Critical Grounds

Month: December, 2010

San Rocco’s modest proposal

San Rocco (see links) have just posted a series of beautifully sarcastic images in response to newly proposed Italian legislation, following the recent student demonstrations in Rome, to curb access to protest in public space. The text and a few of the images are reproduced below.

“Dear Friends,

On December 18, Italian Minister of the Interior Roberto Maroni officially supported a proposal by Undersecretary Alfredo Mantovano to extend the anti-hooliganism police measure known as “Daspo” (an acronym for Divieto di accedere alle manifestazioni sportive, or prohibition of access to sporting events) to regulate access to public spaces on the occasion of political rallies.
The proposal was made on the heels of student demonstrations in Rome and has been enthusiastically supported by several of the Minister’s brilliant peers, such as the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, and Senator Maurizio Gasparri.

In the images below, San Rocco has envisioned a modest proposal of its own to introduce efficient technological devices to regulate access to public space.”


Absolute Returns


Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton, Zaha Hadid Architects, 2010. Photo: Luke Hayes


Owen Hatherley has written an excellent critical essay on Zaha Hadid Architects’ recently opened Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton for Architecture Today. As with my own piece on their BMW Leipzig for the Journal of Architecture earlier this year, and my post on this blog on that project, Owen produces an architectural critique that establishes the political and economic context of the building whilst attempting to understand the formal dimensions of their expression. Though, as ever, with more eloquence and style than my own ponderously academic prose. Here’s an extract (link to the full article below).


Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton, Zaha Hadid Architects, 2010. Photo: Luke Hayes



“‘What I would really love to build’, Zaha Hadid once told The Guardian, ‘are schools, hospitals, social housing. Of course I believe imaginative architecture can make a difference to people’s lives, but I wish it was possible to divert some of the effort we put into ambitious museums and galleries into the basic architectural building blocks of society.’ On the face of it, that’s what’s happened here – this is the firm’s first school, and – finally – its first completed building in England. Yet this isn’t any mere comprehensive school, but a City Academy, whose sponsors provide a small percentage of capital funding in return for a substantial degree of educational control. Evelyn Grace is sponsored by hedge fund managers led by Arpad ‘Arki’ Busson, organised as the delightfully named charity ARK (Absolute Return for Kids).”

See entire article at:


March Down Babylon

In solidarity with the students of UEL, Westminster and ALL those who marched on parliament on 9th December 2010