Not What, But How: creating socially sustainable architecture

A new exhibition at the Architectural Association showcases the achievements of WORKSHOP architecture.


Led by a small group of recent graduates and current students - Clementine Blakemore, Alexander Furunes and Ivar Tutturen, WORKSHOP architecture's practice places an emphasis on collaboration, learning by doing, and cultivating a deep understanding of place. The work showcased in Not What, But How, is a commendably inspiring example of a thoughtful, emerging yet ambitious practice.


One of the school children's mothers, using a model to help design the windows for the new classroom space, during a Saturday workshop with the community

This exhibition, in keeping with its title, will describe how one of their most recent projects came into being: exploring the possibilities for low-cost and socially sustainable architecture in India, the team have built a school in Hariharpur, a small village in rural Uttar Pradesh. Using vernacular building crafts and local materials, the new school is the first phase of a larger master plan for the village. By using the locally embedded skills, knowledge and labour, WORKSHOP architecture have managed to cultivate a strong sense of ownership, collaboration and pride within the community.


The WORKSHOP architecture team with local construction workers and collaborators, in front of the building site in Hariharpur village

WORKSHOP architecture invited a team of students in both London and Delhi to construct exploratory, experimental 1:1 mock-ups. In this way the exhibition spaces have become sites for local engagement and international dialogue - mirroring the studio's practice in the field. They say:

'We hope the exhibition communicates the dedication and passion of the children, parents, and grandparents who have been an integral part of each of the projects. Being offered an opportunity to include their contributions in a wider conversation about architecture and design is an honour for us.'


On Saturday 30th November WORKSHOP architecture will give a Gallery Talk in the exhibition space. The exhibition will run from 16 November and 14 December 2014.


The traditional craft of jute weaving was used to produce chairs for the school

Not What, But How is part of the British Council's UK-South Asia Season, a programme over the autumn of 2013 to celebrate and explore the cultural relationship and connections between the UK and South Asia.

For more information on the exhibition please visit the AA website

For more information about the British Council's South Asia season visit the British Council website


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