History and Theory Studies Yu Yan Kassandra Lim, A Tower of London

History and Theory Studies

Mark Cousins, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Fabrizio Ballabio, Doreen Bernath, Shumi Bose, Edward Bottoms, Mark Campbell, Susan Chai, Nerma Cridge, Tatjana Crossley, Francesca Romana Dell'Aglio, Ryan Dillon, Pol Esteve, William Firebrace, Mercedes Rodrigo García, Gabriela García de Cortázar, Winston Hampel, Francesca Hughes, Costandis Kizis, Sofia Krimizi, Roberta Marcaccio, Alison Moffett, William Orr, Ricardo Ruivo Pereira, Caroline Rabourdin, Manolis Stavrakakis, Brett Steele, Sylvana Taher, Zaynab Dena Ziari

History and Theory Studies (HTS) courses run over all five years of academic study at the AA. They introduce students to the nature of architecture, not solely through the issue of design but also in the larger context of the discipline's relation to past, present, future and diverse cultures. Writing is a central skill for the developing architect - at a professional level, architects are increasingly expected to describe and analyse designs and buildings in written form. In response, History and Theory Studies has renewed these aspects of the courses, enabling students to articulate their own points of view in seminars and to develop their skills in writing for course requirements.

The first three years of HTS aim to provide a broad framework for the comprehension of architecture at different levels. First Year students are introduced to a number of concepts and categories central to design. Intellectually, work in the Second and Third Years (Intermediate School) weaves what students learn in their design units into the broader questions of architecture. Through a combination of personal tutorials, seminars and lectures, the course prompts students to question the relationship of architecture to the bigger picture of politics, history and professional organisation. Students in the Intermediate School will have access to a number of one-on-one tutorials in order to develop their essays and investigate, with tutors, their broader architectural interests and goals. Drawing on work undertaken in the Intermediate School, the HTS courses offered in the Diploma School allow students to continue to develop their practice as architects, researchers and writers. As in the Intermediate School, Diploma students produce written work. However, this submission can be supplemented by drawing or with other ways of representing their discourse. Students in each year can take part in the annual writing prize, held at the end of Term 3.

A full account of courses and reading lists will be given in the Complementary Studies Course Booklet, which is available at the start of the academic year. Courses in First, Second and Third Year take place in Terms 1 and 2

First Year
Concepts of Architecture
Course Lecturers: Brett Steele (Term 1),
Pier Vittorio Aureli (Term 2)
Course Tutor: Fabrizio Ballabio

The first course of the History and Theory programme introduces students to well-known architectural projects past and present and to the language and the concepts through which architecture is understood. This is further extended in the second term to provide a fundamental basis for considering the history of architecture and the history of the city.

Second Year
Culture of Architecture
Course Lecturer: Mark Cousins
Course Tutor: Zaynab Dena Ziari
The second year of HTS addresses the relationship between architecture and other cultural arenas as it deals with questions of style, influence and institutional organisation while also looking into the history of the plan and architectural means of production.

Third Year
Categories of Architecture
Course Lecturers: Mollie Claypool and Ryan Dillon
Course Tutor: Sylvie Taher
The course will consider the way in which arguments are made in architectural criticism by presenting multiple architectural categories parallel to different forms of media. Focusing on twentieth- and twenty-first-century examples, students will understand the auxiliary influences on architecture and the different schools of architectural thought that have emerged.

Teaching Assistants for First, Second and Third Year: Eleni Axioti, Shumi Bose, Nerma Cridge, Tatjana Crossley, Francesca Dell'Aglio, Merce Rodrigo García, Pol Esteve, Winston Hampel, Constandis Kizis, Sofia Krimizi, Roberta Marcaccio, William Orr, Ricardo Ruivo, Alexandra Vougia

Diploma Courses
Courses in the Diploma School take place in Term 1 only

Architectural Space and Wheels
Susan Chai

In architectural terms, what is the relationship between people and cars? At a certain point, the interior of the car became a central component in the experience of life. Following an architectural analysis of interior spaces, the course looks at the ways in which visual experience is mediated by the car in respect to the outside. This analysis will include a reading of Ballard's Crash and Cronenberg's film adaptation will supplement the coursework.

Form and Format
Doreen Bernath

'Format' is an idea that acts both to contaminate and to supplement form. This course traces exemplary 'formats' that mediate between different spatial, conceptual, representational and material processes - formats of remembering and navigating, storing and searching, timing and imaging, posturing and feeling, informing and coding that have transformed what we think of as architecture.

Brave New World Revisited
Ed Bottoms

This course will explore the postwar climate of idealism that engendered over two decades of public housing projects in London. We will consider how such optimism and utopian plans translated into reality and how, by the late 1960s, these projects were perceived as part of a dream gone sour. Taking an investigative, archive-based approach, students will use a broad range of sources, including oral histories, contemporary newspapers, film and popular music.

Mark Cousins
With a focus on design juries, the course aims to help students develop the skills necessary to clearly articulate all aspects of their projects to the art and architecture world.

The Politics of the Abstraction
Nerma Cridge

This course deals with the issue and implications of abstraction by considering it in the context of political compromise, as a device for forgetting dangerous antagonisms, and as a way of projecting a state of harmony and unity. These explorations will be supported by the study of a range of texts that will reveal unexpected dimensions.

Contents of the City - - - -
Ryan Dillon

Based on Robert Rauschenberg's astonishingly insane ambition to photograph every inch of the United States the course explores methods of documenting our banal and everyday surroundings through immersive explorations of the city. The aim is that by uncovering the infraordinary, as coined by Georges Perec, something extraordinary emerges.

The Chorography of the Modern City
Gabriela García de Cortázar

Movement is fundamental to understanding the modern metropolis. The course will concentrate on the parallel rise of new forms of transport and new ways and techniques of representation. This will produce a new category of movement in the city distinct from either circulation or orthodox maps.

A Prehistory of the Computer
Francesca Hughes

The work of computers was first performed pre-digitally by a range of operations: memory storage and data retrieval; the circularity of the algorithm; the window that opens up to a parallel world of representation; and the inseparability of communication from its flow and its encryption. The course asks how each operation is understood in the mediation between users and the digital architectures we produce.

The National Pavilion
Costandis Kizis

The course examines world fairs and expos from the twentieth century up to the present to see how national identities were reflected in the architecture of national pavilions. Special focus will be given to expos in New York 1939, Brussels 1958, New York 1964, Montreal 1967, Seville 1992 and Shanghai 2010.

The Essay as Form
Caroline Rabourdin

In his Notes on Literature, Theodor Adorno wrote that 'luck and play are essential to the essay', and that the essay is still classed among the oddities; neither scientific nor purely artistic, it 'catches fire without scruple on what others have done'. This course examines a number of essays to explore the potential of the form as a way of writing about architecture.

The Portfolio
Silvana Taher

The course will examine the logic, history and potential of the portfolio in the life of both the student and the architect. An additional practical component will ask students to produce different portfolios for specific projects.

Diploma Thesis Option
supervised by Mark Campbell with Manolis Stavrakakis

At the conclusion of the Diploma HTS seminar programme, Fourth Year students wishing to develop their research into an extended written thesis may attend a series of seminars, workshops and tutorials delivered by Mark Campbell. These sessions, held over Terms 2 and 3, serve as an introduction to the thesis. They explore the rigorous nature of undertaking scholarly work and help students develop a topic. Students then progress the thesis over the summer between the Fourth and Fifth Years. Based on individual work as well as a series of individual tutorials, the thesis is submitted at the end of Term 1 of the Fifth Year, in line with the Fifth Year HTS requirements.

Friday Lecture Series - Miracles
Mark Cousins

Today, the spread of both sceptical and secular systems of values has relegated miracles to the realm of superstition and credulity. But the issue of miracles does not have to be tied to the rational or the scientific method. This lecture series attempts to provide a godless defence of the miraculous, introducing the idea that the miracle fulfils the wishes of those who bear witness to it. In many ways miracles are the poetry of the poor. This analysis is put into the context of urban everyday life - the contemporary setting of the miraculous. The topic will also be discussed by Mark Cousins and Hans Ulrich Obrist with invited guests during the Serpentine Gallery Marathon on 8 October.

Unit Staff

Pier Vittorio Aureli is an architect and educator. His research and projects focus on the relationship between architectural form, political theory and urban history. He is Davenport Visiting Professor at Yale University and co-founder of Dogma, an architectural studio based in Brussels.

Fabrizio Ballabio studied at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, the ETH in Zurich and at the AA, where he teaches both in the First Year Studio and in History and Theory Studies. He practises as an architect, is a co-founder of the art collective ÅYRBRB and a member of the research platform Factory Futures.

Doreen Bernath gained her diploma from Cambridge University and practised in the UK and in China before embarking on PhD research at the AA. She has published work on architecture and Chinese studies and, in parallel, co-founded O4 workshop design studio in Shanghai.

Shumi Bose teaches at the AA and at Central Saint Martins. She is a contributing editor at Blueprint magazine and Strelka Press, and has written for Architectural Review, Domus and CLOG. She is co-author of Real Estates (Bedford Press).

Edward Bottoms is the AA Archivist. He received a history degree from Exeter University and an MA in architectural history from the University of East Anglia. He has published on a range of subjects including art collecting, cast museums and the history of architectural education.

Mark Campbell directs Media Practices in the Graduate School. He received his PhD and MA as a Fulbright Scholar at Princeton University and BArch (Hons) and BA at Auckland University, New Zealand. A visiting professor at Southeast University, Nanjing, he has also taught at the Cooper Union, Princeton University and Auckland University.

Susan Chai is a graduate of the AA and is currently practising in London as an architect and freelance translator. She has been working with the Forum of Contemporary Architectural Theories, a collaborative project between the AA and Southeast University in China since 2009.

Mark Cousins is Director of History and Theory at the AA. He was educated at Oxford and the Warburg Institute. He is guest professor at Southeast University in Nanjing, China.

Nerma Cridge holds an MSc in Architectural History from the Bartlett and a PhD from the AA. She has worked for as Thomas Heatherwick and Art2Architecture. She runs her own practice, Drawing Agency, and is the author of Drawing the Unbuildable. Tatjana Crossley completed her Masters in Architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and Bachelors in Architecture at Rice University. She has worked at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and is currently working on her PhD research at the AA on immersive design and its effects on body image and identity.

Francesca Romana Dell'Aglio studied at University IUAV of Venice and recently completed her MA in History and Critical Thinking at the AA. She collaborated on projects for the Venice Architecture Biennale and since 2011 has been editor of the journal Engramma.

Ryan Dillon studied architecture at Syracuse University and holds an MA from the AA's Histories and Theories programme. He has been Unit Master of Intermediate 5 since 2013 and teaches in the AA DRL, where he serves as Programme Coordinator. He has also taught at the University of Brighton.

Pol Esteve is an architect and artist based in London and Barcelona. He founded the architectural studio EstudiPol in 2012. He holds an MA in History and Critical Thinking from the AA and is working on a PhD.

William Firebrace is the author of Memo for Nemo and Marseille Mix, both published by AA Publications. He was professor of architecture at the Stuttgart Akademie and teaches at various German design schools. .

Merce Rodrigo García is an architect and PhD candidate at Birkbeck College. She obtained her MArch from Research Architecture Goldsmiths following her studies at the Bartlett. She has taught at Oxford Brookes, been a fellow at Tokyo Institute of Technology, held art/research residencies, participated in symposia and practiced architecture internationally.

Gabriela Garcia de Cortazar is a PhD candidate at the AA. She is a registered architect in Chile and holds a MA in Architectural History from The Bartlett. She has taught in Chile and the UK, and her work has been exhibited in London, Rome and Santiago.

Winston Hampel is an Intermediate 10 Unit Master. He studied architecture and design in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Paris. He has worked with a number of practices including R&Sie(n) in Paris and Smaq in Berlin.

Francesca Hughes was a Unit Master of Diploma 15 from 2004-09. She is the author and editor of The Architect: Reconstructing Her Practice, Drawings that Count and most recently The Architecture of Error. She is a partner in the Hughes Meyer Studio.

Costandis Kizis is an architect and a graduate of Columbia University. He is completing his PhD at the AA. He teaches at Leeds Beckett University and has practised with Kizis Architects since 2006.

Sofia Krimizi studied architecture in Athens and Columbia University GSAPP. She has taught design studios and research seminars at the Cooper Union, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania and the Pratt Institute.

Roberta Marcaccio received her Masters from the AA and is coordinator of communications and research at the Londonbased practice DSDHA. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming The Hero of Doubt (AA Publications), a selection of writings spanning the career of Ernesto Nathan Rogers.

Alison Moffett is an artist and educator. Originally from Tennessee, she obtained an MRF from the Slade School of Fine Art and an MA in History and Critical Thinking from the AA.

William Orr is a designer, theorist and musician. He holds an MA in architecture from the University of Toronto and has been developing his PhD research at the AA since 2014.

Ricardo Ruivo Pereira is a researcher, educator and architect. He is currently an AA PhD candidate.

Caroline Rabourdin trained at INSA Strasbourg and the Bartlett before completing her PhD at Chelsea College of Arts. She has taught at the ESA in Paris, University of the Arts London and the University of Greenwich. She is the director of the AA Paris Visiting School.

Manolis Stavrakakis studied architecture at the National and Technical University of Athens, Columbia University GSAPP and holds a PhD from the AA School. He has been practising and teaching as an architect since 2005.

Brett Steele is the Director of the AA School.

Silvana Taher is a writer and architect. She trained at the AA, where she wrote a thesis titled 'Architects vs the City, or the Problem of Chaos'. Her writing has appeared in Publica, Blueprint and The Architectural Review.

Zaynab Dena Ziari completed her postgraduate studies in History and Theory at the AA School, where she continues to teach. She has written for various journals on the intersection of architecture, culture and the body.


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