Diploma 17 Jonnathan Cheng, Where is the center, Diploma Honours 2017

Maximum Comfort

Dora Sweijd and Theo Sarantoglou Lalis

Spectacle is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity. - Guy Debord

During the last decade, the rapid expansion of digital infrastructures and apps has drastically transformed our way of life, our way of behaving and our way of thinking. Self-driving groceries allow us to finally avoid supermarkets. Smart passive heating and cooling systems sense our movements and learn our living patterns for ideal temperature control. Nanotechnology is enabling continuous illumination anywhere and anytime. We enjoy the freedom to work from a distance, book a room on Airbnb in the private house of a Roman, share a car with a stranger, download a record and learn German through Skype. This is simply the way we live. What used to be the high street now comprises the nine buttons of an iPhone. In a world obsessed with the suppression of effort, this year the unit will question our current paradigm: maximum comfort.

Diploma 17 is interested in the socio-political role of architectural form. Over the past few years, we have studied the implications of information and communication technologies on occupancy. The unit strongly believes in architecture's capacity to enact and affect participation, stimulate the corporeal experience of space and provide a framework for public life. We will explore tactics of destabilisation of the body to disrupt our normative understanding of architectural space in search of the unexpected.

The production of architecture, and to a large extent our creativity, is increasingly conditioned by norms, the industrialisation of architectural elements and the design tools we use. While numerous digital design packages and product libraries promise endless variation, the outcome is always somehow predetermined. Rejecting this condition, we will reconsider the politics of "the making of architecture" to speculate on and develop sophisticated, but nevertheless affordable, fabrication strategies to counter the homogenisation of space. Rooted in socio-political issues, we will develop urban proposals through research and intense design experimentation. The unit will investigate material testing, prototyping, photography and film as a way of negotiating our ideas with the real.

Unit Staff

Dora Sweijd and Theo Sarantoglou Lalis are the principals of LASSA architects, an architecture studio based in London and Brussels. They have been teaching at the AA since 2009. They have also lectured internationally, led workshops and taught undergraduate studios at Chalmers and LTU in Sweden. Theo has taught postgraduate studios at Columbia and Harvard GSD.


AA School of Architecture Admissions (Undergraduate)
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

T: +44 (0)20 7887 4051
F: +44 (0)20 7414 0779
undergraduateadmissions @aaschool.ac.uk

Links & Downloads

More Details

Extended Brief

Unit site

Projects Review 2017

More Information


Prospectus 2017-18
AA Prospectus

Foundation Course Booklet
Foundation Course Booklet

Undergraduate Course Booklet
Undergraduate Course Booklet


Share |

The Architectural Association, Inc. is a Registered Charity Incorporated as a Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No.171402. 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.