New Architecture Writers takes over the Architecture Foundation

The New Architecture Writers' month-long takeover at the Architecture Foundation questions the status quo and offers much needed discussion around diversity in architecture and design criticism and writing

NAW AF takeover
(Image credit: TBC)

It's been a busy few weeks at New Architecture Writers (NAW), the free programme for emerging design critics that focuses on black and minority ethnic emerging professionals in the field. The programme's second cohort (the class of 2019-2020) is in the middle of a month-long takeover at London's Architecture Foundation, exploring 'the changing nature of architectural criticism' through a series of captivating panel discussions, workshops and live interviews, themed ‘Depends on your perspective.'

The team, which consists of Nasra Abdullahi, Shawn Adams, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Lois Innes, Ewa Effiom, Ting Jui and Jasper van der Kort, has curated an exciting season of events – examples of esteemed guests include architect, author and academic Lesley Lokko, designer Akil Scafe-Smith and writer and journalist Owen Hatherley. 

NAW AF takeover portraits

The NAW second cohort consist of Nasra Abdullahi, Shawn Adams, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Lois Innes, Ewa Effiom, Ting Jui and Jasper van der Kort

(Image credit: TBC)

The event topics on offer are as far reaching as the takeover's subject matter, tackling from issues of decolonisation of the architecture practice – through the inaugural discussion between Ghana based artist Ibrahim Mahama, RESOLVE design collective co-founder Akil Scafe-Smith and Ethiopia-based multidisciplinary designer Miriam Hillawi Abraham – to ideas of power in architecture writing, as unpacked last week by speakers Tom Dyckhoff, Owen Hatherley, Leopold Lambert, Lesley Lokko and Rowan Moore. And more is yet to come, include a debate on the power of saying ‘no', coming up this Thursday 15 October. 

‘The aim of the takeover is to broaden the understanding of what is considered to be architecture criticism by giving a platform to unexpected voices, this is what excites us and is the underlying aim of the NAW programme,' says the team. ‘We are also excited by the opportunity enabled by the virtual platform, to engage with people who we may otherwise struggle to get to an in-person event.'

All events are free, digital, chaired and spearheaded by members of the NAW team, and they are being recorded, so if you miss one, fear not; they all become available to watch online following its original transmission.

Founded in 2017, NAW is run by Thomas Aquilina and Tom Wilkinson with the support of the Architecture Foundation – applications for the programme's third cohort are due to open soon. But there's more to come from this dynamic group. ‘This take-over marks the end of the second NAW cohort’s programme and NAW organisers will be announcing the open call for the next round of applicants imminently. We also have exciting plans to follow that will be announced at the end of the takeover so stay tuned for that.'

the word palladio crossed out in red and three heads below it

(Image credit: TBC)

NAH by rosa parks with an image of rosa parks

(Image credit: TBC)

125 things i did not learn in architecture school poster

(Image credit: TBC)

obscure dominos

(Image credit: TBC)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).