Xristina Argyros and Ryan Neiheiser have been selected to curate the exhibition of the Greek Pavilion in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia - under the general theme “Freespace,” commisioned by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. Entitled “The School of Athens,” the project will examine the architecture of the academic commons - from Plato’s Academy to contemporary university designs. The selection was made by The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Secretary General of Spatial Planning and Urban Design, Eirini Klampatsea. 

The curatorial duo re-imagines the Greek Pavilion as its own kind of learning “freespace,” adopting the architectural trope of the stepped landscape to create an active space of debate and exchange. Within this landscape, architectural models depicting academic common spaces from across history and around the world, both realized and unrealized, will create a field of architectural specimens that fills the pavilion in all directions. The project recognizes that common spaces within the university - unprogrammed spaces for impromptu conversation, casual gossip, heated debate, pop-up lectures, networking, and informal teaching - are vital to the institution’s continued relevance and vibrancy, and deserves intelligent critique and update. 

According to the curators, “The School of Athens is an ambition; a utopian vision of a free, open, informal, and common space for learning. It is an in-between space. Neither inside nor outside, not quite a room, but also not simply a space for circulation. Although we typically think of learning taking place in the classroom, educators and architects have recognized for thousands of years that learning also takes place in the space between; in the hallways, on the stairs, at the café, in the quad. Socrates taught in the Agora. Plato founded his Academy in the olive grove outside of Athens and often taught while walking. Medieval colleges were organized around a communal courtyard. 20th-century universities are filled with informal learning spaces often associated with circulation, and today there is a particular fascination with designing staircases, or stepped seating spaces, as the main architectural feature of an academic commons. Our ambition is to both look back, and to scan across the current landscape of university architecture, to extract compelling and successful spaces that are “free” - democratic, unprogrammed, and common.” 

The exhibition will take place from May 26th to November 25th, 2018 (Preview May 24th and 25th) in the Giardini, Venice, Italy. 

Date Submitted: 26/2/2018

Former AA tutor Madelon Vriesendorp has won the 2018 AJ/AR Ada Louise Huxtable Prize, a lifetime achievement award recognising individuals working in the wider architectural arena who have made a significant contribution to architecture and the built environment.

The Dutch artist co-founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture with Rem Koolhaas and Elia and Zoe Zenghelis in 1972. She later expanded her practice to focus on the design of costumes, objects, illustrations, exhibitions and short stories.

In 2008 The AA hosted an exhibition and published a book dedicated to Vriesendorp’s work, and last year she was awarded an Honorary AA Diploma by outgoing School Director Brett Steele who thanked her for her ‘extraordinary contribution to the imagination of architecture’.

Paul Finch, editorial director of the AJ and the Architectural Review wrote, ‘Madelon Vriesendorp is a rarity: a true artist who has a deep understanding of architecture and its protocols, and whose observant and witty work has provided a thoughtful visual counterpoint to the world of bricks and mortar.’

The award is named after Ada Louise Huxtable, a journalist who made history for being the first full-time architecture critic at a US newspaper when she joined the New York Times, and was later awarded the first Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1970.

Image AA Photo Library

Date Submitted: 7/2/2018

AA alumna Amanda Levete CBE (AADipl 1982) has won the 2018 AJ/AR Jane Drew Prize, an award recognising an architect who has made a significant contribution to the status of women in architecture.

After graduating from the Architectural Association, Levete worked for Richard Rogers before joining Future Systems as a partner in 1989. Working alongside her late former husband Jan Kaplický, she designed the Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground, which was awarded the 1998 Stirling Prize.

In 2009 Levete founded her practice, AL_A, and has recently unveiled high-profile schemes around the world including the Central Embassy tower in Bangkok, the new Exhibition Road Quarter at the V&A Museum in London, and the impressively curvilinear, white-tiled MAAT Museum in Lisbon.

The award comes at a particularly significant time for the AA as it celebrates a centenary of women at the school in 2017/18. Levete follows several other AA women who have been awarded the Jane Drew Prize since it was re-established in 2012, including past AA President Eva Jiřičná and alumnae Kathryn Findlay (AADipl 1979), Zaha Hadid (AADipl 1977) and Denise Scott Brown (AADipl 1956).

The award is named after Jane Drew, a pioneering modernist architect who graduated from the Architectural Association in 1929.

Image courtesy AL_A by Matt Holyoaks

Date Submitted: 6/2/2018

The inaugural AA Research Publications Fellows will be Sue Barr and Clara Olóriz Sanjuán.

The Research Publications Fellowship programme is a new initiative that supports 2 fellowships per academic year. Applications are sought in December of each year. The programme is funded by grants from the AA Foundation to support research, teaching and learning at the AA, thanks to the Anthony Pott Memorial Fund and the founding companies who generously contribute to the new AA Partners Programme – HOK and KPF

Sue Barr

Sue Barr’s interdisciplinary book project, The Architecture of Transit, builds on her doctoral research, recent collaboration with the Foundation Cartier, and over 20 years of AA experience. It examines questions of architectural depiction where large-scale structures cannot be seen or experienced in their entirety and how photography is uniquely suited to document such sublime incidents. The title, to be translated in German and Italian, and published by the acclaimed photography specialist, Hartmann Books, will launch at Arles and Savignano photographic festivals as well as Photo London.

Barr noted the long phase of research leading up to publication, “I am very grateful to have been awarded the AA’s Research Publication Fellowship. Over the past seven years, this research has resulted in a series of photographs that explore architectural megastructures within the landscape in consideration of 18th century aesthetic theory.” Barr is Director of the AA’s digital photo studio.

Clara Olóriz Sanjuán

Ricardo Devesa, Editor-in-Chief of Actar Publishers in New York, wrote, “Landscape as Territory: A Cartographic Design Project, a publication project by the AALU Programme, and led by Clara Olóriz Sanjuán, as a research and design investigation into novel forms of territorial praxis at regional, national and transnational scales, is seen by Actar as an extremely relevant contribution to contemporary forms of current landscape, urban and architectural discourses.” The project reflects on 5 years of research and teaching, a string of international lectures, and the work of AA colleagues, students, and alumni. Olóriz Sanjuán is AALU design tutor and co-director of the AA Visiting School in Bilbao.

Olóriz Sanjuán said, “This publication presents an opportunity to critically look at the last developments of the AALU programme and foresee potential futures. From my own perspective, it brings closer several personal strands of work: theory and praxis as well as academic and professional research projects. It will collect various forms of academic research to generate ways of thinking alternative methods of policy making and territorial practices relevant to contemporary forms of urbanisation.”

Date Submitted: 6/2/2018

Curated by artist Kelly Chorpening, A History of Drawing surveys the practice and teaching of drawing at Camberwell College of Arts over an eighty year period. Featuring the work of over sixty artists, this exhibition celebrates Camberwell’s past, and will shape making and critical debates about drawing for the future. 

Miraj Ahmed exhbitis a site specific installation piece called 'Here and There'.

For more details visit UAL Events website

Image credit: Here and There (detail) by Miraj Ahmed.

Date Submitted: 17/1/2018

AA alumnus Kien Pham (AADipl 2012) has been named as one of four individual winners of this year’s WinterStations competition in Canada, an international design contest that brings temporary public art installations to disused lifeguard lookouts on the beaches of Toronto, creating an exhibition celebrating the city’s winter waterfront landscape.

The competition, now in its fourth year, invited participants to explore the theme of ‘riot’ following a year of global tumult and uncertainty and received 240 entries. Organisers encouraged projects that promoted ‘creativity and joy… shared human qualities that bring us together and are needed now more than ever’.

Responding to the brief, Kien proposed ‘Obstacle’, a grid of 47 cross-shape columns surrounding the lifeguard stand, creating a seemingly impenetrable structure representing struggles in everyday life to wider global upheaval. The columns rotate to allow people inside, where they soon find their movements through the rotating obstacles affecting each other; the only way to get through it is to communicate and work together. The lifeguard lookout in the centre provides an elevated viewpoint from which visitors who overcome the obstacles together can sit and look hopefully to the world beyond.

The winning designs are now being installed ahead of the exhibition opening on 19 February 2018.  To find out more, visit winterstations.com/winners.

Image: Obstacle by Kien Pham

Date Submitted: 10/1/2018

The AA congratulates emerging practice Outpost Architecture & Design, co-founded by AA alumnus Robin Sjoholm (AADipl 2006), for winning the National Grid/RIBA competition to find innovative ways of redeveloping unused gasholder bases.

Outpost, established in 2016 by Sjoholm and Thomas Housden, is described as ‘hands-on; testing ideas, materials and their assembly through physical models, prototypes and full-scale mock ups’. Since graduating from the AA, Sjoholm spent four years at the award-winning design practice Project Orange, working as Project Architect on a series of large scale residential and commercial projects, including Shoreham Street, Sheffield, which won a regional RIBA award in 2013.

In a competition that attracted over a hundred entries, Outpost presented a solution for a sustainable, mixed-use development combining affordable housing and flexible workshops arranged around a large, sunken, communal courtyard. Sjoholm and Housden were said to be inspired by the round Tulou villages of the Hakka community of Fujian province in China. The design was unanimously selected as the winner ahead of five other short-listed practices.

The National Grid holds a portfolio of well over a hundred former gasholders to be dismantled within the coming years and is seeking an alternative to the labour and resource-intensive method of backfilling the sub-surface voids.

Find out more: www.architectsjournal.co.uk/10026789

Image: Outpost Architecture & Design

Date Submitted: 9/1/2018

AA Visiting School Little Architect worked with a class of 10 years old children from Clerkenwell Parochial Primary School, Islington to learn and discover their local heritage. A Heritage Lottery Funded project, the children learnt about Berthold Lubetkin and his architecture, discovering that social housing can be beautifully and respectfully designed for its inhabitants. Little Architect collaborated with John Allan (Berthold Lubetkin biographer) and visited Bevin Court with children. Its gardens, communal areas, and sculptural staircase were highly appreciated by all the children.  

A recently published outcome of this project can be read online at Issuu: https://issuu.com/littlearchitect-architecturalassoci/docs/summary_hlf-islington_bevin_court-l

Little Architect is an educational programme teaching architecture and the urban enviroment in London’s primary schools and is part of the Visiting School programme, at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

The programme aims to teach children how to observe, understand and enjoy architecture and the built world and to become part of a more sustainable future. Little Architect's in-school projects and workshops are organised around interesting, creative and fun, cross-curricular activities for five to nine-year-olds. They provide an opportunity for students to think and communicate about buildings and cities through experimentation and drawing.

Find out more about AA VS Little Architect

Date Submitted: 23/12/2017

The AA extends its congratulations to Rory Sherlock (AADipl(Hons) 2017) who has received a commendation in the 2017 RIBA President's Medals dissertation category for his work ‘Multimedia Oblivion – Palmyra: Violence, erasure and the corporeal architectural body’.

Reflecting on his thesis and news of the commendation, Rory said: ‘elucidating the process of architectural destruction at Palmyra and the transfiguration of its monuments into media, the thesis attempts to understand the mechanisms by which this material is generated, the agendas by which it is governed and how it intervenes in the formation of history and the collective memory.

‘In the contemporary condition of mass media production, instant information transfer and expanding communications networks, stone is a volatile corporeal presence.’

Acknowledging Rory’s work, the Dissertation Medal judging panel, chaired by Professor Peg Rawes (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL), commented that ‘this thesis undertakes a highly sophisticated and complex research project into the material and digital understandings of the destruction of Palmyra. It combines a superb handling of theoretical literatures together with an insightful and critical understanding of the role of ideological, technological, economic, historical frameworks to argue that architectural heritage definitions are constructed by highly conflicted geopolitical interests.’

The RIBA President’s Medals were established in 1836 and are the RIBA’s oldest awards. Participation in the RIBA President’s Medals is by invitation only; in 2017, the RIBA invited 373 schools of architecture located in 70 countries to submit one dissertation for the RIBA Dissertation Medal, up to two design projects for the RIBA Bronze Medal, and up to two design projects for the RIBA Silver Medal.

Find out more about this year’s RIBA President's Medals at http://www.presidentsmedals.com/

Image: Rory Sherlock

Date Submitted: 12/12/2017

The Architectural Association has been part of the educational landscape in Greece through its various activities run by the Visiting School.

In December 2017, the pedagogical and research-based work of the AA in Greece will be presented at the Scientific Conference titled “Letter from London” organized by the Hellenic Institute of Architecture and ek magazine editions. The AA’s ongoing exchange of architectural knowledge and experience is going to be presented at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center by Alexandros Kallegias.

Alexandros Kallegias completed his postgraduate studies at the Architectural Association Design Research Lab (ΑΑ DRL) in London. He is the Programme Head of the AA Athens, AA Summer DLAB and AA Greece Visiting School. Moreover, he is a key member of the tutoring team of AA Istanbul Visiting School. His research has been published in peer reviewed reports and international publications.

For more information please stay tuned with the AA Visiting School in Greece.

Date Submitted: 5/12/2017

PODA architects, founded by Ulises Juliao and Ruben Taboada, 2013 graduates of the AA’s Emergent Technologies and Design programme, have won a five-star award within the Architecture Multiple Residence category for their Yacht House project at the USA & Americas Property Awards 2017-2018, one of the most prestigious industry events in the region.

Presented in Toronto on 13 November 2017, firms received awards for categories ranging across property development, real estate, interior design and architecture. Chosen from over 200 entries spread across the USA and Americas regions, the panel said that following the win ‘PODA Architects have proven themselves to be the very best in the architecture sector’.

PODA, based in Panama, is committed to producing high quality performative architecture, using advanced design processes to challenge the way in which the built environment is generated today. They employ innovative and sophisticated analytical methods and digital technologies as design basics; based on simulations and evaluations (quantitative and qualitative) to provide a new and comprehensive holistic approach to the design method, achieving control, precision and quality in the final product.

The top winners in the USA & Americas regions will automatically be entered into the overall International Properties Award competition, culminating in an awards ceremony to be held at the Savoy Hotel in London on 4 December.

Image: PODA Architects

Date Submitted: 22/11/2017

A group of three former and current AA students have received an honourable mention for their entry into the Modern Collective Living Challenge, part of the Bee Breeders Global Housing Crisis competition series; participants were tasked with envisioning new forms of accessible housing for relocated farmers in rural China.

Recent graduates Carolina Gismondi (AADipl 2017), George Guida (AADipl 2017), and PhD student Tatjana Crossley were commended by the judging panel for their design – Hutong 2.0 – which proposed a new housing typology defined by a new collective social order.        

When selecting winners, the jury panel were looking for projects that were flexible and adaptable to the differing needs of the users. Another defining attribute of selected winning projects was their demonstrable ability to reflect on the traditional Chinese lifestyle.

In an interview after the contest had concluded, the group remarked that such competitions ‘give an opportunity to speculate on design and test the limits of what architecture can do for society’ and that they ‘stress the importance of conceptual design and research that challenges the profession to create more dialogue’.

Read more about the competition here.

Image: Carolina Gismondi, George Guida and Tatjana Crossley

Date Submitted: 20/11/2017

The AA congratulates Arthur Mamou-Mani (AADipl 2008), who has been selected as one of RIBAJ’s 2017 cohort of Rising Stars.

Arthur is a London-based French architect and director of the award-winning practice Mamou-Mani Architects, which specialises in a new kind of digitally designed and fabricated architecture. Between graduating from the Architectural Association and founding the practice in 2011, he worked with Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid Architects and Proctor and Matthews Architects.

Arthur, a 2016 American Architecture Gold Prize-winner, also lectures at the University of Westminster and the Bartlett in London and owns a digital fabrication laboratory called the FabPub which allows people to experiment with large 3D printers and laser cutters.

The Rising Star judges noted Arthur’s energy and commitment to ‘giving designers access to the technologies of both coding and making’ and by doing so helping to ‘break down the barriers between architects and related professions such as contractors, engineers and designers in other fields’.

Since 2016, he has been a fellow of The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Read more about the 2017 Rising Stars cohort and RIBAJ’s profile of Arthur here.

Image courtesy Arthur Mamou-Mani

Date Submitted: 7/11/2017

dRMM, the practice co-founded by AA Past President Sadie Morgan and former AA tutor Alex de Rijke, has won the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize for its widely acclaimed regeneration of Hastings Pier.

Closed to the public after severe storm damage in 2008, and ravaged by fire two years later, dRMM won the contest to bring the pier back to life with the backing of local residents and supporters. The practice was praised by the judging panel for its ‘utterly pivotal role’ in realising a ‘masterpiece of subtle, effortless design’.

The scheme transforms the surviving Victorian pavilion into an open plan café and adds a timber-clad visitor centre with a viewing deck, whilst the pier deck offers a vast expanse for public events and gatherings. It is third time lucky for dRMM who were nominated for the prize in 2010 and 2016.  

Sadie, who was president of the AA from 2013-2015, co-founded dRMM in 1995 along with Philip Marsh and Alex de Rijke, who is currently an External Examiner to the Design + Make programme at Hooke Park, the AA’s woodland campus.

Sadie will be opening the AA XX 100 conference in conversation with AA interim director Samantha Hardingham. To book a place, please visit xx.aschool.ac.uk/conference.

Read more about dRMM’s Stirling Prize win at www.architectsjournal.co.uk.

Image: Alex de Rijke, dRMM

Date Submitted: 1/11/2017

Mole Architects, led by AA alumnus Meredith Bowles (AADipl 1990), working in collaboration with Rebecca Granger have been awarded the RIBA 2017 Stephen Lawrence Prize for The Houseboat, a private home overlooking Poole harbour.

Established in 1998 in memory of Stephen Lawrence, who aspired to be an architect, the Stephen Lawrence Prize is now in its twentieth year and rewards the best examples of projects with a construction budget of less than £1 million.

The judging panel, which included Doreen Lawrence CBE and 2016 winner and fellow AA alumnus Taro Tsuruta (AADipl 1996), praised Mole Architects’ design for its  ‘great expression’ of ‘inspired concepts, experimentation and finely tuned craftsmanship’.

Funded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, the prize was open to buildings completed between November 2014 and February 2017. Marco Goldschmied (AADipl 1969), a RIBA past president and fellow judge said: ‘In an age where detail design and carefully crafted construction are all too often sacrificed to meet short term deadlines, the Houseboat is a welcome exception.’

Read more about The Houseboat here.

Image courtesy Rory Gardiner

Date Submitted: 1/11/2017


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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.