With an over-commercialised private market and a confused public sector, the architecture client of the 21st century hardly leaves much room for decision-making by the architect, restricting her to standard interventions with minimum budget at best. This discussion will reimagine the traditional client-architect relationship as well as investment-led urbanisation, investigating ways to include a wider range of stakeholders in building projects with greater diversity of users.
A conversation between Peter Swinnen (CRIT), Maarten Gielen (Rotor), Yeoryia Manolopoulou (Prof. Bartlett School of Architecture UCL, AY Architects), Giles Smith (Assemble).
The discussion on Rethinking Clients is part of the Critical Practice series, which brings together leading European architectural practitioners that through their projects and attitudes challenge the conventions of contemporary practice, to examine and rethink relationships between the profession and the network of actors and conditions surrounding it. The series is organised and chaired by AA Diploma students Love Di Marco, Tobias Hentzer Dausgaard and AA Part 1 graduate Arya Arabshahi.
Peter Swinnen works on the convergence of space production and political policy. In 1998 he co-founded 51N4E Space Producers. Between 2010 and 2015 Swinnen enrolled as Flemish State Architect, a public mandate empowering architecture as a policy-making discipline. Since 2015 he practices and researches architectural policy whispering at CRIT.
Maarten Gielen is one of the founding members of Rotor (Brussels), and unit master of Diploma Unit 18 at the AA. Rotor curated the 2013 Oslo Architecture Triennale, Behind the Green Door, the OMA/ Progress at the Barbican, London, as well as Usus/Usures, the Belgian pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2010). In 2012, Rotor developed an online inventory of salvaged building materials around Brussels: Opalis.
Prof. Yeoryia Manolopoulou is a founding Partner of AY Architects and Professor of Architecture and Experimental Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Projects include House of Flags on Parliament Square (Olympics 2012); Montpelier Community Nursery (RIBA National Award, Stephen Lawrence Prize 2013); Dartmouth Park House (RIBA Award 2018); the Irish Pavilion co-authored for the 2016 Venice Biennale; and Architectures of Chance (Routledge 2013).
Giles Smith is a founding member of the architecture and art collective Assemble, where he has been working on projects at a range of scales in Venice, Liverpool and London with clients including the University of the Arts London and Goldsmiths. Giles teaches Intermediate 7 at the AA, and has previously taught at the London School of Architecture, and University of Westminster.