/ UPCOMING: Citymakers: Pragmatics of the Picturesque

Can a historic way of seeing and crafting the city offer us clues to a more sustainable future?

RSVP here to attend any or all of the sessions for Citymakers, Allies and Morrison's annual conference, this year.

Some may think the picturesque is outdated and irrelevant, easy to dismiss as a purely visual discipline. But might the strategies it pioneered - of legibility, particularity and intrigue - have value in the shaping of the contemporary city? Perhaps the picturesque still holds some clues as to how to reconcile the ever-increasing technical, economic and environmental imperatives with the need to design places for people.

The Citymakers conference will be a hybrid event this year - offering the opportunity to participate in the live event virtually via an online platform or to attend the event in person at our studios in Southwark. Held over three Thursday sessions this autumn, the conference will explore and debate different facets of the Picturesque in the design and planning of cites:

  • The picturesque: theory and practice
    7 October 2021, 8:30-10:00 am BST

An introduction to the historic origins of the picturesque from the 18th century to modernism, and how its influences can be found in contemporary architecture today. Speakers: Professor John Macarthur (University of Queensland) and Alfredo Caraballo (Allies and Morrison).

  • As found, as needed, as experienced
    21 October 2021, 5:00-7:00 pm BST

From large scale housing projects to the reclaiming of industrial land as new mixed centres for 21st century cities, how are picturesque strategies being employed in real life conditions today? Speakers: Lisa Woo (Meridian Water / London Borough of Enfield), Professor Tim Stonor (Space Syntax), Antje Saunders (Allies and Morrison), Graham Morrison (Allies and Morrison), Eelco Hooftman (GROSS.MAX) and Hendrik Heyns (Allies and Morrison).

  • Observations on the picturesque
    04 November 2021 5:00-7:00 pm GMT

An exploration of different facets of picturesque ideas, traditions and geographies - and a discussion about how these might shape sustainable urban outcomes. Speakers: Dr Divya Subramanian (Columbia University), Dr Otto Saumarez-Smith (University of Warwick), Rashid bin Shabib (curator and urbanist), William Mann (Witherford Watson Mann), Dr Emily Mann (The Courtauld), Dr Dirk van den Heuval (TU Delft) and Cany Ash (Ash Sakula Architects).

Organsied by our Masterplanning Group, each year Citymakers brings together developers, planners, academics, journalists and collaborators to look beyond the boundaries between practitioners and the public; between site and the city; between spaces and society. Citymakers 2020: Five Days in Msheireb, Citymakers 2019: Exploring Models of Urban Development.

Email us at with any queries about Citymakers.