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Diploma 7 Terraforming common-ground: An even settlement pattern for the north-east coast of Scotland, Nicole Ng, 2018-19

Fluid Territories: The North Sea

Hamed Khosravi, Platon Issaias

The sea is the territory in which the encounter between abstract and concrete spaces is most visible. The process of its appropriation began at the end of the thirteenth century as the first nautical charts were made, becoming, de facto, a multi-scalar design problem. Ever since, the sea has been appropriated, divided, and exploited. This condition has not only changed the way in which the marine space is defined, but also altered the relationship between the land and the sea, their architectures and their subjects. In DIP7 we investigate architectural propositions that react to such territories; frames that capture, forces that trigger, lines that appropriate and lenses that make visible the conflicts between space, the territory and its subjects.

The unit will dwell on the juridical ambiguity of the North Sea – a scenario that generates the possibility of creating a state of exception: a spatio-temporal condition in which normality and the rule of law is suspended. Displacement, confinement, unlimited resource extraction, ecological crime, human incarceration and genocide are justified in this peculiar territory that exists ‘away and elsewhere’. Thus, one could claim that the ‘architecture of the sea’ – whether in the form of a military platform, a ship, a coastal settlement or invisible lines crossing multiple spatio-temporal jurisdictions – emerges before and outside of any specific appropriation.

This architecture exists within a reality of extreme, asymmetrical, disproportionate violence and colonial externality. It becomes a ‘liminal space’, which, in its formal separation from the rest of the world, presents a realm of instability and possibility. Within this framework, the sea stands at the centre of inter-European and global disputes. We claim that the North Sea should be seen as a politicised, territorial entity through which broader political, environmental, economic and societal questions can be addressed.

DIP7 addresses these considerations through a year-long research-by-design project. Beginning with collective research that will inform individual projects, students will propose new spatial interventions to address the complex (yet not always visible) natures of the North Sea. The projects will envision possible futures for the region, informed not only by climate adaptation and clean energy futures, but also by political propositions. Students will therefore engage in micro and macro politics, from the scale of the body to that of the territory, exploring the ways in which any form of co-habitation conditions or is conditioned by the interaction between human and non-human environments and agents.

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Hamed Khosravi is an architect, researcher and educator. He completed his PhD at TU Delft and the Berlage Institute (Netherlands), and has taught at TU Delft, the Berlage Institute and Oxford Brookes University.

Platon Issaias studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece, and holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft. He is the Director of Projective Cities at the AA, and he had previously taught at the Berlage Institute (Netherlands), in the MArch Urban Design programme at the Bartlett, the RCA, Syracuse University and the University of Cyprus.

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.