How can architects empower communities?

As part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, Case Furniture will host a discussion with Jo Cowen, Xanthe Hamilton and Rob Bevan to examine how architects can support existing communities in developing and improving their own homes and local environments.

Chaired by Rob Bevan, Jo Cowen and Xanthe Hamilton will draw on their own experiences to explore architects’ changing relationships with communities, as well as the architect’s role in helping to empower and create positive change. It is now more important that the architect is the facilitator rather than the creator, and an enabler of process and discussion, rather than being the designer? The speakers will discuss whether such an approach can create a new relationship between architect and client.


Jo Cowen

Architect Jo Cowen spent six months working in Soweto on community projects and more recently has enabled a community in Fulham to submit a community planning application to allow an entire street to expand their homes. This innovative approach has encouraged individuals to work as a group and empowered them to achieve more working together than they could on their own.

Xanthe Hamilton commissioned Assemble in Toxteth, Liverpool to help bring life back to a severely deprived and neglected community in Granby Four Streets, and to totally transform perceptions of the area. The project won the Turner Prize in 2015. Xanthe now aims to respond to the wider housing crisis, using her experience to elaborate new financing models, and development criteria that invigorates the structures, history, economy and community in other threatened neighbourhoods.

The role of the architect to empower communities, a talk at Case Furniture
Wednesday 22 June
18:30 – 21:00
Case Furniture, 23 East Hill, London, SW18 2HZ

Register for tickets here.