Mark Fisher OBE MVO RDI RIBA AADipl 1947-2013

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Tributes from around the world have been pouring in following the death of architect and world-renowned stage designer Mark Fisher on the 25 June. An AA Diploma Graduate from 1971 and Unit Master from 1973 to 1977, his practice StuFish released this statement:

We are sad to announce that the stage designer and architect Mark Fisher, OBE, MVO, RDI, died yesterday in London aged 66.

He passed away peacefully in his sleep at the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead with his wife Cristina at his side, after a long and difficult illness, which he suffered with stoicism and courage and his customary good humor.

Mark’s work as a set designer and artistic director has transformed the landscape of rock concerts and large scale events over the last 25 years.

Together with his practice Stufish, Mark created the groundbreaking designs for all the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and U2 tours for two decades as well as scores of other artists all over the world.

As well as his work in live music performance he also created designs for theatre productions and musical theatre including We Will Rock You, and Ka and Viva Elvis for Cirque du Soleil.

He was the senior designer for the Beijing Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies and was one of the three executive producers at the London 2012 Games ceremonies.

His work influenced not only the colleagues and crews with whom he worked but also surprised and delighted the many millions of people who experienced his designs all over the world.


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Robert James Mackay Sutherland FEng BA FICE FIStructE 1922-2013

Robert James Mackay Sutherland died last month on the 18 May. An outstanding Civil Engineer and prominent member of the Institution of Structural Engineers, James had been a partner with Alan Harris at Harris and Sutherland since 1964 and worked on projects such as the University of Bath and Essex, the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, Warrington New Town Plan and the refurbishment of the Sir John Soane Museum.

A Member of the AA since 1958, he was granted Life Membership in 1999. A funeral service was held in Clevedon, Somerset on 4 June, and the annual Sutherland History Lecture organised by the Institution of Structural Engineers will continue as a tribute to his accomplishments and contributions to the field of engineering.


Paul Stephen Coates AADipl 1969

It is with great sadness that we announce that Paul Coates died in the early hours of Friday the 14th of June 2013.

His major contribution was to the early development of computer systems for architects and his early introduction of computing into Architectural Education first at Liverpool Polytechnic and later at University of East London.

He joined the AA in 1963 in a cohort that included Robin Evans, John Frazer, John Young, Marco Goldschmied, Michael Brown, Peter Colomb, Jane Lamb, Stuart Passey, Richard Bunt, Katherine Macdonald and Henry Hertzberg. Paul Coates immediately made an impact with his original ideas and unconventional approach. In his fourth year he discovered the architectural potential of the scientific discipline of cellular automata that is a technique underlying much generative design and can be seen developed in many recent projects at the AA.

As one of the founders of Autographics (with John and Julia Frazer) he created, wrote and marketed the world’s first micro drafting system several years before AutoCad. A series of highly innovative, friendly yet technically brilliant products were developed over nearly 20 years which won major awards and prizes for innovation and interface design including a British Design Award 1988 presented by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.

Paul went on to lead the Masters course at UEL in Architecture: Computing and Design and inspired generations of students many of who now have formidable reputations of their own. He further developed generative design techniques during this period and wrote a book explaining his methods.

He enjoys a global reputation for his significant contribution to the development of microcomputer based graphics and the use of computers in design education and his major contribution to the whole field of generative systems.


Clyde Charles Malby FRICS 1935-2013

We regret to announce the passing away of AA Life Member Clyde Charles Malby. A Chartered Quantity Surveyor who fostered links between the AA and the University of North Carolina, bringing in students from their nearby European campus at Winston House (3 Bedford Square) . Malby also worked with the recently deceased Rick Mather on the refurbishment of the AA bar, restaurant and toilets in 1980. An AA Member since 1969, Malby was awarded Life Membership in 2008.


Rick Mather BArch(Oregon) RIBA 1937-2013

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The AA is saddened to report that Rick Mather died Saturday 20 April after a short illness. Graduate of the AA urban design course (1966), Rick taught a first year unit with fellow American Dale Benedict 1974-77. He set up Rick Mather Architects in 1973, specialising on design and master planning for cultural and academic institutions.

In 1980 he was commissioned a phased restructuring of various AA spaces, including the existing bar, kitchen, exhibition gallery and toilets, and the former photo library, drawing materials shop, triangle bookshop and crèche. Amongst many celebrated projects, the refurbishment of Dulwich Picture Gallery, an extension to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and a masterplan for the South Bank Centre, all from 1999, helped place his practice in the International architectural scene. Their work on the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford was nominated for the Stirling Prize in 2010.

He served as AA Councillor 1992-96 and remained an active AA Member.

Photo: Rick Mather opening the AA toilets


Leo Garcia Alarcon Estrada 1982-2013

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Former AA Intermediate Unit 6 student Leonardo Garcia Alarcon Estrada passed away on 28 March aged 30. Leo was a keen photographer and contributed numerous images to the AA Photo Library, exhibited at the AA and featured in various AA media.

Image: Kinkaku-ji Garden Kyoto by Leo Garcia Alarcon Estrada


Ram Karmi 1931–2013

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Leading Israeli Architect Ram Karmi died on 11 April 2013 aged 82. Karmi, who won the Israel Prize for Architecture in 2002, was both celebrated and controversial for his brutalist design on buildings such as the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv's new Central Bus Station, the renewed Ben Gurion Airport and the Holyland project. Born in Jerusalem in 1931, Karmi studied at the Technion in Haifa, Israel, before attending the AA in 1951 where he graduated in 1954. He returned to the Technion to teach from 1964 to 1994 and was later appointed Full Professor of the Ariel University Center of Samaria. He lectured at MIT, Columbia University and the University of Houston.


Charles Cullum 1927-2013

Architect Charles H Cullum died on 04 March aged 86. Born in North Lincolnshire and graduating from the AA in 1953, he emigrated to Canada and became a prominent figure in Newfoundland. He founded his own firms, first The Architect’s Guild, then Cullum and Cullum Ltd and served as president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Newfoundland Association of Architects.


Eric Browning 1926-2013

AA Member Eric Charles Browning (AADipl 1950) passed away earlier this year at the age of 86.


Mark Hayduk 1959–2012

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Mark Hayduk, who studied at the AA under Peter Salter graduating in 1991, died in November 2012 at the age of 53 following a short battle with cancer. Mark was a much-loved tutor at the University of East London’s School of Architecture, where he co-ordinated the degree course and led the celebrated Diploma Unit 3. Peter Salter remarks: “Mark’s student work developed a poetic from a technical reading of site conditions and he was fantastic at communicating that sensibility to his own students.” A celebration of Mark's life was held at the AA on 13 March in collaboration with his family and the University of East London Architecture Department.


George Finch 1930–2013

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Architect George Finch died of a heart attack 13 February aged 82. Finch, who graduated from the AA in 1955, designed for an egalitarian post-war London and his buildings were constantly underlined by a social approach to urbanism. Working at first with London County Council, Finch went on to work extensively with Lambeth Borough Architects Department under Ted Hollamby, creating Lambeth Towers in Kennington and the iconic Brixton Recreation Centre, a well-loved feature of the area which was recently saved from demolition. His Weston Adventure Playground Southampton, designed in collaboration with his life partner and architect Kate Macintosh, won a RIBA award in 2005.

The work that both architects carried out in the 1960s is celebrated in the film Utopia London.


Kevin Pratt 1969–2013 

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The AA is extremely sorry to report that Kevin B Pratt, AA graduate in Environment and Energy (2004), passed away on 19 February 2013 aged 43. 

Kevin was assistant professor at Cornell University, where he was conducting trans-disciplinary research in architecture and computer science to design and simulate the ecologic behaviour of buildings. His MA dissertation at the AA focused on Hooke Park, at a time when the Dorset Campus had only recently been acquired by the School, making a positive early contribution to the thread of conversations and developments that have followed at Hooke Park since. His energetic and positive outlook on life allowed him to develop strong collaborations such as the one with former AA Tutors Marco Poletto and Claudia Pasquero with whom he co-run a design studio in Cornell's Diploma school in 2012. He shared his passion for architecture with his wife Dana Cupkova and had three wonderful kids: Talullah, Alexander and Gwendolyn, his youngest, now two years old.

Simos Yannas (AA SED Programme Director) writes: “Kevin was an exceptionally talented individual whose drive, vision, initiative and leadership qualities were unique and irreplaceable. His death at such a young age, and at such a promising moment in his career, is an immeasurable loss for our field of sustainable design in architecture.”

To learn more about Kevin's life and work, visit the Cornell Chronicle


George Unwin 1922-2013

AA Life Member George Unwin died on 17 January in Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, at the age of 91. After serving in the Navy during World War 2, he completed his architectural studies at AA, where he graduated in 1950. He worked in Coventry for WS Hattrell, being made a partner in the firm in 1961, and set up their Manchester office where he worked until his retirement. He leaves a legacy of many fine, well made public buildings.


John Winter MBE 1930-2012

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It is with great sadness that the AA reports the death of the distinguished architect John Winter, who passed away on 12 November 2012. A constant friend of the AA, John studied at the school from 1950–53, having earlier completed a pupillage under an Arts and Crafts architect in Norwich.

After a stint of National Service with the Royal Engineers, John attended Yale, where he came under the influence of Louis Kahn. Subsequently he moved to San Francisco, where he worked for both SOM and Charles Eames. On his return to the UK, John joined the office of Erno Goldfinger before setting up his own private practice. During these early years, he not only designed and self-built his own house on Regal Lane, overlooking London Zoo, but undertook a number of important private commissions, including a steel framed house in Wentworth (1964) and cottages and farmhouses in Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

Alongside his practice, Winter taught at the AA, from 1960–64 (his students included Jeremy Dixon, Ed Jones and Nicholas Grimshaw) and acted as the AA’s ‘house’ architect, responsible for many alterations and extensions, including what was initially intended as a ‘temporary’ back extension to the AA bar and terrace. Whilst small, highly thoughtful and individual modernist houses were to become Winter’s chief oeuvre – his 1990 Weekend House, Happisburgh, a superlative example – he also undertook a number of larger-scale housing estate projects in Milton Keynes in the 1970s.

However, perhaps the most celebrated and mourned of Winter’s houses is Hardy House, Swains Lane (1981, demolished 2008), which was situated with stunning views across London and the adjacent Highgate Cemetery and was supported on a central concrete pillar, with the first floor trussed up as a cantilever.

John himself will be sorely missed by the architectural community and at the AA where he not only inspired a generation of students but also made valuable contributions as a member of Council, as Honorary Secretary and as a Trustee of the AA Foundation.

Image: Portrait of John Winter by Johnathan Root©


Mookey Rathouse 1939-2012

The family of Samuel (Mookey) Rathouse (AAPlanDipl 1970), who died unexpectedly last September following a stroke, has sent a wonderful recount of the life of the urban designer, architect and founder of Moross Rathouse Partnership. The article tracks Mookey’s career, starting with his arrival from South Africa in the swinging London of 1966, with wife Rosalind, to study Urban Design under Leslie Ginsburg at the AA. It describes  Mookey’s awakening to urban design ideas of the time, about which he would argue with a cohesive group of fellow AA students into the early hours of the morning, in their Bloomsbury Square studio. The work of the practice, all centred in London’s West End, goes from early work on Carnaby Street in the 1960’s (to which the practice would return in the 1990’s) to strategic planning for the recently completed St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden. You can read the full article by clicking the link below:

Read More (pdf)





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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.