Torange Khonsari obtained her professional Diploma at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London - July 1998. In 2004, she co-founded the art and architecture practice public works, a multidisciplinary practice working on the threshold of art, architecture and related cultural fields. Her practice and research pedagogy lies in relational art and architecture theories and informal contexts. The research projects are socially motivated and work directly with public space, their local players, communities and stakeholders. The projects assess and challenge how design and programmatic strategies can support and facilitate physical, economical and social infrastructures in the public realm.
Public works projects are strongly contextualised within relational theories. As a practice it is a vehicle that implements the academic research undertaken in Torange’s teaching. This direct two-way communication between academia and practice has enabled an enriched exploration into participatory practice in architecture and different related art forms. The rich network of clients, stakeholders, professional collaborators and community groups enables her to initiate real ‘Live projects’ for the students she teaches.
Torange is currently a director of public works and teaches design at London Metropolitan University.
Angela’s Secret Garden
This project explored an existing condition in schools where departments operate in isolation. It occupied an abandoned area in the school grounds. Transformed into an in-between space, it encouraged a collaboration and exchange hosted by the art department. Building on the strong history and tradition of gardens and gardening in the school, Torange worked with Year 12 pupils and the school gardener to design and develop this space as a garden for growing plants to be used as dyes. Students incorporated display areas and a messaging board into the design, in order to encourage dialogue and activity in this attractive and appealing place.
School Project: Contested Spaces
Stoke Newington School & Sixth Form and St Angela’s Ursuline School. A second inspiration was the exhibition Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Whitechapel Gallery, winter 2010. Ania Bas and Torange Khonsari investigated with young people how fluctuating political, social and geographic borders or boundaries affect the ways an area and its population can be seen. Contested Spaces engaged pupils in an exploration of their own geographic, spatial and social territories.
Torange Khonsari is a co-founder and director of public works, an art and architecture collective working to create public spaces. Their focus is the production and extension of public space through participation and collaboration. Projects vary in scale and address the relationship between informal and formal aspects of a site. Public works produce social, architectural and discursive spaces as well as physical structures, products, public events and publications.
Torange was also involved in the British Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale – Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture.