This is a graphic novel about the contemporary architectural profession, in which it acts as the protagonist in the form of an imaginary city called Practiceopolis. The novel narrates quasi-realistic stories that exaggerate the architectural everyday and the tacit, in order to make them prominent and tangible. They depict and dramatise the value conflicts between the different cultures of practising architecture and between the architectural profession and other members of the building industry as political conflicts around the future of Practiceopolis.
The book uses the metaphorical world of Practiceopolis to provoke big questions about everyday routines in the profession that practitioners may take for granted and to examine different ideologies at work among architects and other members of the construction industry. The novel ends in the tradition of dystopian worlds common in a certain strand of graphic novels.
By vividly illustrating and narrating the critical issues he interrogates, the author has created a world which any architect, student or professional, will both instantly recognise and simultaneously reject, provoking the reader to challenge themselves and the profession at large.
Table of Contents
1. The City of Practiceopolis
2. Stories from Practiceopolis: The Atkinson’s Story
01 The Story of the Object within the Object
02 The Story of the Engineer: The Heater!
03 The Story of the Engineer: Air Circulation!
04 The Story of Maintenance
05 The Story of Building Control
06 The Story of Technical Queries
07 The Story of the Late Delivery
08 The Story of the Manufacturer
09 The Story of the Warranty
10 The Story of the Design Conflict
The Debate in Practiceopolis Parliament
Yasser Megahed is Senior Lecturer at Leicester School of Architecture, De Montfort University. He holds a PhD by Design degree from the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, as well as MSc and BArch degrees in Architecture from Cairo University. His research is focused on interrogating cultures of contemporary architectural practice through practice-based methodologies, bridging design research, professional practice research and history and theory of architecture, in addition to a special interest in the use of Design Fiction as a tool for communicating architectural ideas. Yasser worked as an associate architect at Design Office, UK, where he was one of the concept team for the £25 million refurbishment of the Armstrong Building, Newcastle University – shortlisted for the RIBA North East Award 2019. Previously he worked as a senior architect at Architecture and Urbanism Group, Cairo, where he was involved in several projects and winning architectural competitions covering different building typologies in Egypt and the Middle-East.
"This engaging book is hard to place. It is a graphic novel with serious intent: to survey and critique contemporary ways of practising architecture. At the same time, it questions the idea of practice, as it operates in both a globalised construction industry and the industry of cultural commentary. So this is a professional practice textbook. But it is also a theory book. And a satire on architects and architecture. Meanwhile, it shows how cartooning and storytelling can yield methods for architectural research. Practiceopolis will be of interest to architects, to students of architectural design, practice, and theory, and to anyone who wants to think about what it means to construct buildings in the twenty-first century." - Adam Sharr, Professor of Architecture, and Head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, UK