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Department of Architecture

The Martin Centre Lectures - 53rd Series 


All the seminars will be held in Lecture Room 1, Scroope Terrace and online via Zoom from 1:30-3:00pm. Register for upcoming events here.

Architecture is sometimes assumed to be an externally instigated act of transformation - a singular individual conceiving previously non-existent form suiting strategic purposes, then imposing them on a site, regardless of context.  Yet, this 'genius' led process is neither inevitable, nor in fact representative of the global majority.  The reality is much more nuanced; grassroots efforts - informed by the availability of resources, along with social, cultural, political, economic and environmental parameters - determine many of the forms characterising our built environment.  Often, these forms emerge from contexts rife with challenge, restriction, destruction and scarcity.

Our goal for this seminar series is to draw together diverse voices from participatory design, biogeomorphology, synthetic aesthetics and beyond to explore architecture as an emergent phenomenon derived from its respective demographic, climatic, material, and infrastructural contexts. Through these conversations, we aim to illuminate how leveraging such emergence might lead to a more responsive built environment, better adapted to solving the dynamic and pressing challenges of today.


More about the Martin Centre Lectures

The Martin Centre Research Seminar Series is one of the longest-running in the field, with the current one being the 53rd annual series. The seminar series is hosted and supported by the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies, the research arm of the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge. The seminars are held every Wednesday during term time at 1.30pm UK time in the Faculty’s lecture room. They are typically well-attended by both staff and students in the department, as well as by members from the University and the wider Cambridge community. You can find out more about the Martin Centre Research Seminar Series on our website and the virtual seminars can be found on YouTube


Previous Lecture Series

Previous lectures are now available on our YouTube channel:

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