Experimental 15 Social and Functional Analysis, Patrick Abercrombie, 1943

City / Hall

‘The global is local at all points’ – Bruno Latour,
We Have Never Been Modern, 1991

In this moment of widespread populist extremism, resurgent nationalism and precarious, transnational unions, we turn our attention to the politics of the local. We reassert the value of the city as a primary site of collective identity, citizenship and resource management, and ask how we might reinvent the forms and logics of its primary political institution – the City Hall.

Collective identity, a shared sense of public life, emerges only when multiple perspectives engage (however provisionally) in a common space – when people see ‘sameness in utter diversity’. We instinctively travel to the centre of our cities to discover, challenge, debate and confirm our collective self. The institution of the City Hall has, as the identifiable locus of urban governance, traditionally offered us at least some sense of where that centre is located and, at best, provided a forum for collective political expression. With the increasingly federal scale of both policy and representation its function has become more and more administrative. Across much of the world today, local government is being pared- back, outsourced and privatised, with dramatic implications for our ability to locate collective identity and in turn to motivate civic participation.

In Sert, Leger, and Giedion’s famous position paper, Nine Points on Monumentality, they argue for modern architecture’s necessary role in fostering community through the design of legible civic centres. EX15 will extend this provocation, but instead of singular, monumental gestures we will seek out multiple, contingent forms of symbolic expression; a newer monumentality dependent on active interpretation and collective inhabitation.

The world we inhabit – this building, this garbage, this law, this water, this event, this fungus, this stuff – acts, agitates, and networks, just like the citizens of our cities. As we redefine the architecture of the City Hall, we will also expand the concept of ecology in order to recalibrate the constituents of our politics. To become relevant again, the City Hall must empower its citizens to actively participate in the continual remaking of the polis: its education, its healthcare, its environment, its culture – its past, present, and future. In this way, EX15 aims for nothing less than a new architecture of political space – one that reasserts our sense of a local, ecological, and collective future.

Extended Brief

Unit Staff

Xristina Argyros, co-founder of Neiheiser Argyros, holds a BArch degree from Princeton University and received her MArch from the Yale School of Architecture. She has worked for WORKac, OMA New York, and Ateliers Jean Nouvel, and taught at Cardiff University and Yale University.

Ryan Neiheiser, co-founder of Neiheiser Argyros, holds a degree in Engineering and Art from Swarthmore College and an MArch from the Princeton School of Architecture. He has worked for OMA Rotterdam and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and taught at Princeton University and Columbia University.





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THE AA RECEIVES THE POWER TO AWARD ITS OWN DEGREES

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 Certificate), 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.

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