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

Date Submitted: 22/1/2019

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

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

Read more about Michael Weinstock on the Research Profile page

Date Submitted: 22/1/2019

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

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

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

Sam Jacob: Empire of Ice Cream

Exhibition dates: 26 January — 9 March 2019

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

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

Date Submitted: 18/1/2019

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

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

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

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

Date Submitted: 15/1/2019

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

Date Submitted: 14/1/2019

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

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

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

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

Find out more on the British Council website.

Image: © British Council

Date Submitted: 10/1/2019

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

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

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

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

Image: © Kettering Civic Society

Date Submitted: 10/1/2019

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

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

You can read more on the Architects' Journal website

Date Submitted: 10/1/2019

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

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

See more information about the Hooke Parke Campus.

See more information about the Design + Make Graduate Programme.

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

Date Submitted: 6/1/2019

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

Date Submitted: 4/1/2019

On Thursday 10 January, Eyal Weizman (Diploma 3 Contributor and Director of Forensic Architecture), will give a talk at the Barbican Centre, discussing Forensic Architecture's practice of combining architecture and digital forensics. In the sold-out talk, Eyal Weizman will highlight key concepts of forensic architecture, including counter forensics, forensic aesthetics, operative models, the image-data complex and the architecture of memory.

The event is part of the Architecture on Stage Series, run in conjunction by the Barbican and the Architecture Foundation. 

Date Submitted: 4/1/2019

“The daughter of a reformist politician and suffragette, and a close friend of the architectural giant Le Corbusier, Minnette de Silva was Sri Lanka’s first modernist architect and the first Asian woman to become an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

She pursued her vocation despite her father’s opposition, moving first to Mumbai and later postwar London to study. During her time at the Architectural Association (AA) in the UK she cut an elegant figure, draped in silk saris and followed by a train of young male students bearing her bags and instruments.”

Read the full article on the Guardian website

Date Submitted: 14/12/2018

The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture. Its purpose is the recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields.

Umberto Napolitano, AA Diploma 5 Unit Master and also the founder of Local Architecture Network (LAN), has been appointed to the rank of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Date Submitted: 14/12/2018

The contest asked readers to consider the challenges that cities will face over the next century, and to propose innovative solutions for urban homes to overcome those challenges. The competition also asked submitted designs to respond to the MINI Living maxim "big life, small footprint" by making the most of available space in cities.

15 designs from readers based in nine different countries were shortlisted out of over 400 entries from around the world. The final winners will be announced on 17 January 2019, with £10,000 of prizes available: £5,000 for the winner, £3,000 for the runner up and £2,000 for third place.

Domestic Replica by Superficium Studio, UK

Domestic Replica is a new kind of housing that speculative architecture and design firm Superficium Studio envisions could appear in cities, as huge floating slums such as Makoko in Lagos become more common throughout the world.

The floating homes are constructed from machine-fabricated wood structures, which would be manufactured locally and distributed to slum dwellers for self-assembly.

Read more on the Dezeen Website

Date Submitted: 14/12/2018

Script from ‘Object Narratives’, an alternative history of the AA, performed at the Silver Gala fundraising dinner on 17 November 2018 by the AA Party Committee-

Summerson's AA History

“This is the only history of the Architectural Association, or should I call it an introduction to the Architectural Association’s past - since a history somewhat instigates that it should at some point approach the present. As a place of irony in itself, it is unsurprising that the almost biographical history of the AA was written by someone who was not a student, a tutor, or an even a member of the AA - those of us who would “never have the time”. Hence, although it is ironic that an observer was able to sum up the creation of the AA, if he hadn’t, it could very well be left unwritten. A quote from Summerson that I believe described the AA most effectively: “Here was a group of beginners, who by their own effort and with the assistance of only a handful of elders, undermined a firmly established system of training and laid the foundations of the completely different system of today. We question if this performance could be paralleled in any other profession – However, architecture occupies a unique place in the fabric of society. Both art and madness, and a mad desire to make buildings eloquent is somewhat mixed with the architect’s desire to better himself and his kind. It was a pack of troublesome students who founded the AA.””

President’s Medal

“The chest of the president of the AA was constantly decorated with the president’s medal when in the premises. Students thought of him like a decorated Mayor figure. This medal is one of many in the archive and appears to be a fragment out of a fountainhead fantasy miniaturised to be worn but unapologetically staging a “design with beauty built in truth” narrative. Nôtre Dame de Paris, the Parthenon, St Pauls Cathedral and Agia Sophia are protected by a medieval castle wall, while a naked male figure -that would feel at home on the crown of a delirious skyscraper- rises like a superhero towards the Architectural Association double A that actually attaches the medal to the ribbon.”

The Other AA

“During the negotiations, talks and protests about a potential merger between the AA and Imperial College, a design competition was launched for a new AA building at Queen’s Gate, South Kensington. In 1969, James Madge imagines an AA that is constantly served by a construction crane, allowing for an ever-changing maze of pods, rooms and corridors. The ultimate fantasy of the individual working space- tiny but individual- in a school where working, reading, studying and drinking was a spectacle. The majority of students and staff were concerned with the incorporation into the state-run university system that would compromise the freedom and independence that has characterised the AA since its foundation. In February 1971, as student and staff demands became more vocal, Imperial College broke off negotiations, citing concerns at the nature and intentions of the school community. The merger never happened and the maze- not currently served by a construction crane- became numbers 32 to 39 Bedford square.

Ghost Dance Times

“Maybe the most radical of all student publications at the AA and based on the Ghost Dance, a central ritual to the messianic religion instituted in the late 19th century, which prophesied the peaceful end of the westward expansion of whites and a return of the land to the Native Americans.

Sparkling irreverent, the Ghost Dance Times ran from 1974 to 1975 and aimed to chronicle the world of ‘empty studios and crowded bars where promising students consort with brilliant tutors in a mutual exorcism of the professional reality the first have not yet faced and the second never enjoyed…’ Funding was finally withdrawn in June of 1975 with Martin Pawley’s editorial claiming that Chairman, Alvin Boyarsky, facing the rising costs of ‘TV studios, champagne breakfasts and foreign exhibitions’, decided a more ‘responsible and altogether less intelligible’ organ was needed.”

The AA Whiskey Bottle

“This empty bottle was retrieved from the AA Archives raising questions regarding who bottled this fine 8 year old scotch whiskey, but more importantly who drunk it! Peter Cook describes the AA as a place that represented more than a century of elitism, arrogance, freedom and, most of all, a cosmopolitanism encouraged by the presence of an expensive chandelier and a creative use of the wine or whisky bottle or likelihood that Nervi, Bucky Fuller or Gropius might pop their head round the door. Most likely he refers to a specific bottle of whisky shared between Alvin, Bucky and Walter.It is rumoured that there are still bottles in circulation between AA members.”

The Silver Wedding Gift

“This sliver box was made by Chris Fawcett and Simada Kumiko as a wedding present in July 1976 for John Clark and Kojima Kazuko, as a legal witness for which Shimada Rumiko served.  

“It was presented to the Fawcett Archive of the Architectural Association in the hope that it presents something of Chris Fawcett’s plastic imagination, something those who met him recall vividly.” - John and Kazuko Clark, 20 December 1986. It contains: a pair of silver chopsticks, a silver lighter, a silver box of matches, a silver sphere, a silver film container, silver painted pennies, another smaller silver box, a silver painted booklet on Barry Lyndon from Japan and a miniature silver Christmas tree wrapped in silver fabric.”

Pantomime Lantern Slide

“From the original slide collection of the AA, depicting two male students in full costume during a pantomime performance bringing the AA logo to life: two human figures are wrapped around the two capital A’s, holding a trowel and a drawing respectively while together supporting a lit torch, surrounded by the motto: Designed with Beauty, Built in Truth. It is approximately dated around 1930 when AA students were working on elaborate pantomime sketches that entailed the composition of original music and lyrics, the construction of design sets and the design and manufacturing of costumes and wigs.”

Compass Set

“Donated to the AA Archives from the offspring of an AA alumnus with the demand to keep these blizzard items of torture locked away. Ruling pens, Drawing Compasses, Protractors, Callipers and Vernier Scales.”

Carnival Book

“The AA Carnival from the year 1978 is surely the most illustrious example of the radical nature of AA life at the time. Two students, Phil Hudson and Ray Oxley dismissed their primary studio work and dedicated an entire school year to organising The Carnival. The theme of the Carnival was “Circus” and it transformed three of the school’s buildings into a maze of performances, unexpected happenings and spectacles - from Alvin Boyarski (School Chairman) riding an elephant over trumpet orchestras and rock bands, clowns and strippers (both male and female) to a high dive by Roy Franson which was forcefully prevented by the Police. In spite of being an incredible success with more than a thousand visitors, the Carnival was closed down around half three in the morning as a result of custard pie chaos leaving the floors and walls of the school, as well as the participants of the event, covered in custard. A truly glorious moment, but not enough to pass the year, as both students failed and were asked to repeat their second year.”

Dalia’s Models

“The AA constantly pushes at the boundaries of what architecture is beyond our present material limits. These models by diploma honours graduate Dalia Matsuura Frontini imagine a future where buildings can be painted in the 4th dimension - using carbon fibre filaments to design thin yet extremely stable structures to resist earthquakes and stabilise buildings.” 

The Silver Whale Detail

“The Georgian buildings we inhabit are filled with traces of activity, use and change. An example can be seen when walking the diploma corridor where a railing sits in the middle of the corridor as a trace of a staircase that was once there. This image is taken from a collection of photographs of strange AA details by photographer Sue Barr - a whale sticker swimming from wall to ceiling across historic moulding.”

The AA Archives

The Architectural Association Archives, located at the rear of no. 32 Bedford Square, consist of in excess of 10,000 architectural drawings, student projects, paintings and works on paper, together with over 800 cubic feet of textual documents. Access to archival material is available to AA Subscribing Members by contacting archives@aaschool.ac.uk

Object Histories, an alternative AA History is featured in AA Sporadical, the digital newsletter for alumni of the Architectural Association. To opt in, email events@aaschool.ac.uk.



Date Submitted: 13/12/2018
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