Public Works London

A research proposal to describe and study the buildings and facilities that constitute the public infrastructure of contemporary London.

Application to the Richard Rogers Fellowship 2018, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

Even within the rapid processes of privatization in Great Britain today, the unassuming skeleton of collective life is still and almost entirely controlled and managed by public institutions that operate across different scales and activities. The provision of innumerable citizens’ necessities is articulated through an intricate system that operates daily and across the entire metropolitan area. Security, health, education, waste disposal and mass mobility are subtracted to the stringent logic of capitalist accumulation and respond to wider objectives: they are the concrete basis of democratic co-existence of nine million inhabitants.

The research intends to understand how the labour and work associated to the functioning of these interrelated systems are performed across London and, therefore, what spatial and architectural configurations are necessary to their deployment. The proposal is inscribed within the current line of inquiry focused on the relationship between architecture and labour that FIG Projects is currently undertaking through different media and formats. As has always been the case within the historical trajectory of architects and urbanists’ observations and representation of the city (Kevin Lynch or Venturi, Scott-Brown and Izenour), the proposal will operate within a mechanism of feedback loops: while observing and dissecting specific case studies it will further explore and refine the tools for analysis and representation.

Download the proposal here.