Superurbanism is a series of conversations with the most interesting people working in the field of architecture today: architects, curators, authors, designers. Host Tim Abrahams explores both the details of their work and their bigger vision.
Laure Mériaud and Cécilia Gross came together when colleagues recommended that their practices Atelier 2/3/4 and VenhoevenCS bid to design the one new building that is being constructed for the Paris 2024 Olympics. They take our host Tim Abrahams around the Aquatic Centre in Saint-Denis, a département outside the city proper that has long suffered.
Shane De Blacam has just received the Royal Academy Prize, for his work with the late John Meagher, who he entered into practice with 1976. His greatest works include the Samuel Beckett Theatre in Dublin and Munster Technological University Cork. Before forming his practice with Meagher, de Blacam worked in London for Chamberlain, Powell and Bon and with Louis I. Khan in Philadelphia.
Together with his colleagues Christopher Watson and Stephen Witherford, William Mann is a partner at one of the most consistently brilliant architecture practices in the country; Witherford Watson Mann. Recently he took Tim on a whistle-stop tour of their latest project; an almshouse in South London, explaining how history acts as a rich source of ideas for the practice to plunder.
Will Wiles is a brilliant author of several novels and a collection of short stories called The Anechoic Chamber that will be published in August 2024. He’s also a contributor to The Machine Book of Weird, recently published by Machine Books. With Tim, he explores the relationship between architecture and literature and between the exterior world and the interior.
Machine Books recently published Play the Game by Michael Owens and Ralph Ward: a book superbly woven together from interviews of the people who brought the Olympics to East London. To celebrate this event, the authors led a very special tour of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with several of the key figures, including Eleanor Fawcett, the former Head of Design at the Olympic Delivery Authority.
Man of the moment Peter Barber takes us around his office in Kings Cross, London. Perhaps London’s most famous builder of social housing, Barber explains the close details of his craft and his repertoire of design ideas. Less commonly touched on, he also explains the bigger picture; how teaching and utopian thinking moves his practice forward.
Everbody Talks About the Weather and so do we. Still in Venice we pop into the Prada Foundation and have a tour of their summer exhibition at Ca’Corner. The exhibition curated by Dieter Roelstrate is an overview of the complex ways artists have thought about weather. Dieter takes us round and explains how art and science might work together.
In our opening episode, we visit the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 and consider how a series of crises – Covid, Black Lives Matter and global warming – inform it. We talk to the curator of the biennale, Lesley Lokko but also the president of all the biennales, the film producer Roberto Cicutto and Pritzker Prize laureate Francis Kéré.