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Year Zero is back for its second series at the Soane. Six speakers come together to discuss tipping points in architecture.

For the most part, architectural history in Britain is the story of gradual change and evolution, of long term trends that give meaning to events as they unfold, even moments of apparent crescendo and climax. From time to time, however, old certainties are overturned, new ideas break free and the clock of history is reset: we call this a Year Zero.

In the first talk, Paul Dobraszczyk, author and academic, discusses 1851: a year in which Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace caused a sensation and unveiled a new kind of ornamental effect that shattered existing conventions.

Paul Dobraszczyk is a teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. He is the author of Anarchist Architecture (forthcoming with Reaktion in 2021), Future Cities (Reaktion, 2019), The Dead City (IB Tauris, 2017), and Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain (Ashgate, 2014). He's also co-editor of Manchester: Something Rich and Strange (forthcoming with Manchester University Press in 2020) and Global Undergrounds (Reaktion, 2016). He blogs at and built the photographic website 

About the series:

This series, in its second iteration and organised in partnership with Machine Books - invites writers, critics, historians and architects to identify and reflect on a single Year Zero – when the trajectories of architectural and broader history connect and coincide and the status quo is changed forever. Each speaker has written a complimentary essay, available to purchase as an ebook, discussing their own Year Zero.

Doors open at 18:45. We are in a Grade I listed, 19th-century building, so access is not always straightforward. If you require step-free access or extra assistance, please contact us in advance of your booking on or 020 7405 2107.

Event Info

05 Feb 2020

19:00 to 20:00

£10 / £5 students