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Robert Maguire (1931 - 2019)

Maguire receiving award from Clement Attlee

It is with great sadness the AA learns of alumnus Robert Maguire’s passing. Maguire studied at the AA from 1948 – 1953 and graduated with an AA Diploma Honours. He was awarded the Howard Colls Travelling Studentship for his First Year portfolio, which he used it to undertake a grand tour of England and Wales by bike. The accompanying picture shows this award being handed to Maguire by the then Prime Minister, Clement Attlee.

Read Gerry Adler’s obituary of Robert Maguire on the Architect’s Journal website


Florence Knoll (1917 - 2019)

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The AA is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former AA student Florence Knoll who died on 25 January 2019 aged 101.

This obituary is written by Dr Ana Araujo (AA Unit Master) who is currently working on a book on Florence Knoll, as part of an ongoing research on the contribution of women to the field of architecture and design.

One of the strongest memories of her childhood, she recalled, was looking at blueprints on her father’s desk: ‘They seemed enormous to a five year old, but nonetheless, I was enchanted by them’. This was 1922, the same year Frederick E. Schust passed away. Perhaps out of an unconscious desire to honour this special moment, Florence Knoll (née Schust) would, some ten years later, stand out as the only girl in her class to choose architecture as a profession. By this time her mother had also died, and she had become a boarding student at Cranbrook (Detroit), an educational community led by celebrated Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen.   

Her career had an early start. She designed her first house age fifteen (including ‘plans, elevations, models and interiors’). Eliel Saarinen would come by every now and then to give her advice; textile designer Loja, Eliel’s wife, helped with the furnishings; and their son Eero, at the time a student at Yale University, taught Florence lessons in architectural history illustrated with his own sketches. Virtually adopted by the family, Florence often travelled with the Saarinens to their summer house in Finland, Hvittrask, and to various other places in Europe and around the world. In one of these trips she met Alvar Aalto, who advised her to enrol at the AA for her formal architectural training. Florence spent three years in London, but had to precociously interrupt her studies and go back to the US because of the war. Upon her return, she took a one-year internship in the office of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer before finishing her studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she would meet future collaborator Mies van der Rohe.

After graduation Florence moved to New York, and started freelancing for various architectural firms. ‘Being the only female’, she remembered, ‘I was assigned to the few interiors required’. While working for Harrison, Abramovitz and Fouilhoux, she met Hans Knoll. Recently arrived from Europe, and being part of a dynasty of German furniture manufacturers, Hans had just launched his own furniture company, with the mission of introducing the new modernist trends to the US market. He and Florence soon started an informal collaboration (Florence would help with the interior projects), and by 1946 she had become Hans’s partner in business and in life, acting as director of design at Knoll Associates. Her vision for the company was bold and ambitious. It was under Florence’s influence that the Knolls would commission furniture pieces from designers such as Harry Bertoia, Mies van der Rohe and her old friend Eero Saarinen. She played a crucial role in promoting the work of these and of many other designers, today considered to be amongst the most iconic of the twentieth century. Florence was also an accomplished furniture designer herself, even though she humbly described her work as a mere complement to the standout pieces of her male colleagues.

As the design director of Knoll Associates, Florence was also in charge of supervising Knoll Textiles, a division which revolutionised the field of furnishing interiors, adapting it to the functional demands and aesthetic vision of the modern world (she is also known to have invented the practice of folding a piece of cardboard around a cut of three-inch square fabrics and stapling them together as a means to create a textile sample).

Notwithstanding all the above-mentioned deeds, some consider that Florence Knoll’s most important contribution to the field of design was achieved not through her work with furniture or textiles but through the Knoll Planning Unit – the division of Knoll Associates in charge of interiors. With Hans’s cunning business skills, the Rockefellers were amongst their first clients. ‘It was sort of starting at the top’, as she used to say. Other prestigious commissions included offices for IBM, CBS, General Motors, Heinz, and many others. With the Planning Unit Florence proposed a whole new methodology for working with interiors. She followed a rigorous design method, producing a style which became known as ‘humanized modernism’: the combination of an extremely effective and economical use of space – customized to the specific needs of the client – with the creation of a warm, refined atmosphere, highlighted by the inclusion of plants, textiles and artworks.

When the work of Knoll Associates reached a peak in the mid 1950s, Hans Knoll tragically died in a car accident in Havana, Cuba, while overseeing a Planning Unit scheme for the American Embassy. Florence assumed the direction of the company, staying in this position until her early retirement, age 48, in 1965. By 1958 Florence had remarried. She met her second husband Harry Hood Bassett, a banker from Miami, while working on a project for him. Following her retirement in 1965, Florence relocated to Florida and led a relatively quiet life. She did a few other projects, mostly residential, which, interestingly, display a softer design idiom than the one she employed while working at Knoll.

Florence was the recipient many design and architectural awards, including the National Medal of Arts, the American Institute of Architects’ Industrial Design Gold Medal and the Red Dot Design Award. Her colleagues remember her for her extreme precision, unparalleled sense of style and for her relentless pursuit of the highest standards in everything she did. Acclaimed by The New York Times in 1964 as ‘the single most powerful figure in the field of modern design’, Florence Knoll’s contribution remains ubiquitous, yet to a great degree unacknowledged. It is our hope that she will in the near future come to occupy the place she deserves in our history.

Images courtesy of Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan


David Stewart (1939 – 2018)

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The following obituary was prepared by Fiona Raley who began her career as an architect after undertaking a 3 week work experience with David Stewart. They remained close for the next thirty years and Raley says - “he was my inspiration and my mentor and my best critic. Without his constant intellectual rigour and enquiry of the world, I would never have embarked on a subsequent career in architecture. He is greatly missed every day.”

David Stewart was born in Kenya in 1939, he spoke fondly of his time spent at the Nairobi Museum studying and drawing skeletons under the watchful eye of Professor Louis Leakey. He came to England with his parents and attending prep school in London and later at St Edmunds Canterbury. David studied at the Architectural Association between 1957 and 1967 coming and going over this period as many other students did at the time. He joined the first year in 1957 to 1959 and then left re-joining in 1960 to 1961 before departing again until 1963. He fondly referred to his greatest influence as a tutor being a young Stanford Anderson, who subsequently taught at MIT. Returning to the AA in 1963 he completed his intermediate studies in 1964; he returned to his beloved Kenya to take up a teaching post at Greensteds School in Nakuru. David was a member of the Muthaiga Club in Nairobi at this time.

In 1967, David collaborated with John Stengelhofen on a joint thesis project for a housing scheme and their tutor was Peter Cook. David and John both knew and socialised with a group of students which included Nicholas Grimshaw.  Sir Nicholas ‘remembers him as a highly intelligent and witty member of one or two group projects that were part of the AA curriculum during this time. He contributed to the idea at the AA at the time, which was that everybody threw ideas on the table and that we then adopted the best of them’.  On leaving the AA David variously worked with Trevor Dannatt, Cedric Price and Alison and Peter Smithson and he returned to Kenya to become the headmaster at Greensteds School in the early 1970’s.

On return to the UK, triggered by the death of his father, he took over his joinery workshop and set up Dart Designs in Canterbury in the mid 1970’s; he developed a thriving practice focussed on design of furniture, prototypes and complete interior contracts until deciding to close in 1988 planning to travel extensively around the world for six months. In 1991 he travelled to the Far East to trace family connections in Indonesia and Australia, on his return journey he travelled to Easter Island, Chile and Brazil. In 1996, he travelled extensively in India, particularly, to trace his family connections to the Barton family in Bangalore. In 2010, David returned to Kenya to visit Greensteds travelling on one of the last voyages of the mail boat to St Helena and via South Africa on the Blue Train.

David Stewart was an exceptional man, whose talent and influence as a designer and architect was felt widely by all who knew him and I am particularly proud to have commenced my first foray into a professional office at Dart Designs in 1988. David was an insightful critic, presented highly inventive and creative ideas in the most immaculate working drawings I have ever seen. He was known as a stylish and immaculately dressed man from his early student day; in his later years he preferred a selection of colourful Jaeger cashmere jumpers and was noteworthy as only being seen in a pair of jeans in his seventies, again they were Jaeger.  He was extensively well-read and equally eloquent in both conversation and in prose; resulting in often daily letters of critique or praise.

Fiona Raley BA(Hons) Dip Arch MSc RIBA SCA IHBC

David Stewart at the AA in his second year

Photo: Lucy Tulloch in December 2017 / David in his second year at the AA


Mary Banham

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It is with great sadness that the AA learns of the passing of Mary Banham, a close friend of the AA and Honorary Member. Together with her late husband Reyner Banham, Mary was one of the leading UK architectural critics of the last century. Twenty-five years after the Festival of Britain, Mary co-edited, A Tonic to the Nation, an account of the festival filled with recollections from many big names associated with the festival and comments from ordinary people who visited the event. Two years ago, Nabila Mahdi (AADipl 2011) interviewed Mary about her own recollections of the festival as part of the AA Conversations series online which can be read here. In 1996 Mary donated a collection of around 6,000 slides taken by Reyner Banham to the AA Photo Library. Read more about the Reyner Banham Collection here


Sir Jack Zunz (1923-2018)

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The AA is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Jack Zunz, AA Foundation Chairman and Trustee, and Honorary Member. As Chairman of the AA Foundation in the 1990’s Jack Zunz oversaw the AA150 anniversary campaign that allowed the AA to purchase a majority share on its leasehold, strengthening the AA’s location in Bedford Square and securing funds, previously spent on rent, towards student scholarships and bursaries. Hundreds of deserving AA students have already benefited from this, and many more will continue to receive assistantship from the AA Foundation in the future thanks to the work carried out during Sir Jack’s chairmanship.


Edward Burd (1938 – 2018)

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It is with great sadness that the AA has learnt of the passing of architect and former alumnus Edward Burd. Edward studied architecture at the Architecture Association between 1957-1964, one of a generation of socially minded progressive architects who went on to live and practice in Camden. Taught by, among others, Reyner Banham and John Summerson, Edward combined a sophisticated understanding of historic buildings and sense of proportion with an appreciation of how things go together and how spaces are lived in and used.  He put people at the heart of his work, and his belief in local community participation to effect positive change was reflected in all aspects of his life and practice.  

In 1965 he and his wife Mary bought a run down house in Albert Street and together they restored and transformed it into their family home, where he spent the rest of his life.  When other houses in Albert Street were threatened with demolition as part of a road building plan in the early 1970s, Edward and neighbours teamed up to campaign to save them, forming the Albert Street Association and organising the first of many Albert Street Carnivals.

After periods working at Architects' Co-Partnership and Associated Architects and Consultants, Edward worked for four years from 1966-1970 at Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) on the design of new power stations with Jim Hodges. He joined Hunt Thompson Associates as a partner in 1970, working mainly on the design of new social housing projects and pioneering techniques for community architecture and place making, until his retirement from the practice in 2002. Of all his projects, the one of which he was perhaps most proud was the redevelopment of the Mother’s Hospital site in Lower Clapton as the new Mother’s Square for Newlon Housing Association. Opened in 1990, it is an estate of social rented, supported and shared ownership homes, and was described by Lord Justice Scarman as 'a little piece of heaven on earth’.

Edward died peacefully at his home in Camden Town and is remembered dearly by his wife Mary and his daughter Catherine.


Jean Symons (1929 - 2018)

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We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jean Symons, who died peacefully in her sleep on 29 October, aged 90.

In 2014 Jean Symons was interviewed as part of the AAXX100 series and extracts from the oral interview are included here. Speaking of her younger years, Jean recalls thinking to herself that she would love to help reconstruct England when the war was over and so decided to pursue architecture as her career. Jean started at the AA in the summer of 1945 and within a few weeks was rushed to Buckingham Palace for the announcement of the end of the war. Jean also recalls that the first lecture she had at the AA was “how to sharpen a pencil” followed by a task to produce a measured drawing of the fireplace in the front member’s room.

In October 1949, instead of starting her 5th year, Jean decided she needed practical experience working on a construction site before graduating and managed to secure work on the construction of the Royal Festival Hall.  During the 15 months she was there, Jean saw the building nearly completed and describes it as the best job she ever had. Her recollections were published in an article “Concert Hall notebook: a record of fifteen months on site” in AA Files 40, in which she recalls anecdotes from the Royal Festival Hall opening ceremony, including being stuck in the lift with the Mayor of London while the ceremony was taking place.

After graduating Jean fell ill and was hospitalised for a whole winter and in August 1953 she married the doctor that had treated her. Jean went on to have an incredible career including lecturing and publishing research on the design of healthcare buildings and the needs of handicapped people. She also worked at the AA from 1968 – 1971 as Assistant Director for the Centre for Advanced Studies and Environment (CASE).


Simon Enthoven (1934 – 2018)

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The AA is saddened to hear of the passing of alumnus and Past President, Simon Enthoven, who died in June this year.

As a young man Simon was called to do National Service in Sierra Leone. On return he studied at Trinity College Cambridge for 3 years before completing his architectural education at the AA in 1959. He met his wife while working at Powell and Moyà in 1961 and was soon asked by the head of the army in Sierra Leone to return and design the army barracks in Freetown. Simon lived in Sierra Leone for several years with his wife, Gillian, and their daughter – completing the barracks and designing several secondary schools.

On return to London, Simon joined his father’s practice and was involved in Goldsmiths College and the new Laban Centre. In 1972 Simon partnered with Olu Wright and Michael Willis to set up Wright, Willis and Enthoven. During this time Simon returned to Sierra Leone a month at a time, designing new hotels and a law centre. 

Simon was President of the AA from 1977 – 1979 and continued his work designing new offices for British Standards, renovating Georgian buildings for commercial use and finally renovating his and Gillian’s own cottage in France, which was to be his final project. Simon spent his last years in happy retirement before sadly passing away in June this year.  


Mr James McCloy (1941 - 2018)

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The AA remembers James McCloy who passed away in August this year. McCloy studied at the Architectural Association between 1962 and 1965.


Robert Venturi (1925 - 2018)

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The AA extends its deepest condolences to Alumna Denise Scott Brown (AA Dipl 1956) on the passing of her partner and husband Robert Venturi.

Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi have together been credited with pioneering the Postmodernist movement in architecture. Venturi wrote many ground-breaking texts including Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) and, with Scott brown,  Learning from Las Vegas.

From the archive: Stierli, Martino. "In the Academy's Garden: Robert Venturi, the Grand Tour and the Revision of Modern Architecture." AA Files, no. 56 (2007): 42-55.

Photo credit: 2008, Architectural Association Photo Library


Peter Maurice Rich (1930 – 2018)

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It is with great sadness we learn about the death of Peter Maurice Rich, 1930 – 2018, who passed away after a period of illness on 7 July.

Pete led a wonderful and vibrant life, full of travel, adventure and excitement, whilst also being a top-notch architect. He retained his acute mental sharpness and sense of fun right up until the time of his death.

Pete began his career young, as an office boy at a large Building and Civil Engineering Contractors Company in Central London. At the age of fifteen, he began attending evening classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic and gained a Higher National Certificate in Building.

Between the ages of eighteen and twenty Pete spent nearly two years in the army as a national conscript. On leaving the army Pete worked as a junior assistant for an architect for one year before emigrating first to Canada and then to the US. In 1954, he was offered a position at Skidmore Owings and Merrill in New York. In 1955 Pete returned to England.


After a period of work at George Wimpey, Pete decided that being a senior technician was not enough for him. His work in America had convinced him that he could be an architect. His quest to qualify began. He fought hard and was rewarded by a place in the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1958.

The five years of full time education, between the ages of twenty-eight and thirty-two, was regarded by Pete as the turning point in his life. He enjoyed the company of his fellow students and teachers, and absorbed everything that the school offered him. Lifelong friendships were made and Pete graduated with honours, a very proud moment for him.

Pete held every post in the Students Union at the AA, and following graduation he was voted onto the Architectural Association’s Board of Governors as the students’ representative. He served in this role for many years, and on retirement Pete was awarded a life membership of the Association for services rendered.

Pete’s life as a qualified architect began in 1962 when he was offered work by the then head of the Architectural Association, Bill Allen, and subsequently he joined the architectural practice of Associated Architects and Consultants. There, Pete worked on large-scale social housing schemes.

Pete resigned from the partnership in 1972, and lectured at both the Bartlett School of Architecture and at the (then) Polytechnic of North London. Eventually Pete switched to being a full time lecturer at the Polytechnic of North London and he developed a BSc Architecture course for mature part time students. By 1978 Pete was the course lecturer for both the full and part-time BSc courses.

Pete enjoyed a gradual retirement over twelve years from full-time to three days to two days to one to half a day per week.


Michael Dickson (1944–2018)

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Michael Dickson CBE, a founding partner of BuroHappold Engineering and influential figure in the development of the AA’s woodland campus at Hooke Park.

Following studies in Engineering at Cambridge and Cornell Universities, Michael joined Ove Arup in 1968, before leaving in 1976 as part of pioneering group of young engineers to form a new practice with Ted Happold: BuroHappold.

Following Ted Happold’s untimely death in 1996, Michael became chairman, leading the organisation for almost a decade as it grew into a global business.

BuroHappold described Michael as ‘unwavering in his commitment to building responsibly and touching the earth lightly. His construction philosophy – inspired by Frei Otto, a long-standing colleague – was that the most efficient use of the right materials is at the core of sustainability.’

Some of Michael’s remarkable engineering projects include the Savill Building Visitor Centre, Windsor (with Glenn Howells), The Queen’s Building at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (with Hopkins Architects), and Hooke Park’s timber-arched workshop, constructed using green timber thinnings cut straight from the woods.

Hooke Park Director Martin Self said: ‘Michael was a passionate supporter of the AA’s work at Hooke Park. As a member of the Hooke Park Advisory Group, he was instrumental in the formulation of the 2008 Strategic Plan and subsequently in guiding the development of the campus, providing exceptional generosity and depth of knowledge in his support to students and staff.

‘Through his pioneering engineering work with BuroHappold at Hooke Park in the 1980s, working with Frei Otto and Ahrends Burton & Koralek, Michael had established the technical possibilities of using low-value local timber in advanced construction, and advocated the continuation of this approach as the AA’s Design + Make programme re-started building work at the campus.

‘In retirement, his passion for wood continued through writing, including the publication of Sustainable Timber Design in 2015, and evidenced by his frequent visits to Bedford Square and Hooke Park – traveling from the Hebridean Islands where he and wife Effie, a landscape artist, would spend much of the year.

‘His warm-hearted, generous and incisive support to the Hooke Park project will be greatly missed by the AA.’

Read more about Michael’s life and legacy at


Hugo Hinsley (1950–2018)

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It is with great regret and deep sadness that we announce the death of our dear colleague and treasured friend Hugo Hinsley. With an AA career lasting 45 years, Hugo truly was at the heart and soul of all that we hold dear as a School Community. 

Hugo's funeral will take place at the Golders Green Crematorium, 62 Hoop Land, London NW11 7NL on Friday 1st June at 2pm.   This will be followed by a celebration of his life at the Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES from 5pm. You are very welcome to join.

No flowers, please; instead a donation to Marie Curie would be greatly appreciated. Their care for Hugo in the last days of his life was wonderful and we are very grateful.

The following obituary was prepared by the Housing and Urbanism Programme in collaboration with family, colleagues and friends.

Hugo Hinsley helped to shape architectural education at the AA and abroad for over 40 years. Always keen to broaden the scope of architectural discussion and learning, and to ask how architects might work in fresh ways to better envision and serve their purposes, he was nevertheless equally keen to ground the field in the palpable needs of urban communities. He was an indefatigable urban explorer, always curious how the city had been made, and his walks with students were famous for answering this question with equal balance given to politics, construction, and the cultural habits of residents, each of which may have lent something to the genesis of the place. But this was never to be confused with the narrow focus of the local historian. Instead, Hugo was a passionate internationalist, and his understanding of what was “taking place” in cities was informed by a rich conversation with architects and activists from around the world and a thirst for information regarding global political and urban transformations. He always saw the big picture in the detail.

Hugo was born in Cambridge in 1950, and his account of his upbringing in his academic parents’ home was one in which there was a regular rotation of visiting scholars and academics, infusing the domestic scene with discussions of science, culture, and the politics of international affairs. Not surprisingly, when Hugo studied architecture at Cambridge between 1968 and 1972, he found the curriculum somewhat too narrow and lacking attention to the key challenges of the period. He persuaded his director of studies to allow him to write his own brief for his final year, focusing on the failures of housing policy, the rise of squatting, and emerging housing initiatives.

After completing his degree, Hugo moved to London where he became involved with teaching at the AA. He was recruited in 1974 by John Turner, along with Tom Woolley and Hans Harms, to run a new programme on housing and community architecture. While housing was at the heart of urban social concerns at the time, Turner had been instrumental in reframing the topic in a way that highlighted the social process underpinning it. This theme was extended by Hugo and his colleagues in the new AA programme, emphasising the broadest range of community facilities that support residential life, and they initiated a Community Seminar that attracted broad participation from architects, planners, and community activists around London. Hugo was always proud of the tradition of the AA that enabled architectural education to be engaged beyond simply serving professional practice, and he was an enthusiastic defender of this tradition. When he later ran the 5th Year programme in Professional Practice at the AA, he brought in an inspiring range of practitioners who had turned their architectural education into novel forms of engagement in the wider urban world. Innovatively, Hugo partnered students with these leaders to better understand their work through direct experience, rather than simply replicating the usual lecture format. Hugo always sought to enable students to learn through direct experience of engagement with a problem that demanded an openness and integrity of thought.

The Community Seminar that Hugo began with Tom Woolley in 1974 led to the formation in 1976 of a loose collective of professional practitioners called Support, which focused largely on community architecture. The Winchester Project in Swiss Cottage and Kingsley Hall in Bow are just two of the many projects on which they worked, and which today still stand as exemplary community service institutions. Hugo also worked on the Coin Street project in London’s South Bank area, supporting its alternative approach toward inclusive, socially progressive redevelopment of central city sites. The combination of direct involvement in community architecture and the establishment of an academic platform for reflection on urban issues turned the Housing programme in the AA Graduate School into a scene of international debate, drawing in not only graduate but diploma students, as well, along with visiting scholars and activists from abroad.

Through these seminars, Hugo met Col James, who in 1982, invited Hugo to spend part of the year on the faculty of the University of Sydney. Here, Hugo met a number of like-minded scholars, architects, and housing activists who shared his interest in social justice through housing, and he became closely involved in the housing rights of aboriginal communities in Australia’s central cities. The contacts Hugo made there fuelled his international perspective on this global issue, and this was a perspective that continued to inspire what had now become the Housing and Urbanism Programme in the AA Graduate School, which Hugo co-directed with Jorge Fiori. A central plank of the Programme over the years has been the direct engagement with city governments, their local communities and local universities, through a short, intensive workshop as part of each year’s educational calendar. In the mid-1990s, Hugo was also asked to revive and run what was called the Visiting Teachers Programme at the AA – a one-month seminar bringing teachers from around the world to learn about the school’s ethos and practice, to share experiences, and discuss educational schemes. Hugo was keen to reject narrow manifestos of architectural theory or practice. Instead, he was always interested to diversify understandings, to innovate, and to support the widest gene pool of architectural work.

Hugo was a man of great generosity toward his friends and colleagues. He always preferred to support and encourage rather than take the limelight. He was more interested in being part of successful collective endeavour than in personal recognition, and absolutely detested the syndrome that had given rise to the culture of star architecture. And yet, Hugo was also a man of great concentration, talent, and personal commitment to his work and his hobbies. He had a deep knowledge of construction techniques, both historical and contemporary, urban policies, housing schemes, and much more that defined our field of architectural urbanism. He possessed a similarly cultivated knowledge of ceramics and had pursued pottery as a hobby. In his younger years he owned and maintained a collection of classic motorcycles. One sees a pattern here: he was always most interested in those things in which one may be fully engaged, mind and body, and so always seemed to have the richest possible insights to share with his students and friends. We will always miss this man who enlivened our seminars and classrooms, our city walks, our H&U barbeques, our discussions at the AA bar, and much, much more.


Will Alsop OBE RA AADipl (1947–2018)

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It is with the greatest sadness that we learn of the death Will Alsop, one of the AA’s most notable alumni and former tutors, and winner of the 2000 Stirling prize, who has passed away aged 70.

Will Alsop graduated from the AA in 1973 before going on to teach from 1975 to 1989 with David Greene, John Lyall and artist Bruce McLean, among others.

He worked briefly for Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, before joining Cedric Price for four years and then later setting up practice with his contemporary John Lyall in 1981, who remembers Will as ‘exceptionally talented and always having a unique view of architecture’.

Will met his wife Sheila at the AA when she was AA General Studies Coordinator and they married in 1972. Among his former students at the AA are Amanda Levete, Steve Christer of Studio Granda, and current AA Interim Director Samantha Hardingham.

Appointed OBE in 1999, the following year would prove to be momentous for Will as he established Alsop Architects, was elected to the Royal Academy, and won the Stirling prize for Peckham Library, a building that redefined what libraries could be in the 21st-century.

Image: Will Alsop at the AA in the 1970s, © AA Photo Library


Tom Ryland (1947–2018)

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It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of alumnus Tom Ryland AADipl RIBA, who died peacefully on 9 March 2018.

He is remembered here by fellow former AA student Jonathan Ball who reflects on their time spent studying in London in the 1960s: Tom Ryland – Those were the days my friend

A service of thanksgiving will be held on 21 April at 12.00 at St Peter’s Church, W6 9BE. Donations in Tom’s memory may be made to The Blood Fund, which supports the Haematology Department at Hammersmith Hospital:




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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.