Sarah Ichioka appointed director
of Architecture Foundation



The Architecture Foundation in London has appointed Sarah Ichioka as its new director.

Ichioka, currently deputy director of the London Festival of Architecture, replaces architecture critic Rowan Moore, the outgoing director who resigned in May.

Here's a statement from the Architecture Foundation:


The Architecture Foundation announced today that Sarah Ichioka has been appointed its new Director. She will take up her new post on 13 October 2008.

Sarah Ichioka (29) is currently Deputy Director of the London Festival of Architecture. She previously worked as a consultant curator for the exhibition 'Global Cities' in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.

She was exhibition content coordinator for the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale 'Cities, Architecture & Society', and co-edited the exhibition catalogue.

She was also a founding research associate of the Urban Age, an interdisciplinary project investigating the future of global cities. She holds an MSc in City Design & Social Science from the LSE and a BA from Yale.

Brian Clarke, Chair of The Architecture Foundation, said: ”The Architecture Foundation under its new director Sarah Ichioka will inevitably be changing its shape to accommodate what it perceives as the changing needs of this challenging period. The board of trustees are thrilled at the prospect of working with Sarah and are confident of an exciting future bringing our passion for the best in contemporary architecture to an ever wider audience. We will need the support and help of the profession, students and a wider public to provide the service we are here for.”

New Director, Sarah Ichioka, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to lead The Architecture Foundation into its next stage. I look forward to building a focussed, pertinent programme for the Foundation, developed in close collaboration with its trustees, staff and patrons, and inspired by its history as an independent advocate for innovation and emerging talent in contemporary architecture and urbanism”.

Posted on Wednesday August 20th 2008 at 11:13 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • White Paper

    Young, talented and…pretty….well done AF

  • Zenza

    Weird eyes…


    1. Not an architect, never has been, never will be

    2. Has never worked on the ground with real people and real projects – uber out of touch!

    3. Developers apologist, marketing wiz kid

    4. Was chief engineer of the ‘smokes and mirrors’ of the failed LFA

    5. American – doesn’t understand subtle or European thought

    6. Has never run an organisation or business before

    7. Is part of the same 12 people manufacturing the ‘architecture industry’ in London.

    8. Can anyone find any interesting or critical essays/papers/articles written by her? Do we know if she has any agendas or theory behind her? I can’t find any.


    This person may not be interesting or qualified but why do people think it is OK to make comments on a womans’ appearance and not on the work they have or haven’t done. This is not the 19th C!

  • Joe

    >5. American – doesn’t understand subtle or European thought

    why should anyone want to understand “European thought”?

  • John T

    Gotta love the commenters here who immediately jump in to critique her as a design object.

  • Zenza

    Peter B has a point….

    Alison, I’m a designer. I comment EVERYTHING. And yes, your name is weird too :)

  • pierre.

    I am just worried that they have set her up to fail? The AF needs to raise £3 million to make their Zaha building a reality and I just don’t think this young lady has the skills or experience to do it? On top of this she was involved in the awful failure of the LFA and with the ‘credit crunch’ I don’t see any of the developers that have been involved to date will give the money over – unless the building becomes a marketing suite for them – but why would they do that when the have the New London Architecture Center? The next problem is that the NLA people are the same people as the FLA people who are the same as the AF people so they will be after the same money and they really seem to have the same ideas – being the same group of people. I guess if the Zaha building does get built it will just be a NLA on the south side of The Thames? Lets hope she has her own vision and can persuade the AF board to do something else?

  • Sc hu yl er

    Oh man, what a babe! I need to apply there, bro! London, huh. That is that in England or Britain?

  • BangPow

    Peter B has 8 points.

    As a design object I think shes Fly

  • floyd landis

    Peter is right. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between architecture magazines that suck and female editors. They aren’t in the field because it is their life passion, it’s something they do until Mr. Right comes along and knocks them up.

  • Ali

    Thanks for the genius comment Mr. landis,

    1. Shabby 76 year old architect who has never had anything built.

    2. Scarred by being overlooked for a promotion to wipe a female editors butt.

    3. Desperately seeking Mr. Right to knock him up so he can stop pretending to be an Architect.

    4. Is part of the phallic architecture men’s club manufacturing the slogan is “architecture requires a penis” in London.

    As design object I think Obelisks have their appeal.

  • Tariq

    SO Burdett gets the AF back in his own hands

    Such moves remind me more of techniques within political parties – seemless but ruthless – quite impressive!

    The question is, will she ever turn on her general, the man that made her or will she remain loyal?


    Could someone tell me the difference between these London organisations:

    1. The London Festival of Architecture
    2. The Architecture Foundation
    3. RIBA
    4. The New London Architecture Center
    5. The Building Design Center
    6. The Building Exploratory Center


  • Magna_Carta

    London Open House and anyone doing anything worthwhile please beware – your ideas will be stolen! I have seen these people operate and as they don’t have any of their own ideas – they steal others! Watch it happen right under your eyes!

  • Patrick

    it seems that floyd landis’s life passion is to try to piss ppl off. i’d suggest that instead, he should find something to simply do. like shutting up, for example…

    not that i like the news that much, but funny thing, some of peter’s points are not really negative, like 1, 3, and even 8 to some degree. 5 is not even worth commenting on (not that floyd was…)

  • feifei

    Is it a portrait photo for a fashion magazine?

    check this:

    Being an American or European might not be the relevant issue, but seriously, has she any clear thought and vision?

  • Tim

    I’m not even getting into the other 7 points, but the first point by Peter B is absolutely bullshit. Why does it matter whether someone has been an architect for such a function? As a comparison: should one have been a horse to be a good jockey?

  • Tyler Durden

    It’s too early to judge Sarah, she hasn’t even started. Give her a fair chance.

    But the truth is that AF has done shit all. Just look at their Summer Nights Talk this year – parading incredibly pointless, boring, uninventive, uncritical architects. Brings tears to your eyes to hear them speak and see their work. If these are the next generation, then God help us. There are so many more younger talented architects out there in London. With that, the comment that all these foundations and organizations as being inbred is rather correct.

    So, I hope Sarah will cast her net wider.


    TIMMY – I am not suggesting this lady should be a brick, window, or rod of steel! I am suggesting the leader of the AF really ought to be an architect. Do you think a jockey’s association would not be run by a former or existing jockey? As an architect I would like to be represented and led by a fellow architect.

    MR LANDIS does I am afraid have a valid point – shame he wrote it with a sexist overtone. I think what he was saying was that these people are ‘manager types’ who don’t have their own passions or ideas and feed off other peoples. They make crap festivals, architecture, space and should never try and touch theory. It just a sign of our time!

    MAGNA CARTA seems to be making the same point – this new generation of brand managers don’t often have their own ideas and just porn other people’s but with their access to finance they make them ‘bigger’ but always worse! If you see them at something your doing I would be very concerned, cause next week it will be re-packaged, uber branded and then sold for consumption.

    EUROPEAN THOUGHT – maybe I was wrong with this comment – seems so. I just think an American of that age doesn’t have the depth of experience and knowledge to understand European thought about space, place and buildings.. But I am happy to be corrected on this.

    SI – I do wish her every success, may she swim strongly!

    AF – In many ways has been redundant for years anyway!

  • dan

    As a comparison: should one have been a sports car to be a good/fast driver?

  • Oliver

    From Architects Journal:

    Sarah Ichioka’s career so far:

    • 2007-present: Deputy director, London Festival of Architecture
    • 2006-2007: Consultant curator, Tate Modern
    • 2004-2007: Research associate, Urban Age Project
    • 2006-2007: Urban consultant, Witherford Watson Mann Architects
    • 2005-2006: Catalogue & exhibition content coordinator, La Biennale di Venezia
    • 2003-2005: Associate, Enterprise LSE Cities Ltd
    • 2004-2005: Teaching assistant, Urban Infrastructure & Development Cities Programme, London School of Economics
    • 2003: MSc, City Design and Social Science, London School of Economics
    • 2001: History BA, Yale

    I assume Sarah Ichioka is a bright individual for being appointed director. However, can someone explain what an “urban consultant” is? I swear that the discipline of architecture and urban design is becoming diluted with mediocre talent that need to invent terms such as “urban consultant” in order to qualify themselves.

  • Mike Duff

    Oliver – define Urban Consultant – easy!

    Not a dilution at all – simply someone who’s broader training enables them to provide the kind of advice that helps architects’ and urban designers’ plans make it off the drawing, out of the report, into an implemented reality, that is socially, financially, economically, organisationally, and environmentally sound. Or am I wrong, Architects and Urban Designers (diluted, unchartered and undefined) can do this all by themselves, 100% of the time? Don’t let it emasculate you, consultants are here to help.

    I say it’s great that someone with this kind of breadth be at the helm of an architecture-related org of this kind. It’s about time! Enough archiwank! More cross-disciplinary learning!

    Benefit of the doubt given! Best of luck to you Sarah.

  • Well, heads of this and that association don’t need to be ground-breakers dudies. They need someone who go unnoticed and wouldn’t spend times doing crazy artworks or theory writings blah blah.

    Look at all great architects, they’re never heads of anything, except their own offices.

  • amsam

    Thank you Mike Duff for a breath of common sense and unembittered air.

    Peter B’s comment “may she swim strongly” is late and unpersuasive.

    To put an architect at the head of an architect’s association would be a terrible mistake. One would presumably favour the colleagues and work that complemented one’s own. And only a terribly failed architect would want to abandon their practice for an administrative position. Thank heaven they don’t let architects make those decisions!

  • did you think of applying for the job peter?

  • Guy

    These comments are more interesting than the article

  • Peter B and CO….
    what a bunch of old geezers!!
    you are the reason the field of architecture is stuck, buried like old gangsters in the concrete foundations of your tired practice, and ideas of architecture.

    1. Not an architect, never has been, never will be
    your assumptions are beyond belief, but its probably better that she hasn’t worked as one yet, otherwise she’d be as jaded as her critics here. If the AF is as flawed as you say it is, then isn’t a new direction with someone young, whose in touch with the generational shift a good idea?

    2. Has never worked on the ground with real people and real projects – uber out of touch!
    YOU speak of being out of touch?!

    look i could go on re-buffing, but it is exactly this idea of ” you gotta do your time “, before your taken seriously BS that has allowed architecture and architects to become redundant. fun, outlandish, this does not mean non-intellectual.

    architecture needs fresh air, it needs more women, and it definitely does not need sexist commentary even if it is seen as comedic.

    I wish sarah all the best, and good luck.

  • Ben

    From where I stand the AF has always been about taking architecture out of the chin stroking ghetto realm of architecture events just for architects and trying to engage other disciplines / the public with the ideas surrounding it, not just boring models made by boring old men.

    Seems to me Sarah fits the bill of continuing that tradition.

  • Agree with Guy. These comments are more interesting than the article.


    Had it down in my diary to re-visit this – two years on – to see what happened, to give S.I the benefit of the doubt.

    PeterB. was right!! S.I and the Architecture Foundation are apologists for the developers as well as an advertising agency for pretty crap architects – which could only be their friends.

    The 2010 London Festival of Architecture looks like a real tragedy, intellectually vapid and void. More advertising space for their capitalist and corrupted approach to making cities – for their profit – I guess?

    Very very disappointed it work out as PeterB etc predicted – and worse in many ways, considering the global economic crisis.