Blueprint for the future Exhibition

Hello all,

My work was recently featured as part of the Blueprint for the Future Exhibition in Clerkenwell. My work received an honourable mention and can be pictured here along with some of the submitted imagery.

 
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Citizen Magazine launch

Hello all,

For the closing party at the London School of Architecture, the university is also launching a new publication, Citizen magazine. Meant to broaden the reach of the school and in turn help the school to strengthen its central thinking around the importance of cities, Citizen features a sample of work from our year including some of my own shown below.

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-ism magazine launched!

Hi everyone,

I just recently received my copy of the very first -ism magazine! I was invited to write a piece by their Glasgow based team as their magazine seeks to begin a new dialogue that can disrupt and allow us to question the educational paradigm we find ourselves in. Below are some images of the publication with the piece I submitted, enjoy!

 
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Re-defining Sustainability

I have had endless conversations — both in practice and education — which reveal an uneasy relationship between architecture and power. Many on both sides of the fence are of the opinion that the architect’s role has been compartmentalised. We have watched the evolution of our role from the back-seat, as technological, financial and political changes have all fundamentally altered how we work. The protected title of ‘professional’ has turned from a symbol of wider obligation to society into a protectionist ploy to rationalise the continuing high fees we charge for our work. This has allowed the architect to become just another professional in a stagnant pool of professionals-turned-competitors, fighting for a bigger piece of the pie.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the realm of sustainability, an area where we most owe our expertise to society. Despite the dire state of sustainability in our built environment, the architectural profession continues to measure success on ‘rubber stamp’ indicators designed as marketing ploys to ‘clients with a conscience’. Systems such as BREAAM in the UK and LEED in the US are exercises in creating a strand of architecture that — through the use of as many plug-in systems as possible — concocts an architectural collage of the banal.

The conversation has stalled and will continue to move backward as the profession becomes increasingly complacent with how we measure sustainability. The metrics we use to determine what is sustainable are identical to when they were initially conceived, and this needs to change. In order to deal with the plethora of new challenges our built environment faces we have to diversify our modes of thinking to make a more sustainable future possible.
 
In order to make this change, architects need to think across disciplines and become more proactive in understanding the economic drivers at play. While we are very interested in the face value of each project, less consideration is given to the financial paradigm we operate in and the metrics involved. Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist aims to reframe the way we think about economics, proposing a new set of metrics to which we as architects shouldn’t ignore.

 
 
 
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In Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth reminds us that codifying of ‘economic growth’ as a metric did not intend it to map directly to gains in citizen well-being. In fact, economics in the 20th century was a science of human behaviour derived from a deeply flawed portrait of humanity. The dominant model of the “rational economic man” was seen to be self-interested, isolated, and calculating — which possibly says more about the nature of economists than it does about most humans. Economics in this era had “lost the desire to articulate its goals” which allowed the discipline to be captured by a proxy goal: endless growth. Instead, Raworth argues that the real aim of economic activity should be “meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet.” She asserts that, rather than pushing economies to grow for the sake of growth, we need economies that “make us thrive, whether or not they grow”.
 
Thus, Raworth begins by redrawing the economy. She embeds within it the Earth’s systems we currently take for granted and replants the model in society which it has long ignored. In demonstrating how the world depends on the flow of materials and energy she reminds us that we are more than just workers, consumers and owners of capital. By recognising and addressing inconvenient realities, Raworth discovers a breakthrough: a graphic representation of the world we, as architects and citizens, want to create.

The diagram consists of two rings. The inner ring of the doughnut represents a sufficiency of the resources we need to lead a good life: food, clean water, housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, democracy. Anyone living within that ring, in the hole in the middle of the doughnut, is in a state of deprivation. The outer ring of the doughnut consists of the Earth’s environmental limits, beyond which we inflict dangerous levels of climate change, ozone depletion, water pollution, loss of species and other assaults on our unique world. The area between the two rings — the doughnut itself — is the “ecologically safe and socially just space” in which humanity should strive to live. The purpose of economics should be to help us enter that space and stay there.

 
 
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As well as describing a better world, this model allows us to see, in immediate and comprehensible terms, the state in which we now find ourselves. For myself, that state is difficult to reckon with. In the year 2016/17, the UK recycled less waste than in 2013. A prime example of a system that has remained unchanged since its conception, recycling our waste has become a cumbersome, dinosaur of our time. This is partly due to wastes image problem, and our need to build office/residential mixes in every conceivable portion of land. Over the last 50 years industrial land has seen a dramatic displacement to the outer periphery of our cities. As they claim larger portions of our countryside, the activity industrial spaces bring to a city ceases to exist. Through intensive research at the London School of Architecture, my work has looked to find ways in which we can both retain industry in our cities and subvert how we recycle. This has found a manifestation in a new form of recycling infrastructure, a super-tall, super-slim recycling tower. In London where economy is king, this building leverages a small footprint to provide all the necessary recycling facilities needed to deal with waste on an industrial scale through its super-tall envelope. Standing as a new civic icon for a city that wants to recycle and be seen doing so, placing a facility like this forces us to reckon with the waste we produce on a monumental scale. We can reframe the systems of production and recycling to infinitum, but now is the time to provoke new conversations and progress the conversation about what sustainability is and who it is truly for.

Billions of people still live in the hole in the middle of Raworth’s doughnut whilst many others have simultaneously breached the outer boundary. Therefore, it is important for both students and professionals to start questioning the basis from which we build to evolve this conversation. We must stop accepting the methods of the past in the assessment of our futures. We must create relevant metrics for designing sustainably. We must stop add-on sustainable architecture in pop colours. We must stop praising billion pound ‘sustainable’ projects and we must press for a new way of building that keeps us in the nice fluffy centre of the doughnut instead of falling off the edge.

 
 
 
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-ism magazine sneak peak!

Hello all,

The launch of -ism magazine is fast approaching, here’s a snippet posted by the team at -ism on their Instagram. Give them a follow!

 
 
 
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Diaspora Launch

Hello all,

Having recovered from a crazy weekend that began with travelling up to Glasgow for the opening of Archifringe and Scotportfolio’s exhibition, I’m pleased to share with you all some images from the night. We received an accompanying publication with all of the participants work and I would also like to share this with yo

 
 
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Copy, Paste, Higher!

In recent years tall buildings and the property there-in have become safe deposit boxes in the sky for the rich. Once seen as a way to produce quality mass housing we now build tall for the very select few. 76 tall buildings are set to be completed in London this year.

Tall buildings have become something more ignorant, more repetitious, and more impregnable than in the past. If we are to continue to live in cities, we need new architectures that allow us to live more fulfilled and sustainable lives. With this goal in mind is it important to define why we build tall and consider whom do tall buildings benefit, and who should they benefit?

 
 
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This drawing forms part of the process work for my thesis project at The London School of Architecture, a new school of architecture that I joined after completing my studies at the Edinburgh College of Art.

 Furthest left is an elevation that considers Nicholas Hawksmoor’s London Churches through a process of copying, pushing and pulling, in order to create a hyper-vertical tower. The re-appropriation of form creates something alien to the typical contemporary vertical language represented in the centre of the image.

 Right, the final tower questions the need for tall buildings at all. It proposes a simple framework comprised of notional floors. There are no walls, no windows, no lifts. The sole purpose is to accommodate a new form of recycling facility for London inhabited only by machines. The vertical system is designed to consolidate the city’s waste; putting the process on display and redistributing the recycled goods to a city hiding from the waste it creates.

 The image documents the design process of a new generation. This holistic approach considers histories, systems and ethics as well as form, moving on from the blinkered methodologies of the past.

 
 
 
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Hereafter : LSA Summer Show 2019 Announced

Hello all,

We have just announced our final year show as we come to the end of our studies at the London School of Architecture.

The 2019 Summer Show introduces our third cohort of graduating students and describes their proposals for architecture to make new connections between people, ideas and places.

Exploring the London Borough of Southwark, somewhere with some of the starkest physical and social contrasts, students have interrogated who shapes the city and what is the role of the architect in this process — a line of questioning evidenced in their proposals.

Today as the city looks for new opportunities to grow and develop, these talented emerging architects illustrate ideas for reinventing many of the buildings along its route through the form of models, prototypes, drawings and manifestos.

The title, ‘Hereafter’, reflects the ambition of this year’s graduating cohort. Presenting a beginning rather than an end, the projects are seen as the start of a career, asking pressing questions of contemporary London. This is just the start.

 
 
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-ism magazine

 
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Hello all,

I have just received news that I will be having a piece published in -ism magazine, a new bi-annual architecture publication looking to confront, dissect, and examine its nature in current culture. Watch this space for more soon!

If you are in Glasgow and able to pop to the launch here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1149612351829110/

Diaspora by Scotportfolio

 
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Hello all,

I am pleased to announce that I will be exhibiting work from my thesis project at this years Archifringe in Scotland as part of an exhibition curated by Scotportfolio called Diaspora. Please see details below:

An exhibition of drawings by migrants to Scottish Architecture Schools

Georgette McKinlay & David Byrne

Exhibition
SAT - SUN 08 - 23 June 2019
MON - SAT 10.30am - 5pm / SUN 12pm - 5pm

The Lighthouse
11 Mitchell Lane
Glasgow G1 3NU

FREE

Fully accessible / Children welcome

ScotPortfolio was conceived in 2015. It is an online platform and digital archive that celebrates and showcases the amazing ideas, drawings and projects emerging from the five Scottish architecture schools.

Our exhibition at this year’s Architecture Fringe highlights the reality that is Scotland's diaspora of talented graduates. We believe that, through it's great tradition of education Scotland has a very rich yet dispersed culture of architecture, which is yet to be fully discovered. The drawings on display explore how each exhibitor's time in such a culturally rich country has impacted their career.

Using drawing as a critical exercise, we hope to ignite a discourse surrounding identity and cultivation, questioning whether Scotland has the support to nurture a progressive culture of architecture. Why do so many students want to leave when they graduate, what do they take with them and what can they bring back?

Exhibiting participants:

Kate Macintosh , Will Guthrie, Stephanie McDonald, Holmes Millar, Andrew Mackintosh, Sean + Stephen, Denizen works, Allies and Morrison, Wright & Wright, Chris Dove of jamiefobertarchitects.com , Sam Jacob, Westport & Co., Matthew Whittaker and Camilla Parsons , Ben Allen , Fraser Momo, Thom Brisco, Barry Wark, Hugh Broughton, Aidan Conway, Farshid Moussavi , Cameron Mc Ewan

Out of Practice: Towards new theory at the LSA by James Soane

Hello all,

James Soane delivered a talk at the Learning through Practice, AAE 2019 conference in April 2019. Outlining the need for new ways of learning, he talked about both the work of my peers and mentioned my manifesto that seeks to understand the impacts of technology on the environment.

For the full paper drop me an email, otherwise here are some excerpts below.


Abstract

The 2018 Architect’s Journal review of the LSA student written work, presented at the end of year show, was direct in its critique of subject matter suggesting it made for depressing reading. So what should post-graduate students be reflecting upon if not the state of society in relation to the built environment? In considering the role of theory in architecture, the LSA makes a case for the conversation and study to move beyond the formal or philosophical concerns that have pre-occupied the discourse for so long, and instead seek to interrogate the levers of power in order to understand the wider agency of the architect.

This paper reflects on the school’s ethical agenda and asks questions on the importance of societal and political theories that inform the teaching practice. From engaging with catastrophic climate change to the failure of government to tackle infrastructure and housing, the LSA encourages students to challenge and re-imagine practise. Too often the concerns of practice are seen academically as ‘real world’ as opposed to experimental or defiant but which Jacques Attali labels as distractions. In an increasingly connected but hyper-separated global environment we find that the purpose of architecture has morphed into the appreciation of an asset, which in turn has shaped the physical environment. The cost of this approach to those not inside the virtuous circle of investment and return, is an erosion of community, an increase in living costs and the degradation of the environment. We therefore see the act of constructing a relevant written argument, subverted into the form of a personal manifesto, becomes a space to build a call for arms; to construct an alternative world order; to imagine a kinder society. No longer is the debate about style, rather about action. It seems that when it comes to the big questions, education is out of practice.

“The problem is one of adaptation, in which the realities of our life are in question.”

Le Corbusier, Vers Une Architecture, 1927

This paper is a reflection on the critical approach to theory adopted by the LSA and directly references the written work of the 2017/18 student cohort. The intention is both to validate their status as practitioners and to offer an alternative curriculum.

All the values have been revised

It is no longer possible to discuss the concept of space without considering its value, ownership and status. Yet, as Alice Hardy notes, the commodification of space has led to a lack of collective participation and communal enjoyment. She is optimistic that provocations are being made through digital activism, tapping into the ability to process big data in order to empower local citizens as well as designers. Underlying this approach is a belief in a more representative democratic system that values societal integration in order to make cities inclusive and accessible to all. There is a move from the power of the individual to the power of the crowd. Our relationship with technology is a further concern; the virtual space many inhabit also has its own architecture, power structures and politics. The internet of things has embedded itself into the fabric of our lives; harvesting our data and controlling our information channels contributing to societal atomisation and creating a disconnect from the physical environment. Fraser Morrison concludes that if everything is seamless and streamlined, there is no room to pause; and that a disconnected world is a way of reclaiming territory, time and space. When Jane Jacobs wrote that cities can provide for all citizens only when they are created by everybody, she opened up a discourse that discredited top down thinking characterised by the master plan and private development. The act of commoning, has come to represent a framework for co-creation and communal action. Pointing to the importance of ‘mingling’ in public space, Maxim Sass argues that core values are shaped by surroundings and encounters. The market is not equivalent to a client who represents an inclusive public. Collective decision-making protects the interests of the many and leads to a new public place-making mode of practice.

There exists a new spirit

“The reasons why students decide to study architecture are many and varied, but there is often an underlying desire to contribute to the notion of common good”

The impact of these conversations on the education of an architect is to provide a framework that sees architecture as part of a system that is transformative. As activist George Monbiot argues, discredited narratives cannot be discarded, they need to be replaced with a new narrative.21 The students on this programme have begun to exchange ideas, to critically question their trajectories and to tell a new story. They have thoughts about what they believe to be important and have engaged in ethical discussions prompted by the ecological crisis.





 

Idencity - Six Design Proposals for the Future

 

Morning all, 

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The Roca Gallery recently hosted an exhibition of student work from the first year of London School of Architecture. Our Design Think Tank, Emerging Tools created a large cast model of a section of our proposal alongside drawings and projections. This was an amazing experience, making a model that had to be at gallery standard and we learned a lot about how to manage a making process in such a tight time frame. Below are some photos of our model for our proposal, The Civic Station. Thanks,

Fraser

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New Piece on Medium

 

Morning all,

Fourth-Industrial-Revolution

I recently wrote a piece on Medium about how new digital infrastructures will change our built environment and in what way we can actually create new, meaningful architecture. Please find the post here and as always comment, like, etc. Thanks,

Fraser 

 

Interview for the launch of the Architecture Student Blog

 

Morning all,

Civic Station Axo

I was recently approached by the Architecture Student Blog about the launch of their new website championing British student work. As part of the launching content for the site, work produced by my peers and I was featured, followed by a discussion with myself and the founder of ASB. Find it here to read all about our project plus my thoughts on digital representation. Thanks,

Fraser