Professor Maurice Mitchell
Maurice Mitchell AA Dipl. Reg. Architect, is Professor, Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR) at London Metropolitan University and Director of The Water Trust (ARCSR) charity. Maurice teaches, researches and directs live projects in the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University where he runs an Architecture MArch Studio. He has also taught at the Architectural Association, Oxford Brookes University and the Development Planning Unit, University College London.
His area of interest lies in the narrative interplay between technical and everyday cultural factors in the production and sustainability of the built environment, particularly in situations of rapid change and scarce resources where new identities are forged in the process of remaking.
Educated at the Architectural Association, his early career included extended periods of work in the shanty towns of Ghana to establish the Tema Housing Cooperative with the Department of Housing and Planning Research at Kumasi University and as Regional Building Materials Advisor to the Southern Regional Government of Sudan. His first book Culture, Cash and Housing (1992) explores the lessons learned from the experience of Voluntary Service Overseas in the field of building for development. He has been involved with and published on typhoon resistant construction in Vietnam in cooperation with NGO Development Workshop - France, of which he is a board member.
Ideas relating the building process and appropriate building technologies to architectural education are explored in his second book The Lemonade Stand: Exploring the unfamiliar by building large scale models (1998) which highlights the importance of the culture of making within architectural education by drawing on the exploratory work produced during hands on courses which he has run for 33 years at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales. His Diploma studio undertakes an annual field trip in which students engage proactively with a local situation, usually in a transitional urban settlement, devising imaginative responses to specific cultural and technical issues.
Work in Kosovo is discussed in Rebuilding Community in Kosovo (2003). From 2002 to 2013 the studio’s focus centred on design within marginal settlements in India (Gujarat 2002, Meerut 2003, Delhi 2004-5 and 2007-9, Agra 2006/10-13). He is author of Learning from Delhi, Dispersed Initiatives in Changing Urban Landscapes (2010), about the work of the studio in India, which won the Urban Design Group prize 2012.
Research since 2008 around the construction of a small peri-urban primary school in Freetown, Sierra Leone has resulted in 2 exhibitions and publication with the British Council of: The Architecture of 3 Freetown Neighbourhoods. Documenting changing city topographies 2008-2013 (2013) which was short listed for the RIBA President’s Awards for outstanding university-located research 2014. A paper: The Forest and the City reviewing the role of memory in urban place making in the Freetown peninsular was published in 2018.
From 2014-16 work focused on the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, post-earthquake and from 2017 to 2019 on the refugee crisis in Europe focusing on situations in Athens, Greece and Calabria, Italy. He is co-author with Dr Bo Tang of the book: Loose Fit City: The Contribution of Bottom Up Architecture to Urban Design and Planning (2018).
Dr Bo Tang
Bo Tang studied architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University of East London and The Cass, London Metropolitan University, where she graduated with distinction in 2008 and won the prize for best Integrated Design Study. She completed her PhD on a full 3-year scholarship in 2014. Her research thesis is entitled ‘Negotiating Shared Spaces in Informal Peri-Urban Settlements in India’, and was one of four shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Research in 2014.
Since 2006, Bo has been involved in the research field of the Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR), coordinating and managing live projects with students in informal settlements in India, in collaboration with local NGOs, supported by The Water Trust (ARCSR). These include a sanitation upgrading project in Agra and quarry classrooms in Navi Mumbai. The first classroom building was shortlisted for the AJ Small Projects Award in 2010. A further research project in Sierra Leone has led to the construction of a new primary school in Freetown in 2011. From 2014-2017, she led research in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, focused on the peri-urban topography. Bo regularly organises and curates ARCSR exhibitions in the UK and internationally, and was part of the RIBA Boyd Auger Scholarship 2008 research team, which explored art, urbanism and architecture in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bo is co-editor of Learning From Delhi (2010) – awarded an Urban Design Group prize in 2012, and The Architecture of Three Freetown Neighbourhoods (2013) – a collaboration with the British Council in Sierra Leone. She has recently co-authored a new book, Loose Fit City, with Maurice Mitchell, published by Routledge in 2018. She has written papers in various journals including Planum and the Oxford Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching.
Bo is currently a BA Architecture and MArch studio tutor, and technology module leader at the Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University. She continues to further the research of ARCSR as senior research fellow and coordinator, where she has been focusing on civic placemaking in Athens, Greece, since 2017.