Theodore Spyropoulos, PhD MArch

Programme Director

Professional qualifications

N/A

Research Interest

Behaviour based design, Participatory Architecture, Art + Technology, Generative Design Methodologies, Systems Theory, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Second Order Cybernetics, Cultural / Public Practice, Advanced Manufacturing, City Development.

Biography:

Dr. Theodore Spyropoulos is an architect and educator. He is the Director of the Architectural Association’s world renowned Design Research Lab (AADRL) in London, Professor at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt and resident artist at Somerset House. Theodore has previously chaired the AA Graduate School and co-founded the New Media and Information Research Cluster. He has been a visiting Research Fellow at M.I.T.’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and taught in the graduate school of UPENN, RCA In

Symposia

2016, Theodore Spyropoulos , POSTHUMAN FRONTIERS: DATA, DESIGNERS AND COGNITIVE MACHINES, All is Behaviour
Opening Keynote address to the 2016 conference for the The Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (Acadia). https://vimeo.com/210620390

Installations and Constructions

2014, Minimaforms (Theodore and Stephen Spyropoulos) , Petting Zoo @ Frac Centre / Barbican Digital Revolution
Petting Zoo by Minimaforms is speculative robotic environment populated by artificial intelligent creatures that have been designed with the capacity to learn and explore behaviors through interaction with participants. Within this immersive installation interaction with the pets foster human curiosity, play, forging intimate exchanges that are emotive, evolving over time and enabling communication between people and their environment. The installation exhibits life-like attributes through forms of conversational interaction establishing communication with users that are emotive and sensorial. Conceived as an immersive installation environment, social and synthetic forms of systemic interactions allow the pets to engage and evolve their behaviors over time exhibiting features and personalities that are formed through their interactions with the general public. Pets interact and stimulate participation with users through the use of animate behaviors communicated through visual, haptic and aural communication. Pet interactions are stimulated through interaction with human users or between other pets within the population. Petting Zoo has been installed as part of the Archi-Lab at the Frac Centre in Orleans and featured in the main atrium of the Barbican Centre outside of the Curve Gallery as part of the most visited exhibitions of the institutions tenure. Petting Zoo is currently touring through the Barbican and has been shown in Sweden, Greece and Turkey. https://vimeo.com/74377028

Publications

2013, Theodore Spyropoulos , Adaptive Ecologies: Correlated Systems of Living , Architectural Association
Theodore Spyropoulos’ book Adaptive Ecologies: Correlated Systems of Living examines computational frameworks that explore a time-based poly-scalar urbanism. The publication includes essays by Mark Burry, Brett Steele, John Frazer, John Henry Holland, Makoto Sei Watanabe, Patrick Schumacher, and David Ruy. Architecture finds itself having to cope with new social and cultural complexities that demand systems that are open, adaptive and participatory. The book explores organisational systems that examine a model of collective living constructed as an evolving ecology. As a response to models of accelerated urbanism that privilege top down master planning the lecture will explore experimentation that examines a generative and time based approach towards computational urbanism. The ambition of the research conducted by AADRL Director Theodore Spyropoulos and his students is to pursue a pattern logic that is poly-scalar, allowing bio-diverse patterns to operate between urban, building and material agency. The model of architecture and urbanism speculated here is not one embedded in a blueprint as with most man-made structures, but rather are correlated operations that are governed through emerging collective interaction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je7IJ07tI-4

2010, Stephen and Theodore Spyropoulos , Enabling, Architectural Association
This book highlights the work of the design and architecture practice Minimaforms, founded in 2002 by brothers Stephen and Theodore Spyropoulos. The practice has developed a diverse body of work that explores new forms of communication through correlated systems of interaction. Beyond style, the work moves away from the object towards behavioural models stimulated through participation and interaction. Using installations as a primary mode of research, the studio creates public performance-based interventions that engage material and social interaction. The book features recent work developed in collaboration with Krzysztof Wodiczko (a vehicle for veterans), a pavilion produced with the performance artist Stelarc, a video piece with Warp recording artist Mira Calix and Minimaforms critically acclaimed light installation in Trafalgar Square, Memory Cloud. Accompanying the projects will be texts by Archigram’s David Greene, Stelarc and Krzysztof Wodiczko. The publication accompanied an exhibition at the Architectural Association in February/ March 2010. http://minimaforms.com/enabling-publication/

Exhibitions

2008, Minimaforms (Theodore and Stephen Spyropoulos) , Memory Cloud (Trafalgar Square / Detroit Institute of the Arts)
Memory Cloud is a participatory ephemeral light environment that was commissioned by the London Institute of Contemporary Arts and was named one of the top ten international public art projects by the Daily Telegraph. Installed in the city’s Trafalgar Square in October 2008, Memory Cloud was based on smoke signals – one of the oldest forms of visual communication – and for three nights the public was invited to participate by sending text messages that were grafted onto plumes of smoke. Fusing ancient and contemporary forms of communication, Memory Cloud created a dynamic hybrid space that projected personal statements as part of an evolving text, animating the built environment through conversation. Interaction was facilitated through mobile phones allowing for an open, personal and easily accessible medium for collective participation. This means of communication allowed for conversational forms of interaction to evolve, transforming the space of Trafalgar Square into an active stage for observation and participation. Over three nights, a total of 1,500 messages were publicly projected. Memory Cloud examines the systemic interplay between participants, context (Trafalgar Square) and the environment. A network of seven smoke signals created an arena of airborne projection fog that was in a constant state of formation. The materialisation of the project was formed through light as the principal inscription device, articulating infinite variability and seamless transformations in an evolving typographic construction. Messages were continually re-formed as the space of projection was grafted onto atmospheres of shape-shifting volumes of fog. This fog allowed the text to change scales and incarnations along the driftscape of projected light. Accelerating air flow increased rates of dissipation further by transforming the volume and density of the space of projection. The observers’ spatial perception continually pursued dynamic stability through forms of legibility in motion perception. http://www.voiceofdetroit.com/

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THE AA RECEIVES THE POWER TO AWARD ITS OWN DEGREES

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.

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