Diploma 8 Nabila Mahdi, Multiplier of Utopias (detail), 2016?17

Meta-Elements and Integrated Morphologies

Maria Fedorchenko

The unit will continue its disciplinary project on the city, engaging with the interdependencies between disparate domains - imagination and reality, concept and form, text and image. We assert the urgency of the evolved visionary project that is rooted in a deep knowledge of the contemporary European city and architectural history. This year we will conflate several scales and levels of work on new models for "dis-continuity and coherence", tackling urban "meta-elements" as architectural diagrams and morphologies. Building upon our previous cities of multiplied utopias and artefacts, ruptured transfers, systems and frameworks and, ultimately, conceptual and spatial playgrounds in space-time, we will allow our pursuit of emerging urban models to inform new phases in the breakdown and re-integration of an architectural object itself. Our search will go beyond straightforward augmentation - of Hyper-Buildings, Super-Blocks and Meta-Streets - as we try to circumscribe and categorise architectural segments of the city. And we will also question previous shortcuts in scale and complexity - from containing diffused fields of architectural particles within mega-frameworks or variations on Arks, Babels and Arcologies, to enforcing and indexing systemic models of accumulation and growth - seeking internally coherent objects-devices that can also tackle fraught issues of monumentality and identity, agency and resilience. To do so, we will need to short-circuit current contextual demands with long-standing disciplinary pursuits - utopias and ideal plans, figure/ground and typology, diagrammatic system and formal assemblage - by exploring unlikely "friendships" and mediations within the streams of precedents (from Filarete to Soleri and Koolhaas; from Boullée to Ungers and Krier). Combining creative methods and processes, we will "cycle" between analysis and synthesis, creative withdrawal and critical re-engagement with the exchange platforms of the unit and the architectural culture beyond it. Emphasising aesthetic achievement and theoretical coherence (as seen in trademark "meta-drawings" and final books), these catalogues of architectural "morphs and monsters" will be embedded within robust Projects on the City - works that reaffirm architecture's unique capacity to evolve and grow from within, and to effect profound change in the cities and the minds of the future.

Unit Staff

Maria Fedorchenko has been a Unit Master at the AA since 2010, where she has taught in the History & Theory Studies, Housing & Urbanism and the Visiting School programmes. She has also held teaching positions at UC Berkeley, UCLA and California College of the Art. Primarily an educator and theorist, focusing on diagram and infrastructure, she is also a co-founder of Plakat (a platform for provocations), an urban consultant and co-director of Fedorchenko Studio.

Contact

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

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Projects Review 2017


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Prospectus 2017-18
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Undergraduate Course Booklet


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