Alumni Rok Oman (MArch DRL 2000) and Špela Videčnik (March DRL 2000) founded OFIS in 1998 and this year teamed up with AKT II to bring the Living Unit to Shoreditch for London Design Festival 2018 and Open House London.

The unit was born out of a larger initiative to research into homes in extreme environments, challenges of rising costs of land, and the unprecedented draw to live in cities like London. The goal included implementing the most innovative ideas of form that adapt to transform underutilized sites into beacons of collaboration between construction and design, sustainability and resiliency.

Though the idea of micro-living is not new, it is a specific challenge faced by London, so a courtyard in Shoreditch presents a great canvas to explore this prototype. The Living Unit is a sustainable self-contained wooden shell, which is flexible and adaptable to different locations, climate conditions and terrains. The innovative sleek design stacks as triple-height pods, allowing for a small footprint in this compact urban location.

The Living Unit is also up for sale on Ebay in a 10 Day Auction running from 17 - 27 September 2018. Bidding started at £5,000 with the highest bid standing at £7,000 as of 3pm on Friday 21 September.

The unit will be exhibited throughout the month at AKT II’s headquarters in Old Street Yard, adjacent to the White Collar Factory, where visitors will be able to explore the compact interior and get a taste for sustainable, small-scale living.

Find out more on the Architectural Foundation Website.

Photo credit: © Edward Bishop, courtesy of AKT II

Date Submitted: 21/9/2018

Kostas Grigoriadis (Diploma 2 Unit Staff) and AA PhD candidate Jingru Cheng have been announced as two of this year’s shortlist for the RIBA President's Awards for Research. Cheng’s paper Care and Rebellion: The Dissolved Household in Contemporary Rural China has been shortlisted in the 'Cities and Community’ category and Grigoriadis’ paper Computational Blends: The Epistemology of Designing with Functionally Graded Materials has been shortlisted in the ‘Design and Technical Category’.

The winning papers and medallist will be announced on the 4th December 2018.

Read more on the RIBA website.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Kostas Grigordiadis

Date Submitted: 21/9/2018

AA Inter 15 Unit Masters and curators of the Greek Pavilion, Ryan Neiheiser and Xristina Argyros, invite you to an open conversation on the of the city of Athens and the University on 22 & 23 September at the Venice Biennale.

Saturday September 22nd, 2018, 15:00 – 18:00

Sunday September 23rd, 2018, 10:00 – 13:00

At the National Pavilion of Greece, Giardini della Biennale, Venice, Italy

The open discussion between students and recent graduates of the National Technical University of Athens & the Architectural Association, run in collaboration with ƩO∆A the City of Athens and the University, will explore topics on the city of Athens and the University such as-

  • What is the relationship between the traditional space of learning and the city?
  • How can one design a university open to the city?
  • How does one address different scales in Athens?
  • What is the potential symbiosis between old and new?
  • How is the university space productive? How is it productively unproductive?
  • What works, what doesn’t?
  • Can the University reshape the future of the city?
  • The university within the city of the City within the University?
  • What can we learn from Athens?

If interested in actively participating please contact the curators at office@neiheiserargyros.com

Date Submitted: 11/9/2018

Parallel Collective is a London-based architecture and design studio established in March 2017. Alumni Pierluigi Turco (MArch SED 2015), Andrea Rossi (MArch SED 2015) and Gabriele Motta (MSc Em Tech 2015) make up three of the six practice members.

Their project Sipario Urbano won 1st prize in an international competition which called for the construction of an innovative and all-inclusive school. Their project conceives of the new educational complex as a cultural attractor for the northern part of the city of Palermo.

Their design is defined as a compact volume extending along three parallel bands, where formal and informal learning are integrated in a series of interrelated spaces, forming a continuous landscape for interaction.

A central spine of social spaces works as a catalyst for the project and contains all the areas open to the community: auditorium for events and exhibitions, leisure and recreation areas, research facilities, laboratories and library, culminating in an open terrace facing the surrounding landscape of Monte Pellegrino. The building itself is therefore designed as an educational tool and a reference point for the local community.

As a practice, Parallel Collective are committed to the delivery of responsible and user-centered architecture for forward-thinking clients. The work of the practice spans from small to large scale, creating places to live, work and learn.

To find out more please visit https://parallelcollective.org/

Date Submitted: 10/9/2018

Sir John Soane’s Museum have announced that Denise Scott Brown (AADipl 1956), the pioneering American architect, planner and theorist, will be the recipient of the 2018 Soane Medal, awarded annually in recognition of architects who have made a major contribution to their field, through their built work, through education, history and theory. 
Denise Scott Brown’s ideas and work as architect, planner, urbanist, theorist, writer and educator have had a global influence, transforming thinking about architecture and cities. As an academic and educator, Scott Brown has led countless research projects, notably Learning from Las Vegas, which became a seminal book (1972; revised edition 1977, with Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour). Both the ideas and the techniques employed in this and other studies have proved highly influential on the subsequent direction of architectural research. Scott Brown’s other books include The View from the Campidoglio (1984 with Robert Venturi), Architecture as Signs and Systems for a Mannerist Time (2004 with Robert Venturi) and Having Words (2009).

Denise Scott Brown’s award will be celebrated at a special public event on Wednesday 17 October at the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, which she designed with Robert Venturi. The event will comprise a lecture, pre-recorded by Denise Scott Brown at her home in Philadelphia and illustrated by her own largely unseen photographs, with a live response by Sir David Chipperfield.
Learn more and get tickets at https://www.soane.org/medal

Image: Denise Scott Brown in front of The Strip, Las Vegas, NV, US, 1966, Photo by Robert Venturi, courtesy of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Inc.

Date Submitted: 7/9/2018

New AA Director Eva Franch i Gilabert, Alumni Denise Scott Brown and Neri Oxman, and former Visiting School tutor Frida Escobedo, make up four of the "16 Women breaking new ground in Architecture". In the article Artsy highlights 16 women across generations and borders, and the ways they’re leading the charge in moving the architecture field forward.

Aileen Kwun writes, "When it comes to gender inequity in the architecture world, the writing’s on the wall: In the U.S. alone, women make up nearly half of the student body in architecture schools, and yet those numbers drop off dramatically in the professional field, where women make up a paltry 18 percent of licensed architects and, worse yet, suffer from a host of well-documented wage and social inequities that prevent them from scaling the ladder. Worldwide, only three of the top 100 firms are headed by women."

To read the article, please visit - https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-16-women-breaking-new-ground-architecture

Date Submitted: 6/9/2018

After gaining significant experience working for prestigious firms such as Zaha Hadid Architects and AL_A, alumnus Alvin Huang began his practice Synthesis Design + Architecture in 2011. Blending applied research with exploratory practice, the young practice has completed commissions ranging from a huge shopping centre in Bangkok to a rapidly deployable solar-powered charging station for a new, alternative-fuel Volvo.

In an article featured on the website Archinect, Huang discusses how he took the leap to start his own practice and the challenges he has faced in doing so.  In the article Huang says, “The two major hurdles we have come across recently have been issues of “hunting” aka business development, and “currency” aka reputation.”

To find out more and to see how Synthesis Design + Architecture have overcome the challenges they have faced please visit http://bit.ly/SDAarchinect

Date Submitted: 5/9/2018

AA intermediate studio tutor Thomas Randall-Page and former AA foundation student Benedetta Rogers have set sail to AirDraft, an inflatable floating theatre, on the Regents Canal. The second of the annual Antepavilion series, AirDraft was chosen from 132 entries in the open architectural competition that called for proposals that engage with the heritage of the Regent’s Canal in innovative ways.

Commenting on their design, Randall-Page and Rogers said: “The lower of two membranes produces a soft playful landscape for lounging around on, and a second far lighter membrane provides shelter and enclosure. When the membranes are deflated, the incognito AirDraft has ample clearance under even the lowest canal bridge allowing her to relocate and tour.”

“Viewed from the towpath AirDraft resembles a curiously overloaded cargo boat complementing and adding to Hoxton Docks’ existing ensemble of playful and artistic structures.”

Read more about the project at https://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/zeppelin-inspired-floating-theatre-sets-sail/5095066.article

Image Credit: Jim Stephenson, bd online

Date Submitted: 4/9/2018

Sarah Khan’s (AA GradDiplCons 2018) project Apple tree Farmhouse at Roger Mears Architects won the 2018 RICS East of England Award in Building Conservation

This project comprised the sensitive and meticulous repair of a Grade II listed Chorleywood farmhouse on the edge of Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Works included careful repairs to roofs, brickwork and timber frames, and the successful use of hot-mixed lime mortar. Many mediaeval details were revealed during construction, such as a window with shutter grooves and diamond mullions, timber stop beads dating back to c1550, and most importantly, two painted mediaeval timber braces dating from c.1500 -1550.

Image showing painted mediaeval timber brace dating from c.1500 -1550

Date Submitted: 16/8/2018

Blueprint for the Future is a free, three-day showcase of the work of the brightest, most interesting and challenging architecture students graduating Part II across London, as selected by Blueprint Magazine.

Each of the capital’s best architecture schools have been paired with nine of the most exciting international design brands, resulting in a ‘trail’ of exhibitions held over three days (17, 18, 19 July, from 12–7pm) in showrooms across Clerkenwell.

The AA is exhibiting at:
Senator Showroom
25 Charterhouse Square
London EC1M 6HP

The following students were nominated for honours and have their projects exhibited:
Diploma Unit 1: David Flook
Diploma Unit 2: Raphael Zwi Fogel
Diploma Unit 4: Rebecca Ploj
Diploma Unit 5: Zsuzsa Peter 
Diploma Unit 8: Gleb Sheykin
Diploma Unit 9: Etienne Gilly
Diploma Unit 11: Eyal Amsili Giovannetti
Diploma Unit 12: Sebastian Tiew
Diploma Unit 13: Martina Contento
Diploma Unit 14: Shaan Bimal Patel
Diploma Unit 15: Cheuk Ting Jane Wong
Diploma Unit 16: Dalia Frontini Matsuura
Diploma Unit 17: Beatrice Melli

For more information, please visit: http://blueprint-future.co.uk/

Date Submitted: 16/7/2018

The collaborative architectural workshop run by London based practice Takero Shimazaki Architects (t-sa) returns to Bedford Square to explore the theme of 'language' in architecture. 

Taking place from 28th August to 21st September, t-sa forum x AA will study the theme of an architectural language through ‘figures’. Distilling ideas through, live drawing, casting, photography and making workshops to develop design proposals influenced by the abstract figure.

In 2015, architect Takero Shimazaki wrote on his practise's methodology and how 'seeing what is there and expressing it':


Takero Shimazaki

John Ruskin said, 'The  greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way.'

Writing about what we experienced and learnt during t-sa forum 2015 is not a simple task. The four-week workshop by our practice, t-sa at the Architectural Association this year opened many doors to pursue for the future. It is equally not easy to discuss emotion (our theme) that's felt in architecture; especially in today's professional context where logic, pragmatism, theory and economy take precedence over poetry. Recently, through our practice's built projects, we have felt more architectural potential in working with what exists already on site. From architectural students, practices and tile developers, the value of surveying and valuing the historical context (modern or classical) isn't embraced enough. I often wonder at student crits, what is existing, and what is proposed. I struggle to understand what the particular student is valuing in terms of the historical context, artefacts and what is being discarded. Often, a process of designing takes the form of removing everything within the site in the most diagramatic means witilout much appreciation for the details, marks, structure, patina or activities that have taken place before.

Architects often prefer to build new structures. This mostly comes from our education, where students in most schools are encouraged to design a new visitor centre, a museum or a community centre, for example, with a multitude of brief requirements to fulfill. Small infill projects or subtle renewal projects are harder to justify.

By showing t-sa's projects to the students and taking them on tours of projects such as our Curzon Bloomsbury project, we tried to show the students that working and negotiating with existing conditions to create something new can also be rewarding. Of course, we still need to design with the ingredients that we uncover. However, as Ruskin says, we felt that the first exercise to perform is to see what is there and tell it.

Feeling, when we experience a place or buildings, is what we tried to capture in this year's t-sa forum ultimately. We studied three relatively recent renewal projects in London. We visited and spent time in the buildings and then asked the students to express their experience through various media. We did this by focusing on creating a single artefact each week, ending with four pieces of work during the workshop. Photography, Drawing and Printing were used as tools.

Doing less, in terms of a number of drawings focuses one's mind about what a particular drawing or a print is trying to convey. This constraint has helped both the students and us (the 'practitioner guides') to capture the essence of what each student felt in a space. By restricting the exercises to a survey formal only, the workshop gave the students an opportunity to absorb, understand and express the existing architectural qualities without having the pressure or the need to design something. The extraordinary contradiction is that through photographing, drawing and making prints of the existing spaces, the students' works emerged as beautiful artefacts that expressed something more than just a survey.They became that 'greatest thing' that Ruskin talks about.

Image credit, Curzon Bloomsbury cinema - Anton Gorlenko and Helene Binet 

Date Submitted: 6/7/2018

World-renowned chef, writer, and former AA student Fergus Henderson MBE has been awarded the 2018 Honorary AA Diploma by interim school director Samantha Hardingham at this year's Graduation and Prize-giving Ceremony, held in Bedford Square Gardens.

‘Each year we have the pleasure of awarding an honorary AA Diploma to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the life of the AA, or for whom this place holds a certain significance’ Hardingham said, before adding ‘we are delighted to be able to recognise Fergus for his extraordinary contribution to the AA, London and the world, by filling the bellies of its architects and citizensand, as such, dignifying life generally’.

Following in the footsteps of his architect parents, Brian and Elizabeth, Fergus Henderson began studies at the Architectural Association in 1984, but by the late 80s, whilst still studying, he took a job at Smith’s Restaurant in Covent Garden and thus began his career as a chef.

Having left the AA without his diploma, Fergus went on to found St. JOHN with Trevor Gulliver in 1994 in an abandoned smoke house on the edge of the city district. Critical acclaim for Fergus's brand of simple cooking set in an architecturally pared-back setting followed, and in the years since it opened, St. JOHN has won a large number of awards and high rankings in national and international listings. He was awarded his first Michelin Star in 2009.

Fergus is now widely recognized as one of the most influential figures in the modern restaurant scene and received an MBE in 2005 for his services to gastronomy. In 2015, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in the influential World’s 50 Best list.

A published writer, Fergus’s Nose to Tail Eating - A Kind of British Cooking, first published in 1999 and re-published both in the UK and the US (as The Whole Beast) garnered much acclaim and won the Andre Simon award for food writing. A follow up book, Beyond Nose to Tail Eating was published in 2007 and The Complete Nose to Tail was launched in October 2012.  In 2016, Fergus’s Nose to Tail Eating was voted ‘most influential cookbook of all time’ by public and industry peers.

Date Submitted: 27/6/2018

The general public are invited to join a lecture by AA tutor Eduardo Rico, given in conjunction with the EPF|ETH summer school on Relational Space / Relational Urbanism, followed by a brief discussion. It will take place on Thursday 14 June from 09.15 – 11.00.

Renowned landscape architect, civil engineer and urbanist, Eduardo Rico is founding partner at the London-based practice Relational Urbanism, and teaches at the Architectural Association and the Bartlett. He has developed a new approach to master-planning based on relational models that incorporate architectural concepts, stakeholder negotiations, site constraints and urban policy.

For more details, visit https://memento.epfl.ch/event/lecture-eduardo-rico-relational-urbanism-/

Date Submitted: 13/6/2018

All guests to the AA Graduation Ceremony are invited to participate in Hyperbation: AA Zoo School, a mixed reality (MR) architectural extravaganza. 

Hyperbation: AA Zoo School is an architectural experiment located between physical and digital space, which expands the notions of hyperisation, gamification and hyperlocalisation. Following in a long tradition of wildly extravagant performance and carnival at the AA – typified by former School Director Alvin Boyarsky riding around Bedford Square on an Elephant in 1978 – AA Zoo School takes material from the AA’s Archive, collides it with a cast of virtual characters and will juxtapose multiple environments with the live events of the AA Graduation Ceremony and Projects Review, 22nd June 2018.

Watch the full trailer 

Follow the new hyper-AA-Elephant and enter the AA Zoo School.

*Player Level 1 (Android Phone and iPhone) Ability: Accessing Tracker
*Player Level 2 (iPhone 6S & above or iPad 5th Generation & above) Ability: Accessing APP
*Player Level 3 (Oculus Go) Ability: Accessing virtual reality (VR) 360-degree Video
*Player Level 4 (Oculus Rift) Ability: Accessing virtual reality (VR) Game

For full instructions visit http://hyperbation.space/

Hyperbation: AA Zoo School is designed by Pete Jiadong Qiang (AA Media Practices, MPhil) and Mingxuan Xie(Greenwich University, MArch)

Date Submitted: 12/6/2018

The AA congratulates architect, historian, critic and educator Kenneth Frampton (AADipl 1955) who has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

Trained at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in the early 1950s, and made an Honorary Member of the AA in 2014, Kenneth Frampton has taught since 1972 at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, New York. As architect, writer and critic, as teacher and researcher, he has affected and inspired several generations of students and architects. Modern Architecture: A Critical History is one of his most recognized books.

His seminal books include Towards a Critical Regionalism, which was a leader in the influencing of architects to re-value context, place and culture. His Studies on Tectonic Culture was a key work in highlighting the connection between the language of construction and language of architecture. In A Genealogy of Modern Architecture: Comparative Critical Analysis of Built Form, he captures with incisive clarity the inner workings of projects, de-coding them to make them legible for us all.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, said: ‘Through his work, Kenneth Frampton occupies a position of extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity. He stands out as the voice of truth in the promotion of key values of architecture and its role in society. His humanistic philosophy in relation to architecture is embedded in his writing and he has consistently argued for this humanistic component throughout all the various ‘movements’ and trends often misguided in architecture in the 20th and 21st century.

‘His experience as a practicing architect has given him a deep understanding of the process of designing and crafting buildings. This makes him both more sympathetic and more critical of the various forms of the practice of architecture. His consistent values in relation to the impact of architecture on society, together with his intellectual generosity, position him as a uniquely important presence in the world of architecture.’

President of the Venice Biennale, Paolo Baratta added that ‘there is no student of the faculties of architecture who is unfamiliar with his Modern Architecture: A Critical History. The Golden Lion goes this year to a “maestro”, and in this sense it also intended to be a recognition of the importance of the critical approach to the teaching of architecture.’

Read more about this year’s awards at the Venice Biennale here.

Photo courtesy the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale

Date Submitted: 1/6/2018


The AA School in realtime



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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 Certificate), 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.