Charles Holland is an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the University of Brighton and a director and co-founder of Ordinary Architecture, a London-based architecture and design practice.
Charles’ work has three distinct strands: practice, teaching and research. His practice is multi-disciplinary and includes architecture, art and design projects while his teaching focuses on the relationship of planning, legislation and political policy to architecture and urban design.
Charles’ research interests are pursued through a combination of practice, teaching and writing. He writes regularly for a number of publications including Icon, Volume, Dezeen and RIBA Journal and edits the architecture and design web log 'Fantastic Journal'.
Charles’ written research focuses on two main areas: the structure of architectural practice and forms of rural and regional settlement. His essay entitled Architect: Will Crit For Coffee. The Economies of Architecture for Perspecta, the journal of the Yale School of Architecture, looks at the relationship of architecture to the construction of financial and cultural value. We Need To Talk About Money, in Block Magazine, issue 3, compares the language employed respectively by architects and developers.
Prior to forming Ordinary Architecture, Charles was a Director of FAT Architecture. FAT’s work was cross-disciplinary, involving art practice, curatorship and written research as well as design. Whilst at FAT, Charles was the director in charge of a number of the practice’s projects including A House For Essex, a collaboration with the artist Grayson Perry.
His work has been featured in publications including the Faber Atlas of World Architecture, New Architects 3 and Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture.
Along with his co-directors of FAT and the historian Charles Jencks, Charles edited Radical Post Modernism, a special edition of AD Magazine. The issue reviewed the cultural importance of post-modern architecture, arguing that it introduced a vital and progressive critique of modernism as well as issues of class, politics, identity, gender and diversity.
Charles has taught widely at architecture, art and design schools in the UK and abroad. He has been a Visiting Professor at Yale University and a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, where he teaches an MA Architecture studio. Histeaching has focused specifically on the relationship of planning, legislation and political policy to the production of architecture and urban space. Studios he has taught include research into the Metropolitan Green Belt, the New Town Act and the Garden City movement. These studios have combined research into historical developments with analysis of new and emerging legislation and speculation on the shape of future development.
Charles is regularly invited to lecture and present the work of his practice and teaching activities. He has given presentations at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Geographic Society and the Royal Academy in the UK and at Yale University, Carnegie Mellon and the Southern California Institute of Architecture in the US. His work has been exhibited at, amongst others, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the RIBA and the Royal Academy.
He has contributed two essays to the RIBA’s Building Futures Think Tank. Towards a New Ruralism set out ongoing research into the potential for small scale, rural settlement to respond to the current housing crisis. Electric Edens presented the work of Charles’ studio teaching and a range of speculative proposals for new villages in the south east of England.
I see architecture and design teaching as a combination of research, critical thinking and speculative creative proposals. The line between these areas is often blurred with research moving into proposition and design work containing original research material within it.
A key aspect of my teaching is to encourage a speculative engagement with the everyday and the connection of academic activities with structures and organisations beyond education. I am interested in producing architectural research and design that is of public use beyond academia but which also exploits the potential of universities to challenge and shape the world in which architects and designers work.
I therefore encourage students to see their work as outward-facing including exhibitions, written publications and journalism in order to position their work both within and beyond the academy. The images illustrate various publications and public exhibitions of studio-based research. These include digitally published ‘think-tank’ pieces, bound research drawings, public exhibitions and published design work.