Diploma 11 Diploma 11 Projects Review installation, 2017, photo Quentin d?Auvergne

Shin Egashira

Architects are like children. The objects they make are the toys they use to play with and learn about the spaces and complexity of the city. While occupying a physical space, holding onto a familiar toy in her hand, a child might look out the window of an imagined house and invent a journey away from her comfort zone to the unknown. But as toys are replaced, or models become buildings, these objects lose some of their meaning, and our sense of wonder is gradually dampened.

How, then, to reignite and sustain the sense of myth that is inherent in the land where a city is built? This year Diploma 11 continues to explore ways of making familiar things unfamiliar. Taking the idea of the "city as space for learning and play" as the theme of their exploration, students will look at London as both found and imagined. While unearthing the objects and knowledge that are embedded in the city and researching unrealised visionary architectural schemes for the city, we will reimagine missing pieces of architecture as the links between the imaginary and the real.

What could help us to become sensitive to the experience that city could potentially offer? As economic and political uncertainties take their toll on London's social fabric, the unit will pay attention to the ambiguous small and playful things - the elements often most vulnerable to the forces of urban erasure.

Students will begin the year by making two types of objects. One is a toy for relearning the sensory aspects of architecture that we may have forgotten, such as gravity, balance, density, and movement. The other is an instrument for registering the landscape of the city through its textures, microclimates and other quiet expressions found in its interior. Using these objects, we will collect, collage and recompose cities with a sense of wonder and absurdity, making a journey, not unlike Alice, when she stepped through the looking glass.

As they play the city, students will write an individual design brief that speculates ways of cutting, unearthing and stitching its fabric to take it apart and reassemble its resources. Our interest is to reimagine the city as an interior, a place for all kinds of mobility where knowledge and objects are gathered, exchanged and transmitted.

Unit Staff

Shin Egashira makes art and architecture collaboratively worldwide. He conducts a series of landscape workshops in rural and inner-city communities across the world, including Shanghai, Brooklyn, Tokyo and Koshirakura, Japan, and Muxagata, Portugal. He has taught at the AA since 1990 and has been unit master of Diploma Unit 11 since 1996.


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Extended Brief

Projects Review 2017

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Prospectus 2017-18
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Foundation Course Booklet
Foundation Course Booklet

Undergraduate Course Booklet
Undergraduate Course Booklet


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