Michael Smith Masis

Architecture as Excuse: Social agency, informality, and participation within the built environment.

Series: M.Arch Keynote - Sustainable Environmental Design
Date: Tuesday 8 January 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 0 mins

Architecture as an excuse will expose unconventional modes of production and professional empowerment within the built environment, within non-traditional fields of practice as opportunities to develop business models via a social agency, advocacy, and activism. Through this undertaking, strategies of participatory and sustainable environmental design endeavors emerge by working alongside communities and in collaboration with transdisciplinary teams.

Michael Smith Masis is founder and co-director of the award winning practice Entre Nos Atelier based in San Jose, Costa Rica. The practice encourages participation, collaboration, cooperation, and ownership by low income residents, rural and indigenous communities, and informal settlements, the true protagonists in the city. Projects are guided by principles of replicability, efficiency, functionality, feasibility, and environmental sustainability. His work has received the Young Architects in Latin America Award,  2017 CICA Award for Young Architects Practice, 2015 International Architecture Award at the Buenos Aires Biennial of Architecture, 2016 Grand Biennial Prize, and the 2016 and 2014 Icomadera Prizes and the 2015 Sustainable Construction Award in Costa Rica. A graduate of the AA SED Masters programme in 2008 Michael Smith is currently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

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February 2020
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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.