In Brief:

After travelling to a diverse set of locations and contexts across the globe, this team of architects and writer Owen Pritchard, examined how the image of the architect varies around the world. From Houston and Bangkok to Amsterdam and Ebbw Vale, these locations reveal a variety of approaches to urban development. Conceived within a UK context of apprehension about the future of the profession, their investigation was motivated by a desire to reaffirm qualities that are vital to the continued progress of society and to the architect’s role as an agent in the world. Two motivating factors drove their work: first, they aimed to accurately depict an image of architects within varied but specific contexts. Second, they sought to provide a platform for debate surrounding the future of the profession. The group’s findings will establish the basis for an Open Charter – a proposal for a new platform for discussion and engagement for the architectural profession to clarify, critique and act upon critical issues that determine the role of the architect.


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Why did you want to be part of Venice Takeaway?

Among the pavilions that will host exhibitions about the aspirations that architects have for the future, we saw an opportunity to initiate a discussion about the profession that included an international audience who could offer a different cultural and professional perspective.

Where did your idea come from?

Through working together on a diverse selection of projects in different constellations – in academia, media and practice – and in general conversation with peers and friends, we sensed an underlying frustration regarding the status of the architect and the future of the profession. Although a lot of research exists in this area, it is hard to see how action might be taken. The idea of an open resource which grows over time and develops as a platform that identifies the many roles that an architect must fulfil – both professionally and outside of the legal framework – could act as a catalyst for change.

How are research and exploration important to your practice?

Increasingly, the role of every professional is international. To look at the status of the architect in a world that is full of complexities and contradictions demands a consideration of differing social, economic, cultural and political contexts. We travelled to places that illustrate these stark juxtapositions to learn about the methods and modes of practice that drive urban change.



All images: Public Works


Houston/Bangkok/Ebbw Vale/Amsterdam Travel Log

Alex Warnock, Smith, Urban Projects Bureau (Architect, Academic); Torange Khonsari, public works (Designer, Artist, Academic); Andreas Lang, public works (Designer, Artist, Academic); Owen Pritchard (Writer)

London, England

Bangkok, Thailand

Houston, USA

Den Haag, Holland

Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, Wales

3rd to 11th April (Bangkok)

24th to 29th April (Houston)

11th to 15th May (Den Haag)

8th to 11th May (Ebbw Vale)

Bangkok: Out: Jet Airways Flight 9W-119 London-Mumbai & Jet Airways 9W-62 Mumbai-Bangkok; Return, Airplane, Jet Airways Flight 9W-63 Bangkok-Delhi; Jet Airways Flight 9W-122 Delhi-London;

Houston: British Airways;

Den Haag: Out: London Stansted to Amsterdam Flight 3005; Return: Amsterdam to London Stansted Flight 3006;

Ebbw Vale: Out Peugeot 106, Return BMW 1 series

Cameras: various; Video Cameras, Dictaphone, Sketchbooks, Specimen pouches / envelopes; Folders; Notepads; Laptop; Dutch rented bicycle, pen & paper.

Bangkok: Central World Offices / Shopping Centre, Klong Toey Community Lantern, Siam Square, Nakornkasem, Embassy Shopping Centre construction site, Old Min Buri Village, Bangkok Design Festival

Houston: Project Row Houses

Den Haag: Binkhorst, Fab Lab Truck, Weesp

Ebbw Vale: Works Office, Community First, High Street, Festival Park, Blaenau Gwent Department of Education, Environmental Resource Centre, The Hot Mills School, Community Garden, The Regain Building 

Bangkok: Chanat Uahwatanasakul, Mr Chatree, Mr Suwit, Ms Kridsana, Mr Pichai, Central Pattana Public Company Limited (CPN); Nithi Sthapitanonda, Pichai Wongwaisayawan, A49 Architects; children from squatter settlement, Klong Toey Community Lantern; Tajchavit Sibunruang; Pattama Roonrakwit, Founder, CASE Studio; Rachaporn Choochuey, All Zone Design; Mr Theeraphon Niyom, Regarding Plan Architects; Duangrit Bunnag, Architect; Pattama Roonrakwit, resident and architect, 10 House

Houston: Cheryl Parker, Michael Peranteau, Hamdiya Ali, Assata Richards, Mr Jessie, Tracia, John Pluecker, Project Row Houses; Tracy Bremer & Lonnie Hoogeboom, Houston Downtown Management District; Ned Dodington & Geoff Smith, Caroline Collective; Douglas Oliver, Morris Architects; Sean Billy Kizy, graduate, Rice University

Den Haag: Coen Verhaegh, partner, Geelkerken Linskens Advocaten; Niels de Vries Humel, Director, De Mannen van Schuim; Arno van Roosmalen & Francien van Westrenen, Stroom; Erik Pasveer, Urbanism Municipality of the Hague; Jan Korbes and Denis Oudendijk,; Ekim Tan, founder, play the city; Sabrina Lindemann, Optrek mobile projects bureau; Hans Venhuizen, Den Haag Art Academy; Sjoerd Feenstra, Urhan Urban Design; Corine Keus,

Ebbw Vale: Jim Allen, Authority Architect; Lousie Roberts, Community First; Nazia Akthar, PR; Keith Pritchard, Sweetshop Owner; Phil, Shop Owner; Stefhan Caddick, Artist; Phil Russ & Lianne Henshaw, Architects


Find out more:

Public Works, Urban Projects Bureau & Owen Pritchard:

Recommended Reading:
Spatial Agency: Other Ways of Doing Architecture by Nishat Awan, Tatjana Schneider, Jeremy Till

In Context: