Architecture Space and Society Centre

2021 Spring Programme

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ASSC is pleased to announce its new Spring 2021 Programme of events, with talks on postwar redevelopment, the epistemology of modern design, and the spatial control of epidemics past and present.

Form, Class & Crisis at Robin Hood Gardens – 4 March 2021

Thursday 4 March: Nicholas Thoburn (University of Manchester) considers Brutalist architecture’s class dimensions, through the experimental forms, charged voids and afterlives of east London’s Robin Hood Gardens.

Boom Cities in 1960s Britain – 11 March 2021

Thursday 11 March: Otto Saumarez Smith (University of Warwick) will discuss how, around and about the pivotal date of 1963, various political cultures informed and interacted with the widespread ambition to totally reshape British city centres.

Late Gothic, Extinction & Afterlife – 28 May 2021

Friday 28 May: Robert Bork (University of Iowa) will explore both the original fate of the late Gothic tradition, and the forces behind its curiously conflicted reception.


Birkbeck is offering a number of PhD scholarships that will aim to actively address under-representation at the highest level of research, and encourage BAME students to consider academic research in all disciplines. First offered in 2020/21, Diversity100 applications will be invited again for the following academic year entry and further details will be announced shortly.

Modernism and the New Man – 12 November 2020

Thursday 12 November 6pm: The creation of Soviet culture in the 1920s and the 1930s was the most radical of modernist projects. Tijana Vujosevic (University of British Columbia) discusses the ideological role of architecture as fiction and practice shaping the material environment, and with it, the modern self.

The Architecture Of Petro-urbanism – 19 November 2020

Thursday 19 November 2pm: With a looming ‘cold crunch’ caused by rampant growth in air-conditioning usage, Jiat-Hwee Chang (National University of Singapore) traces the 50-year history of how two Asian cities, Singapore and Doha, became reliant on mechanical cooling.

Race, Style and Ideologies of National Character – 20 November 2020

Friday 20 November 6pm: In this final talk in our Autumn 2020 programme, Charles L. Davis II will trace the racial discourses inherent in the architectural writings and buildings of five modern theorists—Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Gottfried Semper, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Lescaze.

Gothic Architecture and Sexuality – 29 October 2020

Thursday 29 October 6pm: Matthew Reeve (Queen’s University) discusses how the Gothic style offered a queer reversal of the dominant Palladian style of the C18. Centred around Walpole’s Gothic villa at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, Walpole and his ‘Strawberry Committee’ of male friends, designers and dilettantes invigorated an extraordinary new mode of Gothic design.

Graphic Anthropology – 23 October 2020

Friday 23 October 6pm: Ray Lucas (University of Manchester) will address the Japanese festival – Matsuri – and its relevance to architecture. The result of over 6 years of field visits, the aim of the work is to establish an Iterative Aesthetics; that is to say, a sensitivity to the temporality of design.

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