Architecture, Festival and the City: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Architecture, Festival and the City

1st Edition

Edited by Jemma Browne, Christian Frost, Ray Lucas


252 pages | 69 B/W Illus.

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Historically the urban festival served as an occasion for affirming shared convictions and identities in the life of the city. Whether religious or civic in nature, these events provided tangible expressions of social, cultural, political, and religious cohesion, often reaffirming a particular shared ethos within diverse urban landscapes. Architecture has long served as a key aspect of this process exhibiting continuity in the flux of these representations through the parading of elaborate ceremonial floats, the construction of temporary buildings, the ‘dressing’ of existing urban space, the alternative occupations of the everyday, and the construction of new buildings and spaces which then become a part of the background fabric of the city.

This book examines how festivals can be used as a lens to examine the relationship between city and citizen and questions whether this is fixed through time, or has been transformed as a response to changes in the modern urban condition. Architecture, Festival and the City looks at the multilayered nature of a diverse selection of festivals and the way they incorporate both orderly (authoritative) and disorderly (subversive) components. The aim is to reveal how the civic nature of urban space is utilised through festival to represent ideas of belonging and identity. Recent political and social gatherings also raise questions about the relationship of these events to ‘ritual’ and whether traditional practices can serve as meaningful references in the twenty-first century.

Table of Contents

Introduction Christian Frost, Raymond Lucas, Jemma Browne The Festival in History 1. ‘Pruning and propagating civic behaviour: three feste in and around Santa Maria della Vittoria in Mantua, 1495-97’
- Italy Susan Janet May 2. A Contemporary Reading of the Accession Day Tilts in relation to Festival and the Elizabethan Notion of ‘Lost Sense of Sight’- UK Constance Lau 3. Festa della Chinea: Tradition and the 'Exotic' in Roman Festival Design –Italy Nicholas Temple 4. "Honneurs et applaudissements": Celebrating the first Jesuit Saints in 17th Century- France Iara Alejandra Dundas The Festival Through History 5. Script and Score: Revisiting Nelson Goodman at Sanja Matsuri- Japan Raymond Lucas 6. The Calcio Storico in Florence: Agonistic Ritual and the Space of Civic Order- Italy Christian Frost 7. The Festal Topography of Andre Breton’s Paris- France Dagmar Motycka Weston 8. The Town of Witches: Triora Transfixed - Italy Grace Alexandra Williams 9. Festival, Ritual and Rhetoric of the Arabian Market Street – Middle East Jasmine Shahin Meaning in the Modern Festival 10. A Better Life For More People: Jaqueline Tyrwhitt's contribution for the Festival of Britain -UK Paola Zanotto 11. A Vigorous Corrective: The Ulster ‘71 Festival
- Northern Ireland Sarah Anne Lappin and Una Walker 12. The Pope, the Park and the City: Dublin, 1979 -Republic of Ireland Brian Ward and Gary Boyd 13. Urban Fabric: Maria Lai at Ulassai,- Sardinia 
Italy David Chandler 14. The Social Architecture of Contemporary Cultural Festivals: Connecting People, the Environment and Art in the Setouchi Triennale
- Japan Simone Shu-Yeng Chung 15. Tahrir Square’s Festive Imagination- Egypt Hazem Ziada Index

About the Editors

Jemma Browne is a lecturer in history and theory of Architecture at the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, where she also teaches in the architectural and interior design studios. She has recently submitted her Doctoral thesis for examination titled Spatial Representations of Memory and Identity: An Urban Cultural Topography. Her research examines how post-industrial cities in the UK are spatially transformed through time by the layering of new and existing expressions of cultural identity, in particular as a result of postcolonial migration. Before working in architectural practice, she ran homelessness projects and worked in many different roles in the housing and social justice charity sector; this experience and commitment to equality and diversity continues to influence and shape her research interests and pedagogical approach.

Christian Frost qualified as an architect in 1990 following the completion of his studies at the University of Cambridge and has practiced in Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In 2001 he became a full-time academic and developed an interest in the medieval period that has resulted in several publications including the book Time, Space and Order: The Making of Medieval Salisbury (2009), and joint editorship of Bishop Robert Grosseteste and Lincoln Cathedral (2014). He is currently undertaking funded research into the continuity of festive iconography in Florence since the medieval period. In 2013 he became the Oscar Naddermier Professor of Architecture at the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design where he organises the delivery of history and theory of architecture and design throughout the school and runs a Masters design studio.

Ray Lucas is Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Manchester, where he served as Head of Department from 2014 to 2018. He has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Aberdeen on A Theory of Notation as a Thinking Tool. From 2014 to 2018, Lucas was an Associate Researcher and External Advisor for anthropologist Tim Ingold’s ERC Advanced Grant Knowing From the Inside which worked between the disciplines of anthropology, fine art, design, architecture and others in order to interrogate how we know our world. He is author of Research Methods for Architecture (Laurence King, 2016), Drawing Parallels: Knowledge Production in Axonometric, Isometric, and Oblique Drawings (Routledge, 2019), and Anthropology for Architects: Social Relations and the Built Environment (Bloomsbury 2019). Lucas’s current research includes 'graphic anthropologies' on marketplaces in South Korea and urban festivals in Japan; he also has an interest in sensory design, film, and architecture, anthropology and geometry, and research into drawing.

About the Series


Critical Studies in Architectural Humanities
Critiques is the book series of the AHRA – Architectural Humanities Research Association. Originally established in 2003 AHRA supports and disseminates interdisciplinary scholarship in all areas under the broad heading of architectural humanities, including architectural history, theory, culture, design and urbanism.

This original series of edited books contains selections of essays developed from the best papers presented at the annual AHRA International Conferences. Each year the event has a particular thematic focus while sharing an emphasis on new and emerging areas of critical research. Recent interdisciplinary areas addressed include urban studies, spatial politics, anthropology, exhibitions and representation.

To find out more about AHRA activities including the themes to be addressed in forthcoming conferences please follow the link below:

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Study & Teaching