Festival News.

LFA Symposium 2021: in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts


This year, the LFA symposium in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts goes digital to bring together established and emerging voices from across the globe. The symposium will have critical conversations about the responsibility of architecture and architects to create equitable and caring environments.

Care has often been overlooked in the planning of our cities, sometimes lagging miles behind economic, functional or historic considerations. The LFA and the RA will bring together original research that considers the systemic inequalities in our cities and proposes positive approaches that explore the built environment from a critical perspective. We’ll tackle issues from racial, gender and class-based inequalities to the discriminatory designs in our cities.

Drop in and join the discussion in the panels or listen to the two cutting edge keynote lectures during the event. At midday, Adrian Lahoud (Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art and curator of the first Sharjah Architecture Triennial) will explore the close connection between inequity and climate change. The session will conclude with a conversation between Akil Scafe-Smith from Resolve (interdisciplinary design collective) and Tatiana Bilbao (founder of the eponymous studio based in Mexico City) on community-based and collaborative design.



Architecture and Inequity: New Practices of Care

Thursday 10 June 2021, 2 — 8pm

Live-streamed online. Free, booking required.



Panel 1: Access for All

The first panel will take a closer look at inclusive design strategies and explore how architecture can accept difference and prioritise the experiences of differently abled individuals to the benefit of everyone.

WHERE WE CARE: Radically Accessible Wildly Engaging Third Places

Carly Dickson: architect, researcher and advocate for age-inclusive environments.
Why do we design places that isolate older people from society? And why do greater care needs lead to greater isolation? This paper investigates how we can combat isolation by creating radically accessible, wildly engaging ‘third places’ and ‘third things’ for people of all ages and abilities, where social access, physical access, and design for the mind are considered simultaneously.

No Longer Dreaming of Dropped Curbs

Jordan Whitewood-Neal: architectural researcher, designer and artist exploring disability and education through domestic space. Assistant lecturer at University of Brighton’s School of Architecture.
Dreaming of space begins in architectural education, and disability of all kinds can lead us to enriched and vivid dreams of a city which preserves the disabled body as an agent of space. This paper argues for the value of disabled students and citizens and explores these ideas through a critical study of the Architectural Association, a pedagogical and spatial microcosm for the tension between conservation and access.

Autism Friendly Design

Magda Mostafa: associate professor at the American University in Cairo and Special Needs Design Associate at Progressive Architects.
This research, commissioned by Dublin City University, involves the development of an Autism Friendly University Design Guide to provide the built environment with infrastructure to realise programmes, processes and procedures without barriers.


Panel 2: Politics of Extraction and Exploitation

The second panel brings together practitioners and researchers from across the globe to discuss the role architecture has in embedding exploitative or colonial practices and explores strategies of resistance.

Control / Delete: Against an architecture of domination and control

Alessandro Carlucci: latinx migrant, architect and mentor in the Spatial Justice Design Think Tank, at the London School of Architecture.
Deep-rooted colonialist practices are still used today by councils and landowners to displace minorities for profit under the guise of ‘revitalisation’. This paper argues that it is time to confront the role that architects play in making our cities less inclusive and investigates practices that could instead enable local communities to shape their environment.

Not just Sorry, but Thanks
Alicia ‘Poppy’ Bell: Australian-Chinese architect and founding member of MISC. Studio, an architecture collective interested in the intersection between social activity in the city and digital fabrication.
This research focuses on identifying how architecture and urban planning processes challenge or embed colonial forces within Sydney, focusing on three areas: architectural policy and accreditation, architectural education, and architectural practice on an urban and public scale.

A Call for Care
Catalina Mejía Moreno: architect, lecturer in Architectural Humanities at the University of Sheffield and editor.
The paper turns to a series of extraction infrastructure projects in Colombia to explore alternative ecologies of care. Moreno examines the strategies employed by collectives opposing forceful displacement from their territories that include centring womxn’s practices of sustenance, making kin and embodied knowledge.


Panel 3: Community Care

The final panel recognises the role of local communities in developing inclusive and caring cities. Our panellists will discuss the challenges they face and the spatial practices that can be used to empower and inspire them.

The Spatial Politics of Care in Post-Blast Beirut

Aude Azzi: architectural designer and researcher, member of the Arab Centre for Architecture and co founder of the GSAPP Collective for Beirut; Roula Salamoun: architect and designer, founder of a Beirut-based multi-disciplinary practice and co-founder of the GSAPP Collective for Beirut; Frederik Weissenborn: researcher and programme manager at the Design Council.
This paper discusses the crises that have rocked Beirut since the 2020 port explosion and considers some of the spatial practices that have emerged to address and alleviate them.

Spatial Justice. A New Model of Spatial Equity and Community Care
Estefany Oropeza (on behalf of REDD Collective/ Spatial Justice): Postgraduate student at London School of Architecture, Architectural Assistant at DSDHA and founder of REDD, a design collective tied to the LSA, working on issues of spatial and social justice.
In Hackney, grassroots organisations and informal community groups providing care have historically been spatially vulnerable. This paper highlights the civic importance of these groups in a neoliberalist society: exploring alternative versions of how community groups can support themselves and each other, acquiring space away from government control.

Remembering the Forgotten Fringes
Sohanna Srinivasan: architect and educator of Indian origin and Middle-Eastern upbringing, guest tutor at Kingston University School of Art.
Remembering the forgotten fringes focusses on our cities’ overlooked threshold spaces that lie between multiple identities and are home to often underrepresented voices. With projects and research situated in Chandigarh, Aldgate and Tottenham, each proposes an architectural intervention that celebrates the liminal and forges a new narrative through community participation and the ‘remixing’ of pluralistic identities.


Book your place here.

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