In the closing lecture of Foros 2020, Elsie Owusu defends the crucial role of architecture in the reconstruction following the COVID-19 crisis

The British architect advocates a new social paradigm based on equality, diversity and social justice

On 6 May, the British architect and urban planner Elsie Owusu closed the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture Foros 2020 lecture with a videoconference entitled “Architecture, Art & Inclusion: Lockdown Dreams”. In it, Owusu questioned to what extent the global situation generated by the Covid-19 pandemic will allow architects, artists and engineers to rethink the sector dynamics and move towards a new model. She states, “In this period of forced isolation, we are seeing an opportunity for contemplation- to create visions and dream dreams, making a new resilient society based on smart technology, equality, diversity and social justice.” She concluded, “Even before the pandemic, architecture was facing big challenges. I believe that this crisis will facilitate the success of creative and inclusive networks, as well as small-scale practices ridiculed for a long time by the dominant architecture as “cottage industries.” 

Elsie Owusu OBE is an urban architect and designer. For 10 years, she was a partner in the Feilden + Mawson studio, where she co-directed the renovation of the UK Supreme Court building and redesigned the entrance to Green Park underground station. In 2015 she founded her own architectural firm.  Elsie Owusu is also director of JustGhana, an ethical organisation that promotes domestic investment and good governance in Ghana with a special focus on education for children and young people in the creative industries.  In 2003, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE), granted by Queen Elizabeth II, for her services in the field of architecture as founding President of the Society of Black Architects.  She was elected African Businesswoman of the Year in 2014.  She was a finalist for the presidency of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2018, a position given to Irish architect Alan Jones instead.  

The new edition of Foros, an annual lecture series on architecture, has been given the following title “Co-benefits”. Foros 2020 aims to reflect on the links and processes of cultural interaction between contemporary architecture and other art forms such as dance, sculpture, film, or comic books.

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