Important COVID-19 / Coronavirus information and FAQs

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AA PhD graduate and HTS tutor  Nerma Cridge has undertaken a project across parks in London, by marking 2x2m squares on the ground with found materials such as blossom and leaves to mark out the recommended 2 metre distances for social distancing. Cridge commented on the project:

‘My biggest compliment was the local children saying they really like the squares and ‘customizing’ some by adding more lines and using them to play at a safe distance. The adults usually point out how the distance seems much larger than they thought it would be. My project is not bringing more rubbish into the world but uses nature  and found material to help us visualize and understand this specific distance. As well as continuing to make squares at least one per day; I am now working on a large scale proposals that can help large groups of people maintain safe distance at large events.’

 

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Date Submitted: 22/5/2020

Every year the architectural Magazine Architectural Record publishes a list of ten emerging practices whose work places them at the vanguard of architectural culture. The 2020 list includes the firm Space Popular, led by Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, who lead Diploma Unit 2: The Civic Programme. Their recent projects include the Brick Vault House in Valencia, Spain, and the FREESTYLE Exhibition at the RIBA.

 

Fredrik and Lara are giving an online lecture at the RIBA to launch the new virtual incarnation of their FREESTYLE exhibition on Thursday 28 May. You can now register to attend 

 

Read the Architectural Record piece

Date Submitted: 22/5/2020

Research emerging from the AA Visiting School Istanbul by Milad Showkatbakhsh, Elif Erdine and Alvaro Lopez Rodriguez has been published by the Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design 2020.

 

This paper describes a novel process towards the application of multi-objective optimization as the form-finding process for the integration of computational design, fabrication, and construction sequences. The design and construction of a doubly curved large-scale prototype made of textile reinforced GRC shotcrete with a robotically fabricated in situ reinforcement system serves as the case study for the proposed methodology. Global geometry form-finding process takes into consideration the location and geometrical properties of the in-situ reinforcement rebar system, robotic rod bending constraints, structural performance, and functional objectives.

 

These criteria are integrated through the application of a multi-objective optimization method in order to formulate multiple trade-off solutions that possess multiple constraints (fitness objectives) which are primarily in conflict with each other and are intended towards automation in fabrication. The primary contribution of the research is the demonstration of a multi-objective optimization methodology that incorporates geometrical form-finding, material and fabrication constraints, and FEA as design drivers during the early stages of design. This optimization method can be further extended and utilized across a multitude of scales in order to save energy, materials, and cost in architectural projects.

 

You can watch the presentation of the paper now

Date Submitted: 22/5/2020

A new research paper by Simos Yannas (Director MArch/MSc Sustainable Environmental Design) and Jorge Rodriguez (Tutor, SED), ‘Domestic Overheating in a Temperate Climate: Feedback from London Residential Schemes’, that draws upon field data from over fifty AA SED building studies, published in Sustainable Cities and Society and on free access till Wednesday 1 July 2020. The paper outlines causes of overheating in modern residential designs in London, supplying a large body of data that can be used to ensure future designs are designed more effectively to prevent overheating.

 

Read now

Date Submitted: 14/5/2020

A project by students Elisavet Konstantinidou, Misbah Shehreen Baig, Roshni Gera and Yunzhu Duan, working in the Spyropoulos Studio in the DRL has been featured on the RIBA website. The project, titled ‘Orb[i]s’, proposes the use of autonomous and intelligent machines that would reshape cultural spaces in real time to enable dynamic and reactive spatial configurations.

‘The idea of what the future of cultural spaces holds coaxes us to move towards systems that would be intelligent and autonomous with the ability to transform, be mobile and reorganise.

We envision the creation of a realm that has its own predispositions and will be choreographed by self-assembling and structuring systems that will curate spaces beyond conventional building typologies.’

Read more about the project

Date Submitted: 13/5/2020

AA Housing and Urbanism tutor Anna Shapiro’s lockdown sketchbook has been featured in the Architects’ Journal, as part of an ongoing series of sketchbooks featured on the website.

‘In the last 24 hours, I’ve been sketching the immediate world around me: my video conferencing, my workspace, my views, my breakfast. I would usually roam around London for at least 10 minutes a day with my Moleskine to record city scenes but now I am concentrated on drawing my apartment, where I hardly spent any time before Covid-19.

This focus has made me look harder: I see interest in the smallest of things as well as appreciating the views out over London more than ever. Being able to see large construction sites from my window helps me feel connected to my profession while communal fitness sessions – where people use their balconies around our central courtyard to exercise together – preserve a sense of community during lockdown.’

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Date Submitted: 13/5/2020

An essay by Theodore Spyropoulos, Head of the Design Research Laboratory, is published in a collection entitled Can Art Aid in Resolving Conflict? 100 Perspectives. The book surveys 100 leading and emerging architects, artists, curators, choreographers, composers, and directors of art institutions around the globe explore the potentially constructive role of the arts in conflict resolution. As we face the COVID-19 crisis head on, Spyropoulos' perspective serves as important food for thought. " An excerpt from the book has been published online along with a piece by Olafur Eliasson on Frameweb.

Spyropoulos writes ‘Art can humanize conflict and offer challenging and complex views on the subject itself. This potential is very powerful, as it goes against the reactionary tendencies of today’s media. The art and design that I am speaking of engage these complexities and represent a voice that may have otherwise remained unheard. Art can serve as a testimony to conflict, and communicate its implications across a host of mediums and audiences.’ 

Read more now

 

 Image: Theodore Spyropoulos, Minimaforms, in collaboration with the artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, Vehicle (War Veterans).

Date Submitted: 7/5/2020

AA Communication and Media Studies tutor Paula Strunden’s work has been exhibited in the MU Eindhoven Artspace, and is now available to view online. The installation is a networked, co-operative experience exploring how mixed reality could allow work environments to stretch across space, expand your perception of your body, and abstract activities to tap into multiple senses. The Mixed Reality format enables users to rake leaves, or water plants, at a distance, and is a fascinating insight into the relationship between technology and physical distance.

  

View the Exhibition 

Date Submitted: 7/5/2020

Teresa Stoppani (History and Theory Studies and Landscape Urbanism tutor) and Doreen Bernarth (History and Theory Studies and Projective Cities tutor) have been published in a special edition of the Journal of Architecture discussing the photography of Gabriele Basilico. In the article, titled ‘Pantheon, 2010. What are we looking at?’ Stoppani and Bernath compare a print by Piranesi to a photography of the Pantheon by Basilico, the comparison prompting a reflection on the iconic nature of the building, and the different understandings of time, urban space and memory offered by different media.

 

Teresa Stoppani has also published an article in Philosophy Kitchen, titled ‘Not a Schema: Notes on the Anxiety of Mapping’. In the piece, Stoppani questions the frequently presupposed identity of “schema” and “map”, and explores the tensions at stake in their overlaps. The text argues that the map is not a schema, by exposing – through undoing – the complexity of the map, its ambiguous relation with becoming, and its state of intentional and necessary imperfection.

 

Read the Journal of Architecture piece

 

Read the Philosophy Kitchen piece

Date Submitted: 7/5/2020

Continuing their efforts to support hospital staff amidst increased demands for personal protective equipment, the AA Digital Prototyping Laboratory has produced over one hundred medical face shields for the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. DPL staff members Angel Lara Moreira and Henry Cleaver have been developing a new manufacturing procedure for the masks, which uses only laser cut components, making them faster to produce. This improved design is now available under a Creative Commons License for the manufacture and production of face masks:

 

PDF

Adobe Illustrator 

DWG

Date Submitted: 1/5/2020

AA First Year student Blanche Howard has been included in an online exhibition by the gallery Espaço Cultural Merces in Lisbon. The gallery curator spotted her project for the Communication and Media Studies class ‘Adventures in Casting’ on social media. The class is run by AA tutor Juliet Haysom, and it encourages first year students to experiment with casting in a variety of different materials. Blanche said that the class was:

‘a great opportunity for us to experiment and play around with both plaster and concrete, with a means of getting to grips with the different techniques involved in casting as well as partaking in a different approach to design. As I think my casts quite evidently suggest, I was drawn mainly towards surface texture. My works are the result of an exploration of fabric formwork in casting, and the different surface textures and undulating forms that one can achieve through this process. A lot of mess but a lot of fun.’

 

You can see the work here

Date Submitted: 30/4/2020

Maria Fedorchenko, unit master of City in Transition (Experimental 9), has published an article in Philosophy Kitchen titled ‘Tools of Mediation: Extending the Diagrammatic Project’. Linking her theoretical research and the recent work of her unit, Maria highlights commonly overlooked areas of opportunity in the use of the diagrams, especially as a means to mediate between dissimilar aspects of the project. She outlines a provisional manual for the emerging diagrammatic tools - contextualiser, processor, and multiplier - and extends specific discoveries towards more general applications.

Read about the project here 

Maria was also invited to lecture and lead the design unit in the international Summer School “Innovation in Practice: Unlocking Architecture in City”, held at the Politecnico di Torino. The school offered a unique platform for the 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. 

More information 

Date Submitted: 30/4/2020

AA tutors John Palmesino and Ann-So Rönnskog, who are unit masters of Climate Peace (Diploma 4) have been invited to take part in the Taipei Biennial with their practice Territorial Agency. The Biennial is titled You and I Don't Live on the Same Planet and is being curated by Bruno Latour and Martin Guinard. The theme seeks for ways to tackle the profound divisions in global experience, perception and understanding of climate crisis. The show is going to take place from November 2020 to March 2021.

 

More information 

Date Submitted: 30/4/2020

Based on a 2018 lecture series at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture, The Amsterdam Agenda is a new book published by MORE Architecture that brings together 12 urban thinkers to share their knowledge, insights, and vision for the future of cities in light of today’s ongoing transformations. Selva Gürdoğan and Gregers Tang Thomsen contributed an essay titled Flexible Systems to the book, which advocates for flexible urban planning strategies that adapt to and learn from ad-hoc, informal community infrastructures.

 

More information

Date Submitted: 24/4/2020

In a recently published essay in Drawing Matter, Diploma 7 tutor Hamed Khosravi, revisits Gabriel Guevrekian’s designs for a ‘Garden of Water and Light’ at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. Guervrekian, an Armenian-born native of Iran, who studied architecture in Vienna, produced intensely colourful geometrical designs for the Persian section of the Exposition’s gardens, with strong triangular plans decorated with coloured glass and water. The garden became an iconic and celebrated example of modernist design, included in Man Ray’s surrealist 1929 film Les Mystères du Château de Dé.

 

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Image: Gabriel Guevrekian (1900–1970), conceptual painting for Jardin d’Eau et de Lumière, 1925.. From 1925 Jardins de marrast (Paris: Editions d'art Charles Moreau, 1926), 

Date Submitted: 24/4/2020
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THE AA RECEIVES THE POWER TO AWARD ITS OWN DEGREES

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.

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