University of the Arts London
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Alex Fitch - Using comics to promote green and inclusive architecture

conference contribution
posted on 2020-06-29, 15:54 authored by Alex Fitch
02/07/2020 10:00 Room 1 #usipss

Outside of the range of comics and graphic novels available to the general public, a small number of
architects are using sequential art to explain their designs to clients and stakeholders. These include
proposals concerned with the integration of recycling, green spaces and community involvement in
their projects.
Erect Architects’ BinToGather project was commissioned as part of the Royal Institute of British
Architects’ ‘Constructing Communities’ season, and includes comic strips to explain the design and
implementation of a recycling initiative. C.J. Lim and Ed Liu’s book smartcities, resilient landscapes +
eco-warriors includes a number of comics looking at the possibilities of eco-friendly architecture
which could be built variously in North Dakota and Jiangu Province, as well imagining a utopian
future based on greater integration of green spaces in cities. Sabba Khan’s involvement with the
‘Shape Newham’ project brings her parallel careers as an architect and graphic novelist into the
revitalisation of public spaces in this East London Borough.
Bradford Wright has investigated how superhero comics promote (and resist) societal change, while
Hammond and Danaher note the medium of comics as a useful pedagogical medium for interactions with
teenagers. Recent research by Paul Fisher Davies has also unpacked the effectiveness of comics as a
communication device. Based on these insights into comics as an educational tool, and
conversations with Susanne Tutsch (Erect), Lim, and Khan, this paper will look at how architects use
comics in their work and why each of these creators sees the form as an important way of sharing
and integrating their ideas in the public realm.


Design Star



Alex Fitch is the presenter of Panel Borders, the UK’s only monthly broadcast radio show about comics on Resonance FM, the Arts Council station in London. He has been published on the subjects of comics and film by Intellect, Strange Attractor, University Press of Mississippi, University of Michigan Library, and McFarland. He is pursuing a PhD on the Interrelation between Comics and Architecture at the University of Brighton.