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Paul Shepheard (AADipl 1972) on slogans and battlecries (December 2018) –

“slogans and battlecries is a series of fifty 300 word pieces about architecture situated on instagram as slogans_and_battlecries. (They are the same thing: a slogan is from the Gaelic for war cry, the cry the clan yelled as it hurtled into battle). The series started as a corner page weekly column in Building Design magazine and I grew it into this series upon understanding the possibilities of instagram, in both the words and the images that mark them. The slogans themselves will be familiar to architects (God Is In The Details, The International Style, Less Is A Bore) and the pleasure in writing about them was to hold them up and view them from all sides, like a cubist painter. The pleasure of a precise word limit (the pieces are all exactly 300 words long) is in the elisions and collisions it promotes and the pleasure of a tight word limit (300 words is about half a page) is the poetic brevities it forces upon you. The resulting contexts are very dense, which is an imitation of the actual world, and so I invented two characters, Billie and Ben, youngsters to my oldster, to help negotiate the narratives involved.”

slogans_and_battlecries32. (extracted from Instagram)

“THE INTERNATIONAL STYLE

 Ben looks up from his collection of modern architecture text books. He is hunting for slogans for me and tells me that modernism is full of them. “How about ‘social condenser’?” He says. “Is that the same thing as a concentration camp?” I think he’s trying to wind me up. He’s right about the plethora of modernist sloganizing, which dates from about the same time as the twentieth century’s heroic dictatorships and their propagandas. We can’t decide whether ‘Social Condenser’ is a slogan, though if not it’s pretty close to one. And does ‘Spirit of the Age’ count? “How about ‘A Brave New World’?” says Ben. But that’s not modern, that’s Shakespeare. ‘The International Style’ is also in the books and that certainly does count, because it apes the undisputable sloganity of ‘International Socialism’: only if we eliminate the archaic traditions of nationality can design function for the common good. The International Style promises a world built of reason, not of prejudice. But what is it? Billie shows us a picture of Lincoln cathedral. She asks what’s not international about twelfth century gothic? The cathedral sits imposingly on its hill with its spires reaching for heaven; and amusingly in the foreground is the white, modernist slab of the new Lincoln University. “Look,” says Billie. “There’s an international horizontal and an international vertical.” The problem word in International Style is ‘style’. Real modernism is so true to its purpose it has no ‘style’. So now Ben wikis the characteristics of the international style: “Emphasis of volume over mass,” he reads, “lightweight, industrial materials, plain surfaces, repetitive modular forms....” “They’re symptoms, not characteristics,” says Billie. “Style is a kind of disease and we’re like doctors reading the symptoms. That’s it! the title of my new dissertation!” She exclaims: “The Pathology Of Style.” #rickmather #lincolncathedral #lincolnuniversity #internationalstyle #verticality #horizontality #socialcondenser #pathology”

We have pasted the link below for you to explore Paul’s unique stance yourselves, Sporadical has liked everything! Though there are more to be uploaded at the time of writing, please do comment for Paul on your personal favourites and suggestions of additional architectural slogans are welcome.

https://www.instagram.com/slogans_and_battlecries/

Paul Shepheard (AADipl 1972 and Student Prize winner 1972), published a set of drawings that are now held in the AA Archive in ‘Projects’ Architectural Association 1946-1971’, edited by James Gowen. Paul is also a former AA Tutor with Mike Gold and Jean Sillett and has published widely since, which can be explored at www.paulshepheard.com

Slogans and Battlecries on Instagram is featured in AA Sporadical, the digital newsletter for alumni of the Architectural Association. To opt in, email events@aaschool.ac.uk.

Date Submitted: 12/12/2018

In 1975 Julian Cripps came to Bedford Square for an interview to study at the AA. Armed with a portfolio of large-scale drawings, some the size of a football pitch and a sketchbook of buildings and factories being demolished in his hometown of Reading, he arrived at Bedford Square.

A public exhibition of Frei Otto and one on Japanese Houses was running at the time with large photographs covering the walls of the members' rooms. During his visit he found like minds amongst a group of people who seemed to ‘hang around the sofas and chat’, he knew he had found a home.

In March of 1978 as part of the AA Carnival, Julian, by then in his second year and motivated by having been told it was not possible, installed an 18-watt laser on the roof of No. 36 to draw with light an inscribed square at roof level within Bedford Square. The results of which became the stuff of legend!.

40 years later, Julian accepted an invitation for another interview at Bedford Square, to look back on the project and how it came to be … [to be continued in the next AA Sporadical issue]

Next on AA Sporadical...The Art of Borrowing...is featured in AA Sporadical, the digital newsletter for alumni of the Architectural Association. To opt in, email events@aaschool.ac.uk.

Date Submitted: 11/12/2018

This is a call out to all alumni who attended Christmas Parties at the AA in the years –

2015, 2007, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1980 and pre- 1979

- we need your photographs to complete our collection! Please email/transfer them to events@aaschool.ac.uk or post them to Membership, 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES

Image not available is featured in AA Sporadical, the digital newsletter for alumni of the Architectural Association. To opt in, email events@aaschool.ac.uk.

Date Submitted: 10/12/2018

Nothing excites this gossip columnist like an opportunity of getting the keys to the architecture networking castle, even if those keys and that castle are a bit dusty. For a limited time, on loan from the AA Archive, I have in my possession an astonishing pre-digital social media relic, the AA Rolodex! Actually, a Rotadex, manufactured in Birmingham; the company is still thriving today.

This spindle of pastel-coloured index cards was lovingly built up over the 40-year career of AA Secretary Edouard le Maistre. There might be about 700-800 cards here containing the contacts of the entire span of Alvin Boyarksy’s chairmanship, Alan Balfour’s, Mohsen Mostafavi’s and the first two years of Brett Steele’s directorship. The older phone numbers are pre-London prefixes, fax numbers are celebrated and then crossed out in favour of new-fangled email addresses. About every fifth card is updated, old addresses and numbers crossed out rather than wastefully replacing a notched card. Some are handwritten, others tapped out on a typewriter. Lots of business cards are stapled in, each broadcasting its graphic design Zeitgeist faster than you can say Pentagram circa 1989. Wolf Prix’s card gets seven phone number updates over time. Richard Rogers’ and James Stirling’s home numbers are noted.   

Image showing AA Rolodex from AA Archive

Most cards, no surprise, are architects’ offices, most gone or moved by now, but not all. Then there are the outlier cards, one, marked “Restaurants” looks to be of Boyarsky or Balfour vintage and lists out:

Antoine’s (crossed out, formerly at 40 Charlotte Street)

Bombay Brasserie

Balzac Bistro

Bibendum

Bentleys

Chelsea Arts

Café Pelican

Chez Solanges

Chez Gerrard

Caprice  

But, wait, there are more restaurant cards, like ten more, a veritable who-ate-what-where shortlist including Odin’s, the Ritz, the Ivy, Criterion, and Tante Claire (Chelsea, long gone). There are a lot of bookshop cards, almost none still in existence. Travel agents, ditto. Lots of publishers, magazine editors, newspaper contacts lurk in the cards. Some museum curators and galleries are squeezed in; Max Protetch’s card is well-worn. Very few business types or politicians, but a good many ambassadors called upon, no doubt, to sort a visa or two over the years. The occasional engineer and construction firm (like five) made it in. There are several Sirs and Ladies in Eaton Square in the mix, some BBC radio and television names, a dozen RIBA big-wigs scattered about.

What comes across in spades is how international the AA’s been since 1969 when this Rotadex got started. European professors reaching well past the Iron Curtain. Lots and lots of American academics, every Ivy League dean. New York City architects outnumber the Californian 10:1. Commonwealth architecture schools in South Africa, India, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada. An array of contacts both academic and practices in Japan, China, Korea. The alphabetisation sets up interesting juxtapositions: The Malaysian Institute of Architects (Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia or PAM) sits next to the entry for Eduardo Paolozzi, his studio and RCA numbers noted, which rubs shoulders with Juhani Palaasm, Professor and former Dean at the Helsinki University of Technology and Director of the Finnish Museum of Architecture (1978-1983). Despite the global reach, there’s a lot of London in here. About half the cards are addresses you could walk to from Bedford Square or, at least, grab a cab to easily. Oh, yeah, there’s two cards of just cab company numbers, but, relax, no limo service in sight.

Back in the mists of time, before the iPhone, in an age when phones just rang and were answered without caller’s numbers coming up on a screen to save or forward on, such a thing as a Rola-Rotadex was a prized data capturing and archiving device, a central tool in the AA’s daily life, an interprofessional-academical worldwide web or hard-won far-flung colleagues. Other schools would have given away their RIBA medals for just a slice of this thing back when; or perhaps even now. How many of these numbers, prefixes added, might still ring? How many might be answered? Let me dial for you…

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: 9/12/2018

The Gold Medal is the AIA’s highest annual honour, recognising individuals whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Considered one of the most prestigious awards in the architecture world, the Gold Medal has been received by well renowned architects such as Moshe Safdie, Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi, and Paul Revere Williams.

The AA congratulates Lord Richard Rogers (AADipl 1960) on being announced as the 2019 Gold Medal recipient.

'We know that architecture is a discipline of enormous political and social consequence,' Lord Peter Palumbo of Walbrook wrote of Rogers. 'And today we celebrate Richard Rogers, a humanist who reminds us that architecture is the most social of arts. Throughout his long, innovative careers, Rogers shows us that, perhaps, the architect’s most lasting role is that of a good citizen of the world.'

Read more on the AIA website here

Image: Reyner Banham, Lloyds Bank Headquarters-London, 1985, AA Photo

Date Submitted: 8/12/2018

A live installation of a prototype cable construction robot, developed by architects Mamou-Mani, explores the future of building construction.

Building on the ‘spider cams’ of sports stadia and pick-and-place technology, the Polibot, a prototype construction robot, installed in Sir John Soane’s Museum, offers a glimpse of the exciting future of building construction. The Polibot progressively constructs and then deconstructs Soane’s designs for the dome from the Bank of England, using architectural drawings translated into lines of code.

The installation will be supported by an exhibition in the Exhibition Galleries that explores the development of the project and Soane’s own experimentation with innovative new technology.

Simultaneously looking back and looking forward, the project offers a powerful showcase of the potential of this new technology, which looks set to transform how architecture is designed and understood.

Polibot Schedule: The Polibot will run Wednesday to Sunday, 10 - 4.30pm

Exhibition on until 3 February 2019

Find out more on the Sir John Soane's Museum website

Date Submitted: 8/12/2018

Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB), an international architecture and urban-planning festival based in Estonia, aims to create a synergy between emerging talents and industry, Estonian and international architects, and architects and the general public, by creating a point of contact between them to stimulate the exchange of ideas.

In November this year, TAB called for architectural proposals for its Installation Programme Competition 2019. The brief, Huts and Habitats, aligns Estonia’s rich history of timber construction with new technologies and design strategies. Participants were asked to design a modern take on the wooden ‘primitive hut’, an installation that researches fundamental, primordial notions of construction, tectonics and dwelling.

Offering the opportunity to design and build an experimental wooden structure in the heart of Tallinn, 137 world-wide submissions were received for the two-stage competition. Among the 12 architectural firms selected to continue on to the second stage were AA Alumni, Nicholas Grimshaw (AADipl(Hons) 1965), Manuel Jimenez Garcia (AA DRL MArch 2011) and Igor Pantic (AA DRL March 2011). 

The winner will be announced in February 2019 and will receive €15,000 to build and construct the installation in front of the Museum of Estonian Architecture in Tallinn city centre in August 2019. It will be opened to the public during TAB Opening Week, 11–15 September 2019.

Read more on the brief or find out about the other finalists here

Image credit: Gilles Retsin’s TAB 2017 Installation ©NAARO-6

Date Submitted: 7/12/2018

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 have announced the five finalists for next year’s twentieth annual Young Architects Program (YAP). Each finalist is invited to make a preliminary proposal that will be installed inside PS1’s outdoor courtyard next summer. The winner will be revealed in early 2019.

The selection of finalists hints at MoMA’s commitment to showcasing forward-thinking architects who use eye-catching design, strategic planning, and social media to garner global influence. Not only do these teams create innovative spaces and experiences, but they incorporate imaginative materials and movement into every project they pursue.

Among the five teams of finalists are Oana Stanescu (AA Diploma Unit 15 Staff) and Akane Moriyama.

Read more here

Date Submitted: 7/12/2018

The AJ Architecture Awards recognises excellence in UK architecture across a range of categories, from school project of the year to housing project of the year.

The 2018 awards saw architecture’s most creative and talented leaders and innovators attend the ceremony at The Roundhouse London on 4 December, to hear the results of the 23 award categories.

The AA congratulates AA alumni and former staff, including drMM, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Fielden Fowles, Dixon Jones and Ian Ritchie Architects, for their success in this year’s awards.

See the full list of winners on the AJ website here

Image credit: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Royal Court, Liverpool. Awarded Cultural Project of the Year.

Date Submitted: 6/12/2018

The exhibition, at MAGAZIN. Space for Contemporary Architecture, Vienna, contains excerpts from a location situated remotely from a city, where norms are incomparable to ours, but no less substantiated by a will to progress, hindered by violence and a need to share. The location, founded upon ancient customary practices and fulfilled by a technically proficient contemporary, will be honoured in the space by a moving image, three large installations and drawings.

The “Highest Good” refers to the physical and performative goals of such a place to which its people aspire.

The newly produced body of work adopts an alternative way to navigate the gallery by the addition of a partition and by reducing natural light. In this arrangement, one enters the space which prepares the "palette" of the eye in order to access other temperaments at show.

Throughout the exhibition the production of a publication will take place entitled "Zenith Boil", derived from creation of an artefact that makes measurable atmospheric changes  

http://www.palacepalace.com

MAGAZIN. Space for Contemporary Architecture
Weyringergasse 27/i
A - 1040 Vienna

Opening: 7 December 2018 7pm
Exhibition: 8 December – 1 February 2019

Date Submitted: 6/12/2018

Kostas Grigoriadis (AA Diploma Unit 2 Staff) wins the 2018 RIBA President’s Award for Research within the Design and Technical category for his paper Computational Blends: The Epistemology of Designing with Functionally Graded Materials. Read more about the project on the RIBA website

Camille Bongard (Intermediate 5 Student) has received a Commendation in the Bronze Medal Category of the 2018 RIBA President’s Medal Award for her project A Choreographed Timeline, Rewriting RIBA Building Contract. Read more about the project on the RIBA website

Jingru Cheng (AA PhD) has received a Commendation in the 2018 RIBA President's Awards for Research within the Cities and Community category for her paper Care and Rebellion: The Dissolved Household in Contemporary Rural China. Read more about the project on the RIBA website

Image credit: Camille Bongard, A Choreographed Timeline, Rewriting RIBA Building Contract

Date Submitted: 5/12/2018

AA Landscape Urbanism Co-director Jose Alfredo Ramirez will be a key note speaker in the Seminar on Governance and Urban Growth organized by the Inter-American Development Bank in Bogota Colombia on 5th December 2018.

The event will focus on a couple of metropolitan studies the Inter-American Development Bank has been developing recently in the region to promote and support metropolitan coordination with local governments.  The research includes study cases in Colombia and Chile and will discuss the idea of Metropolitan Landscapes and the future of Metropolis presented by Jose Alfredo Ramirez as part of an ongoing research on Metropolitan regions and its emergence as a design discipline.

For more information visit the AALU website

Date Submitted: 4/12/2018

The AA Dining Room is one of the 140 unusual bars and restaurants featured in this new book written by Hannah Robinson and Rachel Howard. The book features places with eye-popping decor, eccentric owners, and unusual menus and is an indispensable guide for those who thought they knew London well, or who would like to discover the hidden face of the city.

Join the authors for the book launch on Thursday December 6th from 6-8pm, at the hidden bar in the Museum of Comedy, beneath St George’s church, Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2SR.

Date Submitted: 3/12/2018

Vere van Gool (AADipl(Hons) 2014) is the curator of the exhibition and lecture series Screen Spaces, a geography of moving image in New York. On from December 1-7 2018, the series has been organised for Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch institute for Architecture and Design and Digital Culture.

Screen Spaces presents ten site-specific installations showcasing the work of video and time-based media artists. Spanning across a myriad of locations in New York, the project aims to unveil the identities, ideologies and imaginaries that are set in motion by video culture today. Through a series of conversations and public programs, Screen Spaces explores the material, spatial and political dimensions of the space of the screen and the territories it mediates, rendering video and time based media as sites for reality production and circulation.

For more information visit the Screen Spaces website  

Date Submitted: 3/12/2018

As a part of their studio project, AA Diploma 15 students spent two weeks collaborating with Samuel Ross’ A Cold Wall and NikeLab to conceptualise and execute an immersive sound installation for the capsule collection launch event.

Students presented three ideas related to notions of decay, preservation, display and the distribution of the garments embracing air, clay and sound as the main motifs of the brads’ collaboration.

In a week-long fabrication period, the Diploma 15 studio was transformed into a clay slip-casting factory with a production line of 700 pieces per day. The total number of pieces for the installation was 4500.

The pieces were installed on the vinyl-coated of the NikeLab showroom in Shoreditch and during the launch event visitors of the show were encouraged to interact with the piece, crushing the clay casts into chunks, shards and dust thus employing the impact of the foot strike as a literal beat generating the sound.

Read the article on the Dezeen website here

Date Submitted: 2/12/2018
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