The ‘Design Agency within Earth Systems’ symposium invites submissions to look through planetary lenses to reflect upon the complicity of design in the destruction of the planet; to question the two dimensional, land based political technologies, by which we order our lives and our relations to the earth; to explore the material dimensions of air, ground and ocean as inter-twinings of socio-political and earth systems; and to imagine relations between socio-political and earth systems differently through design.

Speakers for symposium include: Neil Brenner (UTL, Harvard GSD); Stuart Elden (Warwick University); El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn (Design Earth); Marti Franch (EMF Landscape Architecture) + more.

The aim of this call is for proposals to present projects/papers in a format of 10-minute slide presentation as part of a one-day symposium at the Architectural Association on 26 October 2018.

Submissions are encouraged from designers, researchers, and writers across all disciplines.

Projects/Papers can be professional, academic, speculative, etc. and should highlight designed responses to:

  • The spatial impacts of political economy on the ecological biosphere
  • The unveiling of consequential landscapes produced by metropolitan and urban networks
  • The way weather, climatic and tectonic systems are entangled within politics, culture, and society
  • Technologies and tools by which we can read and re-imagine our relations with earth systems and forms of coevolution with other species
  • Natural disaster and vulnerability events created by political-economic decisions to harness natural forces and resources
  • State and economic systems as environment producers
  • Global environmental injustices produced by political and economic agendas, manifesting at local and regional scales
  • Land ownership and control in urban environments as well as resource exploitation or airspace implications.
  • The conflicts between material exchanges of geologic and atmospheric events and human spatial and temporal scales

Format of submission: A4 PDF document with not more than 6 pages in total. Proposals should include 300 words abstract and no more than 5 images descriptive of the proposed project/paper (drawings, diagrams, cartographies, etc.); please include contact details, affiliation, and a brief CV.

The A4 PDF (10 MB max) should be emailed to: landscapeurbanism@aaschool.ac.uk

Deadline: 07 July 2018 for notification no later than the end of August 2018. Successful applicants will be expected to cover their own costs for travel and accommodation.

Date Submitted: 31/5/2018

The Architectural Association announces the appointment of Eva Franch i Gilabert as the Director of the Architectural Association, effective July 1, 2018.

Franch is the ninth director of the Architectural Association in its 171 year history and the first woman to be elected and appointed Director of the school. Franch succeeds Brett Steele who left his post in 2017 and Samantha Hardingham, who is currently serving as Interim Director.

Elected by the AA School Community, comprising students, academic and administrative staff, and members of Council in March 2018, Eva Franch i Gilabert was selected from a shortlist of three candidates to lead the AA School following a worldwide search.

Her majority vote of 67% represented the largest in a contested election since 1990. A total of 876 members of the School Community voted, representing a turnout of 81.3%, one of the highest levels of participation in Director elections in the last 30 years.

In her statement to the school Franch wrote “More than a school, throughout its history the Architectural Association has been the referent—when not the origin—for the production of relevant forms of inquiry, discourse, and radical practice in architecture schools, cultural institutions, and architecture firms worldwide.”

“I am honoured to be entrusted with the privilege to develop a pedagogical and cultural project at the Architectural Association today” says Franch. “I look forward to building upon the incredible legacy of my predecessors, to work together with the AA Council, staff, students, members, alumni and the extensive AA network in London and abroad to contribute back to a world that needs new referents, new histories, and new ideas.”

Read the full Press Release

Date Submitted: 24/5/2018

AA PhD candidate David Hutama Setiadi has co-curated the Indonesian Pavilion, Sunyata: The Poetics of Emptiness, at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, named one of the ten best national pavilions by Metropolis magazine.

Responding to the Biennale’s theme, Freespace, David and his fellow curatorial team members will explore the notion that industrial advancements have made architecture an altar of building elements and grids, and not of a place of human ritualization.

This primacy of form, the team suggest, is discriminating other human senses and spoiling only one, the eye, and that as a result the architectural experience is trapped by this visual centric approach and geometrical gimmicks.

Through the interplay of scale-proportion and tactility, Pavilion Indonesia aims to demonstrate a production of architectural space by embracing emptiness as a cultural-based method to liberate spatial experience from this ocularcentricism and the oppression of grids.

David, who also curated the 2014 exhibition, said: 'I am delighted to have been part of the team curating the Pavilion Indonesia exhibition for a second time, alongside my studies here at the AA.'

He is currently in his second year of a PhD sponsored by the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education, researching the production of architectural knowledge in Indonesia, especially in the early 20th century.

Pavilion Indonesia 2018 is co-curated by Ary Indrajanto, David Hutama Setiadi, Ardy Hartono Kurniawan, Aditya Dimas Satria, Johanes Adika Gahari, and Jonathan Adutya Gahari.

The 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice runs from 26 May to 25 November 2018.

Date Submitted: 22/5/2018

Spring has sprung and the sun dazzles at the stair landing where most of the real communication at the AA happens…

Recent rumblings: with the conclusion of the director search, stairwell chats turned to other matters for the first time in months. Chief among these was the flutter around Mark Cousins’ last Friday night lecture and celebratory plans associated with this finale of a project stretching three decades. Posters went up asking for images of the lecture hall lectern; the object to be addressed in this swansong. Discussions were had estimating the optimum time to grab a seat for this event; just over half an hour was considered prudent. Saving seats, possibly to sell on to highest bidder, was also joked about, such was the excitement this event aroused.

To cap it off, rumours of a glorious supper following the lecture spread. Who was invited? Answer: about a hundred close friends and colleagues from within and without the AA. Which luminaries would show? All of them, including, eventually, Jeff Kipnis. What would be served? Assorted and delicious mezes followed by aubergine, lentils, and lamb bejewelled with pomegranate seeds. Would there be weepy toasts and grand speeches throughout? Oh yes, indeed.

Connectivity: On the same day of Cousins’ lecture, a joint AA/Slade School of Fine Art event organised by Intermediate 14 and LAWuN took over the Front Members’ Room. Students and staff dabbed away at a vast piece of paper clipped to its north wall. Celebrating the rich history of art schools in Bloomsbury, ‘a working drawing between two schools’ emerged full of magenta architectural fragments, purple trees, mustard-coloured birds, and occasional graffiti. 

With no hint of voter fatigue in sight, the School went again to the polls to elect its first Staff Council Member. With twenty years of experience at the AA, Joel Newman got the nod and there were hearty congratulations bubbling up around the bar. Joel promised not to let this new role go to his head as he popped a jeroboam of champagne and called for his chauffeur.

At the top of the stairwell the Admissions Office has been running at full speed processing applications for the next academic year. Mountain ranges of portfolios took shape before tutors jumped in to review files. Whereas most of the world has gone for digital portfolio uploads, the AA still requires lovable hardcopies. No small task, several Unit Masters and Programme Directors spent long stretches of several evenings looking at what will be future cohorts joining the School. 

Gossip about gossip columns: AA graduate and MIT professor Neri Oxman was featured in The Sun and Daily Mail with headlines, “Brad Pitt and Neri Oxman: 'Infatuated' couple 'talk on the phone several times a day'” and “Brad Pitt’s new ‘girlfriend’ Neri Oxman looks just like his ex, Angelina Jolie, as she’s spotted carrying a bunch of flowers.” The revelation that the professor “took a leaf out of the famous actress’ book wearing an all-black outfit with a pair of large shades” caused giggles as everyone pointed out an all-black outfit merely signalled she was an architect. More interesting and relevant, CNN.com offered a feature and interview with Oxman showcasing her research and “breaking boundaries in a male-dominated world” without a word about Mr Pitt. 

Lira Welts

From the stairwell is featured in AA Sporadical, the digital newsletter for alumni of the Architectural Association. To opt in, email events@aaschool.ac.uk.

Date Submitted: 11/5/2018

Alumna Julia Koerner, an award-winning designer working at the convergence of architecture, product and fashion design, has collaborated with costume designer Ruth Carter to bring to life the stunning costumes seen in Marvel’s latest blockbuster Black Panther, using 3D printing technologies.

Julia, who graduated from the AA’s Emergent Technologies and Design MSc in 2012, said working on the movie was a thrill that allowed her to deliver her aim of ‘continuously trying to push the boundaries of emergent technologies in real-world applications.’

Following studies at the AA and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Julia founded JK Design GmbH, an atelier specialising in digital design for 3D-printing. In 2015, she launched an entirely 3D-printed ready-to-wear collection entitled ‘Sporophyte’.

Julia recalls her time on Bedford Square fondly: ‘When I think of the AA, I always remember the talented group of friends and colleagues who I met during my studies in London. We stay closely connected and try to meet at least once a year.

‘Learning from Professor George Jeronimidis about biomimetics was a crucial experience in my educational career and is deeply rooted in my design agenda. The in-depth research we did at the AA about cellular complex systems has been a recurring topic in many of my recent research work and installations.’

Since 2012 Julia has been on the faculty in the Architecture and Urban Design Department at the University of California in Los Angeles.  She has also held previous academic appointments at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Lund University in Sweden and the Architectural Association Visiting School in France and Jordan.

‘Now in its fifth year and directed by Kais Al-Rawi – who I have collaborated with on many projects, including Black Panther, the AAVS Jordan agenda on both Mars and Natural Extremities, which we have been conducting in the Wadi Rum Desert continues to inspire me in so many ways. At UCLA, I currently research with students robotic clay printing and teach a diversity of design studios and seminars including an advanced building construction course.’

Find out more about Julia's work by visiting her website: www.juliakoerner.com

Images: Black Panther / Marvel / Costume Design Ruth Carter

Images: Black Panther / Marvel / Costume Design Ruth Carter

This news item was first featured in AA Sporadical, the digital newsletter for alumni of the Architectural Association. To opt in, email events@aaschool.ac.uk.

Date Submitted: 10/5/2018

We are proud to report that our first gender pay gap report shows an unusually small gap between the amounts the AA pays women and men, compared to the gaps reported by others in the Higher Education sector or beyond.

What is it?

UK employers with over 250 staff are now legally required to publish an annual snapshot of their gender pay gap, covering all roles within the organisation.

The report must show the average hourly rates (median and mean) paid to men and women, and the percentage differences. It also has to show average bonus payments (at the AA this means a small bonus paid to administrative support staff at Christmas), and the proportion of men and women in each quartile for overall pay.

The first report required was a snapshot as at 5 April 2017, and we have recently filed ours. We are also obliged to give access to the information through our own site.

Why is it important?

Gender pay gap presents a new way to understand possible inequality at work. 

The Equality Acts have already addressed the concept of equal pay, making it illegal to pay women less for equivalent work, although there has been some debate as to what constitutes equivalent work. Gender pay gap looks more at how men and women are over or under-represented in different roles.

The AA

Our salary structures and statistics are something we are very proud of and that are a particular success story for the AA. It is a project that has been worked on over the past 3-4 years to help bring salaries across all areas of the school into a more clearly defined and competitive structure.

Our full statistics and charts can be seen on the Government site; and remind you that data is compiled and combined for both academic and administrative staff. I would also note that the government site leads with the mean (where our women are 2.6% down) whilst the media generally have led with the median (where we are at 0%). Whilst we are pleased with our overall results, we are also aware that there is still some uncomfortable unevenness across some academic areas in more senior roles.  We will continue to monitor and review this.

An added boon this year is that for the first time since the 1940s we have a near equal gender balance amongst our student population (with slightly more women than men).

In case of queries please contact humanresources@aaschool.ac.uk


May 2018
Samantha Hardingham
AA Interim Director

Date Submitted: 9/5/2018

The exhibition will be held at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, from 14 July to 18 November. Miraj will exhibit his painting 'Smile' as one of 60 selected artists. The exhibition marks 60 years of the UK’s longest-established painting prize. 

Paintings were selected from more than 2,700 entries by an esteemed panel of jurors. This year’s jurors include artists Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Lubaina Himid MBE, Bruce McLean and Liu Xiaodong, and curator Jenni Lomax. The names of the artists remain anonymous throughout the judging process.

First held in 1957, the John Moores Painting Prize is the UK's best-known painting competition and is named after Sir John Moores (1896-1993), the sponsor of the prize. The competition culminates in an exhibition held at the Walker Art Gallery every two years, which forms a key strand of the Liverpool Biennial.

The John Moores exhibition is held in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, and although the appearance of each exhibition changes, the principles remain constant: to support artists and to bring to Liverpool the best contemporary painting from across the UK.

The names of the five prizewinning artists will be announced on Thursday 12 July.


Date Submitted: 4/5/2018

The AA congratulates Forensic Architecture on their nomination for the 2018 Turner Prize.

Co-founded by AA alumnus Eyal Weizman, the collective of architects, filmmakers, developers, journalists, lawyers and scientists is based at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has been recognised by the Turner Prize jury for ‘tackling the most pressing and political humanitarian issues of today’. Earlier this year, following last summer’s tragic events at Grenfell Tower, the practice called on the general public for evidence to help it build a 3D model of how fire spread through the building.

Other AA alumni who are current members of Forensic Architecture include Tané Kinch, Stefan Laxness, Nicholas Masterton, Samaneh Moafi, Elena Palacios Carral, Nathan Su and Christina Varvia.

Reflecting on the news, researcher Nicholas Masterton said ‘we hope it will help to raise the profile of human rights across the board… I think if you look at the other nominees you can see that there is a shift towards politically motivated works and we are happy that this discussion is coming to the fore.

‘It also makes me feel hopeful in terms of Grenfell that we will be able to apply the collective resources – the footage of the night of the fire – and use it to provide a new public resource which will be taken seriously and be used to investigate the fire.’

The practice will exhibit work at Tate Britain from September 2018 to January 2019 alongside the other three shortlisted entrants – Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompso – before the winner of the £25,000 prize is announced at an awards ceremony in December.

Forensic Architecture is currently exhibiting work in a show entitled Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The exhibition runs until 13 May 2018.

Find out more about the collective by visiting www.forensic-architecture.org.

Date Submitted: 2/5/2018

AA Museum Lab (Diploma Unit 15) students have launched a crowd-funding campaign to support the installation of their exhibition, PRESERVING DELAY, at Manifesta 12 in Palermo, a major international art event attracting visitors from all over the world.

Committed to relentlessly questioning the ever-changing role of cultural institutions, AA Museum Lab students have embraced the opportunity to collaborate with Manifesta to investigate the complexities of Palermo’s formal and informal cultural scene. For the past seven months the unit has been working closely with local collaborators on developing 10 exciting curatorial strategies and research projects based within the Mediterranean epicentre.

They are now raising funds in order to realise the project and construct the installation in time for the biennial’s launch on 16 June.

Find out more and support the campaign here: indiegogo.com/projects/preserving-delay-aa-museum-lab-books-design.

Date Submitted: 1/5/2018

Mohammed Makki and Milad Showkatbakhsh, authors of the grasshopper add-on Wallacei, will be giving a workshop in this year's eCAADe conference titled "Morphological Variation through Evolutionary Applications: Applications and Analyses of Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithms", taking place on the 17th and 18th of September. The workshop is an extension of their research being conducted at the AA under the supervision of Dr. Michael Weinstock. 

The aim of the workshop is to introduce participants to the application of evolutionary principles in design through the implementation of multi objective evolutionary algorithms, with a predominant focus on the efficient and comprehensive analysis of the empirical data outputted by the algorithm’s application. The workshop will primarily utilise the grasshopper add-ons ‘Octopus’ and ‘Wallacei’ to run and analyse the evolutionary simulations.

Participants to the workshop will gain knowledge on the theoretical background of the biological principles of evolution as well as its implementation in computation and design. Participants will gain expertise in developing design problems that are geared towards the application of multi objective evolutionary algorithms as well as the efficient translation of these problems within grasshopper 3D; equipping the user with a comprehensive understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different algorithmic setups when running multi objective evolutionary algorithms.

To register and for more information, visit the eCAADe 2018 conference website at http://ecaade2018.p.lodz.pl.

Workshop Presenters:

Mohammed Makki
Architect, Researcher
Co-Founder - MSSM Associates
PhD Candidate – Architectural Association, UK
Architectural Association Emtech / Emergence Tutor
Authorised Rhino3D Trainer
M.Arch (dist) - AA Emtech, UK
Milad Showkatbakhsh
Computational Designer, Researcher
Ph.D. Candidate - Architectural Association, UK
Co-Developer of Wallacei
BSc. Architectural Engineering - Shahid Beheshti University, Iran
MArch - Pratt Institute, US
Sidney Katz Award for Design Excellence

Date Submitted: 27/4/2018

Alumna Madeleine Kessler has been chosen from over 500 entries for a seat on the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission’s Young Professionals Panel (YPP), along with Petra Marko, co-founder of Marko & Placemakers.

The panel, launched today by the National Infrastructure Commission chair John Armitt, is made up of young architects, engineers and designers, and will advise the body as it develops the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment.

Madeleine, a project architect at Haptic, received her AA Diploma in 2013 and taught on the AA Summer School for a number of years. Reflecting on her appointment, she said: ’I hope that by being a part of the YPP I will be able to ensure that an emphasis is placed on good design, so that it becomes a core component of the UK’s infrastructure strategy going forward.’

Sadie Morgan, AA past President and co-founder of dRMM Architects, who will chair the panel, said the judges had been ‘blown away’ by the quality of the applicants: ‘It was tough choosing from over 500 fantastic entries… but in these young professionals we have a passionate and diverse group which I hope will inspire the commission with their creative ideas about the UK’s future infrastructure needs.’

Find out more about the panel’s work at https://www.nic.org.uk/publications/young-professionals-panel/

Date Submitted: 25/4/2018

AA first year studio tutor Thomas Randall-Page and former AA foundation student Benedetta Rogers have won the commission to design and build the Architecture Foundation’s 2018 Antepavilion after their proposal for a floating inflatable performance venue was selected from over 130 entries.

The contest, now in its second year, invites artists, architects, designers and makers to submit radical proposals that will turn a large disused barge – named Ouse – moored at Columbia and Brunswick Wharf on London’s Regent’s Canal into an experimental piece of architecture. The £25,000 project is supported by the AF and heritage property developer Shiva Ltd.

Jury chair and AF deputy director Phineas Harper said: ‘The jury were deeply impressed with the calibre and creativity of the finalists. Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers’ winning design is exhilarating and joyful, drawing upon the work of Jeffrey Shaw and Ant Farm.

‘The bold and experimental nature of the team’s proposed structure and the festive programme of events they envision along the length of the Regent’s Canal make it an exciting and worthy winner of the 2018 Antepavilion Commission.’

The winning scheme allows the barge’s superstructure to deflate in order to fit through the many low bridges and tunnels that line London’s canal network then re-inflate, creating a pop-up performance space.

Commenting on their proposal, Air Draft, Thomas and Benedetta said: ‘As much as canals changed London, London’s canals have changed, from conduits of industry and cargo to arteries of art, culture and leisure. Having spent her life hauling heavy loads, Ouse is in for a treat! We plan to give her a huge cargo but of something somewhat lighter, Air.

‘This summer Ouse will once more traverse the Regent's Canal but this journey has a new purpose to champion experimentation and the arts. Air Draft will tour the grassroots venues, arts institutions and cultural hubs which dot the banks of the canal, highlighting their precious but fragile existence.’

Read more about the project at http://www.architecturefoundation.org.uk/antepavilion-2018-winner-announced

Date Submitted: 24/4/2018

On the occasion of its five-year anniversary, Federica Sofia Zambeletti was invited to Lecture at Hepia (Haute École du paysage, d’ingénierie et d’architecture de Genève) to discuss the KooZA/rch’s experience and the role of the image in contemporary architectural practice.

Founded within the stimulating environment of the AA, as a humble student-led initiative, KooZA/rch has quickly become an important digital space whose aim is to challenge and explore the role of the architectural drawing in contemporary practice. Here the drawing is not considered solely as finished product but as the means through which one shapes and develops an architectural idea and concept. At a time when images play a dominant role in contemporary society and where we don’t necessarily know how to see, the format of the interview organically emerged as a means to questions the very essence of the architectural project and the role of drawing in both the development and as final outcome.

Taking the academic institution as the epicenter of this discourse, a free space where students are able to think of architecture without the anxiety and the practicality of the built form, the platform aims to share the collective knowledge of universities and the relative units and singular projects. From how we craft architecture to how this is then perceived KooZA/rch has never been limited to the drawing in relation to the making of architecture but rather seeks to reverse the glance back at architecture through the eyes and discussions with artists, film makers, designers, photographers amongst others.

Date Submitted: 23/4/2018

Scavengers: Imagining the Near Future

The lecture will discuss their new book 'Scavengers and Other Creatures in promised Lands’ together with the latest work from their practice NaJa & deOstos. Illustrating their approach, the lecture will present in-depth research on how storytelling, collapsing environments and experimental design shape an innovative understanding of the built environment.

The lecture will take place on 20 April 2018, 18:30 at the Auditorium 3, Batiment B, Alba Dekouaneh (alba.edu.lb)

Date Submitted: 18/4/2018

Takako will be extending her research on architecture as choreography in the intimate and intricate spaces of Walmer Yard with a dancer Chisato Ohno with the idea of architecture as movement. This is her second appointment with RA, after her performative presentation at Sensing Architecture Symposium in 2014. 

The event will take place on the evening of Saturday 21st April 2018 at Walmer Yard designed by Peter Salter.

Photo: Light in Walmer Yard, photo by Takako Hasegawa

Excerpts from RA website

The RA event title Experiencing Architecture: Inviting Dialogue is both a reflection of the event’s intention and the belief that a meaningful experience of architecture is one that results in a reciprocal and evolving relationship with the spaces we inhabit.

This event comprises two parts: one an experiential encounter, the other a symposium. In the first, which takes place on a Saturday evening, a dialogue will be invited through an experience of architecture – an exchange between building, visitor, and performer. Participants will be invited to inhabit and occupy the four houses of Walmer Yard, designed by Peter Salter, while experiencing performances that experiment with the possibilities the houses offer for sound, narrative, and movement. This experience will be followed by a symposium, lasting all of the following day, at the Royal Academy. The symposium will put the night’s events into context as part of a programme of presentations and discussions.

For more details visit RA website


Date Submitted: 18/4/2018


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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.