The Research Centre for Experimental Practice EXP was set up in 2003 at the Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster to support, document and generate some of the major experimental design projects which act as a ‘laboratory’ for the architectural profession, including built and unbuilt design projects, books, exhibitions and other forms of practice. EXP's projects reflect the multivalent nature of architectural practice and its first projects are as follows:
SUPERCRITS: these events bring some of the world’s most influential architects back to architecture school to debate their most famous projects with a panel of international critics, students and the public. Supercrits so far have featured Cedric Price (The Potteries Thinkbelt), Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (Learning From Las Vegas), Richard Rogers (The Pompidou Centre), Bernard Tschumi (Parc de la Villette), Rem Koolhaas (Delirious New York) and Leon Krier (Poundbury). The events are now co-run with the Architecture Foundation and published as a book by Routledge in a format devised by EXP and designed by John Morgan Studio.
ARCHIGRAM ARCHIVAL PROJECT: This website makes the astonishing works of the hugely influential and ever-provocative architectural group Archigram available online for academic and public study. The project was funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and was carried out with collaborative support from the surviving members of Archigram or their heirs.
L.A.W.u.N. PROJECTS#19 AND #20: The first in a proposed series of live projects with influential architects saw a new project by David Greene of Archigram working with EXP Research Fellow Samantha Hardingham exploring Greene’s idea of The Invisible University – a dispersed university consisting of collaborations and technical communications – with a team of collaborators. The work formed the basis of a book (AA publications) and exhibition at London’s Architectural Association in 2008.
OPENSTUDIO: EXP was instrumental in setting up openstudio, a live online exhibition, teaching and learning tool for the design studios, research groups and other bodies at the Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster. Openstudio creates a network between open access software to allow students, teachers and researchers to share information, images, movies etc. live online. The project was designed and developed by Filip Visnijc of WAG Architecture and was launched in 2009.
EXP also hosts a range of one-off events and continues to collaborate with many individuals and organisations, acting as an umbrella organisation for design architects developing their own practice and research
EXP is co-ordinated by Dr Kester Rattenbury. Its first Research Fellows were Dr David Lawrence, who was instrumental in instigating the Archigram Archival Project, and Samantha Hardingham, who ran the L.A.W.u.N project, the Supercrit series and co-edited the Supercrit books with Kester Rattenbury.