The Sympathy of Things is a new two part BBC Radio 4 programme, researched, written and presented by Amica Dall and Giles Smith (Inter 7 Unit Masters and members of Assemble) and produced by Sean Glynn and David Waters from SGP Productions. The first episode aired yesterday and can be listened to here.

In the series Dall and Smith use the contemporary craft movement to look at our changing relationship with labour, value and the material world. It is made of a series of interconnected conversations with people involved in designing and producing the objects that make up our everyday material environment - things like toilets, toasters, door handles and pavements, and people who write, teach and think about design and manufacture.

The documentary is split into two parts. The first explores how mass production upended our relationship to the material world, and how its underlying commercial logic continues to have a very powerful influence on everything from policy agendas and taste to our intimate, unconscious relationships with the things we live in, on and among. In the second part, Dall and Smith talk to people who argue that the advent of digital technologies will up end our relationship to the material world again, but not in the way you might imagine, as it questions the easy distinctions we make between machines and people, the digital and the material, the local and the global.

Image credit: © Assemble, Armitage Shanks factory Staffordshire.

Date Submitted: 5/11/2018

Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu (former AA tutors) have been awarded the Stephen Lawrence Prize 2018 for their project: Old Shed New House. Working with storytelling, typologies, and light to sculpt spaces, tonkin liu as a practice, are inspired by nature and the use of traditional construction techniques to craft their designs.

Old Shed New House is an old agricultural shed conversion that was completed this year. Once a container for tools and tractors, it is now an energy-efficient, low-cost building serving as a home, library and gallery in rural North Yorkshire. The house is a journey between grand and intimate interconnected spaces: the spacious library centres itself around modestly sized living room and bedrooms, while the surrounding landscape is pulled into the building’s long, east-west orientated gallery, which draws visitors in from afar and frames the rising and setting sun from within.

The project won several awards this year, including the RIBA National Award 2018; RIBA Yorkshire Award 2018; RIBA Yorkshire Small Project of the Year Award 2018, as well as, the GAGA Architecture Award 2018.

Read more on this project on Tonkin Liu's website

Date Submitted: 26/10/2018

AA Inter 1 Unit Masters, Lara Lesmes (AA Dipl 2011) and Fredrik Hellberg (AADipl(Hons)2011), will open their solo exhibition ‘Value in the Virtual’ at ArkDes, Stockholm, on 19 September.  Lesmes and Hellberg founded Space Popular, a multidisciplinary design and research practice, in 2013 and have since completed built projects both in Asia and Europe and have participated in a wide range of international competitions.

In ‘Value in the Virtual’ Space Popular unfold an immersive installation exploring the role of architecture, and architects, in the design of virtual worlds. Layering physical and virtual environments into a single immersive experience, ‘Value in the Virtual’ takes the form of two simultaneously active environments, one physical and one virtual. In the exhibition full-scale fragments of Stockholm dissolve, mutate, distort and replicate and a constellation of possible futures in which material values are radically recast can be envisioned.

As part of the AA's Open Week 29 October – 2 November, Fredrik and Lara and Intermediate 1 students will visit ArkDes next week. The unit will take part in a curated discussion: You Are a Citizen of Virtual Worlds, which will convene a collection of voices from Sweden and abroad around questions raised by their exhibition Space Popular: Value in the Virtual. In the context of the exhibition, Boxen acts as a shared space and testing ground for conversations about the role of architecture in the burgeoning virtual sphere. Intermediate 1 students will also curate a temporary virtual exhibition, showcasing their projects through social VR platform Sansar. Visitors will be able to explore the students' exhibition using VR devices, in the museum or join the virtual space from anywhere in the world.  

Attached is a full programme of the event: You are a Citizens of Virtual World

The exhibition will run from 19 September – 18 November at ArkDes, Stockholm.

To find out more please visit https://arkdes.se/en/utstallning/space-popular-value-in-the-virtual/

Curator: James Taylor-Foster

First published on AA News: 11.09.18

Date Submitted: 24/10/2018

Ricardo de Ostos and Nannette Jackowski (AA Intermediate 3 Tutors/studio NaJa & deOstos) will be presenting their latest book entitled: Scavengers and other Creatures in Promised Lands at the Embassy of Brazil, in London, on Tuesday 23rd of October. They will be joined by Nathan Su and Nicholas Zembashi, two recent graduates from the Architectural Association and contributors to the book. The presentation will be followed by a short discussion and a reception. The event is free, but RSVP is essential. 

For more information and bookings:


Date Submitted: 20/10/2018

The shortlist for this year’s Film London Jarman Award has been announced. The prestigious £10,000 prize celebrates the boundary-pushing work of the UK’s foremost artist filmmakers. It recognises and supports artists working with moving image and celebrates the spirit of experimentation, imagination and innovation in the work of UK-based artist filmmakers.

The artists selected this year are: Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, Jasmina Cibic, Lawrence Lek (AA Dipl 2008), Daria Martin, Hardeep Pandhal and Margaret Salmon.

Engaging with the fields of virtual reality and simulation, Lawrence Lek creates moving image works using gaming software, 3D animation, installation and performance. His digital environments reflect the impact of the virtual world on our perception of reality, by rendering real places and architectures within fictional and often fantastical scenarios.

The winner of the £10,000 Jarman Award will be announced in November. In the run-up to the event, the work of the shortlisted artists can be seen as part of a specially-curated tour that will travel the length and breadth of the UK, culminating in a special weekend of screenings, discussions and performances at Whitechapel Gallery on 17 and 18 November. Find out more at the Jarman Award website

Image credit: Lawrence Lek, Geomancer, 2018

Date Submitted: 4/10/2018

Indy Johar (Diploma 13 Unit Master), with Dark Matter Laboratories, opens ‘We Are They', an immersive installation as part of the Invisible Landscapes project in the new Architecture Studio at the Royal Academy. Research platform Dark Matter Laboratories explore the role of technology in shifting the focus of design from objects to outcomes, products to performance – in turn creating a more human city.

The opening will be celebrated this Friday with a conversation between acclaimed economist Kate Raworth and architect, AA Diploma 13 Unit Master and Dark Matter Laboratories founder Indy Johar, as they explore how technology can enable the visualisation and transformation of the values and parameters defining contemporary cities, and proposing new models for a more equitable urban environment.

Find out more and book your place on the Royal Academy website 

Date Submitted: 4/10/2018

Manon Mollard (AA Dipl 2014) has been named as the Editor of the Architectural Review, following in the footsteps of Catherine Slessor and Christine Murray. Mollard is the AR’s 16th editor in its 122-year history.

Date Submitted: 4/10/2018

Sir Nicholas Grimshaw (AA Dipl 1965), renowned for his Modernist public buildings and large-scale infrastructure projects, is the recipient of the 2019 RIBA Royal Gold Medal. Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence 'either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture'.

After graduating from the AA, Grimshaw worked with Terry Farrell for fifteen years before setting up his own practice in 1980, which now employs over 600 staff with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne and Sydney. Grimshaw was a member of the AA Council for 11 years during which he was also President of the AA from 1999-2001.

On making the announcement, RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire said: “For more than half a century, Sir Nicholas’s influence has been exceptional. He is responsible for an extraordinary number of buildings and infrastructure projects of international significance, and for the continuous development of an architecture which places technology at the heart of the aesthetic.”

Grimshaw joins the pantheon of AA Alumni receiving Royal Gold Medals, including Zaha Hadid (2016), David Chipperfield (2011), Edward Cullinnan (2008) and Rem Koolhaas (2004). See more AA Alumni Royal Gold Medallists by visiting our AA Alumni page.

© Architectural Association Photo Library

Date Submitted: 27/9/2018

The Tate Britain has unveiled an exhibition of work by the four artists shortlisted for Turner Prize 2018: Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Charlotte Prodger and Luke Willis Thompson. One of the world’s best known prizes for visual art, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. 

Forensic Architecture's The Long Duration of a Split Second presents investigations surrounding the Bedouin communities of the Naqab/Negev region of southern Israel. Together with members of the photographic collective Activestills, Forensic Architecture investigated the events of 18 January 2017, a day on which an attempt by police to clear an unrecognised Bedouin village resulted in the deaths of two people. Forensic Architecture are an international research agency that use video, photographs, scale models, text and reproductions to investigate allegations of state and corporate violence.

Current members of Forensic Architecture include founding director Eyal Weizman (Diploma 3 Contributer), deputy director Christina Varvia (Diploma 3 Unit Master), project coordinators Stefan Laxness (Diploma 9 Unit Master), Samaneh Moafi (AA PhD Candidate) and Nicholas Masterton (AA GradDipl 2015), and architects Tane Kinch (AA Dipl 2017), Nathan Su (AA Grad Dipl 2017), Sebastian Tiew (AA Dipl 2018) and Nicholas Zembashi (AA Diply 2018).

The winner of the Turner Prize 2018 will be announced on Tuesday 4 December.

Image: Forensic Architecture, The Long Duration of a Split Second consisting of two projects Killing in Umm al-Hiran 18 January 2017, Nagev/Naqab, Israel/Palestine, Investigation: 2017- ongoing, video, model, texts and Traces of Bedouin Inhabitation 1945-present, Nagev/Naqab, Israel/Palestine, Investigation: 2015-ongoing, video, aerial images, text. Turner Prize 2018 exhibition installation view, Tate Britain [26 September 2018 - 9 January 2019]. Photo credit: Tate Photography 

Date Submitted: 26/9/2018
The Graham Foundation has announced the award of $609,500 for grants to organizations including innovative projects led by eminent and emerging architects, artists, curators, filmmakers, historians, and publishers, among other professionals. Selected from over 200 proposals, the 53 awarded projects support work that continues to advocate for engaging original ideas that advance our understanding of the designed environment.

The AA's Landscape and Urbanism Graduate Design Programme has been awarded for its publication Landscape as Territory. It is a cartographic book project that critically addresses the agency of architects in the so-called "urban age," through an understanding of territory as a design praxis through which consequential landscapes are produced. Territory, understood as a “political technology,” has the capacity to involve architects and designers into complex social, political, technical, legal, strategic, and economic processes that are both historical and geographical engines of contemporary urbanization. Territorial praxis is interrogated in a collection of threaded theory and design contributions where essays pose key questions that are addressed through projective cartographies, unfolding arguments related to three sections: (1) territory, (2) critical cartographies and (3) agency. This material proposes a critical reappropriation of cartographic tools, complicit in the production of territories, to question and expand the architect’s agency, beyond its current disciplinary confinements.

Landscape as Territory is edited and authored by Clara Oloriz Sanjuan and features essays by Stuart Elden on Territory; by Mark Duffield, Marti Peran and Liam Mouritz on Cartography; and by Douglas Spencer on Agency, together with project theses from the AALU programme. 

To learn more about the 2018 grants to organizations visit the Graham Foundation website.

Date Submitted: 24/9/2018
Alumna and architect Nili Portugali's (AA Dip 1973) film has been officially selected for screening at the Lund International Architecture Film Festival in Sweden. “And the alley she whitewashed in light blue” will be screened at the Museum Kulturen in Lund on Sunday October 14 at 11.15am.

The film takes you on a deeply intimate journey into the Kabbala holy city of Tsefat, Isreal, and explores the questions - what is the secret of all timeless places in which people feel 'at home' and what is the 'pure art of making' that creates them?

To find out more visit Nili Portugali's website.
Date Submitted: 23/9/2018

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


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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.