Living architecture is a discipline that researches and designs sustainable solutions for the environment with advanced technologies such as synthetic biology, living systems engineering and intelligent chemistry. It sets out to develop built environments with qualities similar to life (they can evolve, learn and respond), kind and empathetic with those who live in them, and to face up to the imbalance between the waste it produces and the resources missing from its surroundings.

The result of this different view is a new kind of architectural practice that enables cities to behave more like an evolving ecosystem than like an inert and harmful artefact. In the future, new architectural designs will contribute to lessening the consequences of climate change.

The City as a Living Organism event takes place on Thursday 7 February from 7.30pm – 9pm at the CCCB Teatre, Barcelona as part of the city wide series of event of the Bienal Ciutat i Ciencia 7-11 February. Find out more on the Biennal Ciutat i Ciencia website

Date Submitted: 6/2/2019

The series Wild Card returns to Sadler’s Wells, offering evenings curated by the next generation of dance makers. This summer, Stefan Jovanović (AADipl 2017) curates a Wild Card called Constellations, creating an evening of rituals and dances about witches, fools, and genders.

Constellations is at the cross roads of a travelling circus, dark comedy, ballroom dancing, a phantasmagoric club hosted by archetypes from Western culture. In an atmospheric setting, you are invited to reconsider marginal and dominant roles. Gender fluidity and social dancing are called upon to explore new ways of understanding contemporary social politics and radical togetherness.

For this ceremony, Stefan is joined by exceptional performers, multi-media artists, architects, metal horses, and healers including Katye Coe, Roni Katz, Charlie Cattrall, Pau Aran Gimeno, Sara Ruddock, composer-performer Domenico Angarano, lighting designer Patrick Morris (AADipl(Hons) 2015), set creator Jack Hardy (AADipl 2017) and singer song-writer Bliss Carmxn.

Book your tickets now on the Sadler’s Wells website

Image: Photograph by Moad Musbahi, featuring Katye Coe, Roni Katz, Pau Aran Gimeno, and Charlie Cattrall.

Date Submitted: 6/2/2019

Royal Wharf Pier, located in London’s Royal Docks, is commencing construction. Designed by London-based architects Nex—, of which Alan Dempsey is the founding director, the new riverboat terminal will incorporate a large new public space on the River Thames. This project marks the practice’s first major venture into infrastructure. Royal Wharf Pier is anticipated to open to the public in late 2019.

You can read more on the Nex— website

Image: Courtesy of Nex—

Date Submitted: 6/2/2019

In 1998 the International Criminal Court (ICC) was initiated and in keeping with the tradition of international adjudication, the court was hosted in Den Haag in the Netherlands. After a decade, an international architectural competition was announced for the court’s permanent premises during which the siting of the court was strategised by the city in what they termed the international zone.

Since 1989, Den Haag has been host to a growing number of international organisations, for example, Eurojust, The International Criminal Tribunal for (the former) Yugoslavia, Europol, and the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons along with the ICC to mention a few, and, all of them are diplomatically distributed within the international zone.

Attached to these intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) is a diverse range of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and private research institutions that work closely with the IGOs and may be considered their public audience. In its urban policies, Den Haag, has been deliberately advocating for an increase in the numbers of NGOs and research institutions in the city and today it houses, at a minimum, 160 that focus on international adjudication and human rights. Transnationally, Den Haag, with Brussels and Luxembourg, three cities in the BeNeLux union, together, host a growing number of supranational, international and nongovernmental organisations. Together, they are the global seat of non-state institutions of power.

Through a historical and urban analysis of the international zone of The Hague, Naina Gupta will explore the role of urban processes in the construction of an international forum and the relationships that are fostered between the nation and international organisations, opening up questions about urban security vis-à-vis political autonomy.

Friday 8 Feb 2019, 2pm – 3.30pm at Manor Road Building, Seminar Room, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford

Find out more on the University of Oxford website

Date Submitted: 6/2/2019

Alexandros Kallegias (AADRL MArch 2011) will deliver a lecture at Oxford Brookes University as part of the Reconstruction lecture series organised by OxArch.

Kallegias will be showcasing the work of the AA Visiting School Athens: Every major city is distinguished by its own unique built environment. Whether in terms of cultural significance or technological achievements, the urban fabric of various vital locations allows for a more specialised and genuine set of design qualities. Observed through time, the city’s transformation resembles the growth of a species and its’ personality is reflected on its’ edifices. In the era of information, the data of social activity, historic and contemporary events, urban morphology and more, extracted from a city can reveal insights leading to the emergence of its’ complex network topologies. How does one then picture clusters of information as they fluctuate? How do they look like?

The lecture will take place Tuesday 5 February at Oxford Brookes University. Find out more on the OxArch Facebook Page


Date Submitted: 30/1/2019

Last night T Magazine Spain celebrated the first edition of the T Spain Design Awards. Among the winners were former AA student Ron Arad, who won Designer of the Year, and Eva Franch i Gilabert (AA Director), who won Best Architect of the Year. Read more on the T Magazine Spain website.

Date Submitted: 22/1/2019

On Tuesday 15 January 2019, Michael Weinstock (Founder and a Director of MSc / MArch Emergent Technologies and Design & Head of Research) delivered the Digital Architecture Open Lecture at the University of Kent titled The Ecology of Intelligence, in Nature and in Civilisation.

It is commonly said that cities are complex systems, and exhibit many of the properties of living beings. The application of terms like 'Smart' or 'Adaptive' to subsidiary urban systems is ubiquitous but an exegesis of a model of intelligence specific to the city is more rarely encountered in the literature of complexity sciences. Successful living species have evolved sentience and responsive behaviour specific to the ecological system within which they exist. It follows that 'ecological intelligence' cannot be approached through models of 'general intelligence' but can only be approached through observation and analysis of the dynamics of inter-species and species- environment relationships across a range of spatial and temporal scales within each particular ecology. What is the significance of this definition of intelligence in understanding the evolutionary development of cities? Can a design paradigm for future cities be developed from this perspective?

Read more about Michael Weinstock on the Research Profile page

Date Submitted: 22/1/2019

The exhibition is of a series of drawings made on graph paper along with three sculptures that altogether explore the significance of fragmented architecture and our ability to recollect.

Conceived between 2011 and 2019, ‘Empire of Ice Cream’ is a series of thirteen meticulously filled graph paper drawings that show the remnants of architectural plans gathered from an assortment of historic and contemporary references. These elements are sometimes grand and monumental, others banal and generic, but all are summoned impromptu from Jacob’s memory; segments from Ancient Greek temples, football pitches, something Meisian, parts of a church, orchards, fountains, straightforward corridors, a chunk of Parliament, and a Buzzcock’s single cover are some examples.

Sam Jacob is currently a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago and visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong and has taught at Yale, Karlsruhe HfG and the AA in London where he also established AA Nightschool, a programme that opened up new ways of sharing of architectural knowledge. He has been a columnist for the AJ, Art Review and Dezeen and is the author of ‘Make It Real, Architecture as Enactment” published by Strelka Press.

Sam Jacob: Empire of Ice Cream

Exhibition dates: 26 January — 9 March 2019

Address: Betts Project, 100 Central Street, London EC1V 8AJ

Image: Sam Jacob, Empire of Ice Cream No.7, 2011, 21 x 29.7 cm, ink on graph paper. Courtesy Betts Project

Date Submitted: 18/1/2019

PhD by design candidate and Emtech graduate Mohammed Makki, PhD by design candidate Milad Showkatbakhsh – both studying under the directorship of Dr. Michael Weinstock – and Emtech graduate Yutao Song, have successfully released a new plugin for Grasshopper 3D called ‘Wallacei’.

Wallacei, a new plugin for grasshopper 3D, is an evolutionary engine that allows users to run evolutionary simulations through utilising highly detailed analytic tools coupled with various comprehensive selection methods, including algorithmic clustering, to assist users to better understand their evolutionary runs, and make more informed decisions at all stages of their evolutionary simulations; including setting up the design problem, running the evolutionary algorithm, analysing the outputted results and selecting the desired solution or solutions for the final output. Wallacei also provides users with the ability to select, reconstruct and output any phenotype from the population after completing their simulation.

The free plugin is streamlined to give users efficient access to the data outputted by their evolutionary simulations, and enable clear and efficient methods for analysis and selection – The aim is for users (of all degrees of expertise) to better understand their evolutionary simulations, gain a thorough understanding of the outputted numeric values, and seamlessly extract the optimised data; all within one user interface.

Wallacei also has a full tutorial series on how to use the plugin, and an official Wallacei primer, that goes through all the features and functions of the plugin. To learn more about the software, and to access the tutorials and download the Primer, visit the Wallacei website at:  https://www.wallacei.com/

Date Submitted: 15/1/2019

The Boring Revolution (Diploma Unit 13 and Dark Matter Laboratories) are editors of the blog entitled Mapping & Moonshots, A manifesto for the Boring Revolution. The blog is hosted on Medium, an online publishing platform. Read the articles - Our Cities are Designed for Loneliness, Big Data Cities, The beginning of the new logistical era, Juridicial watersheds, New Year New Understanding of You and P2P Planning - A Boring Revolution on the Mapping & Moonshots blog site here.

Date Submitted: 14/1/2019

The British Council have launched the open call for the British Pavilion 2020. Apply now to curate the exhibition at the next Venice Architecture Biennale.

The British Council are calling for ideas that spark debate, offer new perspectives on the issues that matter, create fresh experiences of architecture and show your work to the world. The submission deadline for proposals is 18 February 2019.

Invited by the British Council’s British Pavilion Commissioner, the 2020 Selection Committee includes:

Eva Franch I Gilabert, Director, Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture; Pooja Agrawal, Co-founder, Public Practice; Gabrielle Jenks, Digital Director, Manchester International Festival; Indy Johar, Co-founder, Architecture 00; Alan Jones, RIBA President Elect 2019; Jim MacDonald, Chief Executive, Architecture & Design Scotland; Sarah Mann, Commissioner, British Pavilion; Director, Architecture Design; Fashion Farshid Moussavi, Founder, Farshid Moussavi Architecture; Oliver Wainwright, Architecture and Design Critic, The Guardian

Find out more on the British Council website.

Image: © British Council

Date Submitted: 10/1/2019

Commemorated by Kettering’s Mayor, James Burton and Kettering’s Civic Society,

John Alfred Gotch, who died in 1942 aged 89, received a blue heritage plaque on Kettering’s High Street to honour the architect and architectural historian’s work.

Having attended Kettering Grammar School, he later studied at the University of Zürich and at King’s College London. Gotch was president of the Architectural Association in 1886, vice-president of the RIBA from 1914–1919, and president of RIBA from 1923–1925.

As well as designing many buildings, particularly for the Midland Bank, Gotch had a special interest in Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture. Gotch is author of nine books on the subject, giving prominent authority to such matter as well as having edited a book on the history of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Image: © Kettering Civic Society

Date Submitted: 10/1/2019

Sam Jacob Studio has won the Victoria and Albert Museum’s competition for a £2.25 million overhaul of its main entrance on Cromwell Road.

The practice was chosen ahead of rival bids by Studio TILT, Nex, Gibson Thornley Architects and John Puttick Associates to win the estimated £225,000 contract for a phased transformation of the Grade I-listed venue’s main entrance rotunda.

You can read more on the Architects' Journal website

Date Submitted: 10/1/2019

On December 21, the Financial Times featured a two-page article on Hooke Park entitled ‘Hooke Park’s woodland campus inspires timber construction.’ The article, written by Emily Rhodes, is a detailed account of Hooke Park’s history, the campus, its buildings and the Design and Make Graduate Programme that is located there. If you have a Financial Times subscription you can read the article here

On the same day, alumnus Arthur Mamou-Mani’s (AADipl 2008) exhibition at the Soane Museum also featured in the Financial Times. The article entitled ‘How to build a better future: high-tech Jenga at the Soane Museum - Mamou-Mani’s robotic installation offers a radical vision of tomorrow’s cities’ can be read here with a Financial Times subscription.

See more information about the Hooke Parke Campus.

See more information about the Design + Make Graduate Programme.

See more information about Arthur Mamou-Mani’s exhibition at the Soane Museum.

Date Submitted: 6/1/2019

The AA congratulates former student and current AA Member, John Pawson, on becoming a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's New Year's Honours list 2019, in recognition of his services to design and architecture. 

Date Submitted: 4/1/2019


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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.