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Diploma Honours 2007/08

AA Diploma Honours is the AA's highest award. Each Summer Term exceptional Diploma School students are chosen to present for Honours awards, which are given to the student or students who achieve an exceptionally high standard in the academic year. Those awarded Diploma Honours then exhibit their work early in the next academic year.

Deena Fakhro, Diploma 6

The Holy City and Its Discontents
Tutors: Chris Lee, Sam Jacoby

Once a year, every year, the Muslim Holy City of Makkah is flooded to bursting point by a relentless surge of three million pilgrims. As the largest gathering of people in one place at one time on Earth, the obligatory Hajj pilgrimage demands infrastructural miracles.

The project proposes polynodal gateway airports that disperse congestion within Makkah’s valleys. To counter the financial burden of redundant off-peak Hajj infrastructure, the gateway airports are combined with mosque-based Islamic universities and an airport-mosque. The airport type that has equally nourished and crippled the Holy City is reimagined as an airport, a mosque, a small city and a gateway. These city-gateways disperse growth and surges away from Makkah’s centre, maintaining the legibility of the Holy City.
Winner of RIBA President's Medal 2008


Adam Furman, Diploma Unit 9

The Church of Perpetual Experimentation
Tutors: Natasha Sandmeier, Monia De Marchi

Through a timeline of rapidly accumulating architectural experiments, the project explores the experiential titillation of spatial juxtaposition, and later the outcome of reusing the elements that made up those spaces, in endless recombination to create an infinite variety of potential spaces for the incessantly innovating client.


Martin Jameson, Diploma Unit 6

Project Runway: Thames Airport
Tutors: Chris Lee, Sam Jacoby

Project Runway envisages the replacement of Heathrow with a new bridge-airport hybrid structure aligned across the Thames Estuary.
1 Aligned, stacked and arrayed, a new airport comprising three runways bridges the Thames Estuary. This bridge-cum-airport accommodates high-speed rail, miles of airport facilities, and supporting infrastructure.
2 Escalator-based circulation reconfigures the slab building. The resulting network of non-planar diagonal flows is used as the generator of doubly curved surfaces, which define varied spaces and establish the parabolic curvature needed to span bridge-dimension distances.
3 An eight-mile strip of airport-related programme fosters regional regeneration, providing thousands of jobs to revitalise the built environment of surrounding towns without recourse to sprawl, preserving green space and exiling noise pollution to the sea.


Colin Ashton, Diploma Unit 3

Once Upon a Looking Glass
Tutors: Pascal Schöning, Rubens Azevedo, Julian Löffler

In an architectural confrontation in Valencia, Spain, between the ancient city and new developments, the built environment offered by the future does not live up to that of the past, offering its inhabitants little more than a predetermined experience. This proposal is primarily communicated by motion picture, with supporting documentation from conception through to material investigations recorded in book form. The proposal seeks to allow people to edit their surroundings as they might edit a film, and so become the architects of their environment.

As a manifestation of this idea, the project investigates controlling reflected images on panes of glass, and positioned in such a way as to modulate what we see around us. This graveyard of reflected images would be forgotten in a landscape of uncompromising development. Here, apparently insignificant events of the everyday are celebrated, their image sharpened, their space extended and their duration prolonged. This is an architecture offering shelter from architecture. It offers itself as a mnemonic architecture, where glimpses of reflected compositions remind us to construct our own surroundings within those that we find ourselves.


Max Kahlen, Diploma Unit 5

Rising Masses
Tutor: George L Legendre

This project, about verticality and the madness of repetition, features a residential high-rise building, floating within the regimented grid of Singapore’s office district. Writing form mathematically defines the basic concept, using the notation of functions and equations to confront both the abstract development of a syntax of form and the concept of ‘automatic writing’, where form is driven purely from industrial performance ratios.

The scheme proposes two 6-metre-thick building slabs, each 180 metres high by 40 metres long. On their external faces the slabs reflect the monotony of the neighbouring buildings, while on their inner sides this monotony dissolves as the facades deform into vertical folds. These folds stabilise and connect both slabs as well as providing external vertical circulation.



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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.