Meet Iain Borden, Professor of Architecture & Urban Culture
Architectural historian and Professor of Architecture & Urban Culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), Iain Borden helped us create The Project at Hoxton, so we asked him a few questions about his involvement and how The Project will help you make the most out of your time in London.
What is your background?
I have a long-standing interest in how buildings and urban spaces play an important part in people’s experience and pleasure in cities. As part of this, I have a particular interest in alternative ways of living and using city spaces, enabling people to be more creative, critical and productive, and to this end I have researched and written about everything from collective living in Garden Cities to skateboarding as a critical urban act. I also have a role at the Bartlett and UCL as Vice-Dean Education, which means I have yet another focus, this time on student experience, and how they can best enjoy and maximise their time while at university in London.
What concerns you about traditional student accommodation and how do you think The Project at Hoxton has overcome these problems?
Student accommodation in any great city like London raises all kinds of challenges, from location and attractivity to how it fits in with the rich, demanding and dynamic lives which students today live. I believe The Project at Hoxton rises to these challenges, and will help students to get the widest urban experience they possibly can.
“Collective pace is a kind of microcosm of urban life”
You’ve helped us to create a ‘Collective Space’ at The Project at Hoxton, what is it and how will it benefit our residents?
Collective space is anywhere which helps people transcend the anonymity and isolation which we all sometimes feel in large cities. From open public squares, parks and cafés to more exclusive clubs and living spaces, collective space is where people at once meet other people and so widen their horizons, but it is where people find themselves as individuals, and develop their own beliefs, enthusiasms, likes and dislikes. Collective space is a kind of microcosm of urban life, where people test things out, collaborate, converse and grow – the ‘Play/ Nook’ and ‘Move’ areas at The Project are the perfect example of this.