Previously at the ICA - Events

The Social in Architecture: Designing Risk and Opportunity through Housing

The Social in Architecture: Designing Risk and Opportunity through Housing

24 Nov 2017

The first in a series of public events connected to the theme of 'the social in architecture', this talk by Jonathan Massey builds on a number of events that have taken place at the ICA recently, such as Urban Planning as Social Cleansing, the Architects for Social Housing residency and A Heavy Nonpresence: Housing Workshop.  

Responding to the need for a sustained international and intergenerational conversation about the intersections between public institutions, social housing and resettlement, Jonathan Massey addresses the question of the social:  

Risk and opportunity are organizing concepts for contemporary neoliberal society. Our politics often play out through debates over who bears risks of modernization—such as vulnerability to pollution, climate change, economic volatility, and creative destruction in the economy and in the built environment—and who benefits from change.

In this talk I explore some of the ways this process plays out through the production, design and consumption of housing in the United States. By reviewing historical and contemporary topographies of risk and opportunity in our dwellings, I outline a vision of how architecture builds the social.  

Preceding the public talk is a closed seminar for CHASE PhD students, social housing residents and housing activists. The seminar includes presentations by Samir Pandya, Kate Macintosh and Geraldine Dening. Topics to discuss include the role of architects in creating new social forms and solutions to housing problems, past and future models of local collaboration, and the problems and opportunities of utopian concepts.  

If you are interested in attending the closed seminar, please email


  • Jonathan Massey

    Architect and historian Jonathan Massey is Dean and Professor at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Previously he served as Dean of Architecture at the California College of Arts, and at Syracuse University he was the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, where he chaired the Bachelor of Architecture program and the University Senate. Massey was a co-founder of the Transdisciplinary Media Studio and the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative, which focuses on the ways that history and practice of architecture and urbanism are understood and taught. His ongoing research explores how architecture mediates power by forming civil society, shaping social relationships, and regulating consumption.

    In Crystal and Arabesque: Claude Bragdon, Ornament, and Modern Architecture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009) he reconstructed the techniques through which American modernist architects engaged new media, audiences and problems of mass society. His work on topics ranging from ornament and organicism to risk management and sustainable design has appeared in many journals and essay collections, including Aggregate's essay collection Governing by Design: Architecture, Economy, and Politics in the 20th Century (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012).  

  • Geraldine Dening

    Geraldine Dening is the co-founder and Director of Architects for Social Housing, a qualified architect with her own practice based in London, and a senior lecturer at the Leicester School of Architecture. She received her BA from Cambridge University and her Dip Arch from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Work with ASH ranges from consultation and design workshops with residents on council estates threatened with demolition, to proposals for alternatives to demolition employing refurbishment, infill and roof extensions.

    Recent projects include designs and feasibility studies for additional housing and improvements to West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estate as part of their application for the Right to Transfer in response to the proposal to demolish their estates, designs for additional housing as alternatives to demolition at Central Hill Estate, Northwold Estate and Knights Walk, and Open Garden Estates, a series of events hosted by estates threatened with demolition which aims to dispel myths about council estates and provide an opportunity for residents to meet and organize the campaign to save their homes.  

  • Samir Pandya

    In addition to teaching at the University of Westminster, where he leads the Master of Architecture, Samir Pandya is a Visiting Professor at APIED School of Architecture & Urban Design, Vidhyanagar,India , an External Examiner (History & Theory) at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and an external PhD Supervisor at the Università Iuav di Venezia, Venice, Italy. From 2018, he will co-lead an annual symposium at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris la Villette, France with the Masters Studio Le Fait Urbain, L'architecture et ses Paysages

    He is a frequent examiner, visiting critic and guest lecturer at schools of architecture throughout the UK. He is Architecture Editor for the multidisciplinary academic journal National Identities: Critical Inquiry into Nationhood, Politics & Culture and an Editorial Board member for the architecture journal FOLIO. He has explored his interests in studio culture, 'diversity', and architectural pedagogy through various roles including Co-Founder of ThirdSpace (a collective examining the relationship between architecture and identity), a Director of the Society of Black Architects, member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Education Committee, Chair of Architects for Change at the RIBA, and through collaboration with groups such as CABE, RIBA Building Futures and the Serpentine Gallery's Centre for Possible Studies.   

  • Kate Macintosh

    Kate Macintosh traveled and worked in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland after studying in Ediburgh. Returning in 1964 to London she became the most junior member of the National Theatre team. Realising the need to acquire practical site experience, she moved to the L.B. Southwark architect's office in 1965 where she won an internal competition for Dawsons Heights, a scheme of just under 300 dwellings on a hill above Dulwich. She then moved to Lambeth, C Architect Ted Hollamby, where she designed a sheltered housing schemed 269 Leigham Court Rd, which was listed Grade 2 in 2015.

    At East Sussex County architects she designed fire stations, schools, old person's homes, sheltered housing and a children’s Home. She was also secretary to the Sussex Heritage Trust. In 1986 she moved to Hampshire County Architects, under Colin Stansfield Smith, where she designed buildings for the fire service, social services and education. Taking early retirement in 1995, she went into private practice with George Finch. Their most important commission was an adventure playground and play-hall for the Weston Adventure Playground charity, which won an RIBA award in 2005. The film Utopia London, by Tom Cordell, features the work of both Macintosh and Finch.

This series of public events and training seminars on Architecture and the Social is organised in partnership with the Architecture, Space and Society Centre (ASSC) at Birkbeck University and supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England


E.g., 29-07-2021
E.g., 29-07-2021