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A Seminar with Hans Teerds

Constructing the World, Thinking Architecture Through a Reading of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition

Series: Organised by the AA PhD Programme
Date: Wednesday 27 May 2020
Time: 18:00
Venue: Zoom

Spatial thinking is political thinking, the German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) once wrote. It is political, not because it is concerned about a specific space nor place, but since it is concerned about the world and its inhabitants. Architecture, we might state, is a specific form of spatial thinking: at once concerned about specific spaces and places, but within the framework of ‘the world and its inhabitants.’ For Arendt, the term  ‘world’ has a very specific meaning: it encompasses the interventions in the earth, the globe, to make it habitable. Arendt’s term thus stresses the way we build houses and cities, infrastructures, institutions, as well as how we furnish spaces with tables, chairs, paintings and photographs. In her 1958 book The Human Condition Arendt sets out a relationship between the world-of-things, and the realm of politics, which Teerds will investigate this relationship between world and politics, which offers a perspective upon architectural design as a form of political thinking. 

Hans Teerds (b.1976, Zwijndrecht, The Netherlands) studied architecture and urban design at the Faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology. After his studies, in 2003 he was invited to join the “Meesterproef,” a young-talent program of the Dutch and Flemish state architects. He established his design practice in Amsterdam (2004–2014), working on a range of urban and architectural projects, including for the entry pavilion of the cemetery of Blankenberge (B). Simultaneously he started to develop a research project at the Delft University of Technology, exploring the issue of public space and the political context of architecture and cities as approached through the writings of the philosopher Hannah Arendt. In the Fall of 2009, he was made a research fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson (NY) in order to prepare a dissertation on this topic. He defended his dissertation “At Home in the World: Architecture, the Public, and the Writings of Hannah Arendt,” in 2017 at the Delft University of Technology. 

Besides his research, he has taught theory and design courses at the Delft University of Technology, mainly focusing on issues regarding architecture, cities, and public spaces. He also lectured on these issues and has been a visiting critic at several schools in Europe and North America, including the Berlage Institute, Ghent University, KU Leuven, the University of Toronto, Bard College, and Pratt Institute. Teerds publishes frequently on architecture, urbanism, and landscape in a range of different media. He is member of the editorial boards of the architectural magazine “OASE Journal for Architecture.” He co-edited the anthology “Architectural Positions: Architecture, Modernity and the Public Sphere” (2009, together with Tom Avermaete and Klaske Havik), and is author of “Levend Landschap: Manifest voor stad en land” (2012, together with Johan van der Zwart). 

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.