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Experimental 3 Forest of War, Ludvig Holmen, 2018–19

Myths of the New Forest

Architecture and cities are not only impacting planet Earth’s ecological balance, but also altering the way we tell stories about the environment. Powered by high- definition nature documentaries, forests are shown as both synthetic and exotic, bursting with colourful life. Complex digital networks, fed by satellites and military drones, monitor resource extraction and deforestation from above. On the ground, forest communities live their lives between mythology and modern  necessity. The New Forest is an entanglement of organic, digital and human factors. What is the future of sustainability and what role can architects play in these ecosystems, both small and large? What is the future of the forests? Are humans to be merely the stewards of and visitors to a sealed world of exotic and protected green?

EX3 will explore the relationship between the forest and the city, and the lessons that are transferable between the two contexts. We will challenge the concept of future forests being parks and discuss whether cities are merely places where humans dwell or, rather, extensions of a larger digital and organic ecology. Acknowledging forests as the birthplace of many fundamental architectural ideas and the physical source of many building materials, we will develop ways to engage with both their visible and invisible worlds. Students will learn how to perceive and draw economic, spatial and emotional relationships between cities and forests. With a strong focus on design, the unit will help students to transform impactful environmental ideas into compelling and meaningful narratives about future forests as mythologies, resources, frontiers, homes or digital networks. Final designs  will speculate on metamorphic buildings, electronic  landscapes, alternative models of land ownership and carbon sink institutes, among many other possibilities.

Students will be guided through a process of producing mixed media drawings, articulated models and immersive films in order to tell stories about their future forest. In EX3 we value both speculation and great execution. Students are encouraged and assisted to design and produce  a portfolio that is investigative and thorough, and that has value both inside and outside the AA School. From big data and digital creatures to sustainable future crafts, the New Forest is an architectural voyage into the converging mythology of today’s city and tomorrow’s Land.

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Nannette Jackowski and Ricardo de Ostos (studio NaJa & deOstos) were nominees for the Iakov Chernikhov Prize for young architects around the world and are authors of many publications including The Hanging Cemetery of Baghdad (2007), Pamphlet Architecture 29: Ambiguous Spaces (2008) and Scavengers and Other Creatures in Promised Lands (2017). Having worked for many architects (Wilkinson Eyre, Zaha Hadid, Peter Cook, Future Systems and Foster + Partners), they have taught across Europe, including at Lund University (Sweden) and the École Spéciale d’Architecture (Paris).

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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.