The architecture profession is in flux once again. The role of the architect is changing as a result of client expectations, market demands, and the growing need for specialised knowledge. Architects are interested in creating environments that prioritise the user experience, but are more often occupied with other aspects of project management and procurement. Addressing this disjunction is ultimately the responsibility of the profession itself. As other professions move towards more transparent methodologies and an evidence base, architects still rely heavily on their intuition. What new tools will shift the architecture profession back to a focus on curating experience?
Conscious Cities and the RIBA will host a series of short talks and a panel debate with those reshaping the future of the profession. How will a growing and valuable evidence base from neuroscience and psychology fit into future projects and change the way we design and build?
Questions & Answers
President of Royal Institute of British Architects
Ben Derbyshire was elected as president of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) in 2016 on a platform of change. His term will run for two years from September 2017. He is Chair of HTA Design LLP, a design consultancy to the home building industry, practicing ‘creative collaboration’ in a range of professional and other disciplines.
RIBA's Advancing Architecture strategy for 2016-2020 aims to engage members with the challenges and opportunities of a changing world, as well as build a body of knowledge and facilitate collaboration, research and innovation in practice.
Founding Director at Marks Barfield Architects
Founding director of Marks Barfield Architects (MBA) 1989 together with husband and partner David Marks (1952 - 2017) - also the originators and creative Entrepreneurs behind the design, funding, development and realisation of the London Eye and British Airways i360 in Brighton.
MBA has won more than 80 awards for Design, Innovation and Sustainability. Clapham Old Town won the NLA Award for Public Space in 2015. Greenwich Gateway Pavilions won an RIBA National award 2016 and in 2017; The University of Cambridge Primary School won the RIBA East Award in 2017 and British Airways i360 has won 18 awards over 2017-2018 .
University College London (UCL)
Kate founded the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience at UCL, a laboratory comprising several researchers who use physiological methods to study cognition. She studies how spatially sensitive neurons encode complex spaces, with a particular focus on two main issues: three-dimensional space, and the internal “sense of direction”.
Prof Jeffery will be speaking about how neuroscience can bring insights for practical application in architecture and urban design.
The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
Prof. Penn is the Dean of the Bartlett faculty of the Built Environment, he is a founding director of Space Syntax Ltd, a UCL knowledge transfer spin out with a portfolio of over 100 applied projects per year, including whole city masterplans, neighbourhood development plans and individual buildings. He was the Chair of the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel 16 and a member of Main-panel C for the Research Excellence Framework 2014. He is Principal Investigator on the £5m five year EPSRC funded Digital Economy Hub: UK Regions Digital Research Facility.
About 10,000 years ago humans entered a period of extremely rapid progress which is still accelerating today. The invention of buildings and dense settlements may account for this. The invention of digital computing and communications adds a further layer to the way that society is formed, coheres and progresses. I suggest that there are today two different modes of practice in built environment professions. Engineering makes predictions on the basis of past experience. Architecture envisions a future that has never been seen before. While the first is largely rational in its process, no amount of rational or logical deduction can tell you what you ought to do. Instead architectural processes work with intuition and emotion to propose prospective forms of society. This is the context for architectural education.
Public Health Physician Scientist, University of Cambridge
Tolullah Oni is a Public Health Physician Scientist and urban epidemiologist, and a Clinical Senior Research fellow with the Unit’s Global Public Health Research programme.
She spent 11 years conducting research in South Africa, where she also completed her public health medical specialty training. There, she established a Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE), conducting transdisciplinary urban health research focused on generating evidence to support development and implementation of healthy public policies in rapidly growing cities, with a focus on Africa. Research activities include Systems for Health projects: investigating how urban systems (e.g. housing, food) can be harnessed for health; and Health Systems projects: integrated heath systems responses to changing patterns of disease and multimorbidity in the context of urbanisation. She continues this focus within the GDAR network, focusing on meso- and macro-level determinants of diet and physical activity.
She has published over 40 manuscripts in high-impact journals, and has given presentations at international academic (urban health, HIV, TB) and non-academic meetings including the United Nations High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, New York; and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, Davos 2018. She serves on several advisory boards including Future Earth and the African Academy of Science Open Research Platform; and is an editorial board member of Lancet Planetary Health, Cities and Health, and the Journal of Urban Health. Profiled in the Lancet journal in 2016, she is a 2015 Next Einstein Forum Fellow, and Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.
Prior to joining Maggie’s Chris had a lead role in delivering several of the country’s leading cultural developments. Working as a consultant to many prestigious clients that include the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, English Heritage and the Imperial War Museum, Chris took responsibility for the implementation of the Sainsbury Wing in Trafalgar Square, the Tate Modern Tanks, the Stonehenge Visitor Centre and the Imperial War Museum North to name but few. In 1998 Chris was honoured by HM The Queen for his work on the restoration of Windsor Castle following the Great Fire of 1992.
Chris joined Maggie’s as a Director in 2012 and has taken a lead role for Maggie’s in the completion of some ten Centres with Steven Holl’s Barts Centre being the most recent. He is currently working on a several further Centres which are in various stages of design and construction.
The Maggie’s brief to a newly appointed architect is perhaps the most challenging there can be; the creation of a place which can inspire hope for those who have received a potentially life-changing diagnosis. The 22 centres that the organisation have now completed since Maggie Keswick Jencks first envisioned such a place, are widely recognised as important contributors to architecture. Chris will discuss briefing, management of the creative process through design and into construction, collaboration with specialists and who owns the delivery process.