UCL Urban Laboratory


Reactivating the Social Condenser! Architecture against Privation

18 May 2015, 9:30 am–7:00 pm

Reactivating the Social Condenser: Architecture against Privation

Event Information

Open to



Room 431/433, 4th Floor, UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, 16 Taviton Street, London WC1H OBW

'In the habits and attitudes of the mass population, low-voltage activity and a weak consciousness would be focused through the circuits of these 'social condensers' into high-voltage catalysts of change.' (Moisei Ginzburg, 1927)

1. We live in a time of privation, crisis and stratification, in housing as well as in public space. Space has become a commodity, and apathy is rife
2. For nearly a century, architects, artists and thinkers have been inspired by and toyed with the grand old Soviet idea of the social condenser. Most, however, have attempted to tame this idea, or have done little other than to pay lip service to it.
3. It is high time, then, to reactivate the social condenser! We want to subject this electrifying idea to serious and systematic re-examination, to re-charge the social condenser as a vector for radical architectural thought and practice.

View the programme here

Confirmed Participants:

- Nick Beech (Oxford Brookes/CCA) social condensations in 1960s London
- Jonathan Charley (Strathclyde) on radical architectural memories
- Udo Grashoff (SSEES, UCL) on 'schwarzwohnen' in East Germany
- Owen Hatherley (London) on 'actually-existing' social condensers
- Michael Marriott and Richard Wentworth (artists) on the 'laundry room'
- Michal Murawski (SSEES, UCL) on Stalinist social condensers
- Andrea Phillips (Goldsmiths) on housing, art and activism
- Jane Rendell (The Bartlett, UCL) on the social condenser and the setting
- Lukasz Stanek (Manchester) on Lefebvre and the social condenser
- Andy Willimott (SSEES) on everyday life in Soviet house communes
- Victor Buchli (Anthropology, UCL) Discussant
- Caroline Humphrey (Cambridge) Discussant

You must register via Eventbrite, socialcondenser.eventbrite.co.uk.

The conference is supported by the UCL Urban Laboratory, and the UCL Grand Challenge: Human Wellbeing and convened by Dr Michal Murawski (SSEES, UCL) and Professor Jane Rendell (The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL).

[external source element is broken]
error message: 'NoneType' object has no attribute 'to_html'