Assemble are a group of young ‘architects’, though none of them qualified that have been nominated for a Turner Prize for their questioning of urban degeneration through the simplicity of their design. They ‘revamp’ urban and industrial and domestic waste and make it into social spaces we want to live and be and use. Their projects can be viewed on their website here but they include a street boarded up after years of dereliction. Yet, this cannot be criticised for any old gentrification ploy, it is a probing with art at the regeneracy that simple ideas can make on both a social and aesthetic ideal where previous formal bureaucratic ideas had little or no long term effect. Below are the highlights on the Guardian article about the group. You can also read more on the street here.
“There is a simple reason for this, which is that Assemble represents values profoundly opposite to those of the current directions of property and planning and of the architects who serve them. Where high land values in southern England and other parts of the country are squeezing out most things to which a price cannot be attached, they champion the unquantifiable benefits of, in particular, human society, of people enjoying life together because it is better than doing it on their own. At a time when cynics (in Oscar Wilde’s definition) reign, the members of Assemble promote value over price. They show no sign of being in it for the money, which is just as well, as there is not much money in what they do.
The word “making” best summarises their interests, the idea that by creating something out of materials and space, you can understand yourself, your surroundings and your companions in ways that are different from, for example, talking or looking. Assemble’s work can, to use a more pretentious term, be called performative. It’s less about creating a finished object than it is about the series of actions by which a space is designed, built and inhabited.
There is something palliative about the way that outfits such as Assemble are given a licence to create delightful moments of public space, but kept away from the decisions that really shape cities”