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My name is Mark David Flynn.
I’m a recent graduate of the Liverpool School of Art
& Design where I received my Master’s Degree in
Architecture last summer.
I was awarded the Deutsche Bank Award in Architecture
2013 & founded RAAD - a Liverpool-based architecture
and urban design collective that promotes the use of
under-used spaces in the city through temporary pop-up
architecture, exhibitions and events.
This zine is a portfolio of my work I’ve undertaken with
RAAD - along with a collection of articles and interviews
I’ve written about things or people that interest me.
Thanks for reading.
pop-up cinema 03-04
A temporary installation at the Foundation for Art &
Creative Technology.
A series of low-cost temporary interventions
occupying the spaces in and around a vacant 1960’s
Brutalist office block for developers Capital and Centric.
from the ground up 07-08
An urban design proposal and pop-up exhibition in a
local pocket park, Manchester.! 09-12
An interview with New Zealand-based experimental
design collective Oh.No.Sumo!
street party 13-14
A participatory workshop at the Bluecoat inspired by
the terraced street communities of the past.
An article exploring skateboarding as a critique of
architecture & the city.
hidden liverpool 17-18
A pop-up exhibition collecting memories of Liverpool’s
empty buildings to create a vision for their future.
A pop-up exhibition exploring ideas on re-using the
city’s empty buildings by local students & the public.
pop-up cinema
A pop-up cinema and exhibition space that
occupied the under-used ground floor space of the
Foundation for Art & Creative Technology (FACT) in
The project was commissioned by FACT for the Abandon
Normal Devices Festival - and later Tenantspin exhibition
- for a two week exposition of performances, debates,
live events and independent filmmaking.
The installation consisted of 6 CNC-cut wooden panels
with draped black curtains, whilst 96 plastic crates were
fixed and secured together with colourful ratchet straps
to provide staggered seating for 24 people. The movable
structure was designed to allow for a number of different
configurations; providing flexible spaces for the various
programmatic requirements of both events.
An additional roof structure allows for future use as
an small outdoor exhibition space in the public square
outside the building.
A series of low-cost temporary interventions
occupying the spaces in and around Churchill House
(a vacant 1960’s Brutalist office block) for developers
Capital and Centric.
Interventions included a giant playable noughts &
crosses game with pink vinyl supergraphics and
moveable cardboard pieces - whilst the ground floor
spaces were occupied by table tennis tables and swings.
The site was de-weeded, existing signage painted pink
and hanging flower baskets introduced. The project
temporarily reactivated the site before major
redevelopment works were undertaken -
aiming to draw attention to the lack of civic space for
office workers in the surrounding commercial district.
A series of Situationist architectural interventions into
the vacant and under-used spaces of Eccles, Greater
Manchester. The proposal consisted of a
complex network of artworks, projects, events,
interventions, happenings, small gestures, and
spectacular intrusions over time, and culminated in a
series of meetings with the local community and a pop-
up architectural intervention in a local pocket park;
showcasing the schemes concepts to the local community.
50 reclaimed wooden pallets were used to form a
temporary space with walls and stacked seating in which
the local community could provide feedback on the
proposals and participate in the design process.
Winner of the Highly Commended Award for Architecture
and Interior Design (Creative Conscience Award 2013)
View the short film of the event here -
I spoke to Sarosh Mulla of New Zealand-based
experimental design collective Oh.No.Sumo about
their architectural interventions into public spaces.
RAAD | You talk about being provocateurs and place
makers within the city; What has led you to take the
route of a design collective as opposed to a traditional
architecture practice?
Sarosh Mulla | We all work in traditional architecture
practices as well as within the design collective, but there
is substantial freedom in being ‘outsiders’ in that sense.
The collective allows us a degree of design freedom which
is not always available within the profession. In some
ways it is harder than professional practice as you have
to conjure your designs from very little, often in the wee
hours of the morning. It is as such a format within which
experimentation is not only accepted, but demanded.
RAAD | Who and what would you say are your
philosophies and inspirations?
SM | We all have different design outlooks and heroes.
This means that there is constant debate and discussion
around the appropriate solution to a problem. I think
what we do come together on is a shared understanding
of architecture as more than just the physical space. It is
program, experience and activation of latent potential for
all of us.
RAAD | What success stories have you had in terms of
small scale interventions?
SM | Our installation work has been well received and
we’ve been happy to see our students also take up similar
approaches. I think really the success of any project is just
seeing people use it and enjoy it. Beyond that, we like to
feel as though we pushed people to think of their spaces
‘‘I think really the
success of any project
is just seeing people use
and enjoy it’’
RAAD | What difficulties and problems have you faced in
realising your projects?
SM | Time, money, stress. All the usual stuff of
architecture. It’s all been worth it though. For every
problem we’ve had, we’ve always had a moment of luck,
or a helpful friend.
RAAD | What importance do you believe small and
unexpected interventions have in the urban place?
SM | They act as agitators. Small, quick installations
make us think about how we could change the city for the
better. These small moves are how big ideas take hold.

RAAD | How do you view ‘play’ in both the design
process and the end result/use of a design?
SM | Play is a tough concept to design with. For instance,
if you design something to be specifically be playful it can
often fall short of the target and instead be regarded as twee
or disingenuous. For us, instilling ideas of fun, discovery
and immersion in the process of design tends to lend to more
successful outcomes. In the end, you have to be really
enjoy the work yourself.

RAAD | How do you believe people should play in the
SN | They should be like children. Imagine the spaces as
what they might be, not simply what they currently are.
RAAD | Why do you believe it is important for people to
engage with architecture?
SM | People have no option but to engage with architecture.
It is literally everywhere people are. So we feel it is up to
designers to push for an engagement which im-
proves their lives, which makes them happy and which
encourages them to demand more from their public
You can find out more about Oh.No.Sumo and their work
by visiting
street party
A temporary exhibition and participatory workshop at
the Bluecoat inspired by the street parties of the past.
Visitors to the space were invited to use reclaimed
materials to model and discuss themes relating to the
‘Tower and the Terrace’ - and record their comments and
feedback on the bunting.
View the short film of the event here -
An exploration into skateboarding as a critique of
architecture & the city.
Skateboarding is perhaps an unusual object for study in
regards to architecture and urban design - yet it is an act
that through engaging directly with its everyday spaces,
simultaneously offers both a critique of the capitalistic
spaces of the city - and searches for new possibilities
of representing, imagining and experiencing them;
skateboarding has a deep appreciation and understand-
ing of architecture, regardless of how unconventional or
subversive it may be.
The act of skateboarding has always been about the
reclamation of urban space - skateboarders
implicitly realize the importance of the streets and
neglected architecture as a place to act - using the
forgotten, abandoned and generally discarded spaces
of the city. Emerging from the beach cities of Califor-
nia - spaces of the city were re-appropriated; emulating
surf moves on the hard surfaces of the city re-imagined
as a concrete wave. Acting without license, authority
or permission, spontaneous ‘urban pool parties’ were
held - occupying abandoned and drained backyard
swimming pools - exploiting the ambiguity of the
ownership and function of public spaces and
redefining them. It is this notion of the ‘urban pool
party’ that offers a model for spatial appropriation
for architects, urban designers, town planners and
urban dwellers - promoting active participation through
direct action. Skateboarders are among the most
social and spatially aggressive group to reclaim the
city for their own appropriation - giving new use to to
forgotten spaces. Applied to architecture, public
spaces must be reclaimed, urban spaces of the city
re-appropriated for new uses and vacant areas
reactivated as contemporary urban pool parties - spaces
for the flow of ideas, events, activities and temporary
architectural situations - to explore building and
spaces of the city not as a clearly defined and fixed
product or an object - but as the production of
emotions, actions, effort and play.
The most notable and successful example of this
can be found at the Southbank Undercroft, London.
Occupied by skaters in the early 1970‘s it is now an
extraordinary collision of Brutalist architecture and
splashes of colour - its juxtapositions creating an
amazing lived-in architecture. Its walkways and
ground-level spaces appropriated by skaters provided
exactly the eruption of creativity that the area needed
for its re-activation - creating a vibrant, festival-like
ambience and a thriving artistic community and
a public space which is a free experience for
both those watching and undertaking, and free of
the constraints of profit or commercial gain. Recently,
plans to extend the adjacent Southbank Centre at the
expense of the undercroft were met with over 60,000
signatures in the form of an online petition from the
#longlivesouthbank campaign - stalling the
proposed development; a community having a say and
active participation in their public space - preventing its
redevelopment into generic commodified retail spaces.
Similarly the New Bird skatepark in Liverpool - which
began as a DIY project by local skateboarders - with
support from the local skate shop Lost Art - is now
surrounded by the creative spaces of the Baltic Creative.
The act of skateboarding in itself is the embodiment of
the Situationist idea of ludic play - it rejects capitalism
and the pre-determined uses of urban space through its
everyday practice. It involves great effort, but produces no
commodity ready for exchange. It is highly visual, but
refutes the reduction of activity solely to the spectacle of
the image. It allows a person to assume the position of a
creative adaptive user of a space, rather
than a compelled consumer - providing new
and distinctive uses - through play and
creativity - other than the original function of the space
It is through these ideals of skateboarding and
skate culture, that when applied to architecture and
urban design - can present new ways of design
thinking for the future city; reconsidering conventional
conceptions of urban space. Thus just as the practice of
skateboarding began in the beach cities of
California - we are reminded through it that the
urban spaces are a playground -
carved out of the city as a kind of
continuous reaffirmation of one of
the central notions of the 1968 Paris pro-
tests and revolts - that ‘au dessous les paves, la
plage’ – beneath the pavement, lies the beach.
hidden liverpool
I was employed on a part-time basis by social enterprise
PLACED for the design and build of their Heritage Lottery
Funded ‘Hidden Liverpool’ pop-up exhibition at the Al-
bert Dock in April 2014. Hidden Liverpool is a year-long
project which aims to unlock the memories of Liverpool’s
empty buildings to create a vision for their future.
Quote from the Guardian article featuring the exhibition
The entrance space consisted of a fake facade vinyl
supergraphic - whilst inside, 20 leaning wooden boards
displayed information about each building; of which
visitors could add to, or add their own stories and
memories using post-it notes or comment cards;
attached to string above each board with wooden pegs.
40 cardboard boxes with vinyl lettering were stacked
to create a 3D representation of the buildings exhibited.
Reclaimed furniture was used to form an events and
social space - which held a series of workshops over the
duration of the exhibition. The exhibition had over 2000
visitors, was featured in both local and national press,
and was attended by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson.
You can view the Guardian article featuring the
exhibition here -
‘‘each building has a
peculiar Liverpool
twist... Ideas are a big
currency here’’