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Raze it to the ground or build around?

Knock nothing down


Monday 24 June 2019
6.30 — 8pm

This event has now ended

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Part of our

Knock nothing down

events programme
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The Sharp Project

image courtesy of aLLDesign

Are architects at their most creative when they are allowed to demolish and work with a clean slate? Perhaps it’s when they have to preserve and integrate? Hear both sides and make your decision.

Inspired by the spirit and conviction of the late Will Alsop RA, we bring together practitioners, writers and critics to make conclusive arguments on the prime conditions for architectural creativity. Does working with existing buildings put a stop to any original ideas? Do clever architectural solutions only arise from interacting with a complex brief?

According to Will Alsop, every building contains references, memories and meaning for many people, and he felt they should be loved, reworked and kept. Demolishing was not an option for Alsop unless a building was physically dangerous. In this debate, we will put this contentious point to our participants and look to them to work out an answer.

Join us and see the competing sides make their case in short dynamic presentations, only to then take on the opposing parties in lively architectural debate. The audience is invited to join the discussion and will decide on the winner.


Sean Griffiths is an artist, architect and academic. He practices architecture as Modern Architect, is professor of architecture at the University of Westminster and visiting professor of architecture at Yale University. He was a founding director of the art/architecture practice FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste) between 1991 and 2014.

Lucy Atlee and Marcos Rosello are both directors of aLL Design, an architectural practice co-founded by Will Alsop RA. Lucy is Board Director and Marcos is Board Director and Founder.

Jonathan Tuckey is an architect and the founder of Jonathan Tuckey Design. Their work has won numerous awards internationally for its careful consideration of existing buildings and structures.

Shahira Fahmy is an architect and founder of Shahira Fahmy Architects based in Cairo, Egypt. She is currently a recipient of the Berkman fellowship of Berkman Center for Internet & Society for 2016 at Harvard Law School and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, GSAPP at Columbia University.

Will Hunter (chair) is the Founder of the London School of Architecture, and is currently the school’s Director. He was previously the executive editor of The Architectural Review and editor of the monthly magazines of The Architects’ Journal and Building Design. He has contributed to many titles including Wallpaper, Blueprint and the Financial Times.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Monday 24 June 2019

6.30 — 8pm

The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

£15, £9