Initiative & Institution Symposium

Friday, 07.03.08, 11.00

trigger talks and discussion:
jens brandt (supertanker)
maurice mitchell & annika grafweg
chair: jeremy till

Listen to the mp3 here: Initiative & Institution – Symposium – Exercise – 07.03.08


Kalyanpuri Settlement Plan - Maurce Mitchell & Annika Grafweg


Maurice Mitchell

Maurice Mitchell is Reader in the Department of Architecture and
Spatial Design at London Metropolitan University where he runs a Diploma Studio. He has also taught at the Architectural Association, Oxford Brookes University and the Development Planning Unit, University College London. He combines working as a partner in Dwyer Mitchell Architects with academic work. His area of interest lies in the narrative interplay between technical and everyday cultural factors in the production and sustainability of the built environment, particularly in situations of rapid change and scarce resources where new identities are forged in the process of remaking.

Educated at the Architectural Association, his early career included extended periods of work in the shanty towns of Ghana and as Regional Building Materials Advisor to the Southern Regional Government of Sudan. His first book Culture, Cash and Housing (1992) explores the lessons learned from the experience of Voluntary Service Overseas in the field of building for development. He has been involved with and published on typhoon resistant construction in Vietnam.

Ideas relating the building process to education are explored in his second book The Lemonade Stand: Exploring the unfamiliar by building large scale models (1998) which highlights the importance of the culture of making within architectural education by drawing on the exploratory work produced during hands on courses which he has run over many years at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales.

His Diploma studio undertakes an annual field trip in which students engage proactively with a local situation devising imaginative responses to specific cultural and technical issues. Work undertaken by the studio in Kosovo is recorded and discussed in his third book Rebuilding Community in Kosovo (2003). For the last six years the studio’s focus has centred on design for situations of rapid change and scarce resources in India (Gujarat 2002, Meerut 2003, Delhi 2004, 2005, 2007 and Agra 2006). He is Course Leader for the MA Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources and guest editor of a special edition (forthcoming June 2008) of the international journal Open House International on the subject: Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources.

Other recent publications include:
2005, ‘The school’s we’d like: young people’s participation in architecture’ with Ben Koralek in Dudek, M. (ed.) Children’s Spaces Elsevier/Architectural Press.


Annika Grafweg, IF [ untitled ] Architects

IF [ untitled ] Architects is a London and Athens based studio established in 2003.

We aspire towards creating a working method in which collaborations with other people are central. We set-up participatory design methods at different stages in each project allowing the project to grow and evolve in unpredictable dimensions. To aid the design development we employ contextual “tools of engagement” which are project specific and actively engage our clients and users; seeking their contributions and expertise. These tools take different shapes according to the nature and ambition of the project and their appropriateness is determined by that specific situation – people, site, history, emotional context and politics; In the house design in London it was a postcard, In the school and village design in India it was a series of workshops, in the factories conversions in Athens it is a website and a film engaging people’s minds.

As a practice we are engaged and interested in the process and method in which a ”sense of place” is created – how a space is formed, how it adapts and how it lives on and evolves. We try to expand our scope of engagement outside the traditional remit of an architect as we believe that the construction of the building is only a part of architectural practice.

(Click here, or on image to download Kalyanpuri Settlement plan as a .pdf)

Categories : /presentation, archive, contributions, symposium