Colin Fournier


It is significant that the AASA – Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia (https://aasa.org.au) conference on Applied Collaborations took place in Christchurch in the Fall of 2015, not long after the earthquakes that tragically destroyed a major part of the city. Although the physical devastation was extensive and highly traumatic for the inhabitants, it was encouraging to observe that, after an initial phase of shock and paralysis, came an optimistic period of quasi euphoria, a revolutionary spirit, a sense that the city could be radically reinvented instead of being rebuilt merely as a faithful replication of the past.
Rather than aspiring to a reinstatement and perpetuation of the status quo, it was felt that it could emancipate itself from its colonial past, become a better city and, most importantly, that its rebirth could call upon the energy, enthusiasm, self-motivation and generosity of all its inhabitants and truly involve the participation of the community as a whole.
The city, while still licking its wounds and clearing up the debris, went through a vibrant period of recovery and utopian dreaming, a phase when it was felt that anything was possible, that not only could the urban fabric and its supporting infrastructure systems be radically changed but that its governing institutions could also be transformed, as well as the fabric of society as a whole. It was felt that this unique opportunity had to be seized before it was too late. The time had come for a major urban and social mutation.


How to Cite
Fournier, C. (2017) “Critical thresholds. Traversing architectural pedagogy, research, and practice”, The Journal of Public Space, 2(3), pp. 1–6. doi: 10.5204/jps.v2i3.106.
Author Biography

Colin Fournier, University College London (UCL), Bartlett School of Architecture

Colin Fournier is Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urbanism and Principal Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL) and Visiting Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was Bernard Tschumi’s partner for the design of the Parc de la Villette in Paris and co-author, with Sir Peter Cook, of the Graz Kunsthaus, a radical museum of modern art in the city of Graz, Austria. Prof. Fournier was an associate member of the famous experimental design group Archigram Architects and was curator of the 2013 Bi-city Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism in Hong Kong and Shenzen. Based on a winning competition entry, he designed the public spaces of the Bundesamt für Statistik in Neuchatel, Switzerland, within the administrative complex designed by Bauart Architekten, Bern. For several years, Colin Fournier was planning director of the Ralph M. Parsons company in Pasadena, California; in this capacity, he planned several new town projects, in particular the urbanistic mega project Yanbu, on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, with a population of 200 000 inhabitants and a total yearly construction budget of over 2 trillion US Dollars.