“Every town and city should have a physical space where people can go to understand, debate and get involved in the past, present and future of where they live, work and play. The purpose of these Urban Rooms is to foster meaningful connections between people and place, using creative methods of engagement to encourage active participation in the future of our buildings, streets and neighbourhoods.” (Urban Rooms Network – Place Alliance)
At the University of Reading this summer, we present the Urban Room: a temporary wooden structure which carries the potential for enabling conversation and encounters between people and communities across Reading as a town and the University. Built by second year Architecture students as part of their studies, the Urban Room will offer a visually stimulating focal point on the beautiful London Road campus of the University during May and June.
As part of the University’s arts strategy, the Urban Room will host a programme of events asking ‘how can arts practice help create a ‘door’ between the town and the University?’. We will be inviting Reading artists, University students and staff, community organisations and the public to discover and rediscover the Urban Room during a series of interventions, invitations and events.
Working with Reading arts organisation Jelly, we plan to host six artist micro-residencies, where for two days at a time artists will be invited to occupy the Urban Room, providing specific moments for the general public to encounter their practice and exchange ideas.
We have also invited Reading School of Art and Reading International to host reflective events on their recent community-facing programmes. Finally, we will celebrate ‘Hybrid Practices’ through an architecture-artist lens, inviting public, artists and University researchers to explore what happens when different expertises come together to explore one set of problems.
Following the Urban Room arts programme, the space will become an exhibition venue for Architecture students to show the outcome of their work. After dismantling, the Urban Room will have a further life at a nearby primary school as an outdoor learning space for children.
The Urban Room will be built by students from the School of Architecture between 26 April and 3 May, in collaboration with academic staff and external contractors:
Structural engineers: Corbett Tasker
Design team: Invisible studio
The Shanly group www.shanlyhomes.com are working in partnership with the School of Architecture offering sponsorship as part of their 50 year celebration .
We would like to thank them for their contribution towards the Urban Room structure and sponsorship of our public lecture series
Key dates (subject to confirmation)
15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31 May:
Public-facing artist ‘encounters’ will occur on Wednesdays and Fridays, 12-2pm, between 15 May and 31 May. All are welcome
7 June: ‘Hybrid Practices’ event (co-hosted by staff from the School of Architecture, the School of Art, and the Arts Strategy)
14 June: Architecture End of Year Show
21/22 June: University of Reading Open Day