Turncoats: Quit Architecture Now

The first in a series of debates rugby tackling six fundamental issues facing contemporary practice


06:30pm, Thursday, 5 November 2015


09:00pm, Thursday, 5 November 2015


The Women's Library, Calcutta House, Old Castle Street, Aldgate, E1 7NT


Free, but booking is essential.


This is a past event

Turncoats is a project by Phineas Harper, Robert Mull and Maria Smith hosted by the CASS in Whitechapel and supported by the Architecture Foundation.

This debate is one in a series created by Maria Smith, Phineas Harper and Robert Mull. Each is theatrically provocative presenting combative propositions challenging six aspects of architectural practice.

In this first discussion a panel of widely respected individuals who all studied architecture before leaving to pursue other projects will discuss whether becoming an architect is a waste of the creativity and energy of those who study it.

The Proposition

"We all assume that to quit architecture is to fail. Yet the vast majority of those who stick it out are sucked into a world of disempowered subservience to big business. Becoming an architect squanders the creativity and energy of those who are attracted to study architecture in the first place, robbing society and the individual of their potential. There is a better way. We should all quit architecture before it's too late."


The Debaters

This debate's panel all studied architecture before quitting. They are best known for their varied and influential work leading projects beyond the profession but still related to architecture and wider culture.

Harry Parr studied architecture at the Bartlett before cofounding Bompas and Parr, the Jelly wielding, breathable alcohol emitting design studio currently in the process of launching the British Museum of Food.

Claire Bennie studied architecture at Bath and Glasgow School of Art. After practicing as an architect she became Development Director of the housing association giant Peabody before setting up as an independent development specialist. She is also writing a radio play about property development.

Kate MacTiernan studied architecture at the University of Melbourne and the CASS and was Senior Architectural Designer at London-based practice Makespace. She is now Creative Director of Shuffle, a community organisation and powerhouse behind the annual Shuffle Festival in Mile End.

Crispin Kelly studied architecture at the Architectural Association where he was president from 2001 to 2002. He founded and runs the widely respected property development company Baylight.


Indy Johar studied architecture at Bath. He practised as an architect with Penoyre and Prasad for 5 years before co-founding 00 whose unconventional networked structure is radically different to a typical architecture firm. He is engaged with a vast array of projects including WikiHouse, the Young Foundation and Impact Hub Ventures.