Public Program

  • Language Barriers
    Zaha Hadid Foundation, London
    Jul 13, 2022
    New Architecture Writers

View of The Time for Failure is Now, a symposium organized by the New Architecture Writers, London, 2018. Photo: Phineas Harper.

Architectural writing is core to the production, development, and public understanding of architecture itself. Yet while many strides have been made in eroding systemic barriers to meaningful inclusion in architectural practice, architectural criticism remains an elite profession, predominantly dominated by white, middle-class journalists. A large chunk of the population are locked out of architectural writing depleting the variety and potential of the discipline and architecture at large. This project builds upon the New Architecture Writers program, a free London-based architectural criticism course for aspiring black and ethnic minority writers. Comprising an international workshop, public symposium, and subsequent publication, the project explores and promotes diverse writers and forms of architectural writing. It challenges conventions of taste, language and written form, asking what architectural writing could be like if structural barriers were dismantled and architectural criticism became as diverse as society.

Phineas Harper is a critic and designer based in London. He is deputy director of the think tank, the Architecture Foundation and chief curator of the 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale. He is a regular columnist for Dezeen and founding tutor of New Architecture Writers.

Thomas Aquilina is a designer for Adjaye Associates and one of the founding members of New Architecture Writers. His ongoing research explores the everyday life of downtown cities through a synthesis of image and text. Aquilina recently coedited the first issue of Afterparti zine.

Tom Wilkinson specializes in the visual culture of modern Germany, media, and modern architecture. In 2016 he received a PhD from University College London for his thesis “Transmedial Cathedrals: Architectural History in and between New Media in Germany, 1900–45.” In 2017 Wilkinson became Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Warburg Institute, where he is working on a project titled “Image Economies: Visual Networks and Capital in Modern Germany.” As well as his academic work, he is the history editor of the Architectural Review, and is codirector of New Architecture Writers, a program for aspiring ethnic minority design critics. In 2017 he cocurated an exhibition titled Futures Found: The Real and Imagined Cityscapes of Postwar Britain at the Royal Academy, as well as organizing lecture series there and at the Soane Museum. He is author of Bricks and Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People they Made (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Farshid Moussavi is an international architect and professor in practice of architecture at Harvard University. She has written extensively on ornament, form, and style in her Function Books series and was cofounder of Foreign Office Architects.

Priya Khanchandani is the editor of design and architecture magazine Icon. She has published widely, curated the India Pavilion at London Design Biennale 2018, and extensively campaigned to decolonise culture. A Royal College of Art graduate with distinction, Khanchandani previously worked on the acquisition of new objects at the Victoria and Albert Museum and as head of arts programs for India at the British Council.

Lesley Lokko is a Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, and novelist. She is associate professor of architecture at the University of Johannesburg and writes for a wide array of architectural titles around the world.

Adrian Lahoud is dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. He is a widely published author and educator, regularly lecturing and exhibiting internationally. Previously he has been director of the master’s program at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University, a studio master at the Architectural Association, and director of the urban design master’s in architecture at the Bartlett.

David Ogunmuyiwa is an architect, lecturer, and writer. He was formerly a local authority housing officer and is now is director of London-based practice, ArchitectureDoingPlace. He is a design advocate for the Mayor of London and teaches at Portsmouth University, Central Saint Martins, and The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

Founded in October 2017, New Architecture Writers (N.A.W.) is a free program for emerging architecture critics from minority and deprived background. The project develops the journalistic skill, editorial connections and critical voice of its participants. N.A.W. focuses on black and minority ethnic emerging writers who are underrepresented across architectural journalism and curation. The N.A.W. program comprises workshops, talks, tours, written briefs, and one-on-one mentoring from experienced critics and editors who all give their time voluntarily.