DESIGNING THE URBAN COMMONS: LESSON FROM THE FIELD

Public lecture on March 25th 2015


"With an evening of provocations and discussion, Theatrum Mundi launches Designing the Urban Commons, an ideas competition calling for new ways to stimulate the city's public and collective life. Three groups engaged in live projects in London and Paris will present their work, describing how commoning emerges through the spaces they have created or occupied and also examining the issues and opportunities presented by commons as an approach to urban design.
The competition brief, which also goes live on 25th March, will ask for existing land, architecture, or infrastructures in neighbourhoods across London to be re-imagined as common spaces, or for new urban commons to be carved out in the city or online. Commons are not static pieces of architecture. We are seeking designs through which the social act of commoning could take shape, by enabling citizens to co-produce urban resources from culture & knowledge to housing, energy or democratic processes."

Speakers

Assembly SE8 was formed out of a collective need to transform a space in limbo. The site of an old school where the group live as property guardians also became the centre for an active engagement with the idea of the 'commons'. Utilising the schools vast playground, wildlife garden and the school itself, the group opened up this once private space for the local community to explore and engage with. A whole variety of projects and people have passed through this space, each informing the context and practise of using a space with few rules and no predetermined use.

Atelier d'architecture autogérée (studio for self-managed architecture) is a collective platform which conducts explorations, actions and research concerning urban mutations and emerging cultural, social and political practices in the contemporary city. aaa acts through 'urban tactics', encouraging the participation of inhabitants at the self-management of disused urban spaces, overpassing contradictions and stereotypes by proposing nomad and reversible projects, initiating interstitial practices which explore the potential of contemporary city (in terms of population, mobility, temporality). Their current project R-URBAN in the Parisian suburb of Colombes proposes the creation of a local network of short circuits of ecological, economic, social and cultural nature. It consists of AgroCite, a civic agricultural centre, RecycLab, a platform for recycling and eco-construction, and EcoHab, a cooperative residential unit of 7 habitations currently under construction.

Public Works is a non for profit organisation working between the fields of art, architecture and design. All public works projects explore how the urban public realm can be shaped by its users and how participation and collaboration can inform a more open design process Projects span across different scales and address the relation between the informal and formal aspects of a site. They produce social, architectural and discursive spaces: outputs include socio-spatial and physical structures, public events and publications. The group is based in London and operates as a not-for-profit company. Current members are Torange Khonsari, Andreas Lang who work with an extended network of project related collaborators.

When:
18.30 – 20.00, Wednesday 25th March, 2015

Where:
Hong Kong Lecture Theatre, LSE Clement House, 99 Aldwych, WC2B 4JF

Tickets:
Free and open to all, seats allocated on a first come first served basis

Read more on Theatrum Mundi website

SPACES Conference Vienna

The artist as activist in public space


"Critical art (...) is constituted by a manifold of artistic practices aiming at giving a voice to all those who are silenced within the framework of the existing hegemony." Chantal Mouffe

public spaces as a common space for all: a new generation of artists in post soviet countries positions itself on the line of defense of public interest, inviting citizens to claim their right to the city through art interventions. 

The project SPACES assembles curators, artists, activists and researchers in Chisinau, Kiev, Tblisi and Yerevan. The discussion proceeds to looking at the positioning of artists in current proceses of protest,activism and change in a global context.

The SPACES project is funded by the European Union through the Eastern partnership cultural program

public works speaking on Panel 1 - Thursday 30th October at Kunstraum, Vienna

Radical Cities - Grassroots Perspectives

Torre David, A Pirate Utopia, Photo: Iwan Baan

Future of the City: Grassroots Perspectives

What are the dilemmas facing cities and architecture today? What makes a city of the future? How is the public realm shaped by its various users through participation and collaboration? This public event aims to address some of these questions and explore the emergence of various social consciousness movements in architecture and social design and how these relate to contemporary artistic practice.
The discussion includes case studies from Latin America amongst other examples. Speakers include Justin McGuirk author of Radical Cities alongside Andreas Lang from public works, a London-based non-for-profit art and architecture practice.
Biographies

Andreas Lang is an architect, researcher and educator. He is a co-founder of London based practice public works which operates in between the fields of art, architecture and design. Public works' projects explore how the urban public realm can be shaped by its users, through participation and co-production.

Justin McGuirk is a writer and curator and has worked as the Guardian's design columnist and editor of Icon magazine. He is also the director of Strelka Press and his writing has appeared in Observer, Times, Domus, Art Review and many other publications. In 2012 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture for an exhibition he curated with Urban-Think Tank.

Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium, Wednesday 29 October 2014, 18.30 – 20.00

Three in a row


Art Moves


public works wil be taking part in the Art Moves exhibtion on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the 20th & 21st of September 2014 

'The Art Moves exhibition will showcase the very best of mobile architecture and design as part of Open House London weekend. ... Bringing together artists from across Europe to discuss their portable practices and explore how mobile art projects have contributed to communities and regeneration schemes across the world.

A free film and talks programme will compliment the event, screening famous artists' films such as Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead which toured the United States, and a talk from internationally renowned art collective N55 from Copenhagen.'

public works will have the pleasure to represented not with one but with three of our mobile structures. The Mobile Porch, Wick on Wheels and the Abbey Gardens Honesty Stall.

In addition we will be hosting a Wick Session at the show on Saturday the 20th. Times and speakers to be confirmed shortly.

RE-APPROPRIATE LECTURE @ OLD TRUMAN BREWERY


Public works will give a talk at Re-appropriate talk on Monday night 14th July at 7pm
public works will focus the talk on one of their current projects "DIY Common"
Please join us and the discussion

TOOLS FOR EAST LONDON - HELP US RAISE FUNDS FOR A TOOL LENDING LIBRARY


TOOLS FOR EAST LONDON 
We are excited to launch our first ever crowd funding campaign to set up a Tool Lending Library in East London. Please help spread the word and donate if you can - no contribution is too small ... or big.

The tool lending library will provide easy and affordable access to a wide range of good quality tools. It builds on the local lending ethos which is already strong and helps us establish an active support network for makers in the area. The system is simple: A small monthly fee will allow members to borrow tools and have an active say in what tools will be stocked and how the library will be run. 
We have done our research which you can check out on our website. More info is also available on the Indiegogo page.

The R-Urban Wick Tool Library will be the first in London and one of the first of its kind in the UK. It will do a lot of things: 
- stock, lend and maintain tools 
- the 'tool pool' will connect makers to exchange tools and expertise directly between themselves 
- recirculate used tools which have become surplus in the construction industry 
- offer a venue to host talks and workshops around making to share skills and knowledge

We need your help to get this new and exciting facility off the ground!

WHO GIVES WILL ALSO RECEIVE - THE PERKS! 
We have a wide range of perks to reward your generousity. Perks start from your name being inscribed on the 'Supporters Wall of Fame' and/or having a tool named in your honour. Monthly or annual memberships for the tool library, a collection of public works, R-Urban Wick publication and a special series of hand made P£ANK Furniture designed and built by our team and a special tour of Hackney Wick on our Wick on Wheels Milk Float.

SOCIAL MEDIA 
Apart from donations we mainly need your help in setting up a community of like minded who want to be involved with the Tool Library. 
It would be fantastic if you could help spread the word by simply clicking the Facebook and Twitter links on our Indiegogo page.

We leave you with a picture (above) of the Berkley Tool Lending Library in California which started in a small caravan and has since grown into a successful public resource.

Wembley Civic University - Closing Weekend 28th & 29th of June 2014


Saturday the 28th of June from 11am till late
Sunday the 29th of June from 11am - 6pm

Over a four month-long period ten students from the Royal Collage of Art became architects in residence in the Wembley Triangle, investigating community-led regeneration by mobilising local knowledge and by acting as a force multiplier. Through a multilayered programme of events and collaborations the Civic University explored and initiated new types for community spaces leading towards a series of proposals to increase the capacity for community-led regeneration in the Wembley Triangle, a strategic area critical to the wider regeneration of Wembley,

The University is led by ten first year students from Architectural Design Studio 3 run by public works with Francesco Sebregondi, at the Royal College of Art. Commissioned by Brent Council the outcomes will be published through the Wembley Place Agency.

You can find the Civic University at:
Cottrell House, 53-63 Wembley Hill Road, HA9 8BU
15 minute walk away from Wembley Park (Metropolitan and Jubilee lines)
10 minute walk from Wembley Central (Overground).

Power point in a box


public works was one of the stops on a one-day cycle-tour by students, staff and alumni from the University of the Arts London:

A curated adventure into the interior of sustainable and resilient forms of creative practice. We will access studios and project spaces in East London and learn from innovative practitioners who are deploying their art and design training in meeting the challenge of climate change'

Curated by Marsha Bradfield and Claire Heafford.

I very much enjoyed experimenting with an analog power point presentation using objects and printed matter. Slighty messy but worth while refining...

Thanks also to the Yard Theatre for letting us use their stage.

 

Resilience by a Different Name - TERRA visit to Hackney Wick and Abbey Gardens


public works will be hosting the fourth TERRA meeting. A two day workshop taking place in Hackney Wick and at Abbey Gardens in Stratford.

We will be hosting app. 20 visitors from five different cultural organisations. Guests will come from Spain, Italy, France and Germany as part of TERRA, an adult learning exchange project. TERRA focusses on the exchange of informal learning practices in order to support local residents to become actively involved in making improvements to their local areas.

To find out more you can view the TERRA website here. The organisations who come to visit are: Land Kunst Leben (Germany), Abbey De Noirlac (France), Saline De Royal (France), Citema (Italy), Fundacion Santa Maria La Real (Spain).

Images above from the TERRA visit to Saline de Royal in France. (left) The Saline de Royal Heritage site. (middle) A cheese production cooperative producing the famous Compté cheese, (right) a green bridge in the Saline de Royal garden.