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Experimental 2 Passarinhos - de Inhotim a Demini, Adriana Varejão, 2003–08 Image Credit: Vicente de Mello / Acervo Ateliê Adriana Varejão


What does it mean for architecture to be ethical?

We will set out to reflect on this and other questions in responding to a site based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: the Parque Lage School of Visual Arts. The school is housed in an eclectic, heritage-listed mansion, located in what is left of the Atlantic rainforest that once surrounded it, the Tijuca National Park. Many of the most iconic contemporary Brazilian artists, including Ernesto Neto and Adriana Varejão, studied there. The site has been used as a setting for cult movies such as Glauber Rocha’s Terra em Transe (1967) and Joaquim Pedro de Andrade’s Macunaíma (1969). Today, as well as housing the school, Parque Lage hosts  important cultural and counter cultural events happening  in the city.

This will be an inspiring setting from which to ask the question  of whether – and how – architecture can play a role in starting to rehabilitate a social and political structure that seems to have been fundamentally and irretrievably, damaged. Rio de Janeiro is one of the most complex and fascinating cities in the world. It is a place of stark contrasts, with sprawling favelas set against luxurious gated communities, and lush nature insisting on making itself present against growing urbanization. The problems of Rio are local as well as global. While reflecting the particularities of a specific culture, they resonate with some of the most urgent challenges confronting contemporary society, including social inequality, urban violence, the crisis of democracy and environmental issues.

We will learn collectively through site visits and the the analysis of specific cultural artefacts. Responding to their first impressions, each student will be invited to dig deeper into a chosen topic in order to create a vocabulary for an architectural intervention. Making use of this vocabulary, students will propose a pavilion for the site. At the end of the year, these projects will be reviewed by our client, Giacomo Pirazzoli, an architectural lecturer from the University of Florence and the Head of International Affairs at the Parque Lage School of Visual Arts.

Our programme is integrated into the events leading up to UIA 2020 Rio: 27th World Congress of Architects, and Rio 2020: World Capital of Architecture – Unesco UIA.

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Ana Araujo is currently working on a book on American designer Florence Knoll. Ana has worked in practice and research for the past 21 years, having built and published internationally.

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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.