I recently served as Dr Lucy Bullivant’s mentor for her PhD by Prior Output while I was PhD supervisor at the CASS, London Metropolitan University (2010-17). It was based on her award-winning book Masterplanning Futures, 2012, supplemented by essays and exhibitions. Lucy has a remarkably rich knowledge of a wide range of international contemporary cities, and her manner of continuing enquiry and generosity with her audiences ensures she captures imaginations and future collaborators.
We are indebted to her for our understanding of the shift in city-making from top-down design and systems to an engaged, bottom up orchestration of sustainable creative civic life, with communication and collaboration addressing a much wider constituency than the professional discourse among experts. She draws on architectural and urban history, planning, anthropology, politics, economics, ecology, sociology and contemporary design practice to fully exploit practices of publication, lectures, conferences and exhibitions.
Lucy’s consultancy activities ensure her thinking is always embedded within the possibilities and limitations of concrete conditions, and she has an unusually broad range of colleagues and collaborators, from politicians and business leaders through academics, architects and urbanists to ordinary citizens. The energy, commitment and sound judgement she brings to this enterprise means she occupies a quite singular position in a field of deep significance to the Anthropocene crisis. I have nothing but admiration for Lucy’s work and I recommend her in the very highest terms, without reservation.Peter Carl, Distinguished Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong, formerly Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, 2017-2019.
‘Lucy Bullivant is a compelling, engaging and responsive speaker; she’s comfortable with audiences in a large auditorium, as well as with smaller professional panels. Often the two are in combination and Lucy handles this well. She has an ability to guide her listeners and shift their focus, from her supporting videos/photos to a panel member’s input, whilst offering historical reflection, artistic principles and practical information. She also has an interesting dynamic voice and uses it well. She appears to be at the top of her profession in experience and scholarship and is able to relay this both to experts and those who might be new to her subject’.Ellen Newman, Senior Voice Tutor and Head of Voice, RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art),1995-2012 (2019).
‘Lucy Bullivant has worked as a London-based architecture curator, author, critic, guest lecturer and advisor on a full time independent consultancy basis since 1987. During this time she has forged global connections with leading museums, galleries, cultural institutions, publishers and corporate bodies, advancing projects which highlight the qualities and skills of UK architects. In all her projects, be they writing, facilitating, curating, advising, lecturing or architectural judging (for the AA, the RIBA and the Berlage Institute), she has consistently advocated higher design standards and experimental multidisciplinary strategies. Her work as a critic and author, as well as a regular chair of events and guest lecturer internationally, brings fresh research ideas to bear on every task, and means she is well suited to the role of advancing the public’s understanding of architecture’s role in society.
Her international exhibitions and conferences (as well as their related publications) have covered ground-breaking and yet popular projects – as evidenced by their attendances. They have featured leading and emerging international practitioners from a range of disciplines, and dealt with topical issues relating to architecture’s role as a social art, including its ‘new pragmatism’, its relationship with landscape architecture; alternative strategies in public housing design; the role of responsive environments; and the cultural history of children’s environments within and beyond the Western world. She has consistently strived to bring important topics and individuals to public attention, not relying on commissions, but also working speculatively on self-generated projects, often at her own risk – for instance her Masterplanning Futures, a book for Routledge (2012) was made possible by grants from CABE and other cultural bodies.
She is a widely respected for her work in building awareness of the cultural value of architecture and for her investigations into emergent modes of practice and their social effects. Her consistent publication in leading specialist magazines globally shows her commitment to communicating topical concepts, views and projects to an international audience. The RIBA is pleased to recognize her independent, yet deeply collaborative, cross-cultural international work.’The above citation was made by the 2010 RIBA Honours Committee chaired by RIBA President, Ruth Reed with architects Edward Cullinan, Eva Jiricna and Chris Wilkinson, engineer Max Fordham and client Laura Lee. 12 new Honorary Fellowships of the RIBA were made to individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, including politics, journalism, landscape design and engineering. RIBA Honorary Fellowships reward the particular contributions people have made to architecture in its broadest sense: its promotion, administration and outreach; its role in building more sustainable communities; and its role in the education of future generations. The lifetime honour, conferred annually, allows recipients to use the initials Hon FRIBA after their name.
‘The presence of Lucy Bullivant caused a stir in the room. She is an author and advisor who researches processes of urban design and innovative synergies, known for her articles on architecture in The Guardian and publications including Masterplanning Futures…Bullivant defined and exemplified the new priorities of contemporary urban planning: the social equality of citizens, the diversification of land uses, the need to reinvent the infrastructure, and the achievement of ecologically advanced results’.Lluis Comeron and Roger Subirà, Secretaria, Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC), Barcelona, Spain, on the occasion of the Congrés d’Arquitectura, COAC, 2016.
‘Bullivant’s presentation was like a speed-mentoring session through her very thoughtful and detailed book, beginning with the over-arching premise that there has been a “necessary evolution” from 20th-century top-down master planning, which tended towards a “cut-and-paste urbanism,” to 21st-century bottom-up “adaptive” planning. The challenges facing cities and regions today, she said, require “a dynamic relationship and equilibrium” between those top-down aspirations of the past” and “bottom-up thinking” of today’.Kirsten Richards, Editor, Oculus, AIA NYC chapter, launch event for Lucy’s book, Masterplanning Futures, AIA Center of Architecture, NYC, 2013.
‘I work with Lucy on the LEAF Architectural Awards. Her knowledge & her hard work as a judge as well as presenting the awards in 2011 was faultless. She is always happy to help and I am pleased that once again she is on the judging panel for the 2012 award show.’Natasha Raynor, Global Digital Sales Manager, CNN International, London (presenter of the LEAF international architectural awards 2011, staged at the 5-star Landmark Hotel, Marylebone, London).
‘I invited Lucy to lecture to our Masters students at the Royal College of Art. She gave the most well prepared, fluent and cogent talk of the whole series, packed with research and thoughts, and brilliantly illustrated with a generous pack of slides’.Alex Haw, Unit tutor, Architecture, Royal College of Art and founding director, Atmos (2012).
‘Space Invaders puts the spotlight on a younger generation of British architects to reveal new and sometimes unfamiliar directions in Britain’s architectural production. In an exploratory spirit of cross-fertilisation, Space Invaders launches in Lisbon as part of the Experimental design biennale, an international festival celebrating conceptually innovative approaches to design, now in its second year. We would like to thank our two curators, Lucy Bullivant and Pedro Gadanho, for their enthusiasm and tireless commitment to the project, and for providing their invaluable perspectives from outside and within Britain’.Emily Campbell and Andrea Rose, Art, Architecture & Design, The British Council (2001)
‘Lucy Bullivant and Jutta Oldiges have been responsible for curating the exhibition, Kid size: the material world of childhood, and the catalogue, during a three year gestation, and have overcome many difficulties. I should like to thank them both wholeheartedly for their unconditional commitment and great stamina’.Alexander von Vegesack, Director, Vitra Design Museum (1997)