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Talk on clinker at Veretec 2022
Talks at Veretec

Postcard, Brasilia, date unknown c. 1960s
BBC: The Inquiry
BBC World Service 2019

Itapoã, DF Brazil photograph © Joana França 2011
Brasília: Life Beyond Utopia
Brazil Institute, Kings College London 2016

Brasilia, DF Brazil photograph © Joana França 2011
Brasília: Life Beyond Utopia
Architectural Design [April 2016]

McAslan Gallery: Emerging Architects
Two exhibitions for the McAslan Gallery
McAslan Gallery 2016

Edzell Castle, Angus
Edzell Castle: Architectural Treatises in Late 16th Century Scotland
Garden History Society 2014

Architecture and the Humanities
Architectural Research Quarterly 2014

Rio: Canal do Mangue Postcard
Urban Planning in Rio 1870-1930: the Construction of Modernity
Brazil Institute, Kings College London 2014

London Tower Block
Review of Remaking London: Design and Regeneration in Urban Culture
Architectural Research Quarterly 2013

Oscar Niemeyer: House in Canoas, Rio de Janeiro
Life's a Beach: Oscar Niemeyer, Landscape and Women
The Rest is Noise Festival
South Bank, London 6 October 2013

Brasilia Tres Poderes
BBC: Last Word
BBC Radio 4 7 & 9 December 2012

Brasilia Tres Poderes
Brasilia: Fictions and Illusions
Brazil Institute, Kings College London 2012

Nolli Plan of Rome
Connected Communities Symposium
University of Dundee 2011

Arup: White Building, St John's College Oxford
Architecture + ESI: an architect's perspective
FESI [The UK Forum for Engineering Structural Integrity] 2011

Booth Poverty Map of London
Review of Mapping London
Architectural Research Quarterly 2010

RIAS: landworkers exhibition
Dundee Contemporary Arts
14-28 May 2009

Antonio Carlos Elias: Epulis Fissuratum
The Studio of Antonio Carlos Elias
Epulis Fissuratum [Brasília 2006]

Thomas Deckker: superquadra penthouse project
Superquadra Penthouses
Penthouse Living
[Wiley 2005]

Arquivo Brasilia
Arquivo Brasília
Sala Martins Penna
Teatro Nacional Cláudio Santoro
19-20 April 2005

Revisiting Brazil: View of Exhibition
Revisiting Brazil
RIBA Gallery 2
9-30 October 2003

Houston Car Park
Urban Entropies: A Tale of Three Cities
Architectural Design [September 2003]

Guedes Apartment, São Paulo
New Architecture in Brazil
- Photographs by Michael Frantzis

Brazilian Embassy, London
5-6 March 2003

Joaquim Gudes: Kerti House, São Paulo
Natural Spirit (Places to Live 007)
Wallpaper* [January/February 2003]

Wallpaper*: Architects Directory
Architects Directory
Wallpaper* [July/August 2002]

RIBA Journal: Foreign Legion
Foreign Legion RIBA Journal [March 2002]

Le Corbusier: Heidi Weber Pavilion, Zurich photograph © Thomas Deckker 1996
Architects and Technology
The Encyclopaedia of Architectural Technology [London: Wiley 2002]

Mission Concepcion (1755) San Antonio, Texas
Mexican-American Architecture
Mexican-American Encyclopaedia [2002]

W3 Brasilia 1960s Archive Photograph
Canberra / Brasília
Canberra Contemporary Art Space [Canberra: CASC 2001]

Oscar Niemeyer: Congresso Naçional Brasília
In the Realm of the Senses
Architectural Design [July 2001]

Thomas Deckker: Magalhães House
Thomas Deckker: Two Projects in Brasília
Architectural Design [Oct 2000]

Degree Unit G: Mexico 1997-98
First International Seminar on the Teaching of the Built Environment [SIEPAC]
University of São Paulo, Brazil
13-15 Sept 2000

Thomas Deckker: The Modern City Revisited
The Modern City Revisited
[London: Routledge 2000]

Thomas Deckker (editor): Issues in Architecture Art & Design
Issues in Architecture Art & Design
vol. 6 no. 1 [University of East London 2000]

Luigi Snozzi: Monte Carasso, Bellinzona photograph © Thomas Deckker 1982
The re-invention of the site
Relating Landscape to Architecture
[London: Routledge 1999]

The Modern City Revisted Conference
The Modern City Revisited
University of East London
27/28 Mar 1999

Luigi Snozzi: Kalman House, Locarno photograph © Thomas Deckker 1982
Monte Carasso: The re-invention of the site
Issues in Architecture Art & Design vol. 5 no. 2 [University of East London 1998]

Donald Judd: Chinati Foundation, Texas
Specific Objects / Specific Sites
Rethinking the Architecture / Landscape Relationship, University of East London,
26-28 Mar 1996

Herzog & deMeuron: Hebelstrasse Apartments, Basle
Herzog & deMeuron
Issues in Architecture Art & Design vol. 3 no. 2 [University of East London 1994]

Penthouse Living

Superquadras Penthouses

Arguably the most famous Modernist roofscape is Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles. The 337 apartments, with space for up to 1,700 people, were served by an internal shopping street and a roof garden. Here one could find a children's playground and pool, a 300 metre (985 foot) long running track and a snack bar with a fashionable 'solarium'. Sculptural, rock-like shapes mirrored the distant mountains and the whole roof encapsulated Corbusier's early obsession with the ocean liner and how the summit of a vast superstructure could be utilised as a recreational area, with far-reaching views and maximum sunlight and air. Contemporary drawings compare the Unité skyline of chimneys, lift shafts, stairs and platforms with the liner's decks and funnels.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Corbusier's ideals were being realised on a much larger scale. Brasilia, planned by Oscar Niemeyer and Lucia Costa, contained dedicated residential districts in the 'wings' that sprouted from the central axis of the city plan. These districts known as 'superquadras', integrated schools, shops and recreation areas with a group of high-density housing units. The idea was to mix social classes and avoid the creation of slum housing. Some 92 'superquadras' were planned but just 10 were completed by 1964, when the new city was deemed complete. Only six of these had the original landscaping and social facilities planned by Niemeyer and the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.

Brasilia's housing needs were demanding and went largely unmet. The architectural emphasis on social engineering pointedly omitted working-class areas and makeshift housing created for the thousands of construction workers evolved into slums. Uncompleted areas of the city plan still lie empty. The architect Thomas Deckker attempted to address some of this 'leftover' space in his Superquadras penthouse project. Noting that these vast blocks, their façades lacking the modulation and variation that characterised Corbusier's Unité, had under-utilised, 'architecturally incomplete' roof areas, Deckker set out to make the rooftops habitable.

Deckker draws an unexpected comparison between the Brazilian roofscapes and the shifting sand dunes of Blakeney Point on the Norfolk coast and the way the natural erosion of the sand is artificially stabilised by a series of wooden windbreaks. The haphazard arrangement of these stakes subdivides the barren landscape into a series of architecturally distinct elements. The Superquadras presented a similarly expansive landscape, one which could also be subdivided by architectural means.

Deckker's proposal is for a series of cordons to be built on the roofs of the Superquadras, 'a wall placed against each lift tower to define "front" and "back", or "social" and "service" sides'.

Deckker is explicit about the political dimension of the unbuilt project. By creating a varied and hierarchical social mix - the new upper layer would be 'necessarily for the more sophisticated' - the Superquadras project positions the penthouse firmly as an aspirational, exclusive dwelling, almost Jn diametrical opposition to the ideals of the building's original architects.

click here to go to Wiley website with bibliographic details of Penthouse Living