The Bartlett School of Architecture


Sarah Rivière

Image: A still from vignette two in the film “Stasis at 835 Kings Road,” (Riviere, 2023). © Sarah Riviere, 2023.



The Stasis Arena: Re-Negotiating the Architecture of the Social Through Kindred Confrontation at 835 Kings Road

First and second supervisors 


This thesis re-animates the ancient Greek concept of stasis (στάσις) as a restrained confrontation between kindred yet dissenting parties. Combining archival research with speculative design, the work enables exchanges characterised by stasis to be performed in text and stop-motion animation through the case study of the “Schindler House” (1922) at 835 Kings Road, West Hollywood. A multi-faceted understanding of stasis as a conceptual tool is developed, through which rich concatenations of social space can be constituted.

Stasis is brought to life in response to Adrian Forty’s (2000) position that architectural modernism was “surprisingly inarticulate when it came to describing the specific social qualities aimed for in its works”. Performed here as a research methodology, the stasis arena becomes a space of confrontational engagement that demands participation and restraint. While largely informed by ancient Greek thought, reference to agonist, critical spatial and semantic discourse on the social enables a malleable understanding of stasis to be configured and applied as a speculative tool to discuss located social exchange within architectural history and design.

Grounded in archival sources, the methodology sets up stasis by re-presenting the initial four co-residents of 835 Kings Road as equitably matched individual players engaged in confrontations that are played out through writing their entwined histories and performing fictional animated vignettes. As the four residents and their house struggle within these stasis arenas, each taking a discrete stance, the process brings to life alternate readings of the historical failure of their cooperative ambition that challenge existing architectural histories of the house and demand a shift in the future design of cooperative space. By working to maintain this series of matched and restrained stasis confrontations, the research presents the stasis arena as a place where dissensus and mutuality can generatively co-exist within cultural discourse and practice.


Sarah Riviere is an architect, independent academic, film maker and architectural educator based in Berlin, Germany. Riviere’s work is inter-disciplinary, linking architectural design, social ambition, and architectural and urban history with the creation of short stop-motion animated films. Her recently completed film entitled “Cooperative Dwelling at 835 Kings Road, West Hollywood” (Riviere, 2023) develops an alternative history of conflictual kindred confrontation at the “Schindler House” in Los Angeles in the 1920s through the methodology of mild stasis. 

As part of the Women in Architecture Festival (WIA-Berlin, 2021), Sarah Riviere co-designed and taught the intersectional feminist “Survival Lounge” project and the “Berliner Architekt*innen: Oral History” project at the Technical University, Berlin. Driven by her passion to create more equitable architectural design processes, Riviere set up the DREAM – PLAY – CHALLENGE project in 2021 with Wiltrud Simbuerger, co-organizing the “Future of Residential Living” symposium (2021), and co-publishing the first book on the theme (Simbuerger & Riviere, 2023).

Published work


  • Simbuerger, W. and Riviere. S, [Eds.] (2023) The DREAM - PLAY - CHALLENGE Project: Facing up to the Crisis in Residential Living. Berlin and Hamburg: Simbuerger Riviere.
  • Kirtak T., Riviere S., and Schlimme H. (2021) Building the Survival Lounge, Intersectional Feminist Construction. Berlin: FG.BSG, Institute of Architecture, TU Berlin.
  • Riviere S. & Schlimme H. [Eds.] (2021) Berliner Architekt*innen: Oral History interviews with 26 industry professionals. Berlin: FG.BSG, Institute of Architecture, TU Berlin.
  • Students of the TU Berlin with Riviere S., Schlimme H., and Schroeder H. (2020) Designing the Survival Lounge, Intersectional Feminist Design. Berlin: FG.BSG, Institute of Architecture, TU Berlin.
  • Riviere S. and Slinger R. [Eds.] (2004) The Matrix - An Urban Design Project. Berlin: Institute of Urban Planning, TU Berlin.


  • Riviere. S. (2017) “Stasis: Charging the Space of Change” in Footprint #19 - Spaces of Conflict, Shoshan M. and Schoonderbeek M. [Eds.] (Delft: Jap Sam Books)
  • Riviere. S. (2005) “Some Certain Distances” in <shift> CITY, Koehl F. and Slinger R. [Eds.] Berlin: Institute of Urban Planning, TU Berlin.

More information

Image: A still from vignette two in the film “Stasis at 835 Kings Road,” (Riviere, 2023). © Sarah Riviere, 2023.