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Experimental 16 Zineb Lemseffer, 2018–19

Latent Territories

During the last two decades, the ceaseless accumulation of digital tools and applications has drastically transformed architectural practice, resulting in the fragmentation and diversification of the discipline.

Technology influences our way of thinking, our social relations and our culture – it permeates all aspects of our lives. In certain cases, the development of new technologies for design and construction have been liberating or emancipatory. However, in others, they embed consequential forms of inequalities, divisions of labour, heightened bureaucratisation and other mechanisms of alienation. We will investigate both the positive and perverse aspects of such techniques at a social, ethical and environmental level; analysing their processes of concretisation and their capacities to facilitate democratic accessibility, collaborative agency and transformation.

The work of the unit will develop along two primary lines of enquiry: firstly, the design of architectural form for its capacity to engage the human body and secondly, the politics of construction and the role of the architect. Students will work at the intersection between architecture, landscape and art, developing a set of bespoke architectural elements and production strategies that will form the basis of a larger urban project. This work will be grounded in historical and theoretical precedents, combining intense design and material experimentation with social purpose.

Through the use of ‘detournement’, we will intentionally subvert digital and robotic fabrication techniques in search of spaces for collective emancipation, individual fulfilment and pleasure. Students will speculate on and develop elaborate, but nevertheless affordable, production strategies. The unit will challenge a culture of the flat in search of a new materiality nested within digital practice, mixing the use of both physical and digital media.

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Unit Staff

Dora Sweijd and Theo Sarantoglou Lalis are the founders of LASSA, an architecture studio with offices in London and Brussels. Theo has taught at the Columbia GSAPP and the Harvard GSD, and both were visiting professors at Lund University and Chalmers in Sweden. They have lectured and led workshops internationally and their built work has been extensively published. LASSA has won a number of international awards for Villa Ypsilon and was a finalist for the Chernikov prize.

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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.