Diploma 7 A new health aesthetic - Jiadong Qiang and John Walter with Cedric Price

All Change - Secret Hospital #2

Samantha Hardingham, John Walter

Imagine a city enthralled by its own perpetually reconfiguring composition of discrete adaptions, sometimes triggered by seismic impositions, yet highly attuned to its own imperfections. Diploma 7 embraces the imperfections and uncertainty that characterise our times - continual change is a leitmotif that informs the unit's architectural projects. We explore the multiple rates of change affecting the city, and consider speed, time and interval as critical factors to citizens and architects in designing for increasingly specific lifespans.

By paying attention to what it means to be healthy in the city, the unit fundamentally questions the institution of health as social service in order to offer new design concepts for physical and mental well-being.

This year we will search for design opportunities among the vitalising forces that lie in and around the Old Kent Road - a route leading to the port of Dover, a Roman road and pilgrim's way. This stretch of southeast London displays a profound lack of sentimentality, and there is no better place to explore the networks of cultural, societal and environmental change that are informed by a growing, shifting population, expanding transport networks and massive new housing developments.

Explore the space between the eye and hand, technology and the city, using architecture as a responsive mediator. Delight in learning to jump the waves of doubt and change and venture out to embrace the awkward conceptual outreaches of the architectural project. Question accepted wisdom. Dare to think the unthinkable. Employ design as a maximal, collaborative process. Invent an individual aesthetic. Develop an independent intellectual position by taking collective action. Use moving drawing to question and think, and to make something beautiful.

Unit Staff

Samantha Hardingham is an architectural writer, editor and curator and has been a design studio tutor across all years at the AA since 2008. She was senior research fellow in the Research Centre for Experimental Practice at the University of Westminster (2003-09) and is the writer and editor of the forthcoming two-volume anthology Cedric Price Works 1952-2003: A Forwardminded Retrospective.

John Walter is an artist and academic working across a range of media. He studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, the University of Oxford, the Slade and is now completing a PhD at the University of Westminster titled Alien Sex Club: Educating audiences about continuing rates of HIV transmission using art and design. He is also Resident Artist in Infection at UCL, supported by a Wellcome Trust Large Arts Award.


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