Intermediate 12 Chris Kokarev, Intermediate 12 (2015-16), Redundant Urban Landforms as Potent Economic Terrain

Happening Architecture 2016-17 Strategic Design for Future Building

Tyen Masten and Inigo Minns

"You wouldn't abandon ship in a storm just because you couldn't control the winds", wrote Thomas More, imagining the first formal utopia - a self-governing island society where poeple shared a common way of life. To mark the 500th anniversary of the publication of More's Utopia, the students of Intermediate 12 will embrace and challenge the idea of the utopian architectural project. Expanding on the key themes of previous years, which have used time-based techniques to engage with social, political and cultural themes, we will question the architect's role in creating visionary futures, testing brave new worlds and developing actions that can harness architecture to make these visions real. How can a strategic approach to architecture be deployed to create a lasting legacy that challenges and even supplants existing norms? How can built form provide a foundation for new societies? And how can the small seeds of emerging ideas that grow in the cracks of culture be nurtured to create whole ecosystems for future cultures?

Each student will be asked to first articulate a clear position in relation to the futures they desire and then consider how to design with time to achieve their visions. Drawing from case studies, texts and expertise from future-foresight consultants, students will create radical, beautiful, experimental buildings and communities that envisage these speculative futures and critique or enhance emerging trends. Gloriously flawed or romantically ambitious, these fantasy societies and architectures can have a profound impact on the critical and charged reality of our built environments. How can we as architects strive to influence our collective future? We will explore future trends in materials and technology through extensive design exercises while also asking how architectural ideas can align with the ethical and political positions defined by the students as the foundation for their projects. Following this, students will test their strategies to assess their failures and successes in order to craft their own legacy.

No longer passive bystanders, you are the future, the agitators, the architects. We want to change the world. This is a call to action.

Unit Staff

Tyen Masten has taught at the AA since 2005 in both the Diploma and Intermediate schools. He is the founding director of PHASE3, an international architecture and design practice based in London. He holds a Masters from UCLA and has worked in practices in Los Angeles, New York and London.

Inigo Minns works with storytelling, performance and curation to create audience-centred designs in an architectural context, exhibiting his work internationally. In addition to tutoring at the AA, he has taught extensively in a range of disciplines both in the UK and abroad.


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Prospectus 2016-17
AA Prospectus

Foundation Course Booklet
Foundation Course Booklet

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Undergraduate Course Booklet

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