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Nicholas Wyn Roberts AADipl 1948-2013

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The family of AA graduate and architect Nicholas Roberts wishes to inform the AA Community that he passed away on September 21st. Nick was the son of Cambridge architect David Wyn Roberts, a professor of architecture at Cambridge University, and Nick’s mother, Margaret MacDonald Baird, was also an architect. Nick graduated from Cambridge University, BA Architecture, 1969, and the Architectural Association’s School of Architecture in London in 1972. Several years after graduating, Nick moved permanently to Los Angeles, where he practiced architecture and met his future wife, architect Cory Buckner. 

Nick’s most significant contribution to architectural practice was as an Associate and Project Manager for Leo A. Daly in Los Angeles from 1985-2003, where he was responsible for managing a number of monumental, well-known Southern California projects such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels by Rafael Moneo, the Los Angeles Convention Center  Expansion by Pei Cobb Freed, and the John Spoor Broome Library at CSU Channel Islands by Norman Foster. Nick’s ability to organize vastly complex projects, negotiate diplomatically, and inspire a team of collaborators brought these projects to spectacular realization. On a smaller scale, Nick collaborated with his wife Cory on the design of their mountaintop home in Malibu and renovations of houses and St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Malibu, all designed by architect A. Quincy Jones.    

In 2003, Nick found his true calling as professor of architecture at Woodbury University, and served as Interim Chair of the Undergraduate Program the semester before he passed away. He founded Woodbury’s study abroad program in China, taking the time to learn Basic Chinese so he could communicate more effectively, and then started another such program in India, where his students researched how water conservation could inform architectural design. He was inducted into the Woodbury University Faculty Hall of Fame in August 2013.

He is the author of Places of Worship published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Nick is survived by his wife Cory Buckner and his daughter, Bryony Roberts.


Warren Chung 1975-2013

The AA Community is saddened to learn of the death of Warren Chung who studied at the School between 1995 and 2000.  Warren’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 24th July 2013 and his family extend this invitation to AA friends and colleagues to join them on this occasion.  In keeping with Warren’s unconventional nature, there is no dress code. Family flowers only please.

The funeral service will take place in St Nicolas' Church, Chipping Hill, Witham, Essex CM8 2JS at 12.45pm followed by cremation at the Three Counties Crematorium, Braintree.

Furthering his studies at the AA Warren went on to complete his architectural training at the Royal College of Art. After graduating he had a successful career working as a theme park designer, and later for Lego theme parks across the world. He had in recent last years set up his own practice. Warren was always a playful designer and he made a career out of his love of fun.

Warren was a very social and active member of the school community during his time at the AA and he will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

The AA extends its deepest sympathies to Warren’s family on this sad occasion. 


Christopher Shirley Knight AADipl 1925-2013

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The family of AA graduate and architect Christopher Knight wished to inform the AA Community that he passed away earlier this year on January 29th.

After graduating the AA in 1949 with a Diploma, Knight travelled to Chicago and worked for world renowned practise Skidmore Owings & Merrill. He returned to the UK to work with former AA President Dame Jane Drew on the Festival of Britain.

During the 1960's he formed the practise of Knight & Gardiner with fellow AA Graduate Stephen Gardiner, their most prominent building being a private residence for Sir John Baring in Stratton Park, Hampshire. The modernist house they built forms a striking juxtaposition on the site, situated adjacent to an 18th century Tuscan Portico leftover from the demolition of the original house, designed by George Dance.

Christopher contributed articles to many architectural magazines and held strong views on developments and issues in modern architecture. He has generously bequeathed many of his presentation drawings to the AA Archives. 


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.

BBC News


The Telegraph

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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




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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.