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Bristol 2021


The RAPS Programme consists of a broad spectrum and portfolio of activities and events that is rapidly evolving over our first two years of activity. Through a series of conferences, round table discussions, actions and workshops we are gathering radical thinking and doing in architectural practice for sustainability and developing a community of academics, practitioners from architecture and other related fields. In addition to events we are looking to develop a diversified approach to sharing, discussing and practising radical modes of architecture through exhibitions, podcasts, debates and writings.

Our first conference took place 17th & 18th September 2021 online, hosted by Bristol UWE. Themed 'Radicality', we aimed to explore, imagine and radically shift conceptualisations of architecture practice for sustainability. Our premise comes from our interest in understanding how we get to and overcome ‘the root of something’ and how radical architecture can manifest and thrive in its multiple and many modes that shift current dominant paradigms of evidence based and quantifiable measures to deliver sustainable outcomes. A radical approach specifically aims to uncover root causes as opposed to surface explanations, viewing ecological problems as rooted primarily in socio-political notions of nature, multispecies activity and needs, building and not building, activating and resisting as well as entangling.


ROTOR keynote


We were joined by radical visionaries keynote speakers Malene Natascha Ratcliffe (CEO, SUPERFLEX) and Maarten Gielen (Rotor) who reflected upon their own human and non-human multi spatial modalities and radical environmental approaches to design (SUPERFLEX) and a cooperative material design practice for a radical organisation of the material environment we inhabit (ROTOR).

Malene Natascha Ratcliffe is the CEO of SUPERFLEX. SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, and Rasmus Rosengren Nielsen. Conceived as an expanded collective, SUPERFLEX has consistently worked with a wide variety of collaborators, from gardeners to engineers to audience members. Engaging with alternative models for the creation of social and economic organisation, works have taken the form of energy systems, beverages, sculptures, copies, hypnosis sessions, infrastructure, paintings, plant nurseries, contracts, and public spaces. Working in and outside the physical location of the exhibition space, SUPERFLEX has been engaged in major public space projects since their award-winning Superkilen opened in 2011. These projects often involve participation, involving the input of local communities, specialists, and children. Taking the idea of collaboration even further, recent works have involved soliciting the participation of other species. SUPERFLEX has been developing a new kind of urbanism that includes the perspectives of plants and animals, aiming to move society towards interspecies living. For SUPERFLEX, the best idea might come from a fish.

Maarten Gielen is an award-winning, Brussels-based designer and researcher, and a leading practitioner in changing the way materials are used in architecture and construction engineering. This endeavour is made possible through the collective Rotor—a cooperative design practice that investigates the organisation of the material environment with the aim of helping designers salvage building produce to reduce waste.Maarten Gielen co-founded Rotor in 2006, where he currently works as a designer, researcher and manager. Drawing on a 10-year experience in deconstruction, logistics, architecture & building design with used materials, Maarten currently manages the spin-off Rotor DC (Deconstruction), which he co-founded in 2014. Maarten played a key role in most exhibitions and publications that Rotor produced such as Deutschland Im Herbst (DE, 2008), Usus/Usuresfor the Belgian pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale (IT), Ex-Limbo for the Fondazione Prada in Milan (IT, 2011), OMA/Progress, on the work of OMA/Rem Koolhaas at the Barbican Art Gallery in London (UK, 2011), and Behind the Green Door for the 2013 Oslo Architecture Triennale (NO).

RAPS Bristol 2021 invited a range of submission formats including papers, performances, exhibition, film and more that encourage and captivate discussion and debate on the themes Architects as Activists in Practice and in Education, Ecological Entanglements, Green Dream, NOT Building, Utopian Realism. The themes coalesce around the key question of how architecture and architects could accelerate and meaningfully inhabit and embody a radical, effective and new experimental set of approaches that move beyond the status quo, that challenge dominant paradigms, that offer new perspectives into practices for sustainability.

The following films are edited down from the sessions and extracts are shown with permission of the presenters.


Friday 17th Sept.2021

Session 1 Green Dream A
chaired by Torsten Schröder [TU Eindhoven], Jonathan Mosley & Yahya Lavaf-Pour [Bristol UWE] 17/09/2021
** Jenkins, Blom, Verdegaal, van den Dobbelsteen [TU Delft]_The urban amethyst: Architectural and energetic potentials of symbiotic vertical farms
** Ness [UoSouth Australia]_Rebalancing built resources to match global needs
** Zhong [TU Eindhoven]_Not Simply Green-The State of Practice of Nature by Design
**Betancour & Vesterlund [Umeå University]_Green Imaginaries: Exploring the relationship between nature and culture
**Boris & Michelsen [Aarhus SoA]_Small scale  interventions as catalysis for radical transformation in Bedsted
**Granta [Bristol UWE]_*Film_Pure Bristol-A new framework for Europe

Session 2 NOT Building
chaired by Ana Betancour, Umeå University, Fidel Meraz &  [Bristol UWE] Davide Landi17/09/2021
**Medici and Cavallo [TU Delft]_Circular  Architecture of Degrowth
** Boris & Krag [Aarhus SoA]_Scenario for a radically transformed rurality-a stationtown redeemed
** Lovesmith [Bristol UWE] & Plimmer [Bristol City Council]_Libraries reclaimed- A radical experiment empowering service users as creative agents
** Stamenovic & Bulajic [UoBelgrade]_To be and not to build-A contingent manifesto for Sustainable Belgrade
**Greub [North Dakota State University]_ Land art as agent for Not building

Session 3 Ecological Entanglements
chaired by Torsten Schröder [TU Eindhoven], Ana Betancour [Umeå University],
Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira [Bristol UWE] 17/09/2021
** Crociani, Mosley, Williams [Bristol UWE] & Warren [Warren and Mosley]_ Architecture on the Couch: Exploring the psychology of the architectural assemblage as a radical reconceptualization of how it may be sustained
** Carrasco Hortal, García-Valero, Francés García [UoAlicante]__A Rural Land based on Faulkner’s tales and Mockbee's standards unveiled by tetralemmas, empathic writings and stereographs
**Koch [KarlsruherIT]_Beyond Gravity - Towards a manifesto for the framework of virtualarchitecture
**Oliveira, Badarnah, Barakat, Chatzimichali [Bristol UWE] & Atkins [UoBristol]_ SocioSpatial Technology encounters-your home to mine
**Grimes & Davis [SAIC Chicago]_The Black  Metropolis, ecological Speculation and the Radical Black Tradition

Saturday 18th Sept.2021

Session 4 Green Dream B
João Manuel Barbosa Menezes de Sequeira [CIAUD-UBI, Beira] Sophia Banou & Wendy Colvin [Bristol UWE] 18/09/2021
**Marco, Oliveira & Sinnett [Bristol UWE]_The enforced lockdown  experience of architects - Exploration of resilient design considerations post  Covid19
**Chiganze [NOMA Architects]_Dreaming of biodiversity net Gain - How geo-centric celtic belief systems can be applied within Bristol
**Cascone & Laddaga [UoWestminster]_African Offgrid Housing
**Lavaf & Meraz [Bristol UWE]_Architectural Form and  environment through the lens of integral theory
**Windsor [UoWestminster]_ *Exhibition_MISSION ASTRAEA-Trawling for treasure in the celestial sea

Session 5 Architect as Activist in Practice
chaired by Roberto Cavallo [TU Delft], Davide Landi & Jonathan Mosley [Bristol UWE] 18/09/2021
**Buck [Public Works/Welsh SoA] & Belfield [Public Works]_ Lessons from R-Urban Poplar:  Eco-Prototyping as activist practice
**Brooks [Anthropocene Architecture School]_Should Extinction Rebellion  Give It Arrest? Does their theory of system change need to evolve?
**Zannotto [IUAV Venice]_Learning  from Global Tools. A Radical Approach to Sustainable Design
**Chapman & Roberts [UoNewcastle, AU]_Contrapiano [counterplan]: architecture, politics and radicality in the Italian neo-avant-garde
**Elarji [UoLiechtenstein]_Minor modes of initiating  environmental care: the cases of the floating university Berlin and Agrocité  Paris
**ORA Collective_*Film_GET REAL

Session 6 Architect as Activist in Education chaired by
Andjelka Bnin-Bninski [UoBelgrade], Eleonora Nicoletti & Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira [Bristol UWE] 18/09/2021
**Jones, Howles [UoBirmingham City], Orchard-Webb, Doron, Prescott [Co-Lab]_ Educating activist practitioners: A case study of regenerative design on a UK High Street
**Adamo [La Rivoluzione delle Seppie]_Welcome to Belmondo
**Nan [TU Eindhoven]_Sustainability  and Global Entangled Complexities. Reexamining a profession

Session 7 Utopian Realism
chaired by Sophia Banou & Elena Marco [Bristol UWE] 18/09/2021
**Agyin & Yegenoglu [TU Eindhoven]_ Green Paranoia: The  Sustainable U(dys)topia of Post-sapiens
**Kemal [Bath]_ How will  decisions we make today manifest themselves tomorrow?
**Aernouts[TU Eindhoven]_ Visualising cities of 2050
**Galley []_*Exhibition_Changed Lands – How can the creation of  imagined places voice our individual and collective hopes, fears, and  requirements for future urban and rural spaces?
**Macasaet [RMIT] & Tan [Superscale]_WANDER WONDER
**Brooks [Anthropocene Architecture School]_Lockdown Festival of Architecture


The conference was organised by a team of academics, architects and designers including RAPS founders and partners including Sonja Oliveira, Jonathan Mosley, Torsten Schröder, Ana Betancour, Roberto Cavallo, Andjelka Bnin-Bninski, Joao Sequeiria, Elena Marco as well as colleagues Fidel Meraz, Sophia Banou, Davide Landi, Wendy Colvin, Eleonora Nicoletti, Yahya Lavaf-Pour and hosted by University of West of England and affiliated to ARENA
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