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Interior shot of social housing unit. A project by Lacaton and Vassal and collaborators.
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Lacaton & Vassal: Rothwell Chair Symposium 2021

Living in the city: exemplary social and affordable housing design

Showcasing exemplary social and affordable housing design by International and Australian architectural firms and researchers, curated by Lacaton & Vassal, 2021 Pritzker Prize Laureates and the Rothwell Co-Chairs, and the Sydney School of Architecture, Design & Planning. Symposium is now available online.

A picutre of Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal. Image courtesy of Laurent Chalet.

A major gift from alumni Garry and Susan Rothwell established the Garry and Susan Rothwell Chair in Architectural Design Leadership with a purpose ‘to develop, through architecture and urbanism innovation, the capacity to create environments which improve people’s quality of life’.

Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal, French architects who have recently been named 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates, were appointed co-chairs of the inaugural, three-year Rothwell Chair at the Sydney School of Architecture, Design, and Planning in 2020 to explore their topic: ‘we propose to deal with contemporary urban conditions of living in the city’.

Launching their appointment with the Rothwell Chair Symposium 2021 - Living in the City at the new Chau Chak Wing Museum and broadcasted online from  27 – 29 April.

The Rothwell Chair Symposium 2021 is a free, online event and will showcase exemplary social and affordable housing design by International and Australian architectural firms and researchers, with an emphasis on engaging the real political, financial and planning contexts.

The range of speakers will include: Lacaton & Vassal discussing a number of their projects over all three evening sessions; Andreas Hofer, architect and developer; Christophe Hutin, architect and curator of the French pavillion at the 2021 Venice Biennale; as well as academics such as Professor Nicole Gurran from the Sydney School of Architecture, Design, and Planning who has written extensively on housing in Australia.

Date and time

Tuesday 27th April, 6.30 - 8 pm AEST. View the recording here.

About

This introductory session will focus on conditions that provide us with good and affordable housing in cities: generosity of space; freedom of use; appropriation of what exists; smart relationships with the climate. Transformation offers this opportunity. To make-do with and to transform allows us to do much more with less.

Moderator

Catherine Lassen, Senior Lecturer, Rothwell Chair Coordinator, Sydney School of Architecture, Design, and Planning

Speakers

Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal, 2021 Pritzker Prize Laureates, established Lacaton & Vassal in Paris (1987), and have since demonstrated boldness through their design of new buildings and transformative projects. For over three decades, they have designed private and social housing, cultural and academic institutions, public space, and urban strategies. The duo’s architecture reflects their advocacy of social justice and sustainability, by prioritizing a generosity of space and freedom of use through economical and ecological materials.

“Good architecture is open—open to life, open to enhance the freedom of anyone, where anyone can do what they need to do,” says Lacaton. “It should not be demonstrative or imposing, but it must be something familiar, useful and beautiful, with the ability to quietly support the life that will take place within it.” 

Date and time

Wednesday 28th April, 12 - 1.30 pm AEST. View the recording here.

About

What new typologies offer improved social, spatial, environmental and economical alternatives to the current familiar affordable housing modes? This session will present some contemporary local projects with shifted realisation strategies that have helped to promote more generous, community driven, well designed and affordable living conditions.

Moderator

Roderick Simpson is an architect and urbanist. Until September 2020, he was the inaugural Environment Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission. Before that he was director of the Urban Design and Urbanism programs at the University of Sydney. He is currently an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of the Built Environment UNSW.

Speakers

Clare Cousins established her Melbourne practice, Clare Cousins Architects, in 2005. Engaged in projects large and small, the studio has a particular interest in housing and projects that nurture community. Clare is a Life Fellow and Past National President of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Quino Holland is an award-winning architect and director of Fieldwork. Quino has worked in the industry since 2001, on large and complex mixed-use, commercial, multi-residential and cultural projects. From 2011-2019, he co-founded and was design director of Assemble, a real estate development group focused on projects where design, community and sustainability go hand-in-hand.

Rob McGauran is a founding director of MGS Architects, Rob leads the masterplanning, design advocacy and urban design disciplines in the practice including award winning Urban, Campus and Precinct renewals and Affordable Housing, Heritage Renewal, Mixed-use and Local Government projects. He is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, an Adjunct Professor at Monash University and a board member of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Date and time

Wednesday 28th April, 6.30 - 8 pm AEST.  View the recording here

About

Which new housing typologies respond to inhabitant’s expectations in terms of quality of life, environmental criteria and economy? This session will present interesting contemporary projects sustained by research into new typologies but will also refer to modernity through ‘historical’ examples that brought together both an innovative housing proposal and an ‘enlightened’ commission, for example in France, Ivry sur Seine housing by architects Gailhoustet and Renaudie.

Moderator

Kate Goodwin, Professor of Practice (Architecture), Sydney School of Architecture, Design, and Planning, former Head of Architecture and Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts

Speakers

Irénée Scalbert is an architectural critic and historian based in London. He has taught at the GSD, Harvard, the Politecnico in Milan and other universities. He recently returned to the AA School in London where he lectures in the Housing and Urbanism graduate programme.

Sophie Delhay Architecte strives to go beyond conventional housing models and typologies. Unit(s), a manifesto project of 240 rooms, establishes a dialogue between the large and the small scale. To surpass norms, the project de-assigns and deprograms rooms, allowing a freedom of uses.

Christophe Hutin is an architect and researcher at the Bordeaux National School of Architecture. He studied and documented townships and squatter camps near Johannesburg, published in Learning from Soweto, Construct freely, with Patrice Goulet. His research on housing in South Africa includes urban development in critical sites (informal housing, squat, etc.). In collaboration with Lacaton and Vassal (Grand Parc, Social Housing, Bordeaux, France 2017) he won the European Union prize & Mies van der Rohe prize in 2019. Christophe has been appointed curator of the French pavilion for the 2021 Venice Biennale focused on his project “communities at work.”

Date and time

Thursday 29th April, 12 - 1.30 pm AEST.  View the recording here.

About

What are some of the economic, planning and policy questions in proposing new architectural and urban designs for local affordable housing?

Moderator

Olivia Hyde, Professor of Practice (Architecture), Sydney School of Architecture, Design, and Planning, Director of Design Excellence, Government Architect NSW

Speakers

Peter John Cantrill is Urban Design Program Manager in Strategic Planning and Urban Design at the City of Sydney where he leads the design of the City’s alternate approach to the remaking of Waterloo housing estate. He is the author of Public Sydney – drawing the city with Philip Thalis and has won State, National and International awards in architecture, planning and landscape architecture including the 2009 AIA NSW Presidents Prize for outstanding contribution to the profession.

Directed by Wiradjuri interdisciplinary artist Joel Sherwood-Spring and white settler Genevieve Zoe Murray, Future Method Studio works collaboratively on projects that sit outside established notions of contemporary art & architecture attempting to transfigure spatial dynamics of power through discourse, political activism, peda-gogies, art, design and architectural practice. The studio is focussed on examining the contested narratives of Australia’s urban cultural and indigenous history in the face of ongoing colonisation. 

Professor Nicole Gurran is an urban planner and policy analyst whose research focuses on comparative urban planning systems and approaches to housing and ecological sustainability. As Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, ADP, Nicole has led and collaborated on a series of research projects on aspects of urban policy, housing, sustainability and planning, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Australian Urban and Housing Research Institute (AHURI), as well as state and local government. Recent research has included AHURI Inquiries on affordable housing supply (2016-21). 

Date and time

Thursday 29th April, 6.30 - 8 pm AEST. View the recording here.

About

It is necessary today to rethink how we want to live. What do we expect from living space?

How can we find conditions to create innovative and affordable housing in cities (in the sense of the amount of space and the quality of life it provides), while many large cities are now demolishing existing housing in favor of unaffordable ‘investment’ housing? This session will highlight experiences from innovative and qualitative affordable housing solutions and innovative modes of realization in Europe.

Welcome

Associate Professor Dagmar Reinhardt, Head of Architecture, Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Moderator

Hannes Frykholm, Rothwell Chair Postdoctoral Associate, Sydney School of Architecture, Design, and Planning from August 2021

Speakers

Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal, 2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates, established Lacaton & Vassal in Paris (1987), and have since demonstrated boldness through their design of new buildings and transformative projects. For over three decades, they have designed private and social housing, cultural and academic institutions, public space, and urban strategies. 

Andreas Hofer studied architecture at the Swiss Institute for Technology in Zurich. In 2018 he was elected as director for the International Building Exhibition in Stuttgart (Internationale Bauausstellung 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart). In Zurich he mainly worked as a consultant and project developer for innovative cooperative housing projects as Kraftwerk1 and mehr als wohnen (more than living).

Florian Köhl founded fatkoehl architects, a Berlin based architecture office, in 2002. The studio searches for ways of relating people through architecture with their urban surroundings and spearheaded efforts to elaborate alternative architectural production models in the Berlin housing market in the early 2000s. They were instrumental in the development of a new building approach – co-housing – which foresaw major involvement of their clients in the building process and lead to a new type of architecture fusing a client’s creativity with the architect’s design vision. Florian Köhl has researched and taught for several years at the Technical University of Berlin and the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. He is a co-founder of the NBBA (Network of Co-housing Architects in Berlin), Teameleven and Instant City, Berlin.


Image: Transformation of G, H, I Buildings, Grand Parc, 530 Units, Social Housing (with Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin), photo courtesy of Philippe Ruault

Lacaton & Vassal: Rothwell Chair Symposium 2021 Program

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