LKE Ozolins Studentship

Ross Exo Adams

Ross Exo Adams

 Hénard ville de lavenir

Ross was awarded the RIBA LKE Ozolins Studentship in 2011 and describes his research below:

'Circulation today intervenes in almost every part of architectural and urban design. We cannot imagine a world ordered outside the supreme determinacy of patterns of movement: everything that matters circulates. Circulation is the material source of our problems, as well as the diagram for their solutions and thus it has come to define the ultimate limit of today's urban imagination. This is, however, not a new phenomenon.

Under this premise, this thesis will examine how strategies of circulation, which emerged within the thinking of the city, arose alongside a certain indirect political critique of the state. With the rise of 'urbanism' in the 19th century, such subversive ideas became the establishment as circulation came to be the primary instrument used to reconceptualise the city itself. From this point onwards, the modern city as a programme of urbanisation would become the site that would assist in distributing a new form of power whose chief apparatus is its vast networks of circulation.

The basic claim upon which this work rests is that the modern city, as both a concrete form and an object of administration, plays an intimate role in maintaining and securing the construct of 'governmentality' - a concept central to the modern, liberal State. It will investigate the relationship between governmentality and circulation by looking closely at the theoretical and material work of urbanists such as Ildefonso Cerdá and Eugène Hénard, among others, where a clear political intention underlies a spatial, formal regime of circulation. Programmes of circulation inherent to urbanism act at once to depoliticise administrative and authoritarian activities affecting the city while in turn exposing all levels of urban society to a new, universally politicised condition. This thesis will attempt to expose the political core of this apparently neutral category through an investigation of modern urban form and the discourses that buttress its development.'


Ross Adams holds a Master of Architecture from the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, NL, and a BS in Biomaterial Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has worked as an architect and urban designer in offices in New York City, Rotterdam, Mexico City and London, such as MVRDV, Foster & Partners, Arup and Productora. He completed his Master thesis under Pier Vittorio Aureli and Elia Zenghelis, focusing on the politics and urban form in 20th century Moscow. The final outcome of this work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale of 2006. He has taught architecture at the Berlage Institute and at Brighton University and currently teaches at the Architectural Association. His writing and design work has been published in several journals such as Radical Philosophy, Log, Hunch, Thresholds, Project Russia and others. Currently, he is completing his PhD at the London Consortium.

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