From Croydon to Chandigarh: Jane Drew and the creation of Tropical Modernism


Series: AA XX 100 / AA Collections Series
Date: Tuesday 28 April 2015 : 18.30
Speaker: Iain Jackson

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Jane Drew was one of the most prolific, international architects of the 20th Century. She practiced from the mid 1930s until the 1980s, spending a considerable portion of that time in practice with her husband, Edwin Maxwell Fry. She was very much a leader and driving force in the practice, always retaining her own independence and developing a highly collaborative approach to design that was most unusual at the time.


This lecture will take us on a journey of Drew’s major works starting in the UK, but focusing on her works in the Middle East, West Africa and India, as well as discussing her influences, collaborators and literary works. Drew’s work in Chandigarh is particularly important and we will consider her housing, schools and health projects in the city that informed the creation of the Department of Tropical Architecture with Otto Koenigsberger. Drew has sometimes been derided as a ‘poor designer’, she was also sometimes considered a divisive figure, but this lecture will challenge these premises that were surely rooted in the prejudices of the time.


Iain Jackson is a senior lecturer in architecture at the Liverpool School of Architecture. He is the B.A. Director of Studies and his research is concerned with transnational architecture, in particular British architects working in colonial and post-colonial settings. He has recently finished a Leverhulme funded research project investigating the significance of Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew and written a monograph (coauthored with Dr. Jessica Holland) on this work, published by Ashgate.


These talks (hosted by AA Membership) are being held as part of a wider series, leading up to the centenary of women at the Architectural Association in 2017. This series, organised by AA XX 100 with the collaboration of the Library, Photo Library and Archives, will feature academics who examine different periods of Architectural Association history, focusing on architects and tutors who helped shape architectural practice and profession globally. One of the talks on the immediate postwar period will show how students activism influenced the ethos of the school. The lectures will also highlight the AA’s collections and there will be displays of unique historic material from the AA Collections at each talk.



Ludwig Leo – Ausschnitt: Five Projects From 1960s West Berlin


Series: Saturday Gallery Talk
Date: Saturday 2 May 2015 : 11.00
Speaker: Jack Burnett-Stuart and Jack Burnett-Stuart (Base for Architecture Research) and Gregor Harbusch

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Please join us for a tour of the exhibition Ludwig Leo – Ausschnitt: Five Projects From 1960s West Berlin with curators  Jack Burnett-Stuart (Base for Architecture Research) and  Gregor Harbusch (ETH Zurich) on the morning of Saturday 2 May in the AA Front Members’ Room


Open to all  with complimentary drinks and refreshments served, any questions please e-mail events@aaschool.ac.uk.


Exhibition Text:


‘Ludwig Leo: a most unusual architect’ is how Peter Cook, inspired by seeing the recently completed pink and blue Umlauftank (circulation tank) and the triangular DLRG headquarters in Berlin, entitled his 1975 article about Ludwig Leo. “The buildings are so original and so expertly achieved,” he said, “that in the long run, they MUST be exposed, they MUST be talked about, for there is so much crap around.”


This never happened. Leo never built another building and he did not wish to talk about his past achievements. Forty years after Cook’s text, this exhibition is the first dedicated to this legendary West Berlin architect of the 1960s, who died in 2012. Presented, through Leo’s remarkable drawings, are five projects: the Umlauftank, the DLRG headquarters, a brutalist sports hall and two unbuilt experimental schools. The film ‘DLRG’ animates Leo’s drawings and shows how this unique lifeguard and boathouse building was originally used.


Curated by Antje Buchholz, Jack Burnett-Stuart, Gregor Harbusch, Michael von Matuschka and Jürgen Patzak-Poor.


This exhibition was first shown in 2013 in Berlin and is co-produced by the Wüstenrot Stiftung, the German foundation which is currently renovating the Umlauftank.


Photo: Wilfried Roder-Humpert



Watermark


Series: Members’ Screening
Date: Thursday 7 May 2015 : 18.30
Speaker: Film

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AA Membership & the AA Photo Library will be screening the documentary Watermarks (2013) on 7 May from 6.30pm in the AA Cinema.


Seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis with priority given to AA Members.


Complimentary drinks & snacks will be served. Any questions please e-mail events@aaschool.ac.uk


Watermark is a feature documentary from multiple-award winning filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nick de Pencier, and renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky, marking their second collaboration after Manufactured Landscapes in 2006. The film brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. We see massive floating abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world – the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover. We visit the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka.We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and explore the sublime pristine watershed of Northern British Columbia. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. In Watermark, the viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted- until it’s gone.


2013, Canada, 92 mins.


edwardburtynsky.com



The New Synthesist: Proprietary Specification, Ripolin and Elizabeth Benjamin’s East Wall (1936)


Series: AA XX 100 / AA Collections Series
Date: Tuesday 12 May 2015 : 18.30
Speaker: Dr Katie Lloyd Thomas

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In 1936 the AA-trained architect Elizabeth Benjamin designed a modernist reinforced concrete house at Gerrards Cross for the Ripolin paint executive Arnold Colaço Osorio that was acclaimed at the time and featured in F.R.S Yorke’s The Modern House in England (1937). This talk examines their intense correspondence around the specification of proprietary products – from paints to boilers and electric clocks – and the enormous escalation in the manufacturing and marketing of building products during the interwar period. It argues that this is the moment that the architect becomes ‘shopper’ on behalf of the client and as one journalist put it at the time a ‘synthesist’ in ‘the fellowship of art, science and industry’. Behind and alongside the polemics of modernism is a transformation of the architect’s relationship to industry that goes beyond issues of aesthetics or even the management of work on site, to give them a new role in the expansion of manufacture.


Dr Katie Lloyd Thomas is Lecturer in Architecture at Newcastle University where she co-directs ARC, the Architecture Research Collaborative, and is an editor of the international journal arq. Her research is concerned with materiality in architecture and with feminist practice and theory. Her monograph Preliminary Operations: Material theory and the architectural specification is in preparation and a new anthology Industries of Architecture is forthcoming (Routledge, 2015).


These talks (hosted by AA Membership) are being held as part of a wider series, leading up to the centenary of women at the Architectural Association in 2017. This series, organised by AA XX 100 with the collaboration of the Library, Photo Library and Archives, will feature academics who examine different periods of Architectural Association history, focusing on architects and tutors who helped shape architectural practice and profession globally. One of the talks on the immediate postwar period will show how students activism influenced the ethos of the school. The lectures will also highlight the AA’s collections and there will be displays of unique historic material from the AA Collections at each talk.



A Tour of Between Thought and Space


Series: Saturday Gallery Talk
Date: Saturday 16 May 2015 : 12.00
Speaker: Miraj Ahmed

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AA Membership will be hosting a special Saturday Gallery Talk off-site for the Between Thought and Space exhibit in South London’s Dilston Grove, a former concrete church now used as an exhibition space.


AA Diploma Unit 1 Master Miraj Ahmed &  selected artists whose works are featured in the exhibition will take Members on a guided tour of the show and explain the different stories behind their pieces on display.


This event is open to all and free to attend, any questions please e-mail  events@aaschool.ac.uk


Exhibition Text:


Between Thought and Space consists of 12 practitioners working within art, sound, architecture and choreography. The exhibition at Dilston Grove is the centerpiece of a live research project spanning September 2014 – December 2016, where participants have engaged collectively to the social, material and historical fabric of the building in order to create new work.


Dilston Grove is a unique historic site to engage with: a deconsecrated Italianate chapel built by Clare College, Cambridge in 1911, one of the first in-situ poured concrete structures built in the UK, and now, a dynamic exhibition venue. The building has qualities that typify Modernism and the Post-Industrial age; its austere bunker-like structure reminiscent of the process of mould-making, and its physical effect on ambient temperature are felt viscerally as well as through the intellect. The building is in some liminal state, between things, between histories, almost a ruin, yet physically resilient and as such reflects the ethos of the project.


Propositions will broaden the possibilities of what can be described as content or curating. Work includes the choreographic tracing of the building’s exterior as a form of measure, the depiction of structures that imagine the building’s construction and near destruction, and interpretations of the building’s social uses over time through sculpture, live performance and sound.


As an exhibition, Between Thought and Space explores the democratic potential of site-research. Ongoing exchange and dialogue has enabled individuals to resist conclusions or rest upon ‘what they would normally do’ in order to respond more collectively to Dilston Grove, their work building directly upon the knowledge and esteem of a site vital within the area for over 100 years.


Ongoing live performances and re-positioning of works within the space throughout the exhibition, as well as an in-conversation will take place at the Architectural Association (AA) on 15 May 2015 between architectural historian Professor Jane Rendell and Sally Shaw, Head of Programmes, Modern Art Oxford, and previously Curator of Art on the Underground (see event listing here). This will be a discussion of the value of interdisciplinary collaboration and the creative, critical and even democratic potential of site-research, in relation to the contexts of both the Dilston Grove exhibition and contemporary practice in general.


cgplondon.org
betweenthoughtandspace.com


Image: Foster Spragge



Moth-Eaten Old Students and Noisy Little Schoolboys – The AA in the Postwar Era Tuesday,


Series: AA XX 100 / AA Collections Series
Date: Tuesday 19 May 2015 : 18.30
Speaker: Patrick Zamarian

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In 1945 the AA School returned from its wartime exile in rural Hertfordshire to Bedford Square, where, facilitated by the government’s Further Education and Training scheme, it soon grew to twice its pre-war size. The presence of a large number of mature, self-assertive and almost entirely male ex-service students had a considerable impact on the way the school operated. This talk will focus on the unprecedented activism these students unfolded at the AA, culminating – after years of confrontation with the school authorities – in a partial return of their voting rights in 1956.


Patrick Zamarian holds master degrees in architecture as well as the history and theory of architecture, both awarded by ETH Zurich. He is working on a PhD thesis on the AA in the postwar era at the University of Liverpool.



Sand Wars


Series: Members Screening
Date: Thursday 21 May 2015 : 18.30
Speaker: Film

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AA Membership & the AA Photo Library will be screening the documentary Sand Wars (2013) directed by Denis Delestrac on 21 May from 6.30pm in the AA Cinema.


Seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis with priority given to AA Members.


Complimentary drinks & snacks will be served. Any questions please e-mail events@aaschool.ac.uk


By the end of the 21st century, beaches will be a thing of the past. That is the alarming forecast of a growing number of scientists and environmental NGOs. Sand has become a vital commodity for our modern economies: we use it in our toothpaste, detergents, and cosmetics, and computers and mobile phones couldn’t exist without it. Our houses, skyscrapers, bridges and airports are all basically made with sand: it has become the most widely consumed natural resource on the planet after fresh water. The worldwide construction boom fuelled by emerging economies and increasing urbanization has led to intensive sand extraction on land and in the oceans, with damaging environmental impacts. Sand Wars takes us around the world as it tracks the contractors, sand smugglers and unscrupulous property developers involved in the new gold rush, and meets the environmentalists and local populations struggling to reverse the threat to the future of this resource that we all take for granted.


2013, France/Canada, 80 mins.


sand-wars.com


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