Studio Voltaire x The Architecture Foundation talks

William Scott: Praise Frisco

The Cultural Meaning of the City and The World and the City 

With Shawn Adams (PoOR Collective); Michael Maltzan (Michael Maltzan Architecture); David Ogunmuyiwa (Architecture Doing Place); and Akil and Seth Scafe–Smith (RESOLVE Collective).

Chaired by Nana Biamah-Ofosu (Studio NYALI)

Studio Voltaire and The Architecture Foundation present a series of talks which take the work of artist William Scott as a starting point to discuss wider concerns in architecture, including the role of biography and cultural memory in citymaking, and the relationships between power, policy and place making.

Taking place as part of the public programmes for Studio Voltaire’s survey exhibition of artist William Scott, these talks specifically address the artist’s extensive, ongoing urban planning project, Praise Frisco. In this work, Scott envisions that San Francisco will be ‘cancelled’ and replaced by a revived, utopian city modelled after his meticulous and detailed plans, imagining a radiant, artistically franchised city that combines references to resorts such as Disneyland with Baptist–sermon ideals. His project is ambitious, radical and optimistic: it involves nothing less than the rebirth of an entire city. Scott often refers to himself as an architect or scientist rather than an artist, and much of his practice centres on the belief that better lives can, in part, be achieved by reimagining the built environment.

Part 1: The Cultural Meaning of the City

The Cultural Meaning of the City brings together three London–based practitioners, Akil and Seth Scafe–Smith, co–founders of RESOLVE Collective, and Shawn Adams, a writer, lecturer and architectural designer who co–founded PoOr (POWER OUT OF RESTRICTION) Collective. Through a close reading of Scott’s architectural works, the discussion touches on urbanism, community engagement, and the stories and memories which are embedded in our cities. 

Part 2: The World and the City 

The World and the City brings together architects from the West Coast and the UK. David Ogunmuyiwa, founder of ‘Architecture Doing Place’, is unique in the UK having worked as a housing officer for social landlords including the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, and Tower Hamlets before retraining as an architect. Michael Maltzan’s projects cross a wide range of typologies, from cultural institutions to city infrastructure, and include the Star Apartments for the Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles, providing permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals.

  1. Shawn Adams is a writer, lecturer and architectural designer. Previously, a New Architecture Writer, He has written for Wallpaper*, FRAME, The Architects' Journal, ICON, and VICE.

    Adams is an advocate for diversity and inclusion within the architecture industry and was named as one of the RIBAJ Rising Stars. He is also the co-founder of the PoOr collective or POWER OUT OF RESTRICTION collective, a social enterprise that focuses on the development of communities through the elevation of young people.

    Currently teaching at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London, Adams believes that architecture can be used as a tool to develop stronger communities. An alumnus of Blueprint For All previously known as the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, Adams is also a Trustee of the Museum of Architecture and sits on the Advisory Board of Open City's Accelerate Programme.

  2. Akil and Seth Scafe–Smith are co–founders of RESOLVE, an interdisciplinary design collective that combines architecture, engineering, technology and art to address social challenges. They have delivered numerous projects, workshops, publications, and talks in the UK and across Europe, all of which look toward realising just and equitable visions of change in our built environment.

    Much of their work aims to provide platforms for the production of new knowledge and ideas, whilst collaborating and organising to help build resilience in communities. An integral part of this way of working means designing with and for young people and under-represented groups in society.

  3. Michael Maltzan founded Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. in 1995. His notable projects include the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, MoMA QNS, Star Apartments, the Pittman Dowell Residence, the new Sixth Street Viaduct, MIT Vassar Street Residential Hall, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery Inuit Art Centre.

    Maltzan received an M.Arch from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and BFA and B.Arch degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and received the 2016 AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal. He is a recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award and was elected to the National Academy of Design in 2020. He currently serves on the Deans leadership council at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Visiting Committee to the GSD. He was featured in the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s 2019 film, What It Takes to Make a Home, delivered the 20th Annual John T. Dunlop Lecture for the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, and his work was named One of the 25 Best Inventions of 2015 by Time Magazine.

    Maltzan’s work has gained international acclaim for innovation in both design and construction. It has been recognized with five Progressive Architecture awards, 43 citations from local, state and national chapters of the American Institute of Architects, the Rudy Bruner Foundation’s Gold Medal for Urban Excellence, the Zumtobel Group Award for Innovations for Sustainability & Humanity in the Built Environment, and a 2020 Best of the Millennium AIA LA Honor Award. The firm and its projects have been widely featured in national and international publications and have been exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art New York, the Heinz Architectural Center, the Canadian Center for Architecture, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. The firm’s work was selected for the 2006, 2018, and 2020 La Biennale di Venezia.

  4. David Ogunmuyiwa is founder of ‘Architecture Doing Place’, an architecture and urban design practice, who aim to produce beautiful buildings and spatial interventions from an immersion in the arts and contemporary architecture. The practice specialises in the arts, housing, and urban design and were recently named an Architect’s Journal ‘AJ100: Disruptor’ Practice and included in ‘New Architects 4’, the Architecture Foundation’s showcase of the best emerging practitioners operating in the UK.

    Ogunmuyiwa has combined practice with teaching architecture to MArch level at a number of universities. He mentors widely including for the Royal College of Art practice mentors programme, Public Practice, as well as London School of Architecture students.

    Ogunmuyiwa holds a number of advisory roles including as a Mayor’s Design Advocate for London, and is an advisory board member of New Architectural Writers, supporting diverse new critics, writers and voices into architecture and design commentary. He is a board trustee of the Architecture Foundation and has been a curatorial board member for the
    London Festival of Architecture.

    He has practiced architecture in the UK and the Middle East and is a confirmed urbanist.

  5. Nana Biamah-Ofosu is a qualified architect, educator, researcher and writer. She is a co-founder of Studio NYALI, an architecture, design and research practice based in London. As an educator, she has taught and lectured widely in the UK and abroad. Nana is particularly drawn to the complexities of the modern African city and the relationship between the individual artefact, primarily the house, and its connections to the collective, the fabric and structure of the city. She is currently researching the African compound house as a communal housing typology with a Graham Foundation supported publication titled The Course of Empire: A Compound House Typology, to be published in 2023. As a writer and critic, she has contributed to leading architecture and design journals and publications, engaging with leading practitioners in contemporary practice.

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