Architecture and Optimism

Cass hosts event for London Festival of Architecture in collaboration with Lithuanian Art and Culture

Date: 13 May 2019

The Cass is hosting Architecture and Optimism, a special event that brings together architecture historians, sociologists and psychologist to explore the relationship between mental attitude and  city branding and architectural expansion strategies  

The event, in the Wash Houses on the 1 June from 11am to 1pm has been organised in conjuction with the with Lithuanian Art and Culture in the UK as part of the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) 2019


  • Prof. Marija Drėmaitė, Vilnius University, architecture historian and curator of the exhibition Architecture of Optimism
  • Douglas Murphy, Visiting Tutor on the Architecture programme at the Royal College of Art
  • Adam Philips, writer and psychologist
  • Dr Eglė Rindzevičiūtė, Associate Professor of Criminology and Sociology at Kingston University.

About Architecture and Optimism

Architecture of Optimism examines the architecture of interwar Kaunas, curated by Marija Drėmaitė, Giedrė Jankevičiūtė and Vaidas Petrulis and explores  the active growth of the modernist city, proudly carrying the name of the Lithuanian capital. The main idea of this exhibition is the notion of optimism that unfolds in parallel with the Kaunas architectural boom between the wars when young architects were studying abroad and coming back to work in Lithuania. Optimism is portrayed through the scope and sheer number of new buildings built in the interwar period.

However, in this event we not only shed light on Kaunas interwar architecture, but also aim to challenge the word ‘optimism’ in this context. While buildings are simply a representation of wider problems and social economical constructs, it is worth considering the wider cultural implication of ‘optimism’ as an emotional ‘imperative’. The optimist's so-called ‘sunny’ personal disposition is (or could be) an in-built emotional drive to believe in a brighter future, of bettering oneself and the environment. But isn't it precisely optimism that is destroying the chance of harmonious possibilities, because it naively overlooks certain implications of its own mechanisms?

The London Festival of Architecure (LFA) celebrates London as the global hub for architecture. The festival returns to the capital from 1-30 June 2019 with a lively and diverse programme of public events across London exploring the theme of ‘boundaries’. The Festival began in 2004, and has since grown to become the world’s largest annual architecture festival. The festival attracts a vast public audience – well over 600,000 people in 2018 – and a global media audience of millions. The Cass Summer Show (20-30 June) also forms part of this annual showcase.

Architecture and Optimism is free to attend, all welcome. Book here

cartoon of man using girder as a swing