A close up of modernist architecture in Coventry ©

James Garry

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 will commence on 15 May 2021, running for 12 months. The 365-day cultural programme will reflect Coventry as a diverse, modern city, demonstrating that culture is a force that changes lives. Coventry is known internationally as a city of welcome, a city of activists and pioneers, peace and reconciliation, innovation, and invention, and now a City of Culture. The British Council is the International Partner for UK City of Culture 2021.

Prototype City Coventry is a pilot international exchange programme that will form part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, for which the British Council is International Partner.

Together with our partners Coventry UK City of Culture Trust we will select UK based architects, urban designers and spatial practitioners to collaborate with international architects to address the urban landscape of two different sites in Coventry. Using co-design and collaborative processes, the teams will design prototypes for more inclusive and welcoming public spaces. Our international partner cities are Dakar (Senegal), Aarhus (Denmark), Cairo (Egypt) and São Paulo (Brazil).

Since travel is currently restricted due to the ongoing global pandemic, this inaugural edition will take place online, which presents specific and exciting challenges about how space can be communicated virtually and the potential of collaborating across borders, remotely.

What is Prototype City?

Prototype City is an architecture exchange programme centring on international collaboration to test new ideas in cities around the world.

Teams of international and UK-based architects will work together to respond to creative briefs co-developed by local communities, cultural institutions, local developers, and governing bodies. Their ideas will be prototyped and built as interactive interventions in the participating cities. While unique to their location, the prototypes will seek to address global issues of inclusivity, sustainability and accessibility as well as joy, respite and discovery.

Prototype City offers the opportunity to learn from different cultural contexts, practices and processes and gain insights into diverse urban contexts, demonstrating the role that architects can play in designing cities of the future.

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