The Open University, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London, NW1 8NP.


Time: 10:00 - 16:00

In Building the Unfinished (1977), Lars Lerup develops an orientation to form-making that approaches unfinishedness not as an imperfection but as a creative and conceptual resource alive to the movements of difference, matter and time. For Lerup, unfinished environments co-evolve with bodies in various states of divergence and are devised to enable experimentation with new configurations of things that disrupt constraining modes of agency and association.

This seminar examines the workings of the unfinished in contemporary architecture, design and planning. It asks how the unfinished can be summoned and sustained in practice and thought as well as under what conditions. Could the unfinished trouble established ways of acting through its immersion in the processual and speculative? Might it yield alternative responses to ecological fragility and social inequality? And significantly, what pedagogies are required to cultivate skills of form-making that are attuned to an unfinished world?  

Chaired by Dr Kim Kullman (The Open University) and Professor Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham), the first part of the seminar consists of a keynote by Professor Lars Lerup (Rice University, USA) and commentaries that develop four themes in conjunction with the unfinished: agency (Dr Jos Boys, The Bartlett), temporality (Dr Lauren Andres, University of Birmingham), performativity (Professor Yeoryia Manolopoulou, The Bartlett) and pedagogy (Dr Craig Martin, University of Edinburgh). The second part of the seminar involves a thinking through making session, which is led by Dr Kat Jungnickel (Goldsmiths) and explores articulations of the unfinished through the medium of sewing.


This is an invitation-only event and the number of participants will be limited to 20. It is sponsored by the Open Space Research Centre at the Open University. For questions about the seminar, please contact