Intermediate 3 Mamoru Hoshi, The Breath of Kathmandu, Intermediate 3, 2017–18


Nannette Jackowski and Ricardo de Ostos (studio NaJa & deOstos)

In fable, City and Forest exist in polar opposition. Where cities promise security and order, forests carry mythical associations of ambiguity and danger. Laws, measures and technology enable the urban realm whilst creatures, growth and nature inhabit the sylvan one. Today, these territories are increasingly entangled. Forests – once the unknowable heart of Mother Nature – are now occupied by monitoring devices, harvested for their resources and studied as indicators of planetary health. Simultaneously, cities are more beguiling than ever, hosting multipart ecologies and virtual worlds full of strange new tribes and creatures.

This year we will study how land in the world’s ‘New Forests’ is owned and used politically and mythologically. Silicon Valley dreams of smart cities that promise control of our environments through their quantification – long have we exerted our dominion over nature through enumerating it. In contrast, the forest carries with it a mythology that belies categorisation, existing as a complex cycle of life and death. We postulate an experimental architecture that grows, changes and interacts with the enigmatic qualities of the forest. Reframing ideas of inhabitation and natural cycles, we question how to relate to land not through ownership but through cyclical exchange. Concretising these ideas through the study of measurement – traditional units of dimension such as weight, light and time – we will explore how the more ambiguous concepts of memory, sanctity and power are culturally constructed through the conventions we follow. We will work consistently in between drawings, models and short films to engage digital and analogue design methodologies and to learn how storytelling and narrative concepts can structure processes of thinking and production. Through these methods, Intermediate 3 represents an intense architectural investigation into how technology and mythology can challenge environmental problems.

Extended Brief

Unit Staff

Nannette Jackowski and Ricardo de Ostos (studio NaJa & deOstos) were nominees for the Iakov Chernikhov Prize for young architects around the world and are authors of many publications including The Hanging Cemetery of Baghdad (2007), Pamphlet Architecture 29: Ambiguous Spaces (2008) and Scavengers and Other Creatures in Promised Lands (2017). Having worked for many architects (Wilkinson Eyre, Zaha Hadid, Peter Cook, Future Systems and Foster + Partners), they have taught across Europe, including Lund University (Sweden) and École Spéciale d'Architecture (Paris).

Nathan Su, co-founder of Inferstudio, is a researcher at Forensic Architecture (Goldsmiths University), and a speculative designer. His work uses operative storytelling to critique the emerging technologies and cultures of cities today. He teaches media studies at the AA and has run workshops at the Bartlett and Strelka Institute (Moscow).

Intermediate School


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Prospectus 2018-19
AA Prospectus

Special Programmes Course Booklet
Special Programmes Course Booklet

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Undergraduate Course Booklet


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