LOBBY No.3 'Defiance'


Deadline: 20 June

LOBBY No.3 ‘Defiance’

“98% of what gets built today is shit.” In what would have otherwise been yet another addition to the long list of dull and uneventful press conferences, Frank Gehry silently raises his middle finger. Flashes immediately go off, the topic instantly trends on social media, while other renowned architects join the finger-giving fray in a meme that immediately goes viral.

Yet, who is defying what here? Is Gehry truly speaking as a maverick trailblazer or merely as a petulant ‘starchitect’? What is unavoidably involved in every act of defiance, and what are the implications of the very concept in our current architectural discourse/practice? Instead of simply raising its middle finger up in the air, LOBBY No. 3 ‘Defiance’ puts it on the heart of the matter.

The third issue of LOBBY aims to take the pristine notion of architecture, as is often idealised both in academia and in the media, and dismantle it. The end of Modernism brought with it the demise of certainty, and over the past few decades, the stable structures carefully built during the Cold War have come tumbling down: age-old dictatorships have fallen to theocracies; wars have shifted from the muddy trenches to our urban neighbourhoods; thriving economies have crashed while the welfare state is dismantled. On the other hand—enabled by social media—grassroots movements have toppled governments, and old dichotomies of sexual difference have been increasingly challenged, while marginalised ‘others’ struggle to become more visible in the field.

LOBBY No. 3 intends to highlight the collapse of normative notions, discourses, frameworks and aesthetics, by exploring ‘Defiance’ through the eyes of those who sit on either side of the norm’s boundaries, as well as those who walk between them.

What is our own place and role in the current status quo? Are we indeed ready to transgress our prevalent taboos, or are we simply powerless against them, unable even to think and acknowledge the blind spots of our practices? Is defiance just wishful thinking—another one of the many idealised and delusional self-portrayals of the omnipotent architect in the modern world?

But perhaps the biggest question remains: is defiance an adolescent rejection of imposed order—an ephemeral expression of chaos—or is it a sustainable dismantling of restrictive structures, the crumbling walls of the old establishment?

From the Biblical battle of David with Goliath, to the emblematic ‘Tank Man’ on Tiananmen Square; from burned bras to raised fists (not to mention, architects’ fingers), LOBBY No. 3 sets out to explore the constantly shifting waters of defiance.


*We highly encourage submissions from within and outside of the Bartlett in the form of essays, articles, designs, architecture, photographs, illustrations, drawings, sculptures, installations, poems and other relevant mediums.

*All entries must be emailed to no later than 20 JUNE, along with our submission form, which can be downloaded here. Any questions should be directed to

*If you wish to join our team of editors, writers, photographers, editorial assistants, marketing assistants and designers, please join our meeting on 27 March at 132 Hampstead Road NW1 2PS at 7:30pm. All welcome to come.

PURCHASE LOBBY No.1 and No.2 here.