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Not Content – Projects for a Shared City: Cube, Manchester 19-30 September 2011

Exploring the relationship between architecture, the city and its citizens, an exhibition, book, films and workshop review four years work from Manchester School of Architecture’s Projects office (MSAP), which was set up to engage with the broader life of the city and its citizens. The book and exhibition are titled ‘Not Content’ because the work they show is born out of an optimistic dissatisfaction with the world, knowing it can be better and wishing to work to make it so. It is sub‐titled projects for a shared city because we relate our architectural skills to the social life of the city through the idea of a ‘Project’ ‐ active and collaborative attempts to make improvements to our world. MSAP engage directly both with those who are affected by and who affect the city’s development, including its policy makers, social agencies and communities.

“Our work is open to be affected by these unusual meetings and encounters and allows projects to emerge from them. We hold as central this principle of co‐operation and collaboration because the city in particular is a place which only becomes loved when its citizens are able to share it ‐ not just own it.

The book and exhibition respond to the form of the book ‘Content’ by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. He was trained as a journalist before becoming an architect and has employed these techniques to explore ways to discuss architecture in a wider forum than just the profession and the academy ‐ ‘Content’ uses a coffee table magazine format to provoke debate on problematic issues such as globalisation and urbicide. Koolhaas is a controversial figure in the debate over what role architects should have in the world, calling for us to construct ‘a plausible relationship between architecture and the social’ while maintaining a position close to the centre of mainstream ‘commercial’ practice. Although Koolhaas’s contribution does provoke discussion on the nature of architecture it remains predominantly sited within the profession and there are numerous references in the work on show to architects concerned with constructing much more direct relationships between the built environment and its citizens.

CUBE, 113-115 Portland Street, Manchester M1 6DW.  T: 0161 237 5525
Mon-Fri 12-5.30pm Saturday 12-5pm www.cube.org.uk

Sharing the City – Workshop. Friday 30 September 12‐5pm. A creative and collaborative workshop to explore how to imagine, design and influence the future of the city of Manchester as a place which is shared by people of all ages, attitudes and occupations. Details of workshop events and how to get involved – Contact: Stefan White  S.White@MMU.ac.uk

Detailed information on MSAP (Manchester School of Architecture Projects)


About Jonathan Vickery

I research the politics of contemporary culture, the role of culture in the public sphere, and cultural economy discourse in International Development. I also work as an art critic, editor and public speaker.


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