Call for papers for 12th AHRA International Conference at Leeds Beckett University

This Thing Called Theory

12th AHRA International Conference


Leeds Beckett University

School of Art, Architecture and Design

Leeds, United Kingdom


19th-21st November 2015

This conference proposes Theory as a form of architectural practice which opposes the instrumentalization of its use. It aims to explore the status of Theory in architecture through an examination of instances in current practice, and invites critical reconsiderations of the role of Theory in architecture, its successes and shortcomings. It seeks to trigger discussions, arguments and polemics around this thing called Theory.



Since the Architectural Humanities Research Association was created twelve years ago to promote and develop research in the architectural humanities, the practices of architecture have transformed and diversified, and so has the relationship between the designs, representations and makings of architecture and their surrounding discourses. 

After semiotics, psychoanalysis, deconstruction’s flirt with Derridean philosophy, and Deleuzian redefinitions of folds and diagrams, the impact of the digital in architecture seemed to have vanquished the ‘need’ for architecture to refer to discourses from the humanities. Whilst concerns of the humanities are converging with the sciences, they are also simultaneously diverging and dissipating with notions of network, apparatus and agency. The recent imperative in architecture to withdraw from claims of singular design visions has also been characterised by the gathering of individuated credits and subjecting to commodified distribution in the production of theory.

Today, in an age of extreme specialization and thus far inconceivable intersections of fragmented strands of knowledge, architecture continues to reinvent itself. As architecture reconsiders its status as a discipline in relation to digital technologies, material sciences, biology and environmental transformations, it continues to resort to and introject thoughts and practices developed ‘outside’ architecture. It is indeed the very openness and connectedness of architecture that can offer a line of continuity in the ongoing process of self-definition and reinvention that has always characterized architecture as a practice of the multiple and of the critical.  As a discipline that never simply makes physical environments, architecture will continue to act in and through all its intersections with its ‘other’ as a critical and cultural agent.



While architecture’s discourse seemed to have been muted with the shift from the alphabet to the algorithm (Mario Carpo, 2011), it has more recently emerged that even for the digital it is already not only possible but indeed necessary to construct an archaeology (Greg Lynn, 2013), and this has to be both historical and critical. Log’s ‘Stocktaking’ issue (summer 2013) borrowed Reyner Banham 1960’s instrumental opposition of tradition and technology to resume (or restart) a critical discourse on contemporary architectural practices, attempting to relate them to recent and not so recent disciplinary pasts, while the ‘Ways to Be Critical’ proposed by Volume 36 (Archis 2013, no. 2) seems to reduce the issue of criticality to a series of positions of militant criticism.

Beyond the mediatory function of theory (Michael Hays, 2000) and its problematic tag of authorship and authority (Giorgio Agamben, in ‘What is a Paradigm’, 2002), this conference proposes that theory, far from dead, extinct or rejected, remains crucial to the discipline. In the age of post-digital architecture and digital materiality, This Thing Called Theory aims to explore current practices of theory.

This conference proposes Theory as a form of architectural practice which opposes the instrumentalization of its use. It aims to explore the status of Theory in architecture through an examination of instances in current practice, and invites critical reconsiderations of the role of Theory in architecture, its successes and shortcomings. It seeks to trigger discussions, arguments and polemics around this thing called Theory.

We have identified three main areas for discussion and argumentation:




Theory as Criticism

Theory as Architecture

Theory as History


Theory as Politics

Theory as Praxis

Theory as Material


Theory as Utopia

Theory as Science

Theory as Media


We invite individual and group proposals for 20 minute papers and full sessions from architectural historians, theorists, designers and practitioners, as well as those working on the issues identified in the synopsis from other disciplines, including film-making, art practice and performance.

We welcome contributions that explore contemporary developments and project future trends, as well as those that offer retrospective theoretical and critical interrogations.

Please send a 500 word abstract, including title, and a 50 word biographical note to



Deadline for abstracts of papers: 4th May 2015

Please note that full papers will be required prior to the

conference for panel chairs and to begin the editorial process for publication in the This Thing Called Theory 

volume of the Routledge ‘Critiques’ series,and for a special conference issue of Architecture and Culture, the AHRA journal.



Thursday 19th - Saturday 21st November 2015



Rose Bowl Building, City Campus, Leeds Beckett University, and other venues in Leeds (UK) city centre.





Professor Teresa Stoppani, Head of The Leeds School of Architecture, Leeds Beckett University 

Dr Doreen Bernath, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Leader of the BA Architectural Studies course, Leeds Beckett University

Braden Engel, Undergraduate History and Theory Coordinator, Academy of Art University, San Francisco and

PhD Candidate, Leeds Beckett University

George Themistocleous, Part Time Lecturer and PhD Candidate, Leeds Beckett University

Date Submitted: 6/1/2015

AA’s Annual General Meeting Monday, 26 January 2015


Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Architectural Association (Inc.) will be held at 32 Bedford Square, First Floor Back, London WC1 on Monday, 26 January 2015 at 6:30 p.m.


• Provisional Agenda

• Specific and General Proposals

• Notes

• Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting (20 January 2014)


A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting convened by this notice is entitled to appoint a proxy to exercise his/her rights to attend, speak and vote at the meeting. In accordance with Article 31 of the Architectural Association’s Articles of Association, no person shall be appointed a proxy except a Registered Member. The instrument appointing a proxy shall be deposited at the registered office of the Association not less than forty-eight hours before the time for holding the meeting or adjourned meeting, as the case may be, at which the person named in such instrument is proposed to vote. The appointment of a proxy does not preclude a member from subsequently attending and voting at the meeting in person if s/he so wishes.

If you have any queries, please contact:

Office of the Company Secretary The Architectural Association, Inc. 36 Bedford Square

London WC1B 3ES

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)207 887 4018 Email:

By order of the Board

Date Submitted: 19/12/2014

International Wildlife Center (IWC) Africa Architecture Competition

Arquideas launches International Wildlife Center (IWC) Africa competition.

Architecture students and young architects

October 13, 2014 to January 16, 2015

€ 6,375 + Publication in Plataforma Arquitectura + Publication in WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell magazine + Publication in Taller al Cubo + Publication
in Pedacicos Arquitectonicos + Annual subscription to WA Wettbewerbe Aktuell magazine + Annual subscription to AV Proyectos magazine

Nathalie de Vries (Director of MVRDV)
Federico Soriano (Chairman of the Department of Architectural Design at the UPM)
Felipe Assadi (Dean of Faculty of Architecture and Design of Finis Terrae University)
Sol Madridejos (Head of S-M.A.O. Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office)
Vincent Pearson (Director and Founder of Arquitectorial)
Alejandro Fernández-Linares (Winner of NOA South America architecture competition)
José María Ordovás (Winner of NOA South America architecture competition)

Further Details About the Competition.


Date Submitted: 15/12/2014

End of Term Juries

Tuesday 16 December

Inter 3 – 32 Second Floor Back
Inter 9 – 32 Second Floor Back
Inter 11 – Soft Room
Inter 12 – 32 First Floor Front
Dip 3 – 37 First Floor Front
Dip 7 – 33 First Floor Front & First Floor Back

Wednesday 17 December

Inter 4 – 33 Ground Floor Back
Inter 7 – 33 First Floor Front
Dip 2 – 32 Second Floor Back
Dip 4 – 32 First Floor Back
Dip 16 – Diploma 16 Unit Space
Dip 17 – Soft Room
First Year – Rear Second Presentation Room

Thursday 18 December

Dip 1 – 32 Second Floor Back
Dip 11 – 33 First Floor Back & First Floor Front
Dip 14 – 37 First Floor Front

Friday 19 December

Inter 2 – 32 First Floor Back
Dip 5 – 32 First Floor Front
Dip 6 – 37 First Floor Front

Date Submitted: 11/12/2014

Christmas Cards on Sale Bookshop and AA Photo Library

£2.00 each but 10 for £10.00 in Photo Lib and Bookshop until end of term.

Available to purchase from:

AA Photo Library, 37 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES

AA BookShop, 32 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES

Online +44 (0)20 7887 4066

Opening hours 10am – 1pm and 2pm - 6pm monday to friday until 20 december


New this Year

Polychromatic staircase hand-painted by Antoni Malinowski

Donmar Dryden Street,
Haworth Tompkins Architects, 2014
Photo Valerie Bennett

Prelates quarters, Melk Abbey

Jakob Prandtauer, 1702-36
Frescoes by Johann Bergl
Photo F R Yerbury

Bamboo House, Las Pozas, Mexico

Edward James
Photo Umberto Bellardi Ricci

Woolworth Building, New York

Cass Gilbert, 1913
Photo F R Yerbury

Date Submitted: 8/12/2014

San Rocco "Book of Copies" now available to purchase

The book of last year's exhibition "Book of Copies" is now on sale on the sanrocco website.

Exhibition Page

Buy the book here


Date Submitted: 21/11/2014

Dates for AA Bookshop last Christmas post.

December 1st– Asia, Far East, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Africa, Caribbean, South & Central America.

December 5th – Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Greece, Canada, Poland & USA.

December 11th – Western Europe (not Greece or Poland).

December 16th – UK.

Date Submitted: 20/11/2014

Mark Fisher Scholarship 2015/16

The AA School is pleased to announce a new scholarship, given in memory of one of the school’s most remarkable graduates, Mark Fisher.

The scholarship has been initiated through a generous donation by James Fairorth and established by Tait Towers in support of AA Students.

The school seeks a worthy student recipient for the inaugural award, for admission to the Diploma School in 2015/16.

Eligible candidates include new and current AA students entering 4th Year in 2015/16. The Scholarship covers full tuition fees for two years, subject to review after the first year.

Candidates for the Scholarship must demonstrate in their application a commitment to and excellence in forms of architecture that extend to performance and entertainment, in ways that resonate with the career of Mark Fisher.

Recipients will be expected to organise, design and/or give a performance event within the school prior to completion of their studies, as part of a new annual event in the AA Public Programme.

Applications will be considered by a distinguished jury of AA tutors, architects, friends and collaborators of Mark Fisher.

To qualify for consideration applicants must meet the AA’s January admissions deadline for the 2015/16 year, and will be asked to attend an interview by Spring 2015 prior to announcement of this year’s award. Further details regarding the application process will be provided in due course.

For additional information on the Scholarship, please go to:

Date Submitted: 12/11/2014

School Meeting 

The School Meeting, called by AA Council, will discuss the referendum process for the re-appointment of Brett Steele as Director of the AA School of Architecture, whose five-year contract ends in July 2015. All members of the School Community are encouraged to attend this important meeting and to participate in the referendum process. The School Community consists of all current full-time registered students, contracted academic and administrative staff and members of Council.

This meeting precedes the Director’s State of the Association Presentation on Friday 14 November at 1pm

Tuesday 11 November, 1.00pm
Lecture Hall

Date Submitted: 7/11/2014

Grasshopper, Rhino, Kangaroo, V-Ray Media Lab Workshop


Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Kangaroo, V-Ray

Mon 10th Nov - 10 - 6pm
 // No. 32 Second Floor Back 

Digital Workflow sessions focus on workflows rather than a single application.  Session 1, run by Kasper Ax,  covers advanced modeling techniques in Rhino, plug-ins Grasshopper and Kangaroo, as well as visualisation techniques in V-ray. Free-form 3D modeling with nurbs and polygons will be introduced as a tool for simulating objects and environments in a 3D modeling software, as well as an introduction to performance based simulation, where a design can be tested in a given environment. The visualization tutorials focus on the representation of the modeled design and will aim for the invention and build up of a distinct visual language (photo real or non- photo real) using various rendering techniques. Students are welcome to bring their own studio work as a testing ground. (A basic knowledge of Rhino workspace is recommended)

NB: Its a laptop run course so students will need to bring/ borrow/share a laptop and preload Rhino 5  (90 day trial available or buy at a discount from the AA materials shop), V-Ray (free trial plus Grasshopper and Kangaroo ( free from 
Those with Macs will need to run a windows partition or Parallels as Grasshopper and Kangaroo are not available for Mac.  
For information about all of the MS LAB computer courses running this term please see the link below
Date Submitted: 5/11/2014

Invite to annual "Moving House" lecture at Queen Mary, University of London

The Centre for Studies of Home annual lecture on ‘Moving house: home and hut myths in the installation art of Agnes Varda, Tracey Emin and Michael Landy,’ to be given by Gill Perry (Open University) on Wednesday 19 November at 6.30pm at Queen Mary, University of London (in Geography 126). The lecture is free to attend and will be followed by a reception. Registration is via Eventbrite - please follow the link on the invitation.

PDF Invite

Date Submitted: 29/10/2014

Visiting School Assistant Required

We are looking for a student to assist with preparation work in lead up to the running of our visiting school in Australia next year. The work would be based in London and involve assistance with the marketing graphics, mail outs, admin and some research. Candidates would need to know Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator and either Microstation or Autocad. It is a part time role - so hours would be discussed with the student. To apply or for more information, please contact

Date Submitted: 23/10/2014

AA Media Discussion

Ryan Luke Johns

Greyshed Robotics
Tuesday 28 October, 11.00
New Soft Room
This AA Media discussion celebrates the tools we use as designers and how we might exploit the disruptive, cheeky and disobedient behvaiour with technology. Open to all 

Date Submitted: 23/10/2014

Media Studies Lab Courses

Mondays and Saturdays

39 First Floor Front, 10.00
Students from across the school are encouraged to enrol in Media Studies Lab courses to further their knowledge in a range of prominent digital applications. All courses will be open
to students from all years of study. The format for MS-Lab courses is structured around intense introductory one-day workshops of approximately five to six hours. In contrast to studio-based MS- Core courses, MS-Labs are not marked and are not a formal requirement.
They have been established as an accessible means for students to quickly gain technical knowledge in common applications that may not be offered elsewhere in their education,
or as a means of reinforcing existing technical knowledge. Courses will cover applications focusing on imaging and visualisation, 3D modelling, automated computation, CAD and CAM operations, and physical simulation.

Students wishing to participate may simply show up to the course at the outlined time and room. Enrolment capacity will be established on a first- come basis.

For more information see 


Date Submitted: 23/10/2014


The AA School in realtime


The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

Click here to read the AA’s latest review report.

Click here to read the AA’s latest action plan.



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.