In 2017, the year the Bartlett Real Estate Institute was established, seeing a lack of space for students and staff to coalesce around the opposition to the idea that the built environment should be determined by the logic of the market, and the proposition that an alternative academy and practice can be collectively built—we set up a project called BREAK//LINE. The ‘we’ here is: Thom Callan Riley, Miranda Critchley, Thandi Loewenson and Sayan Skandarajah, soon joined by David Roberts.
BREAK//LINE was publicly launched with a one day happening in February of the following year. For one day, we transformed the public, ground floor space of the newly rebuilt Bartlett School of Architecture at 22 Gordon Street into a collaborative studio—with partnerships of students, staff and practitioners from within and beyond the academy formed to produce work in dialogue.
Serhan Ahmet Tekbas and Akil Scafe Smith sought to question how a reimagined, performative and public architecture school might look.
Joanna McLean and Judit Ferencz developed a series of illustrated dialogues exploring the ‘leaky pipeline effect’—how women have a disproportionately high drop-out rate in architectural education.
Sam Coulton and Kirsty Badenoch produced an interplay between two terrains not usually brought into dialogue—London and Montevideo—explored through weathering, light, exposure and light sensitive fabrics.
Phuong Tram Nguyen and Nicole Teh worked on ‘The Tale of a Disappearing City’, a piece made from film and projection to capture the story of a city of fading light and shadows.
Ecem Ergin and Ben Spong played a game with no rules and no definite end, working with a conversational and dialogical structure of design.
From BREAK//LINE, Thom Callan Riley, Miranda Critchley, Thandi Loewenson and Sayan Skandarajah collaborated on a banner and manifesto. Inspired by union banners, the BREAK//LINE banner is the product of four hands, and four approaches: typed, drawn, stitched and pinned. It remains unfinished, open to development and interpretation, much like the BREAK//LINE project itself.
The one day happening closed with a public exhibition in which the collaborative works produced during the day were shown, with a sound system, and with a bar. This event was supported by funds from Rick Mather Architects and the Bartlett School of Architecture.