Alex Stephany, David Greene, John Palmesino, Harriet Harriss, Fabrizio Ballabio, Ioana Man, Sofia Belenky, mediated by Sahir Patel

Pret A Habiter - "Ready to Inhabit"

Series: AAgora Debates
Date: Friday 4 March 2016
Time: 18:30
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 105 mins

Feel at home in Paris, New York, London, Tokyo and Berlin; simultaneously. 

“Home”, once a personal “fortress of solitude”, now an online commodity everywhere, marks a tidal shift in a subtle transition towards a newfound sharing economy. As our notions of the public, private, temporary, permanent, generic and specific, are yet again challenged by indistinguishability. We, who "arrive as locals" and  "belong anywhere," must recondition our archaic understanding of mobility and domesticity in an ever-increasing world of virtual “sharing”, and its inherent archetype of ‘nomadicity’; we must update the way we construct not just our built environment, but relationships among ourselves, and our possessions. However, in desirable urban spaces, AirBnB is facilitating the cultivation of a gentrified monoculture that jeopardizes diversity. Consequently, an AirBnB neighborhood is not a profitable means to collectively consume, but an international bedroom community of "post-tourist" mobile workers. AirBnB makes cities more affordable, as its influx of guests undertakes a much more utilitarian approach to the urban realm, yet raises questions as to whether this form of social behavior liberates or further entraps our society; as these newly administered laws of exchange slowly relieve us of a sense of ownership and identity.

Perhaps the homo-economicus does not fully comprehend the urban implications of their contribution to gentrification, but will it matter once everywhere wears the same nordic furniture, stocks the same chicken sandwich, and pours the same Seattle coffee?

Alex Stephany: CEO of JustPark, a sharing economy startup, Alex closed the largest equity crowdfunding for a startup in history. He is author of the latest accalimed sharing economy book, The Business of Sharing and provides expert comment on the sharing economy and startups and have appeared on Bloomberg, FOX, Sky News, NPR, BBC World and the BBC's Today Programme among others. He holds a Double First Class degree from Oxford University in English and got the fundamentals of financial analysis and accounting via a CFA qualification.  

David Greene (UK) - Born Nottingham 1937, was elected Associate member of the RIBA and came to London to begin a career, from big buildings to T-shirts for Paul Smith to conceptual speculations for the renowned Archigram group which he founded with Peter Cook. He won the RIBA Gold Medal 2002 (Archigram), joint Annie Spinks Award with Sir Peter Cook (2002) and currently visiting Prof of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, External Examiner on the Masters in Advanced Research at the Bartlett and Diploma 7 Unit Master at the AA. Greene has made a career of pursuing projects that seek to deepen contemporary architectural investigation of form, and its relation to information technology and technology at large.

John Palmesino: John is an architect and urbanist, born in Switzerland. He has lead the researches at ETH Studio Basel–Contemporary City Institute between 2003 and 2007.He has co-founded Multiplicity, an international research network involved in contemporary architecture, urbanism, arts and general culture. Main works include MUTATIONS, USE uncertain States of Europe, Solid Sea. multiplicity’s works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, at the KW Berlin, at the Triennale di Milano and at documenta11. He is the initiator of the interdisciplinary research on neutrality as a modality of spatial transformation and control for his PhD at the Research Architecture Centre, Goldsmiths, University of London, where he also teaches.  

Harriet Harriss: Dr Harriet Harriss currently co-directs GRAPH; a small interior design studio focussed on using emergent neuro-scientific intelligence to inform the functional & experiential efficacy of the spaces in which we live, work, and learn. She is a prolific author, has won numerous awards and is now a Senior Tutor in Interior Design and Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. 

Fabrizio Ballabio: Fabrizio is an architect and educator based in London. He graduated in Switzerland at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio (AAM) and received his Masters with Distinction at the Architectural Association in London (AA) where he currently teaches as a Studio Master in architectural design and in the History and Theories Studies. Ballabio is a co-founder of ÅYR, an art collective reflecting on contemporary forms of domesticity, and part of the online research platform Factory Futures, who designed the Airbnb Pavilion.

Ioana Mann: Ioana, currently a third year has been a student at the AA since first year. She recently published a journal entry in PNYX about Airbnb and its sharing economy counterparts.

Sofia Belenky: Sofia, has a previous degree in fine arts from Bard College she studied at the GSAPP (Graduate School of Architecture, planning and preservation Columbia University) and BHQFU (Bruce High Quality Foundation University) before coming to the aa, where she is now a second year student.

Mediated by AA 3rd Year Sahir Patel. Introduction by Francesco Catemario di Quadri.

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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 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.