The symposium will gather architectural practitioners, educators, curators and theorists of architecture to reflect on the changing political, economic and cultural ‘landscapes’ of architectural practice. During the symposium, we will address such questions: How can design practice be read ‘from within’? How do the modes of judgement arise from within a collective practice, in the ecology of relationships among disciplines, in their controversies through which the scope, rights, and obligations of a practice are discussed and challenged? How are the new political and economic climates affecting the shifting epistemological modalities and the cultural geographies of design practice today? Conversely, how are practitioners engaging with, rethinking and reshaping these climates? What are the research and pedagogical avenues that can guide architectural practitioners in further explorations of design? How can we ignite new possibilities for designers to be present in the world that is constantly changing?

This dialogue on the ‘ecology’ of architectural practice could help us undo the rigid boundaries of the socio-professional strata of architects as a group and could offer new tactics for producing relevant ways of addressing the current challenges in practice.


1600 - 1615

Introduction – Professor Albena Yaneva

1615 - 1700

Keynote Lecture Professor Dana Cuff, University of California, Los Angeles

Title: Duty-Free? Practicing Architecture with Agency

1700 - 1730

Thomas Yarrow, Durham University,

Title: Experts in Uncertainty? An ethnographic perspective on architectural practice

1730 - 1800

Monika Konrad, Architect, Project Director, Strelka, Moscow

Title: Taming cities in the process of change The new approaches in Russian Spatial Planning and Architecture Practice

1800 – 1830

Rory Hyde, Architect, Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Title: A New Practice for the Edge

1830 - 1930

Round table discussion (participants Dana Cuff, Albena Yaneva, Thomas Yarrow, Rory Hyde, Tomas Millar)


Wine reception, MSA, Benzie building

About the Speakers

Dana Cuff is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is also Director of cityLAB, an award-winning think tank that advances experimental urbanism and architecture ( Since receiving her Ph.D. in Architecture from Berkeley, Cuff has published and lectured widely about spatial justice, architectural practice and the profession, and affordable housing. She is author of several books, including The Provisional City about housing in Los Angeles, and a forthcoming book documenting her innovative crossdisciplinary project at UCLA called the Urban Humanities Initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation. Based on cityLAB’s studies, she co-authored a landmark bill that permits “backyard homes” on virtually all 8 million single-family properties in California (AB 2299, Bloom-2016), doubling the density of suburbs across the state.

Thomas Yarrow is a social anthropologist, whose work mostly focuses on the social life of expertise. He is particularly interested in everyday interactions through which professional knowledge is produced, the personal and ideological commitments that propel this work, and the routine ethical dilemmas that arise. He has explored these issues through ethnographic research in the UK and Ghana, in a range of professional contexts including international development, heritage conservation and, most recently, architecture. His monograph, Architects: life and work in practice, is forthcoming in early 2019 with Cornell University press.

Monika Konrad is an architect and project director at Strelka KB, a Russian consulting company that connects the state, the business community, local residents and experts to create effective decisions on urban development. She completed her studies in architecture and urban planning at the Poznań University of Technology in Poland, and followed a post-graduate course in urban management in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Lund (Sweden). She worked in The Netherlands for design studios like Claus en Kaan Architecten and the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

Dr Rory Hyde is Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and Design Advocate for the Mayor of London.