Projective Cities is a taught MPhil in Architecture programme that targets graduates and practitioners intending to pursue a substantial and original piece of individual research in architecture. The programme seeks candidates who are great designers and exceptional thinkers and writers.
The main ambitions of the Projective Cities programme is twofold. First, to examine how architectural ideas of the city provide alternatives to design doctrines dominated by the disciplines of urban design and masterplanning, which raises the question of what kind of project and research arises from architectural urbanism. Second, to redefine the ambivalent notion of research in architecture by proposing a new methodology to study, analyse and speculate on the synthesis of theoretical and practical design research, while making it operative.
Projective Cities understands the city as the subject of new architectural knowledge, speculation and research, positing its potential to produce ideas for the city. This establishes the contemporary city as an architectural project, explicated by large-scale artefacts – a projection of the possibilities of architecture.
The programme is divided into two phases. Phase I (30 weeks) represents the taught part, which introduces students to the pedagogy and methodology of the programme and provides the necessary analytical and technical skills. In Term 1 students analyse a ‘dominant type’ and its ‘deep structure’ within the studio, and study the theories of type and typology in the seminars. In Term 2 they continue to study a dominant type by relating it to an urban plan and by exploring concepts of typological conflict and change. This is complemented by seminars discussing theories of the contemporary city. Phase I concludes in Term 3 with a combined studio and seminar in which students formulate their individual dissertation proposals and develop relevant concepts and representations of the idea of the city. Phase II (30 weeks) represents the core research time when students work on their design-and-written dissertation.
Sam Jacoby is an architect who trained as a cabinetmaker and graduated from the AA. He has taught at the AA since 2002 (including Diploma School and History & Theory Studies) and at the University of Nottingham (2007-09). He has directed Projective Cities since 2009.
Adrian Lahoud is an architect and urban researcher. Currently he is Director of the Bartlett Prospective MArch in Urban Design at University College London. He is also the Coordinator of the MA and a PhD supervisor at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University.
Maria S Giudici earned her MA from Mendrisio Academy of Architecture, Switzerland, in 2006. Between 2005 and 2007 she worked in Bucharest-based office BAU, collaborated in Rotterdam with Donis in 2010 and Dogma in 2011. After teaching at the Berlage Institute and co-tutoring workshops at TU Delft (2008), TU Munich (2009), and Strelka (2010), she will be an assistant professor at BIArch Barcelona.
Max von Werz graduated with the AA Diploma. He has been conducting regular design workshops at the AA since graduation. He has worked as a project architect for practices such as David Chipperfield Architects in London and Tatiana Bilbao Architects in Mexico City, and he recently co-founded the London/ Zurich-based partnership Heberle von Werz.
Open to candidates with a four or five-year degree in architecture (BArch, Diploma or equivalent degree).