This residential “Summer School”, entitled “Critical Subjects” is a week-long opportunity for some of the keenest young designers in the country  – students and practitioners – to engage in a series of intellectual, architectural and urban design challenges facilitated by leading names in the field.

  • It will be hosted by a different architectural office each day.
  • It will be presented by a wide range of influential practitioners, commentators and critics.
  • It will be a unique experience for all those involved… and will challenge everyone to think more deeply, communicate more freely and criticize more constructively than in any other contemporary architectural forum.


In the present challenging climate, we feel there has never been a more urgent time for design professionals to show leadership in a serious discussion that reflect on the past and understanding the present, in order to design the future.

Supported by The Architectural Review, this summer school will engage the architectural and urban opinion-formers of today and tomorrow.

Alongside the issues-based public debates on contempo­rary topics, there will be lectures, studio-based design tutorials, seminars, and a series of specialist lectures. As well as the taught modules, there will be gallery visits, building studies, competitions, presentational guides and networking opportunities.


The Summer School is open to architecture, urban design and built environment students and professionals worldwide.
Entry Competition
Spaces are limited and so we will announce a competition, with an internationally-renowned jury to choose the participants. A small number of sponsored bursaries are available.

Selected sessions include:
What is “critical thinking”?; What is “design thinking?”; What is “creative thinking”? Why we love/hate China; Is design expendable in a recession?; Demolish or preserve?; What is “nature”?; Whatever happened to the avant garde?; Social (ir)responsibility; Computers vs hand-drawing; Who remembers history?; Theory or practice?; Education vs Skills?; Art for art’s sake; Utopianism; The death of spectacle; Whither the future?; Thinking the unthinkable; The return of craft; Challenging the brief; Technophilia vs technophobia; How to get buildings built; Working abroad; What is beauty?; Education in crisis; Localism vs Universalism; Architecture or engineering?; Energy in crisis?; What happened to Detroit?; Development vs sustainable development? Is urbanization good… and why?; Why is architecture popular?; Austerity chic; What’s ethical about design?; Internships: Exploitation or necessity?; Why growth is good; What’s modern about modern architecture?; Pop-ups and urban farms; The global 10 billion; “Predict and provide” or “patch and repair”?; What is “urbanity”?; Is an uncongested city, a village? Africa rising; Design changes nothing – discuss;… and many more.

More information coming soon.
Advisory & Judging Panel
Partnering opportunities