Organised by Yael Reisner with Semir Zeki, Hanif Kara & Tateo Nakajima

Beauty Matters; Why Architecture and Beauty Need Each Other.

Series: Book Launch & Mini-Symposium
Date: Friday 28 February 2020
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 0 mins

This event celebrates two new complementary publications: the AD issue Beauty Matters and the book about the Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB) 2019, on the same topic. Both take an interdisciplinary approach to the re-emerging interest in beauty across neuroscience, neuroesthetics, mathematics, philosophy and architecture. Each publication contains a different content by a different set of contributors.

The evening will start with a screening of the Mies.TV documentary film about TAB 2019 - Why does beauty matter? - followed by a conversation with an emphasis on the experience of beauty from the neuroesthetic point of view, highlighting why architecture and beauty need each other, and an opportunity to experience, individually, Paula Strunden‘s VR-MR installation The Talking Trees of Tallinn.  

Catering sponsored by ABB, the headline partner of TAB 2019 and this event.

Participants include:

Semir Zeki is a British Neurobiologist who has specialised in studying the primate visual brain and more recently the neural correlates of affective states, such as the experience of love, desire and beauty that are generated by sensory inputs within the field of neuroesthetics.  Fellow of the Royal Society and Foreign Fellow of the American Philosophical Society.

Hanif Kara is a structural engineer, design director and co-founder of AKT II, Professor in Practice - Harvard GSD . A fellow member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Royal Society of Arts. In 2014, Kara was made a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Tateo Nakajima is an Arup Fellow. Building on formal training and an early career in violin performance and conducting, Nakajima is an internationally recognised leader in the design and planning of cultural venues and developments, with projects around the world, working with many of the highest profile architecture and design practices.

Yael Reisner is an architect, researcher, educator and curator. She was the Head Curator of the 5th Tallinn Architecture Biennale, TAB 2019, entitled: Beauty Matters. Simultaneously, she was the guest editor of a complementary issue of AD magazine - published in September 2019 by Wiley, UK - that shares the interdisciplinary interest in beauty and its symbiotic relationship with architecture. 

The following two titles will be available at the event:
- Beauty Matters; Human Judgement and the Pursuit of New Beauties in Post-Digital Architecture. AD magazine, Sep.2019, Wiley, UK. 
- Beauty Matters; Civilisation Could Not Exist Without the Experience of Beauty. TAB 2019’s catalogue / book, Estonian Center for Architecture. 

Image credit: 
AD front cover: design by CHK Design:Christian Küsters, and Barbara Nassisi,  based on the image of brain activity that correlates with the experience of beauty. Copyrights Haydenbird/Getty Images.
The TAB 2019 book designed by the Estonian Graphic designers Studio Studio.

TAB 2019

TAB is produced by ECA, the Estonian Centre for Architecture, see

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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.