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Diploma Honours 2010/11

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.

Kim Bjarke, Diploma Unit 9

Tutors: Natasha Sandmeier

'The Honours Award means more to me than perhaps I would like to admit. For me the life as a student of architecture was filled with a level of insecurity and doubt, always questioning if my skills were good enough. As I now leave the student life behind me the Honours Award provides a security and confidence that I will carry on with me to the future of my professional career.'

The project is investigating the relationship between the original architectural object and its copies. Contrary to general opinion in today’s society the project is based on the argument that the copy is not something bad, devalued or impure, it is instead something to cherish. The argument is visualised through a scenario of multiple iterations of copying, creating a context in which our pre-conceived ideas of the copy can be re-evaluated.

The physical context of the project is located around Mies van der Rohe’s Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. But the context of the project is not limited to the physical boundaries of the campus site. It also includes the larger body of Miesian architecture, and how the buildings are represented, and in the end perceived.



Tom Fox, Diploma Unit 4

Tutors: John Palmesino, Ann-Sofi Rönnskog

The project proposes a series of architectural and infrastructural devices that operate within Europe's southern frontier. Set within the recent reorganisation of the European border and the popular uprising in North Africa, the project examines the close relationship between circulations of populations, capital and technology, and the construction of both urban systems and water infrastructures. Rather than the prevalent image of the border as a finite limit, the project exposes the frontier as a deep, fragmented and temporal surface extending deep into both the European and African interior, operating through the reorganisation of local space. Within this system, sovereignty is largely defined by the ability to identify levels of mobility for people and objects, or the power to limit or qualify the right to hospitality. The project proposes both spatial and institutional structures that position architecture amongst the multitude of practices that shape the physical space of the southern Mediterranean city. Spanning from Europe to North Africa, the project reorganises the various regimes of mobility that operate in the territory; tourism, global agriculture, oil extraction, surveillance of migration and water management.


Fredrik Hellberg, Diploma Unit 5

Tutors: Cristina Díaz Moreno, Efrén García Grinda, Tyen Masten 

In the desert northeast of Los Angeles in an abandoned city called California City, the 739,600m Second Community floats above the desert floor like a mountain avatar. In its crater the 1500 heliostatic mirrors reflect the light on to the artificial sky covering the desert of the trans-identity port. With a capacity of 40,000 people the port gathers in its featureless white space with individuals open to role-play.

The Second Community explores an alternative identity tourism that goes beyond the virtual space of online role-playing games, the open desert of the Burning Man festival and the convention halls of Cosplayers. Spanning half a kilometre the artificial desert of the port isolates the person in a void of imagination where the persona of an individual becomes a fugitive and creative semiotic gadget which collectively generates a public space of radical self-exploration; an experimentation.

The porous mountain avatar surrounding and supporting the sky of the port collects its energy from the concentrated solar power plant in the centre of the crater, harvesting the power of the sun and delivers it to the caves around the centred port where the identity tourists prepare for the events in the port.


Aram Mooradian, Diploma Unit 6

Tutors: Liam Young, Kate Davies

Aboriginal dream-time narratives speak of a time when the ground was soft and creation beings shaped mountains and rivers. Now the financial narratives of gold prices reshape the earth through massive excavations and technological incisions. The Atlas of Gold Fictions catalogues the strange infrastructures of the gold economy, from its source in the mines of Australia to the web of precious artefacts scattered across the globe. The infrastructure of gold’s solely virtual value is re-imagined through the speculative artefacts of a new network of gold objects inscribed with the oral histories of the land from which it came. A suicide note is inscribed on a single gold bullet, the sound of a grandmother’s laughter is encoded into an heirloom necklace and the dying languages of Australia’s indigenous culture are recorded on to the gold bars dug out of the very ground of their homeland. Our relationship to our finite resources is re-examined with this new dispersed geology of artefacts encoded with the cultural rather than economic values of the contemporary world.



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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.