the resourceful architect_

What can architects do to overcome the current economic climate of cuts and austerity?

The RSA are keen to find out and they hosted a ‘day of ideas’ last week to explore seven shortlisted projects that are addressing this challenge directly.

A couple of these ideas seem really relevant to somewhereto_ – the project we are running that connects young people with spaces so they can do the things they love.

Urban 72 hour Action

Bab(v)-el-Yam Team | Working on Site

Urban 72 hour Action is an architectural competition that challenges teams to create interventions in public spaces.

The organisers work with the municipality to temporarily relax the planning and building regulations then allocate a disused space to each team. They then have three days to design and build their intervention – often sleeping on site – quite a spectacle for nearby inhabitants.

The results are left in situ to see how they are received, how well they work and how people interact with them. Four out of the ten installations have survived the 2010 competition.

I really liked their approach – that temporary interventions can lead to more permanent outcomes.  The expert panel were concerned with ensuring the local inhabitants were involved – an relevant insight for somewhereto_.


Mashup, by Richard Brearley and Uli Kraeling of Sidell Gibson Architects is an app that allows architects to tag derelict pockets of land and buildings in London and then use local community needs, entered via a microsite, to suggest uses and inform bids.

The idea has a lot of similarities with somewhereto_ in terms of using a site to match needs with space. I thought the emphasis on scouting was interesting, mobilising an army of architects to find space for each other as the driver, as compared with our approach of mobilising spaceholders. It was interesting to see that the expert panel thought that this would be the weak link in the project “what’s in it for the land owners?” was the first question they asked.

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