EXP, the Research Centre for Experimental Practice in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at University of Westminster, launched its innovative web site for Supercrits series, www.supercrits.com, at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology/Adapt-r Practice Research Symposium in Ghent last week (11 April 2014).

“Supercrits are a brilliant invention and we are proud to host this research by EXP, and facilitate its evolving presentations,” says Professor Katharine Heron, Head of the University of Westminster’s Department of Architecture. “Architects of world renown subject a reputation-making project to the scrutiny of a panel of international critics, and an audience of students and practitioners. The launch of our website is attracting widespread attention.”

The Supercrit events allow extraordinary discussions between some of the world's greatest architects and some of their most vocal critics. Find out what David Greene, of the radical architectural group Archigram really thinks of Rem Koolhaas' seminal book Delirious New York - and what Koolhaas has to say in response. Hear Leon Krier's answer to the idea that his 'model village' for the Prince of Wales, Poundbury, would have been better as a modernist project. Or listen to James Stirling's colleagues explain how 'Big Jim' dealt with criticism of his masterpiece the Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart.

Supercrits, launched in 2003, are an inventive series of talks that invited some of the world’s greatest architects into the studio to present one of their most famous projects to a student audience and a panel of international critics. Subjects have included Cedric Price, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Richard Rogers, Bernard Tschumi, Rem Koolhaas, Leon Krier and James Stirling Michael Wilford.

The newly launched website allows full view of annotated and illustrated video footage of the Supercrit #5 (Rem Koolhaas presenting Delirious New York to critics David Greene, Alejandro Zaera Polo and Mark Wigley with Paul Finch chairing) Supercrit #6 (Leon Krier presenting Poundbury to Sarah Wigglesworth, Jules Lubbock, James Woudhuysen and Sean Griffiths with Charles Jencks chairing)  and Supercrit #7 Michael Wilford presenting James Stirling Michael Wilford's Neue Staatsgalerie  to Louisa Hutton, Kieran Long Charles Jencks and John Tuomey, with Piers Gough chairing.

The new site also gives links to the beautiful Routledge book versions of Supercrits #1-#4, covering Cedric Price's brilliant Potteries ThinkBelt project; Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown's iconoclastic book Learning From Las Vegas; Richard Rogers' wonderful Pompidou Centre; and Bernard Tschumi's seminal Parc de la Villette. The books, by Kester Rattenbury and Samantha Hardingham, feature new essays, extensive reading lists and source material and original, often unpublished picture research of the original schemes and the context as well as full transcripts of the events.

The new website is a light-touch version of the books, and aimed at a wider online audience, forming an essential new resource for students, architects and an interested public. It builds on EXP's experience in developing the Archigram Archival Project, which was aimed at both an expert, academic and popular web audience, with more than two million visits from around the world to date.

The Supercrits site offers a new kind of annotated video record of the events, including notes, illustrations and links, and new essays on the events by Kester Rattenbury. The website has been developed by Filip Visnjic and Eduard Prats Molner. Content has been researched, written and edited by Dr Kester Rattenbury, with Clare Hamman, project manager.

The Supercrits series was developed from an idea by Cedric Price, Paul Finch and Samantha Hardingham, and co-run by Kester Rattenbury and Samantha Hardingham. The Architecture Foundation has co-run all events from Supercrit #3; other collaborators include the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Supercrits#1 and #7) Jackson Coles (sponsors of Supercrit #5) and Tate Britain (hosts of Supercrit #7). The original book series was designed by John Morgan Studio, published by Routledge and co-written by Kester Rattenbury and Samantha Hardingham.

“You actually succeeded in slightly intimidating me”.
Rem Koolhaas, Supercrit #5

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Evans-Toyne, Vikki Thomas or Chiara Barreca
Broadgate Mainland
T: +44(0) 20 7726 6111
E: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

Supercrits are an invention of EXP, the research centre for Experimental Practice in Architecture, led by Dr Kester Rattenbury at the University of Westminster School of Architecture.

The Supercrits website went live in December 2013. The launch was to coincide with the RMIT/Adapt-r Practice Research Symposium in which design practitioners explore and develop the research within their own practice. ADAPT-r (Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training-research) is a €4M FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network offering a new approach to PhD training for creative practitioners. ADAPT-r is a network of 7 Partner Institutions including the University of Westminster.

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