Important COVID-19 / Coronavirus information and FAQs

Diploma 9 WORLD WARE, Ryan Cook, 2018–19

World War

In 2008, while the world was reeling from the financial crisis, Michel Serres published a short essay, World War, warning us of a more pressing and irreversible crisis: climate change. Serres argued that the climate crisis forces our generation to go back to the etymological meaning of crisis, from the Greek word Krisis – to decide, to make a choice. The climate crisis relentlessly asks us to make that choice: rely on antiquated strategies and die, or design alternative environments and heal. The inability to do so reveals a systemic and global crisis across all our institutions. Today, we must make an important choice; to decide and design our crisis, or wait and suffer the consequences.

Crises are always latent until officially declared and crisis response already shapes the world around us. It ushers in far-reaching legislation (the war on terror), it creates intergovernmental bodies (the United Nations) and it alters our beliefs (the role of governments). Therefore, crisis response reflects the anxieties, urgencies and the cultural project of those with the power to act.

Crisis inevitably affects the way we live, move, build and occupy spaces. Crisis response amounts to a declaration of war on a condition. Often such wars have territorial organisation at their core and architecture as their ultimate product. As spatial practitioners, we therefore have a role to play: first in the spatial acknowledgment of crisis, and secondly in the design of theatres of war.

DIP9 will fully indulge in a state of crisis. We will start by acknowledging a current condition as a crisis, dissecting and revealing its full extent. Using existing tools, data sets and key theoretical texts, we will survey and measure the spatial and anthropological dimensions of a crisis. By highlighting key moments in time when we as a collective must make clear and irreversible decisions, we will set precise time-frames in which to respond to a crisis. 

The design responses to such decisions will be theatres of war; highly frictional territories that mediate between architectures, citizens, institutions and technologies, grounded in real-world conditions and supported by trans- disciplinary expertise. Ultimately, the projects will deploy architecture as a tool to produce collateral benefits from a state of crisis. Throughout the year, the unit will challenge how we present objects and documents of architectural production to transform them into weapons of mobilisation.

Extended Brief

Unit Staff

Stefan Laxness is a London based architectural researcher and former project leader at Forensic Architecture (FA). He has exhibited work in the Antarctic Pavilion during the Venice Art Biennale and has previously worked at PLP Architecture in London and Jakob+Macfarlane in Paris. He holds an AA Diploma from the AA.

Antoine Vaxelaire graduated from the AA with Honours in 2013. He has worked for several offices in London, Brussels, Zurich, Tokyo and Mexico City. In 2016 he co-founded TOIT, a creative consultancy studio based in Barcelona and Brussels.

Diploma School


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

T: +44 (0)20 7887 4051
F: +44 (0)20 7414 0779

Links & Downloads

More Details

Extended Brief

Unit site

Projects Review 2019

More Information


Academic Programmes
AA Prospectus

Experimental Programme (BA (Hons)) Prospectus
Experimental Programme Prospectu

Diploma Programme (MArch) Prospectus
Diploma Programme Prospectus


The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). 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.



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.