of nineteenth-century Shanghai and maps the city's spatial, gender, and material modernity. His current research focuses on housing and state-led urban rebuilding programmes in Maoist and contemporary China.

In this presentation, Liang examines the Chinese state’s continued deployment of utopia in planning large-scale construction projects and the persistent urban sprawl paradoxically as a result of the state governance that favours such projects. In post-Mao China, Liang's analysis shows, the local governments of great cities reassert state leadership in implementing mega-projects of “scientific planning.”

Noortje Marres: Sustainable living experiments and the costliness of involvement

31 March 2009

Biography: Noortje Marres is a Research Fellow at the James Martin Institute, University of Oxford. She has a background in science and technology studies, and received her PhD from the Philosophy Department of the University of Amsterdam, for a thesis on (neo-)pragmatist theories of democracy in a technological society.

Synopsis: This paper discusses how experiments with sustainable living provide occasions for the definition of public engagement in socio-material terms. Analysing attempts to introduce CO2 in everyday life as a unit of measurement, it explores how such initiatives deploy domestic devices and settings as tools of involvement, and end up challenging ideals of “involvement made easy.”

Graham Farmer: Thinking through sustainable technologies: Between performance and ideology

3 March 2009

Biography: Graham Farmer has a background as a practicing architect and contributed to several award winning buildings. Currently, he is Associate Professor in Architecture at the University of Nottingham. His final year design research studio encourages a deeper engagement with sustainability and explores the themes of nature and artifice. His research focuses on the technical, ethical and philosophical dimensions of sustainable architecture.

Synopsis: The talk will explore the values and design knowledge required to produce sustainable buildings. Four commercially funded low-energy demonstration projects will be used to draw a distinction between merely efficient and successful technologies and will highlight the limitations of a techno-rational approach to sustainable design. In contrast, the experiences gained through a Zero-Carbon Architecture Research Studio will be used to highlight the potential value of engaged scholarship and applied research that is grounded in real-life contexts. The talk will conclude by exploring the potential of ‘live’ building projects as a vehicle for research and teaching and as a means of linking sustainable design to human problems in local contexts.


Alan Marcus (University of Aberdeen)

11 November 2008
When a town is called Dachau: Urban reinvention and the stature of place (PDF, 384KB)

Korinna Thielen (Arup Urban Design)

28 October 2008
Designing cities for the ecological age Arup Urban Design recent work (PDF, 75KB)

International workshop on : Architectures, Spaces, and Politics

3 September 2008

Synopsis : An international workshop looking at the roles 'Architectures' play in the shaping of spatial and political landscapes; organised by the Manchester Architecture Research Centre and the Topology of Technology Graduate School, TU Darmstadt.


09:30 - Introductions

10:00 - Dr. Lars Frers - TU Darmstadt "The subtle politics of making matter: Musings on the naturalisation of architecture's product"

10:45 - Sebastian Haumann - TU Darmstadt "Vernacular architecture as self-determination: Venturi, Scott Brown, and the controversy over Philadelphia's Crosstown Expressway"

11:30 - Susanne Schregal - TU Darmstadt "Small spaces for peace? Nuclear weapon-free zones in Great Britain and West Germany in the early 1980s"

12:15 - Dr. Andrew Crompton - Manchester Architecture Research Centre "Title TBC"

13:00 - 14:00 - Lunch Break

14:00 - TBC

14:45 - Liam Sharratt - Manchester Architecture Research Centre "Models as mediators of design in sustainable architectural decision-making: The case of BREEAM"

15:30 - Jan Fischer - Manchester Architecture Research Centre "Architects as intermediaries of carbon-neutral futures"

16:15 - Rebecca Madgin - University of East London "Title TBC"

17:00 Onwards - After-workshop drinks at Sandbar, Grosvenor Street.

Guest lecture by Chris Tweed (University of Cardiff)

April 15th 2008
"Is sustainable design just a another name for good architecture?" (PDF, 75KB)

Synopsis: Many architects insist they have been practising sustainable design for many years, arguing it is little more than what is generally considered to be good design. This talk will consider the contributions architecture can make to creating sustainable environments and identifies areas where design may have little or no impact. The concept of affordances, emerging from interactions between people and their environments, will be a major theme.

Biography: Chris Tweed studied architecture before engaging in research on energy in buildings, computers in architecture and human interaction with the built environment. He was recently appointed as Director of the BRE Centre for Sustainable Design of the Built Environment (SuDoBE) at the Welsh School of Architecture, where he is developing a programme of research that seeks to combine technical, social and psychological perspectives on sustainability.

Guest Lecture: Stephan Trüby

18 March 2008
"Exit-Architecture - Design Between War and Peace" (PDF, 120KB).

Synopsis: "First we shape things, then they shape us", was Churchill’s view. What kind of architecture can be said to shape? By what means does it shape? The author’s answer to this question is a surprise: through war and proximity to stress. After a tour d’horizon through Roman temples, Washington’s corridors of power and Mecca’s anti-panic architecture it becomes clear that architecture is anything but in the background. Instead it is situated in the hot spot of transmission dynamics and is capable of altering cultures, empires and even religions.

The speaker: Stephan Trüby studied and taught architecture at theAASchool, London. He is Professor of Architektur at HfG Karlsruhe, Germany. He co-edited "Architektur theorie. Texte seit 1960" (2003) and "5 Codes: Architecture, Paranoia and Risk in Times of Terror" (2006). In 2008 he published „The World of Madelon Vriesendorp“ (with Shumon Basar) and "Exit-Architecture - Design Between War and Peace". He is founder of the architecture-, design and consultancy firm Exit Ltd.

Guest Lecture: Clare Rishbeth (University of Sheffield)

26 February 2008
"Parallel lives? Divergent perspectives? City place revealed by first generation migrants" (PDF, 100KB).

Bio: Clare Rishbeth is a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield. A geographically chequered professional CV (Slough, Somerset, Lahore, Sheffield) helped shape an interest in the relationship between culture, ethnicity and social aspects of landscape; and the implications for planning and design in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods.

Synopsis: The ‘Walking Voices’ radio and research project addresses the media panic about segregated communities, hands the microphone to people who have moved to Britain from abroad and asks them about where they live. How important is local place in helping new migrants settle, and how might understanding diverse values inform priorities for urban neighbourhoods?


Guest Lecture: Jenny Robinson (The Open University)

11 December 2007
"Cities in a World of Cities: The comparative gesture" (PDF, 220KB).

Guest Lecture: Iain Borden (Director of the School of Architecture, The Bartlett, UCL)

November 6 2007
"The Pleasures of Driving: Architecture, Cities and the Automobile" (PDF, 440KB).

Bruno Latour (Sciences Po, Paris)

5 October 2007
SED annual lecture lecture & MARC launch

"Is there a cosmopolitically correct design?" (PDF, 452KB).

Find out more about the MARC launch and listen to Bruno Latour's lecture.

Victor Buchli (Department of Anthropology, University College London)

7 June 2007
"Immateriality and Things" (PDF 60KB)

Sir Peter Hall - Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration, University College London

22 May 2007
" POLYNET and AFTER: A New Geography of Britain"

JOINT: Debate Forum

15 May 2007
City-regions: people and place.

Chaired by Michael Hebbert - Professor of Planning, University of Manchester.

Vincent Goodstadt - Strategic Planner and Honorary Professor, University of Manchester.

Alan Harding - Professor, Institute for Political and Economic Governance, University of Manchester.

Joe Ravetz - Co-Director, CURE, University of Manchester.

Peter Roberts - Chair of the Academy for Sustainable Communities and Professor at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.

Guest Lecture: Ignaz Strebel (University of Edinburgh, Geography/Architecture)

May 10 2007
"The Concierge is the Architect: servicing buildings, practicing maintenance and the un/making of highrise living in Red Road, Glasgow" (PDF 90KB).

Guest Lecture: Erik Swyngedouw (Professor of Geography, University of Manchester)

8 May 2007
" Economic Success and Political Incoherence: The Paradoxical Condition of the Brussels City-Region"

Guest Lecture: Stephan Pauleit (Professor in Landscape Planning, University of Copenhagan)

1 May 2007
"Peri-Urban Land-use Relationships and Strategies"

Guest Lecture: Yvonne Rydin (Professor of Planning and the Environment, University College London)

24 April 2007
" Planning as Learning: Reflecting on the Promotion of Sustainable Construction"

Guest Lecture: Michael Luger (Professor, Director of Manchester Business School)

17 April 2007
" From Clusters to Hubs: A New Model for Regional Development"

Guest Lecture: Steven Moore (University of Texas at Austin)

10 April 2007
"Urban Story Lines and Sustainable Development" (PDF 180KB).

Guest Lecture: Rob Imrie (Professor of Geography, King's College London)

13 March 2007
Codification and Regulation of Architects' Practices, (PDF 1MB)

MARC Guest Lecture: Paul Waley (University of Leeds)

8 March 2007
"Tokyo-as-World-City: Reassessing the Role of Capital and the State in Urban Restructuring" (PDF 140KB).

Guest Lecture: Professor Brian Robson (Geography) and Professor Cecilia Wong (Planning and Landscape)

6 March 2007
"Flows and City-Regions"

MARC Guest Lecture: Chris Spencer (Professor of Environmental Psychology, University of Sheffield)

20 February 2007
"Giving Environmental Psychology Away" (PDF 1.2MB)

Guest Lecture: Wolfgang Weileder (University of Newcastle, School of Arts and Cultures)

15 February 2007
"Shifting walls: house-projects and transfer" (PDF 70KB)