My work in practice from 1985 included internationally renowned and award winning projects with MacCormac Jamieson Prichard Architects (London): e.g. Fitzwilliam College Chapel, Cambridge (1988-93); Southwark Intermediate Concourse, Jubilee Line, London (1992-94); and Cable and Wireless Teaching College, Coventry (1990-1993); and with Thomson Usher Wiszniewski (London), 3rd prize in the international competition The Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and The Arts, Leicester (1993).
Since 1996, as partner in Wiszniewski Thomson Architects, built and project work has been published and exhibited nationally and internationally. Wiszniewski Thomson Architects won the Royal Scottish Academy Gold Medal for Architecture in 2006 for the ‘Water House', Crieff. In partnership with Cadell2, Wiszniewski Thomson Architects won the Roses Design Award for best proposed building and The Scottish Design Awards for best proposed place-making for their project Bellfield Dyke Housing, 2007.
Academic papers have been published in China, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA with core interests being the architectural-political-philosophical overlap on issues of representation and production.
Design and Theory are parallel but intersecting practices.
Competitions and exhibitions
- Florence: Curating The City, Representation and Seriality, Edinburgh Art Festival, Matthew Architecture Gallery, 20 Chambers Street, Aug 2010.
- Wiszniewski Thomson Architects, 'Crieff Water House,' RSA Gold Medal for Architecture 2006, Royal Scottish Academy.
- Wiszniewski Thomson Architects, ‘Pyrotechnic Peonies – Portobello’s New Marine Gardens’, in 6000 Miles Exhibition, The Lighthouse, Glasgow, 2005,Rotterdam Biennale, 2005, and Florence 2006.
- Company of Dancers, Team Leader, 1st prize, The USA Institute XVth International Competition for The Masques of the City, Brooklyn Heights River Promenade, New York, 2001.
- Wiszniewski Thomson Architects, 'House in the Country', Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire and 'House by the Sea,' Elie, Fife, Through the Mac Exhibition, 1997, Glasgow and various venues in South America.
- Wiszniewski Thomson Architects, 'Mnemosyncope,' in Houseworks, group exhibition of architectural installations, French Cultural Institute Edinburgh, 1996 and Pitshanger Manor, London, 1997.
- With Thomson Usher Wiszniewski (London), 3rd prize in the international competition The Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and The Arts, Leicester 1993.
These are some of my research and PG supervisory interests. I invite PhD and other PG applicants who may be interested in pursuing the intersection between design and philsophical practices. I am particularly interested in PhD by Design applicants.
Levinas conceives of a particular dynamic to how we conceive and practice political relations. This is informative to how we might consider the role of architecture as a generator of relationships. Levinas speaks of proximity, “the proximity of person to person, the proximity of one’s neighbour or the welcome we prepare for one another" [Outside The Subject]. However, as Levinas leads us to ponder, is there an architecture that can provide a welcome and hosting to an unknown guest? This involves architectural exploration that cannot be derived from ready-made cultural expressions, identity concepts or the prejudices of a dominant host culture.
My Borderlands studios (in Budapest, Istanbul and Shanghai) have investigated specific socio-political and architectural "limits." 'Borderlands' are seen less as the effect of undesirable tension between opposing forces and, once 'otherness' is seen as the paradigmatic place of departure (Bhabha, Habermas, Levinas, Agamben, Nancy and Blanchot), more as places of potentiality for politico-philosophical exchange and richly energized architectural expression.
Curating The City
Apparatuses of narrative [Bertolt Brecht, Brecht On Theatre, The Development Of An Aesthetic] are employed to configure and frequently prescribe the role and relations between curator, architect, artist, scientist, critic and public. However, are the practices of Architecture and the Museum guilty of privileging themselves, especially over the ordinary, so as to protect culture and humanity from the un-theorized, un-valued, non-aesthetic, non-scientific, vulgar, prosaic and spiritually contaminated everyday?
Curating The City promotes a critical exchange between the narrative apparatuses of Architecture and the Museum. It initiates this exchange through an elaboration of two assertions: 1) There is a curatorial basis to the procedures of both Architecture and the Museum; and 2) The curatorial projects of both Architecture and Museum mediate everyday and special narratives of life.
Ecosophy approaches ecology from a deep philosophical understanding of the inter-relation between the environment, social practices and human subjectivity (“the three ecologies”, Guattari, 2000). Therefore, rather than accepting a dialectical separation between urbanity and landscape, between people and landscape, man and nature, I am interested as much in how the city is an effect of landscape as the landscape is an effect of the urban.
Ecosophy tackles head-on the various crises and threats brought to bear on local value systems by global markets. However the purpose of my research-led design and design-led research is to find positive means by which the “incorporeal species” of creative production, (the poetics of materiality), re-evaluate existing, while developing the potential of new, ‘existential territories’. (constructions of social practice).
Since joining University of Edinburgh in 1996, I have taught at various UG and PG levels and on every level of the professionally accredited Architecture programmes. Research interests, which directly correspond to taught courses, concern design practice as excited by the languages of theoretical critique.
I have taught in the Master of Architecture Degree Programme for over 10 years with some notable successes: e.g. The Company of Dancers (a practice formed by students and myself [as team leader] in the M Arch programme The Grand Ball of Tectonics, 2001) won first prize in the USA Institute XVth International Competition for The Masques of the City, Brooklyn Heights River Promenade, New York; Nigel Peake was runner up in the President's Medals for his project The Galata Bridge Bazaar, coming out of the M Arch programme Borderlands in Istanbul 2004-5; Matthew Murphy won first prize in the Archiprix Urban Design Award for World's Best Graduation Project, 2009, for his project on Shanghai Metropolitan Markets in the M Arch Programme, Borderlands in Shanghai.
I am currently Programme Director for the following PG Programmes: PhD by Design; Master of Architecture Integrated Pathway; M Sc Architectural and Urban Design; M Sc Reflective Design Practices.
I am currently Course Organiser for Architectural Theory.
- City, visuality and memory
- Design and studio practice
- Theory and philosophy