Robots of Brixton
by Kibwe Tavares

| 17 comments

Robots of Brixton is a sci-fi animation by Bartlett School of Architecture graduate Kibwe Tavares in which a downtrodden robot workforce battles with police against a backdrop of dystopian architecture in scenes reminiscent of the 1981 Brixton riots in London.

Tavares, who has now set up animation and architectural imagery studio factory fifteen, made the film as his final design project for his masters degree.

Update 31/07/11: see Dezeen's top ten stories about robots.

Here are some more details from Kibwe Tavares:


Brixton has degenerated into a disregarded area inhabited by London's new robot workforce - robots built and designed to carry out all of the tasks which humans are no longer inclined to do. The mechanical population of Brixton has rocketed, resulting in unplanned, cheap and quick additions to the skyline.

The film follows the trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment. When the Police invade the one space which the robots can call their own, the fierce and strained relationship between the two sides explodes into an outbreak of violence echoing that of 1981.

Direction, animation, modeling, lighting, texturing etc: Kibwe Tavares
Photographer, Brixton riots: David Hoffman
Sound designer: Mourad Bennacer 
Music: "The Great Insurrection", DJ Hiatus

  • TMS

    actual architecture is so passe these days, people just start a rendering firm after their degrees, nice. Remember now that by definition there will be less rendering firms working on interesting projects than architecture firms, since most of the stars use the same firm….

    • John Harris

      Surely its a good thing that rendering firms are being started up by people with an architectural background? I have spent time dealing with Chinese rendering practices which have absolutely no idea when it comes to architecture. As a result the job that is done is fairly poor. Some people will leave architecture to become visulisers but that is no bad thing?? Not every student of architecture will – others will do other things too!

      Widening the scope of architectural education can be nothing but a good thing. A greater wealth of experiences and research into different fields will only lead to a greater variety of building types and styles in the future. I'm tired of heading how people think they'd rather have all students learning how to draw a cavity wall detail or what a baroque facade looks like… University is a time of experimentation. This kind of student project isn't my thing it must be noted but I do find it interesting and valid. London universities are diversing the field to what an architectural education entales and when you consider the coincidence to which global city a majority of the most currently exciting projects around the world are being concieved it can be no bad thing

      • Michelangelo

        I was grooving with everything you were saying until you noted that knowing what a Baroque facade looks like was pointless. People just want to break rules so they can be "new" and be engaged in only "experimentation" because they want to be apart of a trend. Experimentation is great however it is really pointless unless you are aware of the greater contexts, otherwise breaking rules is pointless, as by skipping history you know nothing of "the rules", and are really doomed to repeat history's mistakes.

  • i2hellfire

    what did that have to do with architecture again? this, along with the entries to the cgarch competition (along with the questionable first place for stills) have me wondering why the bartlett curriculum is considered 'architecture'.

    • capslock

      This is such a boring comment you just made!!!!!!
      Do you have any idea of the amount of knowledge and work that would go into such an animation?
      Its so funny to see everyone on here gushing at some piddly little hotel room or shop interior when you you have a STUDENT achieving something like this.
      After gaining the experience and skills to achieve something like this, working in an architecture office would be a real bore.

      • capslock

        and another thing….
        This has everything to do with architecture. How do you suppose the character models and environments were concieved and constructed?

        some comments are so ignorant and narrow minded.

        • Richard

          perhaps you dont realise it yet, but having the ability to create a 3d environment and making a video does not equate to good architecture. your argument is invalid, simply proves your scope on architecture is very ignorant and narrow-minded indeed.

          • capslock

            I did not say it was good. Just affirming that it does relate to architecture.
            initial comment states;

            what did that have to do with architecture again?

            quite a lot. I did not say this was good or not.

          • alechs

            "This has everything to do with architecture. How do you suppose the character models and environments were concieved and constructed?"

            I would say that the video is more concerned with hijacking the war-journalism aesthetics of films like District 9 and Children of Men and infusing them with the inane faux-revolutionary sentiments of pop culture.

            The architecture is just a visual backdrop to the 'robot rebellion' that doesn't even make any sense. Why would a club for robots require big ventilation fans? Why do robots need traditional rooms? Why are the robots even humanoid? How does urban riot control work against a society of robots? Doesn't seem too well thought out to me.

          • j_11

            I find the Bartlett very embarrassing.

            It seems to be full of frustrated fine art students who don't have the backbone to tell their parents thats what they really want to do, Architecture sounds so much more noble and worthy.

            The subtlety of all the bizarre and curious everyday occurrences and elements which make London such a fascinating environment are completely lost in this ham-fisted, contrived animation.

            alechs &i2hellfire – spot on

          • Richard

            abit like a certain Peter Keating

          • http://www.facebook.com/steven.mccloy Steven McCloy

            when you visit the summer shows, the Bartlett seriously embarrases pretty much EVERY other school – Including its apparently glamourous neighbour… the Bartlett also fosters great diversity, Unit 15 (film) is one which encourages students to develop a personal vision, which may include questions about the future of cities. Good art or architecture requires creativity, which in turn requires you to ask new or unexpected questions.

          • Marcos Cruz

            I like the Bartlett work, but the AA is king. If it wasn't for all the AA tutors that went to teach at the Bartlett in the first place, Bartlett would still have an engineering-focused curriculum.

      • i2hellfire

        do i know how much work goes into such an animation? yes actually, since i do it for a living. as the comment below this has already pointed out, creating a 3d environment and making a video out of it doesn't mean it's architecture. nowhere did i criticize anything of the quality…which is quite skilled. but an architectural thesis? that's a little dubious.

        as you yourself have conveniently pointed out…"after gaining the experience and skills to achieve something like this, working in an architecture office would be a real bore." maybe so…then why did they even bother going into the architectural field?

  • http://twitter.com/_manumunoz @_manumunoz

    it looks a lot like Jigsaw's puppet, doesen't it? http://www.google.com.ar/search?hl=es&tbm=isc

  • robotica

    "hollywood turns the worst book into an excellent movie'

  • Patrick Schumacher

    If only the architecture were as good as the message behind this movie.