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Urgent Futures

Architectural Education in 2025

Series: Symposium
Date: Friday 29 May 2020
Time: 15:00
Venue: Zoom

The world as we knew it just a few months ago has radically changed. This crisis, as with all of those that preceded it, demands that we reimagine the world anew and break with inherited histories, legacies and traditions. It forces us to identify a new set of priorities, new forms of action and new expertise.

It is in moments of crisis that opportunities for redefinition emerge. Overnight, issues that have historically been important in the education of an architect have become anachronistic, and have lost some if not all of their intellectual and operational currency. Other research and design areas that were once peripheral and disregarded have now become indispensable and urgent. New design problems, constraints, desires and solutions have emerged at a range of scales, from the nanometric to the planetary.

In myriad ways, from the poetic to the political and from the profitable to the equitable, architecture is changing. The challenge of our time is to re-envision how we want to live together, beginning with our social and digital interactions, passing by our domestic spaces and moving to our cities and territories within a global context that is multiple in its identities, ecologies, economies, technologies and politics.

Throughout its history, the Architectural Association has produced relevant forms of inquiry, discourse and practice that have responded to the urgent questions of the time. The events currently unfolding around the world are undeniably urgent and historical, and the challenges that we all face today as global citizens and as architects are multiple and monumental; we are living through an environmental, social, medical and political crisis at a planetary scale. All schools of architecture today, including the Architectural Association, have the opportunity and the responsibility to articulate what our discipline can contribute to the world we live in, and to redefine what the education of an architect both can and should be.

This symposium invites different individuals teaching at the Architectural Association to propose new referents for the social, political, technological and material agency that architects have in affecting the designed environment, and to reflect on the fundamental aspects of architectural education – from the History and Theory curriculum to the making of buildings – while encountering new forms of design and speculation about the near and urgent future.

Join the symposium on Zoom


3.00pm - Fundamentals

4.00pm - History & Theory

5.00pm - Speculation

6.00pm - Buildings

A full schedule for the symposium and participants will be announced shortly.

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

May 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.