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This workshop explores both the pedagogy of urbanism and its recent practice in a number of large and visionary plans. However, the central thesis of the workshop is that successful urbanism is always multi-scalar, rather than focused simply on the vision contained in the grand scale. The contemporary knowledge economy is a networking and service-oriented economy, and this is bringing about significant changes in the ways that businesses and communities collaborate.
We can see how life inside buildings is changing, and we can use design to support the assembly of forward-looking actors and a broader, more sustainable stakeholder base. In this way, design can also be shown to help lower development risk, but not simply by reducing costs. Instead, design can support future value creation through collaborative practice. However, this involves understanding both why building types are successful, and how they may evolve. From this point of view, urbanists need a deep understanding of the architecture of buildings: their qualities and characteristics, how adaptable and resilient they are, whether they are efficient. But they must also understand how they can be reconceived to take full advantage of current trends toward collaborative practice. Good urbanists must be capable recognising excellent design, and this should not be confused with ostentatious form. We will discuss a range of projects which demonstrate these points, and explore how we teach urbanism in the Housing and Urbanism Programme of the Architectural Association Graduate School.
Lawrence Barth, Professor of Urbanism at the Graduate School of the Architectural Association. Beginning in 2008, Mr. Barth is coordinating a new research cluster he has developed at the school, entitled The Architecture of Innovation. This cluster integrates architectural work at the AA into the multi-disciplinary efforts to develop a dynamic urbanism for today’s knowledge economy. He has collaborated with diverse architects and landscape architects including Zaha Hadid, Future Systems, Gustafson Porter, Balmori Associates, and S333. He has also assumed the lead role in overseeing a multi-disciplinary refinement of the central district within the one-north Masterplan for a next-generation innovation environment in Singapore. He participates in an international research network on the growth of global mega-cities and the urban transformations associated with the knowledge economy. He is a member of the UK’s Academy of Urbanism.
The lecture is organized under HSE teaching excellence program.