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Negroni Talk #7 Thick as a brick: Dishonesty and architecture...

25 March 18:30 - 21:30
Organized by: fourth_space
Venue: , Ombra
1 Vyner St
E2 9DG

The Negroni Talks – hosted by architects Fourthspace and sponsored by Campari – are back for a third series following sell-out runs in summer and winter 2018. Located in the Venetian restaurant Ombra, the Negroni Talks were set up to capture the lively and provocative debates that took place in the European café culture of the early twentieth century, with tickets available for food and drinks deals.


Over years of architectural and building history the design approach is often supported by claims of being honest to the material, form and context. This becomes a polemic when encompassed into architectural styles and genres: Hi-Tech wears its heart on its sleeve; Modernism, from the roots of classicism follows function to a degree; and Post Modernism masks and plays with little care whether there is honesty or dishonesty in the styling of buildings.


Marked by increasing amounts of financial and political constraints in the UK, progress in new architectural style and form has become limited. Architects continue to tell us how important they are and fight to illustrate how ethical or how honest they are to their projects. Is there any truth in the claim that the fashion for a rational aesthetic is any more authentic than decorative motifs of the past?


Architects join forces with developers to put some PR spin on their designs but surely commercial viability is more straightforward than a fetish for ideology over purpose. Is there possibility, in this current age of ‘Fake News’, for architects to proudly embrace a dishonest design approach and cheat the constraints of the system? How thick is your brick?



Will Hurst, Architects’ Journal (Chair)

Amin Taha, Groupwork

Jo Cowen, Jo Cowen Architects

Simon Allford, AHMM

Sean Griffiths, Professor of Architecture and freelance artist and architect