Scaffold Episode 97: Apparata

Nicholas Lobo Brennan and Astrid Smitham on new models of collective living

Nicholas Lobo Brennan and Astrid Smitham – founding directors of the London-based architecture practice Apparata – take listeners on a tour of their celebrated "House for Artists" project in episode 97 of Scaffold

Until recently Apparata’s work focused mostly on subtle refurbishments of existing buildings, including the Old Manor park Library in Newham, and the White House, in Dagenham – two projects commissioned by the non-profit Create London. A House for Artists (also comissioned in part by Create) marks a significant departure, proposing a new model of collective living that subverts conventions of privacy and notions of propriety that have become so entrenched in British housing. 

What we are always trying to do is a kind of activism, but the activism is entirely expressed and developed through prosaic things – literally, where is the door, how wide is the walkway, that kind of stuff.

It’s not "either or" – either architecture is its own autonomous discipline, or it’s a social practice – there has to be room for the idea that literal construction, space and architecture can form the the actual devices you use to engage with activist work"

– Apparata 




Nicholas and Astrid established apparata in 2016, have taught together at the Royal College of Art, and currently run a design studio at the Kingston School of Art in London. Before establishing Apparata, Astrid was briefly a screenwriter in Berlin, and Nicholas worked for Peter Zumthor in Switzerland and Florian Beigle's Architecture Research Unit in London. Nicholas taught with Tom Emerson at ETH, where he helped establish the Studio’s live build projects, and from 2011-2014 he was a founding member of GRUPPE, a Zurich-based architecture practice. 





Scaffold is a podcast series featuring interviews with architects, artists and designers. Hosted by Matthew Blunderfield and produced by the Architecture Foundation, it is available on Apple PocastsSpotify, and most major podcast streaming platforms.

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