Architectural Symposium: Art in ARchiTecture



Our annual architecture symposium will, once again, celebrate the latest innovation and evolution in construction and design through a series of talks and presentations by leading architects and innovators in the field. Chairing the panels at this year’s symposium will be Mike Stiff (Stiff+Trevillion) and Peter Clegg (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios).

This year topics will include creative spaces for arts in the community, the relationship between art and architecture, the interface between sculpture and architecture and the role of beauty in architectural practice considering the relationship between aesthetics and functionality.

The symposium will be split into two parts with the morning session focusing on ‘Creative Spaces’ looking from the individual to the collective at how buildings inspire creativity. This session will include four presentations followed by a discussion chaired by Peter Clegg and an audience Q&A. Speakers discussing this theme will include: Piers Taylor (Invisible Studio); Ashwin Patel (Knox Bhavan); Marie Bak Mortensen (Create London) and Fergus Feilden (Feilden Fowles).

The afternoon session of the symposium will consider the boundaries between art and architecture with architects who make art and artists who work with buildings. This session will include four presentations followed by a discussion chaired by Mike Stiff and an audience Q&A. Speakers discussing this theme will include: Stephanie Macdonald (6a) + Caragh Thuring (artist); Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (Tonkin Liu); Je Ahn (Studio Weave) and Hugo Dalton.

The day will conclude with our keynote speakers – architect Thomas Randell-Page and sculptor Peter Randell-Page. They will be discussing The Art Barn, a ten-year project designed by Thomas Randall-Page to convert a 250 sqm agricultural barn in rural Devon into an art archive for his father, the renowned sculptor Peter Randall-Page.

If you wish to stay for the architect’s lunch at Messum’s Restaurant BOOK HERE


Schedule for the day:

10:00: Arrival and coffee

Morning Session: Creative Spaces: from the individual to the collective, how do buildings inspire creativity?
Four presentations explore this theme followed by a discussion chaired by Peter Clegg


10:30: Piers Taylor (Invisible Studio)


East Quay – Art, Change, Community

Piers Taylor (Invisible Studio) will talk about the ten-year journey that was the conception and realisation of a new community initiated cultural arts centre in West Somerset, designed to maximise the opportunities for social change in addition to providing much needed spaces for art, artists and makers in the least socially mobile part of the UK.


10:50: Ashwin Patel (Knox Bhavan)


Testbed Learning; Making Space to Create

Knox Bhavan explore the lessons learnt through their self built Peckham Studio; a creative testbed where every detail combines to form a generous place to work. Inspired by the innovative practice and studio culture, Southwark Council appointed KB to design and realise a new home for Community Arts Charity Peckham Platform. Knox Bhavan will explain how the brief was developed to form keys spaces in a building that gives back to it’s public realm.


11:10: Marie Bak Mortensen (Create London)

A House for Artists: Commissioning a new creative community in Barking Town Centre

The presentation will talk about the objectives of A House for Artists, its development and how the project – through its architecture – responds to urgent socio-political and cultural issues: affordable housing, regeneration strategies and creative opportunities for Barking residents.

Photo (above): A House for Artists (© Johan Dehlin/Create London)


11:30: Fergus Feilden (Feilden Fowles)

Black Robin Farm will be a world-class culture and education centre in the unique landscape of the South Downs National Park. The building is a retrofit of a working farmstead, designed by Feilden Fowles with Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects for Eastbourne Borough Council and the Towner Gallery.

The Farm has a visceral connection to the landscape, geology and the prevailing weather. The site will form a new eastern gateway to the South Downs and will transform lives by connecting communities and visitors with the outstanding nature, landscape and cultural heritage of the Downlands.

The talk will describe the reading of found spaces, materiality and how a low-tech, light-touch architecture response can create a unique space for art and education in the South Downs.

11:50: Break
12:10: Panel discussion (Chaired by Peter Clegg)
12:40: Audience Q&A
13:00 – 14:00: Lunch


Afternoon session: Art and Architecture: boundaries between art and architecture with architects who make art and artists who work with buildings.
Four presentations explore this theme followed by a discussion chaired by Mike Stiff.


14:00: Stephanie Macdonald (6A) + Caragh Thuring 

Stephanie Macdonald OBE RA co founded 6a architects with Tom Emerson OBE RA. The studio finds new connections between materials, landscape, climate, social histories, construction traditions and contemporary culture. Their award winning cultural buildings integrate landscape and material innovation with a focus on creating beautiful and long term, environmentally and socially sustainable outcomes. Currently 6a is leading a significant reimagining of the Tate Liverpool landmark gallery on Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.

A holistic collaboration with artist Caragh Thuring on ‘Great Things Lie Ahead, 2020, Holborn House embedded a public artwork into an extended innercity community building bringing its 100 year history back into its daily life.

Caragh Thuring is an artist whose work has been described as creating a universal narrative through her reassembling of environment, biography and history, in painting and architecture.  Represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, Thurings work is shown and held in collections internationally including Tate, Arts Council Collection, Government Art Collection, and Hepworth Wakefield. A recent monograph Very Fantastically Arranged, is published by MIT press, September 2023.


14:20: Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (Tonkin Liu)

Nature x Story = Place

A number of projects demonstrate how the practice uses a nature-focused storytelling toolkit as a design process, to bring art practice into architecture.


14:40: Je Ahn (Studio Weave)

Je will discuss how contexts (ranging from social, cultural, physical to technical) drives their outputs and the importance of collaboration. This diffuses their authorship, and makes it important to work through trust and embed other knowledges into projects.


15:00: Hugo Dalton

The aim of Hugo Daltons’ collaborations with architects is to create subtle visual invitations from the building those who pass by or work within. Each work hopes to extend the terrain of the given architectural programme both physically and conceptually.

Dalton’s practice has evolved from wall paintings to sculptural forms which manifest the human touch through a deep-rooted commitment to observational drawing as a generative tool.

The presentation will discuss the boundary between art and architecture through a historical look at previous artist / architect collaborations. Dalton will screen a Live Drawing performance commissioned by the Royal Opera House and discuss a series of projected light works created for the façade of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

15:30: Break
16:00: Panel discussion (Chaired by Mike Stiff)
16:30: Audience Q&A
17:00: Keynote Speakers: Peter Randall-Page and Tom Randall-Page, The Art Barn – An artistic collaboration in slow architecture
17:30: Close


Image (top): Black Robin Farm, courtesy of Feilden Fowles

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