Thu 15 Mar 2018, 6.30pm
Who cares?:
Sam Mitchell and Here There Architecture


GSB-01 Lecture Hall
The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design
London E1 7TB

Who Cares last

Sam Mitchell: Reactive Carpentry

The ongoing European refugee crisis of recent years has been a unique context for humanitarian work. The fast paced, rapidly changing situation being faced on the ground by often small NGOs and independent volunteer networks has created a need to be flexible, responsive and innovative in how humanitarian services are designed and provided. This has been just as true for shelter and infrastructure needs and across the continent teams of builders and trades people, often carpenters are having to work with the tools, skills and materials that are immediately available to address ever changing construction challenges that arise from month to month, day to day and even hour to hour. This short talk will cover some examples of more improvised spontaneous construction solutions in this context and notes about how timber seems to often be the go-to material for DIY humanitarians.

Here There Architecture

Here there Architecture’s adventure began in 2016, to establish a socially minded and sustainable way of improving the built environment around our world. The practice strives to work with people from all walks of life, whether to design and manage their new home, their new business venture or to develop a community project for their area. Their architectural design is informed by our extensive experience in various countries. They react to our clients needs and form relationships through design meetings without preconceptions of what they need their space to do for them. Each client is unique and it is through a true understanding of their needs that good design can be achieved. This process was developed by responding to client needs in cultures we were only beginning to understand, however they find it is equally applicable closer to home. Each project which has been completed enables them to develop proposals in different communities and cultures around the world, where resources are finite and quality of life could be drastically improved with a new school or hospital. They offer transparency in every project and hope this added value will bring together a network of involved communities around the world.

A project "Here" at home allows them to progress a project "There" wherever needed. They believe that architectural design should be available for everyone as a tool of social innovation. Their new business model will allow for those socially minded individuals and companies to invest in them as designers in order to create a world where design can connect and empower those we work with, independent of status, location or opportunities. Their experience includes a broad spectrum of projects around the world. These have inspired their innovative and unique approaches to design and progressive methods of project management.


Unit 6 developed a series of lectures titled ‘Who Cares?’, which is running for the third consecutive year. The series aims to bring together architecture students, architects and various organisations to talk about self-initiated architectural projects in marginalised communities in both developed and developing countries. We are interested in research methods, the process of setting up a network of contacts and relationships, the challenges encountered during construction and reflections on how successful (or unsuccessful) realised projects were in benefitting the communities that they were placed in.