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ADS1: Pomp & Circumstance

Janice Tai

Janice is a student studying Master of Architecture at the RCA, currently based in London. Growing up in Hong Kong, a dense, fast-paced, utilitarian city, whose architecture and construction are dominated by the unspoken rule that ‘form follows profit’. Witnessing how, in international cities such as Hong Kong, democratic space has somehow become a luxury, triggered Janice to reflect on types of spaces essential for public interaction. 

Janice is currently studying in ADS 1: Pomp & Circumstance with Douglas Murphy, Andrea Zanderigo, and Selina Ahmann. She wishes to apply and respond critically to the socio-political crises using radical spatial strategies. One of which is to investigate the ideas through the medium of the architectural projects by Richard Rogers and Edward Lutyens, two architects from two critical moments in the UK.

Prior to her time at the RCA, she studied at the University of Westminster and Central Saint Martins. After graduating, Janice has worked in award-winning architectural practices of varying scales both in Hong Kong and London including aLL Design, Knights Architect, and Ronald Lu and Partners. She has participated in projects ranging from designing an airport bridge, cancer centre, to master planning. Janice is open to exploring all aspects of architecture.


Degree Details

School of Architecture

ADS1: Pomp & Circumstance

Welcome to the year of 2021 as we bid farewell to 2019-2020, a year of considerable turbulence for much of the rest of the world, people in more than 20 countries have taken to the streets to demand reforms and change. And those demands are widely shared covering a broad field of opposition to corruption, concern over inequality and injustice, demands for political autonomy, protests against over-policing, and the need to address climate change. All is there. With the rise of authoritarianism in a number of countries, many of these unrests are being met with harsh responses. 

This design thesis aims to examine the role of architecture in facilitating ‘solidarity’, and how this can be translated into an architectural language. What are the opportunities for solidarity? Despite the popular use of online communication platforms, physical spaces remain essential in carrying out meaningful demonstrations, gathering collective opinions, and to express for a positive impact.

This physical intervention can also act as a space for emotional connection, which is one of the human instincts. By exploring the similarities of various references, including the inspirations from Roger’s ethos – ‘Architecture is a social and political art. It offers opportunities to address social concerns’, I hope to pick out the features that are timeless and can be adapted to suit the use of the 21st century and beyond.


Paris : plan des barricades 1795 - 1871 — [Archive] Barricades and Boulevards: Material transformations of Paris, 1795-1871 From Carl Douglas



‘The People’s Parliament’ in Hyde Park

Viewing Corridor: Oversight UK conventional Power


Pavilion at night — During winters time, when the sky gets darker earlier, the lighting inside the pavilion will reveal the overarching structure, creating an effect of glowing in the dark.

After mid-term, ADS1 began to translate our studies of Richard Rogers into propositional thinking by designing a pavilion. As part of a group with Max Master, we were interested in creating an atmosphere of solidarity. We wanted to use this exercise as a stepping stone to forming a place for social justice. This formed part of our interpretation of Roger’s ethos of ‘a place for all people’.

Our pavilion, ‘The People’s Parliament’ provides a space for public discourse, celebrating Hyde Park’s rich history as space where civil liberties are fought for and defended.

The starting point for our concept was the research of the axis of UK state power, connecting the residences of the current and future monarchs, acting as the succession line, with the Palace of Westminster. We believe that our pavilion should reside astride a part of the axis to form an obstruction and to oversee the institutions of conventional power, akin to the Black Rod bar as a metaphor– the door which becomes an obstruction to the power.

We aim to recreate the House of Commons (HoC) chamber in Hyde Park. We decontextualized the HoC chamber by picking out some elements of it and superimposing them on the site. The seating arrangements of ‘The People’s Parliament’ mimics the seating benches of the HoC. This gives a sense of spatial organisation and creates an intimacy which can be experienced by the public, in terms of how small and compact space can be, especially during intense debates. The tower represents the ‘Mr. Speaker’ to oversight the discussion, which also symbolises conventional power.


Civil disobedienceCollectiveEmpowermentReformUnitedUtopianVoice

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