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. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29544672.

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 www.burohappold.com/news/memoriam-michael-dickson/.


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.  https://www.justgiving.com/HugoHinsley

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: www.imperialcharity.org.uk/the-blood-fund.


Michael Thomas Cartledge AADipl (1925–2016)

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Michael Thomas Cartledge, who studied at the AA from 1947–1952, died peacefully on 23 December 2016.

Michael worked in both public and private practices and specifically in designing schools whilst working in the Architectural Department for Bromley Council, London.

After early retirement in 1981 he pursued his great interest in ceramics, both in sculpture and pottery.  He completed a ceramics course (1985–1986) at Goldsmiths College of Art, London, and was an active member of the Kent Potters Association, where he regularly exhibited his work.


Ivor Smith (1926–2018)

The AA is saddened to hear of the passing of alumnus and architect Ivor Smith (AADipl 1951) who has died at the age of 92.

Ivor Smith was born in 1926 in Essex and later evacuated to Derbyshire towards the start of the Second World War as a teenager. He went on to work on a farm in the early forties, before heading to London to study at the Bartlett, and later at the Architectural Association where he completed the AA Diploma in 1951.

After graduating from the AA, Smith joined the city architects’ office in Sheffield in 1953 where he and the late Jack Lynn designed and oversaw the building of Park Hill, the iconic housing scheme for which he is most well-known.

Leaving Sheffield, he went on to found Ivor Smith Architects in Oxfordshire in the 1960s and launched a teaching career.

Ivor Smith is survived by his wife Audrey, four children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Read more at https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/ivorsmith

From the AA Archive: watch a panel discussion between Martin Richardson, David Levitt, Piers Gough, and David Turnbull, moderated by Mohsen Mostafavi entitled Park Hill and the Future of Public Housing


David Bernstein (1937–2018)

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It is with great sorrow that we learn of the passing of former AA tutor David Bernstein who has died aged 80 following a short battle with cancer.

David Bernstein was born in New York in 1937. He first read architecture at the University of Cincinnati, before studying under Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1964 he moved to London with his wife Beverly, initially intending only to stay for a year. In reality, they never returned to the US, together making a significant contribution to architectural education and social housing in the UK. They first worked at the AA, Beverly as a senior registrar and David teaching.

Alongside his teaching role, David worked under William Whitfield and then Patrick Hodgkinson, where he met David Levitt whilst designing the iconic Brunswick Centre. In 1968 the two Davids established architectural practice, Levitt Bernstein, and Housing Association, Circle 33. The pair led both organisations until 1974, when they left Circle 33 and dedicated all of their time to Levitt Bernstein. Here, David Bernstein led a huge range of projects, from the refurbishment of the ICA to a great many social housing projects across the capital for the likes of Peabody Trust, Metropolitan Housing Trust and Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust. He was also keenly involved in all aspects of running the practice, later taking the role of Managing Director. He was always modest and created a culture within the Practice that put people first – both staff and the users of the spaces designed.

Some of Bernstein’s most significant projects include the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester (1976) – a futuristic seven-sided theatre in the round; Hart Hill Lane (1977) – a development of flats for the elderly and ten family homes in Luton; and the Gateway Centre in Southwark (1993) – a scheme of 58 flats for young people, 32 ‘move-on’ flats and a job/training centre.

The Levitt Bernstein’s website remembers him as: ‘Kind, light-hearted and full of integrity, David remained a father figure for many of us long after his retirement and we will miss him dearly. The culture and ethos we all cherish here today is thanks so much to his wonderful, open and compassionate sensibility.’

Since 2012 David worked closely with the AA to establish and to award annually a prize in memory of his wife Beverly, with generous support of many friends and family. The Beverly Bernstein Prize is run by the AA’s postgraduate programme in Housing and Urbanism, in recognition of Beverly’s involvement with the school and of her life-long interest and specialisation in housing and development planning.

A week before his death he published a book of his short stories titled Growing Pains and Senior Moments.

Image courtesy Levitt Bernstein





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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.