Ravensbourne sits down for coffee with some of the world’s top architects

Architecture Tuesday Coffee Talks posters

Article by: David Millett

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Here at Ravensbourne, students on our architecture courses have access to some of the most exceptional names in the industry through our weekly ‘TUESDAY coffee talks’ series, in which guests from around the world join us to share valuable insights into their work, all over a cup of coffee.

Launched this year, the ‘TUESDAY coffee talks’ series spotlights practitioners across many creative disciplines relating to architecture, such as spatial design, photography, landscape intervention or social activism.

The talks are open to students from across the whole university, particularly those on our BA (Hons) Architecture, BA (Hons) Interior Design Environment Architectures and BA (Hons) Urban Landscape Architecture courses.

From Zaha Hadid Architects to ab(Normal), here’s a rundown of who has dropped by (over Zoom) for a brew so far.

Architecture Tuesday Coffee Talks posters

Resolve Collective
Our opening talk was with Akil Scafe-Smith and Seth Scafe-Smith of RESOLVE Collective, who gave a refreshing and inspirational presentation to students on how to move away from individualism and be more inclusive. They shared how they are activating space for people within urban areas and creating solutions to complicated problems, such as physical space limitations or responding to particular contextual parameters.

BothAnd Group
The following week, Alice Clarke and Andrew Ó’Murchú from BothAnd Group presented their installation ‘Through Thinning Landscapes’, which aims to draw attention to the loss of richness of life in the Irish landscape. The project won a competition for a community-led design project in Loughrea as part of Galway 2020 by the IAF Reimagine Loughrea programme. The group’s primary motivation within its research and spatial design practices is to understand the behaviour of living systems, and design a more equal environment for all forms of life.

During the third week of January, Davide Masserini and Luigi Savio from ab(Normal) joined us to talk about their journey as young architects working for one of the most in-demand architecture firms in the world, OMA. While doing this, they launched ab(Normal), a creative agency that works across disciplines in areas such as design, architecture, scenography and graphic design. They have contributed to various cultural events related to design and architecture, including the Oslo Triennale, the Ljubljana Biennial, The Swiss Architecture Museum, the Triennale of Milan and the Haus der Architektur in Graz, Austria.

Architecture Tuesday Coffee Talks posters

Ema Peter and Kim Smith
In week four, we welcomed photographers Ema Peter and Kim Smith, who joined us from Canada and the US to talk about their exciting work in architecture photography. Their images have been featured in many international publications, including Architectural Digest, Objekt International, Dwell, Wired, New York Times and others. They also shared their accounts of making an impact in a profession that has been predominantly led by men. Their talk also explored social media and entrepreneurship.

Joining us in week five were Déborah López and Hadin Charbel, who form PAREID, an interdisciplinary and research studio based between the UK and Spain, after previously being based in Thailand. Their work addresses topics relating to climate, ecology and human perception. They showed us how to use architecture as an act of awareness and empowerment. Their major project, ‘Follicle’, assesses the toxicity contained in human hair samples to demonstrate the effect our living environment can have on the body.

They will also be part of the Spanish Pavilion in the next Venice Biennale in 2021, where two of our tutors, Erar Savvides and Nasios Varnavas, are also participating as co-curators for the Cyprus National Pavilion.

Zaha Hadid Architects
In week six, we were joined by Eider Fernández, a senior associate architect from Zaha Hadid Architects, who presented their latest projects in Dubai and Moscow, Opus Tower and Sberbank Technopark. Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) was a British Iraqi architect who is widely considered to be one of the most influential figures in contemporary architecture.

Sou Fujimoto Architects
One week later, we welcomed Roberto Sanz from Sou Fujimoto Architects, who discussed the group’s latest project in Budapest, the ‘House of Hungarian Music’. Sou Fujimoto is one of Japans foremost architects, known for taking inspiration from nature and forest formations in his work.

We would like to thank our Architecture programme director, Alberto Villanueva, for organising such a rich and varied programme of speakers. With events like these and more, our students can enjoy the very best in diverse, experienced guests, while learning to develop a more complete understanding of the wider industry.