Liveness 2020

‘Live’ Projects as ‘Life’ Projects: Empowerment Through Proposals

Liveness 2020 (Archive)

Given recent events triggered by the George Floyd publicity and reverberating around the world; this curriculum developed by The Bartlett and The Institute of Education at UCL on ‘Race’ and Space, published in January 2020 was pro-active: [1]

The curriculum ‘responds to a need for greater understanding of 'race' and where and how it affects the built environment, and a demand for practical sources of support for teachers and learners.’ As Tutors we have the same responsibilities to our students that as architects, we have to our Clients. These Clients are both named and un-named; we are agents for those Clients, and have a duty of care towards them.

The article that proposes a cross disciplinary curriculum on ‘Race’ and Space is both auspicious and reflective; its consideration of both literary academic and more popular cinematic moments provides me with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of ‘live’ projects for students. The nature of those opportunities to reflect their ‘life’ projects, and the ability of those projects to celebrate diversity and engender empowerment.

I’ve experienced projects where students work with live clients to propose astounding solutions to briefs; where those solutions benefit both the Client and the Student through manifestations and expressions on both parties’ behalf. This often happens through careful mutual consultation and consideration, which then provides powerful design solutions that empower both the Client, the Student, and also the ‘project’.

Race and Space rightly suggests a more diverse presentation of space; where students use their personal experience to engage with real clients and real communities to consider real conundrums. This inspires humanely powerful responses to the consideration of ‘race’ in the context of ‘place’ in our worlds. I look forward to more opportunities for the richly diverse London Met student body, where they will engage with projects in the context of their richly diverse experiences.

[1] Zewolde, S., Walls A., Sengupta, T., Ortiz, C., Beebeejaun, Y., Burridge, G. and K. Patel (2020), ‘Race’ and Space: What is ‘race’ doing in a nice field like the built environment? London: The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment