Urbanistas: women innovators in architecture, urban and landscape design, showcases the ideas of some of the finest women practitioners based in, or working in, the UK today. Each is a role model for their peers and those entering the profession, showing incredible ingenuity and resourcefulness as they tackle societal needs through their designs for urban living.
The five exhibitors are Irena Bauman, co-founder of Bauman Lyons Architects, Leeds; Alison Brooks, founder, Alison Brooks Architects, London; Alessandra Cianchetta, co-founder of AWP, Paris; Liza Fior and Katherine Clarke, co-founders of Muf Architecture + Art, London; and Johanna Gibbons, co-founder, J&L Gibbons, London. With projects completed and ongoing for sustainable urban and suburban mixed-use developments, a variety of housing types (including live-work), landscape architecture and masterplanning frameworks, the Urbanistas represent the highest standards of cohesive design.
The exhibition complements Roca’s focus on creativity and sustainability, manifest both in its long commitment to working with the world’s leading architects – from Herzog & de Meuron and Zaha Hadid to Rafael and Belen Moneo and David Chipperfield – and in its environmental policies. Roca London Gallery Manager Eva Woode explains the relevance of Urbanistas to the company’s sustainability agenda: “We wanted to highlight the contribution that women are making to urban design, through sustainable and livable examples, because we believe that cities should be developed by city users – and that emphatically means both genders. As an extension of this, we are founder sponsors of the AJ Women in Architecture Awards, which celebrate excellence in design and thought leadership and promote role models for aspiring architects and young women in practice.” Now in their fourth year, the 2015 AJ Women in Architecture Awards will be announced on 27 February.
Urbanistas curator Lucy Bullivant says: “This is a particularly exciting time to be looking closely at urban design and those marshalling ground-breaking projects in the field, as the pressure to generate long-term sustainable and socially responsible solutions increases. Although there has been a lot of discussion recently about the value and viability of ‘garden cities’, a concept dating back to the end of the 19th century, Urbanistas shows that re-evaluating existing neighbourhoods is more important to today’s urban design and liveability agenda, and of course far more sustainable in terms of future-proofing spaces to help support people’s lives in the 21st century.”
Exhibition highlights include: Alison Brooks’ innovative reinterpretation of the archetypal London garden suburb, Barnet, compact live-work housing, Harlow, and variations on the Bath Crescent housing typology on a former industrial site; Irena Bauman’s versatile retrofitting strategies with the community in Dewsbury and Holbeck, Leeds; multi-scalar urban design by Alessandra Cianchetta at AWP – from long-term strategic planning to detailed retrofitting work, at La Défense, Paris, regenerating 100,000m2 of unused space for public use; Muf’s inspired integrative regenerative strategies, identifying and nurturing the community assets of areas such as Dalston, east London; and Johanna Gibbons’ vision of the city as a conceptual landscape.
Exhibition designers, the architectural firm Feix & Merlin, described their approach: "We designed a family of five objects, each individually adaptable to the selected exhibits, as a series of geometrically folded ribbons that echo the nature of the exhibition as well as respond to the interior design of Roca London Gallery itself.”