The International Summer School “Innovation in Practice: Unlocking Architecture in City”, was held at the Politecnico di Torino from 4 - 14 September. The school offered a unique platform for collaboration between several leading European institutions, to envision new futures for the city of Turin. 

Maria’s contribution focused on the possibility of anticipating future development via pilot social concepts and “liquid”, variable programmes. Her design unit created an extended meta-scenario for a symptomatic post-industrial site in Turin, multiplying agencies, functions, and spaces that could become involved over time. 

Further information can be found at the Innovation in Practice website

Date Submitted: 17/9/2019

Jose Alfredo Ramirez, Co-Director of Landscape Urbanism, will be lecturing on the work of Groundlab and AALU on 19 September as part of the Landscape Architecture Symposium at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph in Canada. 

More information on the University of Guelph website

Date Submitted: 17/9/2019

The list, ‘Some Notable Women in AECO (& beyond) Design Computation’, is a crowd-sourced resource for promoting the voices of women in design computation conference panels and related events. The list can be viewed here.

Date Submitted: 17/9/2019

The six month, paid, off-site design fellowship, organised by Google's R+D for the Built Environment, has been awarded to four candidates to advance, test, and share their work. Selection for the fellowship was made from 80 applicants from 17 countries who submitted research proposals in the key R + D topic areas: 

1. Building material science

2. 3D printing, robotics, AR/VR

3. AI, machine learning, analytics, building intelligence

4. Quality housing at a lower cost

5. Building resiliency and sustainability

6. Workplace optimization

7. Adaptable environments

Kostas’s research will focus on reducing the environmental impact of envelope construction, through the use of multi-materials. More information on the fellowship can be found on the R+D website

Date Submitted: 16/9/2019

Tiipoi Talks is a talks programme curated by Manijeh Verghese (Head of Public Programme at the Architectural Association) and Spandana Gopal (Founder of Tiipoi). For LDF’19, they have invited Debika Ray, founder of Clove magazine, to co-curate the talks @ Delfina Foundation.

The programme aims to start new conversations and encourage a deeper and more critical way of asking questions around contemporary creative practice. It brings together designers, artists, architects and cultural commentators with a view to debate the power of objects, crafts-based practice and the role of context in shaping projects and ideas. By inviting a diverse set of practitioners, we hope to situate these discussions within a more inclusive reading of history and the disciplinary canon we operate within. Through a cross-pollination of different forms of practice and backgrounds, the talks hope to bring to the foreground a more rigorous dialogue around making and sharing work in a changing London.

Wednesday 18 September, 5.00pm – 8.00pm, Delfina Foundation, 29/31 Catherine Place, SW1E 6DY

Find out more and buy tickets on the London Design Festival website

Date Submitted: 11/9/2019

Blind Monstrance Drawing No. 8, a drawing by Juliet Haysom (AA Academic Staff) will be part of the upcoming exhibition at the British Museum: Pushing paper: contemporary drawing from 1970 to now.

Celebrating drawing in its own right, rather than its historic role as preparatory to painting, this display explores how contemporary artists as diverse as Tacita Dean, Richard Deacon, Imran Qureshi and Anish Kapoor have used drawing to examine themes including identity, place and memory.” – British Museum

The exhibition will be on display from 12 September 2019 – 12 January 2020 at the British Museum and will then travel to Durham, Swansea, Stromness and Barnsley. There will also be an accompanying book, published by Thames and Hudson.

Find out more on the British Museum website

Image: Juliet Haysom, Blind Monstrance Drawing No. 8, 2003, Graphite on cartridge paper with burnt hole

Date Submitted: 10/9/2019

Teresa Stoppani, AA History and Theory Studies Tutor, will present her lecture Unorthodox: Architecture as Paradigm, on Thursday 26 September at 6.30pm as part of the Preservation Lecture Series,  n initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.

The lecture argues that when the history, representation, form and design of architecture are “broken”, and its relationship with nature is finally exposed and its edifice collapsed, then it is perhaps time to rethink architecture in different terms. In Unorthodox Ways, Stoppani argues that architecture and its processes can be better understood by drawing categories from disciplines that exceed the architectural and the urban, proposing them as unorthodox analytic techniques to decipher contemporary spatial complexity. This talk will reconsider paradigm (Greek paradèigma, ‘example, exemplar’) as an action and relation word that contains within itself the possibility of variation and movement. As an intellectual operation, paradigm works towards the production of a non-dialectical form of knowledge, which does not aim to achieve the universal and derive principles (rules) from it. Stoppani will argue that the architectural project performs in the city the relational operation of the paradigm, producing a form of knowledge that dismisses oppositions and resolutions.

Find out more on the Columbia GSAPP website

Date Submitted: 9/9/2019

Human presence in Antarctica, necessary to conduct essential scientific investigations on the pressing global problems of climate change and sea-level rise, is not conceivable without technologically advanced architecture.

At the eve of the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the southernmost continent, ANTARCTICA 200 participates to the London Design Festival by curating a dense agenda of events that brings together, for the first time, architects and polar experts who operate in Antarctica to reflect on the implications of building in the extreme.

Held at the Architectural Association, ARCHITECTURE IN THE EXTREME is conceived as a think-tank in which Polar Lab students and cross-disciplinary specialists are invited to unveil neglected Antarctic stations, and to assess how existing experimental structures can mitigate unforgiving weather conditions and the psycho-physical disorders induced by the combined effects of isolation and high-density co-habitation.

Punctuated by a series of Round Tables, the 168 hours-long programme includes a joint Polar Lab workshop in which students researching at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Hong Kong University and the Architectural Association converge to London to produce the first Archive of Antarctic Architecture. The events will be hosted at the AA from 15 – 21 September 2019.

AA Students are invited to join by emailing info@antarctica200.org

Find out more on the Antarctica 200 website and the London Design Festival website

Date Submitted: 5/9/2019

ECÒL studio, an architectural practice co-founded by Lorenzo Perri (AADipl(Hons) 2016) recently completed an urban art project within the historical centre of Pistoia, Italy.

Romanico Automatico is a site-specific intervention whose graphic matrix derives from an abstract and rigorous manipulation of compositional schemes related to the Tuscan Romanesque.

This coming September together with Lemonot-Kosmos-Office shophouse and KooZA/rch,  ECÒL studio are welcoming students to keep on working on the historical urban fabric of Tuscany. Join PLAY! (15 -21 September), the first of a workshop series in San Niccolo, Prato. For more information visit the Workshop Series website.

Date Submitted: 4/9/2019

Andrew McMullan (AADipl 2006) has won a RIBA competition to create affordable homes which encourage young people to live in the Lakes and Dales. Run by Great Place: Lakes and Dales in partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the competition asked for cutting-edge designs for flexible, affordable housing which would attract the under 35s to live in the Lakes and Dales.

Mcmullan Studio won the competition with ‘The Flexstead’, a flexible dwelling inspired by the fluid layout of traditional local farmsteads that will give young people the freedom to create their own rural lifestyle on a budget they can afford.

‘The Lakes and Dales is a spectacular place but sadly many young people can’t afford to call it home. The area has 44% fewer 16-34-year-olds than the national average. It’s time for a rural youthquake.’ – Andrew Mcmullan

The competition was judged by a panel of local authority officers, design experts, landowners and a RIBA agent. Members included Wayne Hemingway (Hemingway Design), Nathan Cornish (Urban Splash) and Sasha Bhavan (RIBA).

Date Submitted: 3/9/2019

Voices of VR has over 800 podcast interviews featuring the pioneering artists, storytellers, and technologists driving the resurgence of virtual & augmented reality.

AA Unit Masters Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg are featured in an interview on ‘How VR is Changing Architecture Education’, which also features the audio from the symposium, ‘the Architecture of the Immersive Internet’, held at the AA in March 2019. Listen to the episode featuring Lara & Fredrik

Episode 801 features AA Student Yasemin Yesilipek whose work focuses on virtual reality and creating space for online gatherings. Listen to her interview: Dynamic Architecture & Digital Campfires for Social VR Gatherings

Nicholas Zembashi (AADipl 2018), Sebastian Tiew (AADipl 2018) and Paula Strunden (AA Media Studies Staff) are featured in episode 805: The Frontiers of Speculative Design with Three Recent Graduates of Architecture

Anna Mill & Luke Jones who participated at the ‘the Architecture of the Immersive Internet’ symposium have also been interviewed. Listen to episode 802: Paper Architecture & Speculative Design of AR in the Graphic Novel “Square Eyes”

Image: Yasemin Yesilipek, The Digital Hearth, 2019

Date Submitted: 2/9/2019

‘Masters of Design’ is a new video series in which Modern House meets architecture and design luminaries at their homes. Following on from their first instalment in which Modern House filmed Richard and Ruth Rogers in their home in Chelsea, the second video features Eva Franch i Gilabert, Director of AA School, at the AA.

“In this video, made after her first year as director, Eva explains why she felt a visceral sense of being at home when she first stepped into the AA, why the domesticity of a period London townhouse is a relevant architectural typology for redefining education, and what she thinks the school has to offer in a societal age she considers to be about redefinition.” (Modern House)

Read the full article on the Modern House website

Watch the video on YouTube

Date Submitted: 16/8/2019

AAction is an inquisitive, continuous and collective project formed by a group of AA students to promote education as the primary place to reflect on the urgency of climate and ecological breakdown. Being aware of the importance of the architectural profession in the context of climate change, the group works both within and outside the AA to challenge and address the necessary theoretical and practical challenges. 

AAction is interested in bringing about the necessary pedagogical and cultural shift in our institution in order to effectively deal with ecological disaster, aiming to consolidate as an all-inclusive set of voices. AAction sits within a larger pedagogical project across and beyond architectural education.

The Open Letter to the Architectural Community, a Call for Curriculum Change was the first important public action of the project. So far, the open letter has had more than 1650 signatures, as well as several written responses from university directors and professors, and interest from around the globe. Find out more about the open letter at https://www.architectureeducationdeclares.com/

A first summit is scheduled for the 4th of October. More seminars and meetings will take place from the start of the new academic year. If you are interested to learn more about AAction and become part of the project, please contact: aaction@aaschool.ac.uk

Date Submitted: 16/8/2019

The rolling bridge, designed by Tom Randall-Page (AA Media Studies Tutor) has been designed to reactivate Cody Dock and to provide a gateway to community gardens and the Lea River Park, enabling [public access to 26 miles of river walks.

The contemporary bridge design is an architectural first that provides an exciting new twist on a moving bridge whilst celebrating the area's rich historical links with Edwardian industrial design and local iron production.

An ambitious crowdfunding campaign to fund and build a rolling bridge is the last link in realising the work of over 7,000 local and corporate volunteers whose persistence over the years have already transformed this once inaccessible part of East London into a small haven with gardens, ecology walk, cafe and community events. With planning permission in place, the pledge from the Mayor’s crowdfunding team and having raised almost 50% of the money already, this project needs wider support in this all or nothing crowdfunding campaign. Cody Dock are now looking to the public at large and businesses to rise to the challenge and pledge their support to ensure they reach their target of £200k by the 27th of August 2019, so time and maximum publicity is of the essence! 

To support the campaign visit Space Hive

Date Submitted: 16/8/2019

The New York Times has featured this year’s AA Visiting School in São Paulo in an article entitled “In Brazil, Mending an Urban Fabric With Geometry and Bamboo”. The AA Visiting School, High Line Paulista – Structural Parametricism, took place over 10 days in July and students from all over the world created responses to the elevated highway, the ‘Minhocão’ (the ‘large worm’ in Portuguese), that winds its way through the São Paulo city centre. 

"Kilometers away from the roaring cars and pollution of the ‘minhocão’ elevated highway, students gathered in the tropical lushness of a Brazilian sub-rural forest, harvesting and hand-splicing bamboo stalks into sinuous bendy strips. Inspired by intricate paper woven models produced the day before with Tutor Alison Grace Martin, and informed by the form-found engineering tactics of Tutor James Solly, workshop participants negotiated the forces of the natural curvatures of the bamboo to weave three-dimensional spatial interiorities.

Days later,  from within the studios and patios of the host school Escola da Cidade (School of the City) Architecture school, after much soul-searching cultural exploration, digital and structural optimization, and many splinters,  groups of students hoisted out of the front doors partially woven strips of bamboo, parading through the couple busy city blocks to the elevated highway. Rising up the ramps up on to the highway, where just hours before cars whisked by, a surreal sort of silence pervaded, in the omnipresent absence of the motorized-vehicles. In a short time, the pop-up bamboo structures were deployed, floating down the heavy monolithic highway in the hands of the students to strategic locations. Children laughed and played, running in and out of the structures, a club of skater-girls took turns shooting through the tunnel shape of one of the installations, and people sat in the shade of the bamboo weaves, in this temporary-pop-up public park that may or may not one day become the High Line Paulista." - AAVS Programme Heads

"The goal of the workshop was to envisage structures — woven from bamboo, a sustainable and local resource — to provide shade for the park, or structures that would filter sunlight through roadway apertures and onto the dark streetscape below. Ms. Martin typically weaves small-scale paper objects — a torus, a basket, a bikini — or medium-size bamboo structures, like a tunneling garden trellis built with bamboo from her backyard. Lately, her work is attracting the attention of architects and engineers, and she has begun to pursue various collaborations.” - The New York Times

Read the full article on the New York Times website

Read more about the AA São Paulo Visiting School

Image: Gabriela Portilho for The New York Times

Date Submitted: 9/8/2019


The AA School in realtime



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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Certificate), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.