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Talks and lectures

Making Plans with Sumayya Vally and Charles Holland

RIBA and The Modern House invites you to join Charles Holland and Sumayya Vally in conversation about the power of the plan to navigate between political, cultural and social relations.

  • today 3 December 2020, 5pm to 6pm GMT
  • place Online
  • call talks@riba.org
  • receipt £6 Standard, £4 RIBA Member/Student/Friend

Join us for this new three part season of talks exploring the ways in which domestic architectural plans give form to underlying power relations, with architect Charles Holland and in partnership with The Modern House.

For this last talk, Charles Holland is joined by Sumayya Vally (Counterspace) to discuss the role of the plan in the work of her practice, specifically the way that this intersects with issues of politics, gender and cultural distinctions.

“Ordinary things contain the deepest mysteries,” wrote Robin Evans in Figures, Doors and Passages, an essay describing the evolution of the domestic plan. The plan is the basic currency of architectural drawings, its ground zero. Plans describe buildings. They are technical documents that describe how a building is organised, but they follow aesthetic and compositional criteria too.

Plans can be beautiful when viewed as abstract compositions, but they also describe real physical and social relationships. Within them, the underlying structures of social organisation can be read: issues of culture, economics, gender, class and power. Plans are both a representation of specific cultural and political ideals and the means through which those ideals are constructed in real life.

This short series of talks will explore the plan and its relationship to these issues. Each week, we will ask an architect to select a plan and explain its importance to them, to architectural culture and to the series’ themes.

About the speakers

Sumayya Vally is the Founder and Principal of Counterspace. Sumayya’s design, research and pedagogical practice is committed to finding expression for hybrid identities and contested territories. She is in love with Johannesburg. It serves as her laboratory for finding speculative histories, futures, archaeologies, and design languages; with the intent to reveal the invisible. Her work is often forensic, and draws on performance, the supernatural, the wayward and the overlooked as generative places of history and work. She is presently based between Johannesburg and London as the lead designer for the Serpentine Pavilion 2020/20 Plus 1.

Charles Holland is an architect, teacher and writer. He is the Principal of Charles Holland Architects, a design and research practice based in the UK, Professor of Architecture at the University of Brighton and a Visiting Professor at the ABK, Stuttgart.

Making Plans is a RIBA talks series in partnership with The Modern House. The series has been co-programmed with Charles Holland.

Other events in this series