The Temple Bar Trust’s Pathfinders series showcases and celebrates architects and urban designers exploring issues of identity and meaning in their work. We place a focus on practitioners’ engagement of diverse communities, narratives and languages – resilient and equitable cultural drivers of placemaking for London in the 21st century as it transitions through the COVID crisis into a new era. This talk, staged as part of the 2021 London Festival of Architecture – which has the theme of ‘Care’ - focuses on holistic approaches – caring in nature and action - by architects, urban designers, civic leaders and community members to local environments and their sustainable futures.

About this Event;

What are the different ways in which buildings colonise urban spaces, impacting users, environmental priorities and future generations, and how can taking alternative approaches by designing to facilitate wider participation help to mitigate the impact of spatial exclusion? 

Sanaa Shaikh, an architect, educator and activist with a passion for inclusion in the built environment, and the founder of Native Studio, will convey her perspectives on the colonisation of space and the built environment, and, supported by some illustrated examples of projects which have evolved through the application of small considerations, explain how the limitations of colonisation of space can be addressed and transcended.

This talk is part of the 2021 London Festival of Architecture – this year’s theme is ‘Care’ - taking place during the month of June.

You can book on to this event here

About Sanaa Shaikh;

Sanaa founded Native Studio, her RIBA chartered design and architecture practice, in 2020. Native Studio seeks to create accessible and inclusive places and spaces. Through investigating the physical, social and cultural environments specific to a place, the team looks to enhance and enrich these qualities in its approach towards the built environment. This might mean ensuring a design visually represents the community it serves, or implementing a range of environments within a building to meet different users comforts, or ensuring a project reinstates any biodiversity lost in its conception. Working across residential, commercial and public sectors at a range of scales, Native Studio’s work varies from designing and implementing workshops to facilitate stakeholder engagement and interest, to the conception and construction of larger scale buildings and spaces.

Sanaa has worked to encourage wider participation in the built environment by marginalised groups, and has designed, led and participated in workshops with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, Construction Youth Trust, Open City, East London schools and the Manchester Museum. She has been involved in smaller scale installations and workshops that facilitate community participation and involvement in the shaping of the built environment. Sanaa teaches, examines and critiques at various universities, encouraging the discourse between education and practice at the Architectural Association, Oxford Brookes University and Central St Martins. 

Sanaa spoke at the Decolonising Architecture online talk staged in May 2020 as part of the Architecture Foundation’s 100 Day Studio by the group Black Females in Architecture (and also the Blue for Decolonisation symposium organised by the Asian Architects Alliance for the Architecture Foundation). The exhibition ‘How we live now’, staged at the Barbican from 17 May-23 Dec 2021, on the work of the radical 1980s feminist architecture cooperative Matrix exploring who our buildings and shared spaces are for and how they affect us, includes a pamphlet looking at the colonisation of the built environment created by the collective DECOSM, the research collective that brings together spatial practitioners to interrogate the process of colonisation Sanaa cofounded. 

After graduating from the Bartlett and the Architectural Association, Sanaa worked for various London-based practices. She was a partner at MAKE for 5 years where she led large scale commercial projects in the Bahamas, Mumbai and Birmingham. She then practiced at Studio Egret West working with larger scale masterplans and residential projects in London concentrating on the symbiosis of nature and the built environment.

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