Alice Rawsthorn & Sophie Hicks in conversation, chaired by Manijeh Verghese

Is Design an Art?

Series: AA XX 100 Lecture Series
Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015
Time: 18:00
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 89 mins

The fluid, repeatedly changing relationship between art, design and architecture is examined by the influential author and journalist, Alice Rawsthorn, and by Sophie Hicks, dynamic AA-trained architect, designer and developer. In very different guises, architects, designers and artists have long explored this relationship and sought to define its terms, query the respective roles and turn the different elements to their own advantage, whereas current architects design and work eagerly with artists and designers. Recently too, it has been argued that architecture is not an art, and design should not be confused with art. In conversation, this tangled but important relationship and its implications will be addressed, while Sophie will trace its impact on her own work, which began in fashion design. This conversation is part of the AA XX 100 lecture series.

Leading up to the centenary of women at the Architectural Association in 2017, over the next three years, a series of lectures, organised by AA XX 100, will draw different generations, disciplines and voices into the AA conversation. Through presentations, dialogue and debate, the series will highlight and challenge the concerns and values of the profession from a theorised gendered perspective which recognises the inclusive and collaborative nature of architecture, while serving as a catalyst for bigger ideas and a wider discussion of women in architecture. The series will feature prominent practitioners from contemporary global architecture and urbanism, as well as articulate the substantial contribution that AA women have made in the last 100 years, creating engaging conversations between past and present, men and women, staff and students.

Alice Rawsthorn writes about design in the International New York Times, which syndicates her columns worldwide. She is also a columnist for Frieze magazine, and the author of the critically acclaimed book “Hello World: Where Design Meets Life”, which explores design’s influence on our lives: past, present and future.
Alice is a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery and the contemporary dance group Michael Clark Company, as well as chair of trustees at the Chisenhale Gallery in London. She was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to design and the arts.

Sophie Hicks formed Sophie Hicks Architects in 1990 whilst studying at the Architectural Association in London. Prior to this Sophie worked as a Fashion Editor for British Vogue and stylist for Azzedine Alaia.
The practice started by designing private houses and subsequently developed architectural identity for fashion brands. Sophie Hicks Architects has a long-standing involvement with the art world and has designed a number of museum exhibitions, reflecting Sophie’s personal interest in art. These include “Sensation, Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection” and “Picasso, Painter and Sculptor in Clay” at the Royal Academy in London. The practice is currently working on a number of residential development projects and retail concepts.

Image: Alice Rawsthorn, credit: International New York Times

All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.

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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.