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The International Summer School “Innovation in Practice: Unlocking Architecture in City”, was held at the Politecnico di Torino from 4 - 14 September. The school offered a unique platform for collaboration between several leading European institutions, to envision new futures for the city of Turin. 

Maria’s contribution focused on the possibility of anticipating future development via pilot social concepts and “liquid”, variable programmes. Her design unit created an extended meta-scenario for a symptomatic post-industrial site in Turin, multiplying agencies, functions, and spaces that could become involved over time. 

Further information can be found at the Innovation in Practice website

Date Submitted: 17/9/2019

Jose Alfredo Ramirez, Co-Director of Landscape Urbanism, will be lecturing on the work of Groundlab and AALU on 19 September as part of the Landscape Architecture Symposium at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph in Canada. 

More information on the University of Guelph website

Date Submitted: 17/9/2019

The list, ‘Some Notable Women in AECO (& beyond) Design Computation’, is a crowd-sourced resource for promoting the voices of women in design computation conference panels and related events. The list can be viewed here.

Date Submitted: 17/9/2019

The six month, paid, off-site design fellowship, organised by R+D for the Built Environment, has been awarded to four candidates to advance, test, and share their work. Selection for the fellowship was made from 80 applicants from 17 countries who submitted research proposals in the key R + D topic areas: 

1. Building material science

2. 3D printing, robotics, AR/VR

3. AI, machine learning, analytics, building intelligence

4. Quality housing at a lower cost

5. Building resiliency and sustainability

6. Workplace optimization

7. Adaptable environments

Kostas’s research will focus on reducing the environmental impact of envelope construction, through the use of multi-materials. More information on the fellowship can be found on the R+D website

Date Submitted: 16/9/2019

Tiipoi Talks is a talks programme curated by Manijeh Verghese (Head of Public Programme at the Architectural Association) and Spandana Gopal (Founder of Tiipoi). For LDF’19, they have invited Debika Ray, founder of Clove magazine, to co-curate the talks @ Delfina Foundation.

The programme aims to start new conversations and encourage a deeper and more critical way of asking questions around contemporary creative practice. It brings together designers, artists, architects and cultural commentators with a view to debate the power of objects, crafts-based practice and the role of context in shaping projects and ideas. By inviting a diverse set of practitioners, we hope to situate these discussions within a more inclusive reading of history and the disciplinary canon we operate within. Through a cross-pollination of different forms of practice and backgrounds, the talks hope to bring to the foreground a more rigorous dialogue around making and sharing work in a changing London.

Wednesday 18 September, 5.00pm – 8.00pm, Delfina Foundation, 29/31 Catherine Place, SW1E 6DY

Find out more and buy tickets on the London Design Festival website

Date Submitted: 11/9/2019

Blind Monstrance Drawing No. 8, a drawing by Juliet Haysom (AA Academic Staff) will be part of the upcoming exhibition at the British Museum: Pushing paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now.

Celebrating drawing in its own right, rather than its historic role as preparatory to painting, this display explores how contemporary artists as diverse as Tacita Dean, Richard Deacon, Imran Qureshi and Anish Kapoor have used drawing to examine themes including identity, place and memory.” – British Museum

The exhibition will be on display from 12 September 2019 – 12 January 2020 at the British Museum and will then travel to Durham, Swansea, Stromness and Barnsley. There will also be an accompanying book, published by Thames and Hudson.

Find out more on the British Museum website

Image: Juliet Haysom, Blind Monstrance Drawing No. 8, 2003, Graphite on cartridge paper with burnt hole

Date Submitted: 10/9/2019

Teresa Stoppani, AA History and Theory Studies Tutor, will present her lecture Unorthodox: Architecture as Paradigm, on Thursday 26 September at 6.30pm as part of the Preservation Lecture Series,  n initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.

The lecture argues that when the history, representation, form and design of architecture are “broken”, and its relationship with nature is finally exposed and its edifice collapsed, then it is perhaps time to rethink architecture in different terms. In Unorthodox Ways, Stoppani argues that architecture and its processes can be better understood by drawing categories from disciplines that exceed the architectural and the urban, proposing them as unorthodox analytic techniques to decipher contemporary spatial complexity. This talk will reconsider paradigm (Greek paradèigma, ‘example, exemplar’) as an action and relation word that contains within itself the possibility of variation and movement. As an intellectual operation, paradigm works towards the production of a non-dialectical form of knowledge, which does not aim to achieve the universal and derive principles (rules) from it. Stoppani will argue that the architectural project performs in the city the relational operation of the paradigm, producing a form of knowledge that dismisses oppositions and resolutions.

Find out more on the Columbia GSAPP website

Date Submitted: 9/9/2019

Human presence in Antarctica, necessary to conduct essential scientific investigations on the pressing global problems of climate change and sea-level rise, is not conceivable without technologically advanced architecture.

At the eve of the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the southernmost continent, ANTARCTICA 200 participates to the London Design Festival by curating a dense agenda of events that brings together, for the first time, architects and polar experts who operate in Antarctica to reflect on the implications of building in the extreme.

Held at the Architectural Association, ARCHITECTURE IN THE EXTREME is conceived as a think-tank in which Polar Lab students and cross-disciplinary specialists are invited to unveil neglected Antarctic stations, and to assess how existing experimental structures can mitigate unforgiving weather conditions and the psycho-physical disorders induced by the combined effects of isolation and high-density co-habitation.

Punctuated by a series of Round Tables, the 168 hours-long programme includes a joint Polar Lab workshop in which students researching at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Hong Kong University and the Architectural Association converge to London to produce the first Archive of Antarctic Architecture. The events will be hosted at the AA from 15 – 21 September 2019.

AA Students are invited to join by emailing info@antarctica200.org

Find out more on the Antarctica 200 website and the London Design Festival website

Date Submitted: 5/9/2019

ECÒL studio, an architectural practice co-founded by Lorenzo Perri (AADipl(Hons) 2016) recently completed an urban art project within the historical centre of Pistoia, Italy.

Romanico Automatico is a site-specific intervention whose graphic matrix derives from an abstract and rigorous manipulation of compositional schemes related to the Tuscan Romanesque.

This coming September together with Lemonot-Kosmos-Office shophouse and KooZA/rch,  ECÒL studio are welcoming students to keep on working on the historical urban fabric of Tuscany. Join PLAY! (15 -21 September), the first of a workshop series in San Niccolo, Prato. For more information visit the Workshop Series website.

Date Submitted: 4/9/2019

Andrew McMullan (AADipl 2006) has won a RIBA competition to create affordable homes which encourage young people to live in the Lakes and Dales. Run by Great Place: Lakes and Dales in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the competition asked for cutting-edge designs for flexible, affordable housing which would attract the under 35s to live in the Lakes and Dales.

Mcmullan Studio won the competition with ‘The Flexstead’, a flexible dwelling inspired by the fluid layout of traditional local farmsteads that will give young people the freedom to create their own rural lifestyle on a budget they can afford.

‘The Lakes and Dales is a spectacular place but sadly many young people can’t afford to call it home. The area has 44% fewer 16-34-year-olds than the national average. It’s time for a rural youthquake.’ – Andrew Mcmullan

The competition was judged by a panel of local authority officers, design experts, landowners and a RIBA agent. Members included Wayne Hemingway (Hemingway Design), Nathan Cornish (Urban Splash) and Sasha Bhavan (RIBA).

Date Submitted: 3/9/2019

Voices of VR has over 800 podcast interviews featuring the pioneering artists, storytellers, and technologists driving the resurgence of virtual & augmented reality.

AA Unit Masters Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg are featured in an interview on ‘How VR is Changing Architecture Education’, which also features the audio from the symposium, ‘the Architecture of the Immersive Internet’, held at the AA in March 2019. Listen to the episode featuring Lara & Fredrik

Episode 801 features AA Student Yasemin Yesilipek whose work focuses on virtual reality and creating space for online gatherings. Listen to her interview: Dynamic Architecture & Digital Campfires for Social VR Gatherings

Nicholas Zembashi (AADipl 2018), Sebastian Tiew (AADipl 2018) and Paula Strunden (AA Media Studies Staff) are featured in episode 805: The Frontiers of Speculative Design with Three Recent Graduates of Architecture

Anna Mill & Luke Jones who participated at the ‘the Architecture of the Immersive Internet’ symposium have also been interviewed. Listen to episode 802: Paper Architecture & Speculative Design of AR in the Graphic Novel “Square Eyes”

Image: Yasemin Yesilipek, The Digital Hearth, 2019

Date Submitted: 2/9/2019

‘Masters of Design’ is a new video series in which Modern House meets architecture and design luminaries at their homes. Following on from their first instalment in which Modern House filmed Richard and Ruth Rogers in their home in Chelsea, the second video features Eva Franch i Gilabert, Director of AA School, at the AA.

“In this video, made after her first year as director, Eva explains why she felt a visceral sense of being at home when she first stepped into the AA, why the domesticity of a period London townhouse is a relevant architectural typology for redefining education, and what she thinks the school has to offer in a societal age she considers to be about redefinition.” (Modern House)

Read the full article on the Modern House website

Watch the video on YouTube

Date Submitted: 16/8/2019

AAction is an inquisitive, continuous and collective project formed by a group of AA students to promote education as the primary place to reflect on the urgency of climate and ecological breakdown. Being aware of the importance of the architectural profession in the context of climate change, the group works both within and outside the AA to challenge and address the necessary theoretical and practical challenges. 

AAction is interested in bringing about the necessary pedagogical and cultural shift in our institution in order to effectively deal with ecological disaster, aiming to consolidate as an all-inclusive set of voices. AAction sits within a larger pedagogical project across and beyond architectural education.

The Open Letter to the Architectural Community, a Call for Curriculum Change was the first important public action of the project. So far, the open letter has had more than 1650 signatures, as well as several written responses from university directors and professors, and interest from around the globe. Find out more about the open letter at https://www.architectureeducationdeclares.com/

A first summit is scheduled for the 4th of October. More seminars and meetings will take place from the start of the new academic year. If you are interested to learn more about AAction and become part of the project, please contact: aaction@aaschool.ac.uk

Date Submitted: 16/8/2019

The rolling bridge, designed by Tom Randall-Page (AA Media Studies Tutor) has been designed to reactivate Cody Dock and to provide a gateway to community gardens and the Lea River Park, enabling [public access to 26 miles of river walks.

The contemporary bridge design is an architectural first that provides an exciting new twist on a moving bridge whilst celebrating the area's rich historical links with Edwardian industrial design and local iron production.

An ambitious crowdfunding campaign to fund and build a rolling bridge is the last link in realising the work of over 7,000 local and corporate volunteers whose persistence over the years have already transformed this once inaccessible part of East London into a small haven with gardens, ecology walk, cafe and community events. With planning permission in place, the pledge from the Mayor’s crowdfunding team and having raised almost 50% of the money already, this project needs wider support in this all or nothing crowdfunding campaign. Cody Dock are now looking to the public at large and businesses to rise to the challenge and pledge their support to ensure they reach their target of £200k by the 27th of August 2019, so time and maximum publicity is of the essence! 

To support the campaign visit Space Hive

Date Submitted: 16/8/2019

The New York Times has featured this year’s AA Visiting School in São Paulo in an article entitled “In Brazil, Mending an Urban Fabric With Geometry and Bamboo”. The AA Visiting School, High Line Paulista – Structural Parametricism, took place over 10 days in July and students from all over the world created responses to the elevated highway, the ‘Minhocão’ (the ‘large worm’ in Portuguese), that winds its way through the São Paulo city centre. 

"Kilometers away from the roaring cars and pollution of the ‘minhocão’ elevated highway, students gathered in the tropical lushness of a Brazilian sub-rural forest, harvesting and hand-splicing bamboo stalks into sinuous bendy strips. Inspired by intricate paper woven models produced the day before with Tutor Alison Grace Martin, and informed by the form-found engineering tactics of Tutor James Solly, workshop participants negotiated the forces of the natural curvatures of the bamboo to weave three-dimensional spatial interiorities.

Days later,  from within the studios and patios of the host school Escola da Cidade (School of the City) Architecture school, after much soul-searching cultural exploration, digital and structural optimization, and many splinters,  groups of students hoisted out of the front doors partially woven strips of bamboo, parading through the couple busy city blocks to the elevated highway. Rising up the ramps up on to the highway, where just hours before cars whisked by, a surreal sort of silence pervaded, in the omnipresent absence of the motorized-vehicles. In a short time, the pop-up bamboo structures were deployed, floating down the heavy monolithic highway in the hands of the students to strategic locations. Children laughed and played, running in and out of the structures, a club of skater-girls took turns shooting through the tunnel shape of one of the installations, and people sat in the shade of the bamboo weaves, in this temporary-pop-up public park that may or may not one day become the High Line Paulista." - AAVS Programme Heads

"The goal of the workshop was to envisage structures — woven from bamboo, a sustainable and local resource — to provide shade for the park, or structures that would filter sunlight through roadway apertures and onto the dark streetscape below. Ms. Martin typically weaves small-scale paper objects — a torus, a basket, a bikini — or medium-size bamboo structures, like a tunneling garden trellis built with bamboo from her backyard. Lately, her work is attracting the attention of architects and engineers, and she has begun to pursue various collaborations.” - The New York Times

Read the full article on the New York Times website

Read more about the AA São Paulo Visiting School

Image: Gabriela Portilho for The New York Times

Date Submitted: 9/8/2019
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AALOG

The AA School in realtime

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The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

Click here to read the AA’s latest review report.

Click here to read the AA’s latest action plan.

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Welcome to 2019-20

Dear School Community,

The Architectural Association is a place where we forget our labels as architects, as artists, as economists, as writers, as poets, and we become citizens of the world – a world that we believe we can change, transform into something other, more interesting, more radical, more free, more equal, more us. The new academic year brings a series of important conversations to the forefront of architectural education and contemporary culture through new and familiar voices and projects. There are urgent tasks at hand. Our programmes throughout the school have accepted the challenge to address issues of climate and ethics. As architects we always speak on behalf of the other, but we also need to constantly ask ourselves, who has the right to speak, and on behalf of whom? How am I affecting the environment with my actions? How can I care more about others? 

This year I invite us all to practice radical empathy, to care about the planet, the other and the future. To listen, to ask, to share, to discuss, to debate, but ultimately to care. 

Like every year, new appointments and initiatives will expand both our academic and institutional horizons. Academic voices joining us are: filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, whose work focuses on experimental narratives and cinematographic forms in relation to contemporary architecture and the urban environment; Berlin-based architect Sam Chermayeff (AA Alumni), founder of the practice June 14; Didier Fiúza Faustino (AA Tutor 2010-16), an architect and artist working on the relationship between the body and space; Gabu Heindl, an architect and urban planner who is the head of GABU Heindl Architektur in Vienna, an interdisciplinary studio specialising in public interventions, cultural and social buildings; David Kohn, London-based architect and founder of David Kohn Architects working internationally on arts, education and residential projects; Viviana Muscettola, an associate director at Zaha Hadid Architects and an executive member of the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat; OMMX, a London-based practice led by Hikaru Nissanke and Jon Lopez; OFIS, an international architecture office based in Ljubljana and led by Špela Videčnik and Rok Oman (both AA Alumni); Superpool, an international research-based architecture practice located in Istanbul and led by Selva Gürdoğan and Gregers Tang Thomsen; and Bostjan Vuga (AA Alumni), architect and founder of SADAR+VUGA. Other people joining us include Eleanor Dodman, Liza Fior, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Lizy Huyghe, Guan Lee,  Melodie Leung, Gili Merin, Ivan Morrison, Anna Muzychak, Bushra Mohamed, Jonathan Robinson, Alvaro Velasco Perez and James Westcott. This diversity of new voices, will add to the units and programmes and will continue the multiplicity of agendas that the AA is known for. 

Every course, programme and unit throughout the school operates under a highly specific and idiosyncratic methodology, which offers every student a myriad of options and possibilities. More about the overall academic offerings can be found here. More about Experimental Programme units and staff can be found here; Diploma Programme units and staff can be found here and information about the unit selection process can be found here.

After more than a decade at the helm of the PhD Programme, Simos Yannas has stepped away to focus on the Sustainability and Environmental Design (SED) Programme that he leads at the school. The new Head of the PhD Programme, Pier Vittorio Aureli will shape the programme in the years to come. Elif Erdine will be the new Head of Emergent Technologies and Design (EmTech) after Mike Weinstock stepped down; however, he will continue to teach within the programme as Founding Director. 

Print Studio is transforming with a new Head of Publications, Maria S. Giudici who will – in addition to being the editor of AA Files – oversee new publications that continue to position the AA at the forefront of critical discussions through printed matter. Ryan Dillon is our new Head of Academic Communications, and will edit the annual AA Book, lead the relaunch of the AA Radio/Podcast, and oversee the content of the new website amongst other platforms to enable and facilitate all imaginable forms of communication and engagement within the AA School Community. In addition, Rory Sherlock, is joining us as Assistant Editor. 

These new voices join our renowned academic and administrative staff, who together, will surely provide for relevant discussions and debates throughout the entire school as we continue our journey into the future. As part of this, and our continued commitment to achieving Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) (a final decision on our application is expected this autumn), we have gone through a process of internal validation, adjusting nomenclature to reflect who we are and what we do, and to make sure our programmes maintain their identity. Former Complementary Studies is now Core Studies; Technical Studies is now Environmental and Technical Studies (ETS), Media Studies is now Communication and Media Studies (CMS), First Year and Intermediate School (years 2-3) is now the Experimental Programme, and Diploma School (years 4-5) is now the Diploma Programme.

The AA is committed to experimental methods in teaching and learning and this can be seen in the many initiatives being launched. In Term 3 Speculative Studies, a series of interdisciplinary seminars over five weeks, will present courses on politics, law, philosophy, ethics, art history, poetry, dance, gastronomy, social technology and microbiology. Other topics and courses will be added from proposals put forward by students in an Open Forum to be held in Term 1. These courses will introduce new areas of expertise and methodologies to our collective culture.

A four-day symposium titled Experimental Methods will bring our community together for a discussion and debate on what experimentation is and can be at the AA, which will take place during Open Week in both Terms 1 and 2. Tutors from across the school will lecture on their particular academic approach as well as their own professional practice and research. Each day will end with a keynote speaker and a round table discussion, and the week will culminate with an Open Jury in which students can present their work to a panel of invited critics. 

For the first time in the history of the school, Diploma students and Postgraduate students will be able to take joint classes as part of an expanded pool of Electives. These advanced seminars will be provided by our ten Postgraduate Programmes in areas of technology, criticism, sustainability, material culture, computation and more, allowing us to push the boundaries of architectural education and to have more dialogue across all parts of the school.  

This year we will continue with the Open Seminars; on Mondays, Plan the Planet, brings together experts across different disciplines to discuss the current ecological crisis in order to articulate new strategies, policies, relationships and spaces; on Tuesdays, Evidentiary Aesthetics investigates the technologies and politics of the body; and on Wednesdays, we will be able to study the Origins of Capitalist Urban Space.

Throughout the year, the Directions Series offers an open forum for conversations between AA Students, Academic and Administrative Staff and the AA Director. These events offer a platform to communicate and discuss the direction of the school. The first event of the Directions Series will take place on Monday 30 September at 7pm in the Lecture Hall when we can start raising questions and propose new agendas as we all work towards our future and jointly develop the AA 2020-25 Strategic Plan.

To broaden and strengthen our academic resources additional initiatives have been set up. The new Writing Centre aims to assist students with their essays and written work; the Student Care Centre is to provide mental health support; and the Student Affairs Office will provide students with logistical support during their time here at the AA, and advice in career placement and work opportunities in London and around the world for their year out and after graduation. 

To conclude the academic year we aim to introduce a new way of transmitting and disseminating the work of our fifth year students at the AA Forum/Final Presentation. Over two days after tables, all graduating students will present their project in an open format to a wide group of tutors, guest jurors, curators, press, friends and colleagues, making their last presentation at the AA a real moment for celebration and dialogue. The AA Forum/Final Presentation will be open to all students to attend, and will take place in any imaginable space throughout the school. 

This autumn we launch the AA Residence, a cultural platform exploring and studying new ideas and forms of practice at the intersection of architecture, art, technology, policy and design. It is composed of a series of independent labs that consist of an interdisciplinary cohort of resident fellows including architects, artists, policy makers, engineers, scientists and creative entrepreneurs that are all researching and producing experimental work. The AA Residence will work as an incubator in a shared workspace and professional development programme, providing architects and entrepreneurs the tools required to build new practices and initiate projects that impact, promote and amplify culture, and contribute to the re-imagination of the future. The 2019-20 labs will be announced in October. 

Last year’s Projects Review 2019 was produced with the goal to achieve zero waste, and has left us with some new pieces of furniture that we hope to enjoy throughout the year. As part of this exhibition, the first edition of the Press and Practices Preview took place the day before the opening, and proved to be a success. Fifth year students and those with scholarships and bursaries had the opportunity to explain their unit agendas and project aims to invited guests. They did this alongside volunteers who provided an introduction to the sometimes complex issues that the school and its programmes address. Thank you to all tutors, students and volunteers that committed time to this effort. The Projects Review exhibition received great press coverage and many positive responses. To continue this momentum the AA Book, together with a series of podcasts with staff and students, will be launched in the autumn.

Over the last year we have recognised and celebrated the amazing diversity of the Architectural Association, that consists of students and staff from 81 different nationalities. In an attempt to build on this great cultural resource we will launch Architecture in Translation, a project that celebrates the wealth embedded in the use of different languages as part of the production and dissemination of ideas, discourse and debate about architecture. This project will work across many areas within the school. Within HTS, Mark Cousins has produced a series of seminars that will explore the theoretical questions and opportunities of translation in architecture. In addition to this, juries in different languages will take place throughout the year and will be used to identify terms, concepts and values inherent to different linguistic and cultural contexts in order to produce a ‘multilingual dictionary of architectural terms’ for the twenty-first century. 

Last but not least, to start the year, a different kind of tradition is being introduced entitled, Plant a Tree, which will take place during Introduction Week and invites all new students and staff to Hooke Park, the AA rural campus in Dorset. While on-site, we will learn about the facilities and then ceremonially, each and every one of the 300 new voices joining the school, will plant a tree to contribute to the forest, offset carbon emissions, and take part in a dialogue of ideas about the future as responsible members of the AA and of this planet. Plant a Tree is more than a symbolic act, it is the commitment to a future that is ours to build.

As new and returning students and staff wander throughout the school, its spaces and places and within the corridors that build our intellectual home, you will find on the walls images of projects that each of the 779 students of the last academic year produced. With these drawings up on the walls, now is the time for identifying new debates and engagements. For those knocking on my door, and I encourage all of you to do so, you will see next to the Expanding Horizons poster – in a circular frame – what I suspect will be the most important image for many of you this year: this is of course an invitation to visit and share some of your ideas. 

I am looking forward to seeing all of you during Introduction Week and throughout the year ahead to discuss in detail the initiatives outlined above, and the ones that we will create together.

 

Yours,

Eva Franch i Gilabert
Director
AA School of Architecture

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