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News from the Architectural Association

I do not want to talk to you about architecture. I detest talk about architecture. Le Corbusier, AA after-dinner speech, 1 April 1953


Issue 4







AArchitecture News from the Architectural Association Issue 4 / Summer 2007

Rosa Ainley <>

Front Cover: Le Corbusier, AA after-dinner speech 1 April 1953


©2007 All rights reserved. Published by Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES. Contact: Nicola Quinn +44 (0) 207 887 4000 To send news briefs:

Printed by Cassochrome, Belgium

Mark Cousins <> Wayne Daly <>

Front inner cover: Hans Scharoun’s Staatsbibliothek Back inner cover: Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Photos: Timothy Deal, on AA Members’ trip to Berlin, 19–22 April 2007 * * * *

Margaret Dewhurst <>

Mark Prizeman Simone Sagi <> Vasilis Stroumpakos <>

Headlines in the issue are set in Peignot, a geometrically constructed sans-serif display typeface designed by A. M. Cassandre in 1937. It was commissioned by the French foundry Peignot et Deberny. The typeface is notable for not having a traditional lower-case, but in its place a ‘multi-case’ combining traditional lower-case and small capital characters. The typeface achieved some popularity in poster and advertising publishing from its release through the late 1940s. Use of Peignot declined with the growth of the International Typographic Style which favoured less decorative, more objective typeface. Peignot experienced a revival in the 1970s as the typeface used on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. While often classified as ‘decorative’, the face is a serious exploration of typographic form and legibility. Taken from: Body text is set in Sabon Bold. Architectural Association (Inc.), Registered Charity No. 311083. Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 171402. Registered office as above.

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News from the Architectural Association

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Harmony Murphy <>

Kitty O’Grady <>

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Aram Mooradian <>

Joel Newman <>

Patrick Bouchain: Know-How/Savoir Faire AA MEMBERS’ VISIT: BERLIN Norman Klein: The Space Between 1975–2050 New Media Research Initiative Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Ornament STREET FARMER CORB AT THE AA Mark Cousins: The Ugly John Maclean: BRASILIA AA SUMMER PAVILION 2007 Dale Benedict / AA Secretary’s Office SOM AWARD / aa Members AA NEWS BRIEFS — Pg 9


Zak Kyes <>

Editorial Team Brett Steele, Editorial Director Nicola Quinn, Managing Editor Zak Kyes / Zak Group, Art Director Wayne Daly, Graphic Designer Alex Lorente Fredrik Hellberg Acknowledgements Valerie Bennett Pamela Johnston Marilyn Sparrow Hinda Sklar Russell Bestley

Edward Bottoms <>

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We do not know each other but we read each other as signs, we build up a code of recognition that enables us to identify people and objects through their attributes. MARK COUSINS PG 27

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AA Exhibition, 30 April–25 May 2007 Review by Harmony Murphy

Photo: B&H/Construire

Patrick Bouchain Top: Le Channel, Calais Bottom: La Baignade, Lake of Lambon, Prailles, Poitou-Charentes

Photo: Cyrille Weiner

Patrick Bouchain: Know-How/Savoir Faire

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News from the Architectural Association

The exhibition Know-How/Savoir Faire, curated for the AA by arc en rêve, opened with a gallery talk by Patrick Bouchain giving insight into his unique architectural practice. Bouchain’s work, frequently in collaboration with contemporary artists including Daniel Buren and Claes Oldenburg, reconsiders the ‘site’ as a place of experimentation. In the Loire valley, bathers in the town of Prailles were turned away from their local lake, Lambon. Eroding banks and a lack of filtering were making the water cloudy and unsuitable for swimming. Architect Patrick Bouchain’s answer to this problem would include the construction of a series of pools within the body of the lake. One rectangular pool for lap swimming flanked by three smaller pool of varying depths were built in two short months with the assistance of local school children. This is how Patrick Bouchain conducts architecture: he approaches each project as a problem, with himself as architect in charge of highlighting a suitable solution. In the gallery of the Architectural Association, his current exhibition, Know-How/Savoir Faire, is a testament to his problem-solving. His voice from the projector declares, ‘Self-sufficiency is the key to freedom’. This dogma was instilled in Bouchain by his father, who, by necessity, taught Bouchain that thriftiness dissolves a paralysing reliance on commodities. In his work, he has transferred the waste-not-want-not adage to architecture through the promotion of the reprocessing of existing structures. When a building’s purpose is expelled Bouchain seizes the opportunity to reincarnate the programme in a more useful form. With this in mind, he works against the false projection of permanence in architecture. Instead, he champions an architecture constructed without constants. During his 30-year career he has been interested in ‘how things move’, toying with mobility and temporality. Displayed in this exhibition, curated by arc en reve, are examples of what happens when ‘old, liquid’ methodologies give way to new experiments. It is Bouchain’s call to ‘pass it on’. In a discipline where words have a vital place, although often an unclear one, Bouchain forgoes the endless rhetoric of many of his contemporaries. Rather, he focuses on a dialogue directed at a distinct problem with participants engaged in a concrete outcome. This exchange of words between architects and artisans is verbal elixir, components in the solution of the project. As architect and processor, Bouchain views the site as the ideal place for this experiment. As an area of ‘questioning and progress’ many of these conversations take place on the actual site of a future project, and continue through its unfolding. The exhibition features a film exemplifying his practice of exchange with clients

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and collaborators. The video allows the viewer to witness the actual execution of his method, as he plans to devise a circular pool with sculptor Daniel Buren, omitting its possible function as a swimming pool from the powers that be. It also features conversations with philosopher Michael Onfray as they plan a Free University at Caen, composed of temporary buildings capable of growing and changing as the institution matures. Bouchain and his method won over visitors to the 2006 Architecture Biennale in Venice. As designing curator of the French pavilion, his project was favoured for its participatory nature. A utopian factory, architects remained there for the duration of the event: designing, discussing, socialising in the bar and eating in the café. This self-contained pavilion included a wide span of activities that Bouchain prophesises all belong equally to the ‘spectacle’ of architecture. The exhibition includes materials from his next attempt at embracing and enveloping humanist architecture. The National Theatre in Calais would arise from a ‘disused abattoir’, adding new programmes to recycle the building. In an attempt to ‘dispel the sense of death marking the place’, Bouchain called this theatre ‘Life’. He carried this metaphor throughout the development of the project. Like the French pavilion, human activity would inflate life into the project during all its construction phases. Workers lived, built and animated simultaneously, projecting a seamless transition from concept to construction. Once the commission was born, Bouchain proclaimed its first day alive, intending to reiterate that it was never actually closed, as life continued in the structure, in some way, during each phase. The photos in the gallery are a documentation of these stages. Another unique project, a mobile hippodrome, was an appropriate venue to conjure Bouchain’s thematic ‘spectacle’ architecture. The Centaur Theatre Company, based in Marseilles, has the unusual agenda of performing a repertoire of Jean Genet and William Shakespeare on horseback. Bouchain was restricted to a design that could be erected in three days, disassembled in two, fitted into three lorries and yet could still be schematically flexible enough to implement additions as needs be, as theatre sets dictate. Exhibited at the AA is the photographic evidence of this fantastic theatre, a spectacle in itself, a vital part of the performance. Harmony Murphy is an AA Histories and Theories MA student

Patrick Bouchain: Know-How/Savoir Faire

Know How/Savoir Faire Main image: Le Centaure, Marseilles Inset: Exhibition poster designed by AA Print Studio

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Zaha Hadid’s Phaeno Science Centre (above) was one of the buildings visited by AA Members on their trip to Berlin and Wolfsburg in April. Other highlights of the trip included private tours of Koolhaas’ Dutch Embassy and Aalto’s Heilig-Geist Church, a concert in Sharoun’s Philharmonic Hall and a long lunch outside Schinkel’s Schauspielhaus. More photos can be viewed  on

The architect studies the blueprint of the casino. Its interior is designed to never look entirely finished. Every few months, each entrance must be reevaluated. Perhaps a corner facing a dreary street is not paying off well. It has to go, and the interior around it must be able to survive radical surgery. Let us say that involves an eighth of the overall floor space, where a “sportsbook” will be added, with banks of screens running football, basketball, baseball games for betting. New ceilings, new colors, new lighting—but only there, never throughout. Every thirty feet or so should be reversible. If any section on the floor begins to look “tired,” showing five years of age, it should be dressed up, made more “up to date.” A working casino avoids chronological memory that might be identified as history. Only the ludic memories brought in by the player/ tourists are taken seriously. Better to build consumer tourist memory than history. For the tourist, time stands still – no clocks – only the script. The scripted space is the dominant model for consumer-built environments, from casinos to shopping malls to theme parks, and finally to tourist plans for existing cities. Facades become shells for a modernity inside, where the flow across a scripted space is paramount. Each square foot must pay off No space inside is allowed to be considered “finished.” The areas should seem “junked up” (a term used by the casino industry at least in Reno). If murals and statues look unusually primitive, or a spot is left nakedly undeveloped, that might be intentional. The interior should never appear too thoroughly coordinated. In fact, it might do well if it looks a trifle unravelled at the corners. This implies personal freedom for the player, the chance to beat the odds. It also helps mask the obsessive controls needed to make every square foot pay off. Similarly, police at malls have to fit into the rhythm of shoppers. Sometimes in southern California, teenagers at malls are handed cards warning them to behave. Or reminding them that no animals alive or dead are allowed inside the mall. Surveillance cameras study the activity at malls and casinos, not simply to check for crime, but also to monitor which classes are spending money where. What results is a classist carnival; that is, a restricted design—genteel—and at the same time, flamboyant, Baroque, in ripe colors (even on

AArchitecture – Issue 4

News from the Architectural Association

the Sistine ceiling, or in German Baroque churches, or colonial Mexican zócalos). Like a Perónist rally, it mixes populism and political repression. Scripted spaces that rely on illusionistic effects bring on “happy imprisonment” and “ergonomic controls.” Certainly Disneyland qualifies as happy imprisonment, and City-walk, and the cybernetic computer for that matter. We need to study the precise details that go into scripting these narratives of control (and presumed freedom), the allegory that the viewer navigates. This is a pilgrim’s progress of sorts, where free will and predestination are balanced uneasily. In Baroque scripted spaces, the dome “tells” a different immersive story than the basilica. The painted Baroque dome allows the viewer to wander more as a character in a story, under the watchful eye of the oculus. And yet, however glamorous the effects, the viewer is supposed to sense a hierarchy, cosmic or financial, or even egalitarian. The higher order is like the authority of the apparatus; it can be understood only through obedience to the pope to the duke; or to Disney, for that matter; or Microsoft. Similarly, one should not be too Manichaean when studying how such dens come to be. “Ergonomic control” (even it seems fascist) is too incoherent 1 wasteful to be monolithic. For example, in Los Angeles, urban planning, with all its mistakes, often operates like a confused poker game between the transportation and tourist industries, interrupted regularly by sheer greed, and endless holidays. Hundreds of millions of dollars get frittered away, projects left half finished, or half remembered. What results is whimsical, ‘weirdly contoured scripted spaces, “non-finished.” Mount Olympus (an instant neighbourhood for the elite) was a real estate fiasco in the seventies, as was Venice in 1904. Since the late fifties, downtown Los Angeles has been bulldozed into an alien Manhattanized banking district, like an omelet scrambled nearly out of existence. Now a new plan centers around a new loft district, and the new Disney symphony hall. But originally, in the early sixties, while the central hill (Bunker Hill) was stripped, revitalization was supposed to center on Spring Street, the fading, stately twenties banking center. But that beginning was scrapped half way through, in the mid-sixties, replaced by a more carceral, glass curtain-wall and brick pedway model for the hundreds of acres left barren on what had once, been Bunker Hill. Then the Bunker Hill strategy was scrapped three-quarter way through, replaced by a mixed-use plan in the eighties – to

Sp N ac o e rm Be a tw n ee Kle n in 19 75 –2 05 0

Photo: Alex Lorente

Scripted Spaces: Navigating the Consumer-Built City †

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repopulate the rim of downtown, invent an arts district among the old warehouses, add a few “urban villages.” Then this in turn was stopped in its tracks by the recession of the nineties, and has been essentially forgotten. In 1995, in an attempt to prime the pump, public works seemed the answer: a new hockey stadium; a bigger convention center; a new symphony hall; a metro rail that looks mostly ornamental, but with well-appointed, empty stations. What resulted from these misadventures was a grab bag of ponderous architectural sketches, some in stone, some in stucco, some in glass and steel. Scripted spaces are very scattershot, sometimes just a randomized mix of greed, business competition gone sour, and simple hysteria. What results can have an ironic charm, though—cockeyed parodies of industrial objects, of consumer rituals. The Switchback roller-coaster ride in Coney Island (1884) was modeled on railcars used inside mines. From there, as a kind of Dantean silliness, tunnels were painted. Then the stakes were raised, literally—more simulated hazard (or sim-death, as I call it), because competition among amusement parks led to higher roller coasters, more “hair-raising” rides. It is a parody of capital accumulation. Illusionism has a unique modernity: it captures transitions in mid-metamorphosis. What results, if it succeeds, should operate as both a warning and a feast. The gimmicks should seem a trifle sinister (even Disneyland rides in the fifties relied on blacklight effects common to horror films); and at the same time, in idealized, exaggerated safety. It is like shopping inside a feudal kingdom; no wonder Disney models their parks on a cartoon feudalism. The shopper learns that the space may seem restrictive, but it is still free enough to allow for personal chaos—free will inside a predestined script. In that sense, aspects of Disneyland resemble a seventeenth-century pilgrim’s progress, Calvinist entertainment. Indeed, cities with scripted spaces are, by themselves, nothing new. Baroque cities were scripted, as were the ritual spaces in Mayan cities—or even the Vatican, or Mecca. Certainly today, any space where the audience is a central character—where the navigated story dominates—bears an uncanny resemblance to L.A., for example, or a theme park city, or even European cities during tourist season. My anti-tours are scripted. You spend the afternoon finding what no Ion exists; or traces of bad planning, of cancelled plans, of old roads, orchards movie locations. If an entrance and exit

are assigned, if the walking narrative is emphasized (even in landscape design), if illusionism is essential to the trip, men the parallels operate in much the same way, even in the places that no longer exist. Then there are simulated copies as scripted, from John Soane’s museum to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, where the Baroque designs of Athanasius Kircher are rebuilt, and spun inside a labyrinthine scripted. space, where you are invited to get lost. Borrowings take on the same haphazard quality that the designs do. In the pop-corn palaces of the twenties and Mediterranean-style malls of the nineties, elements from Baroque; dames were transplanted, or misplanted, in splendid garishness: plaster phantasmagoria, alongside Egyptiana, mummies guarding movie exits, and gargoyles with glowing red eyes. The Burlington Arcade in London (1829) was built again on Lake Street in Pasadena, in miniaturized scale. In how many cities, from Mexico to western Europe, are hotels for the ruling class now restaurants for the tourists? Illusionistic scripted spaces leave a very quirky historical record. However, in this chapter, I must limit myself to problems that are unique to such spaces at the end of the twentieth century. And that includes problems in architectural criticism. The Empty Frame Photos fail to capture the journey taken in a scripted space. For example, early photography in the nineteenth century often made a street appear to be empty because the pedestrians moved too fast for the camera to freeze them. Architectural photography still borrows heavily from early Romantic landscape painting; it tends to decontextualize, for a world where context is practically everything. Since the nineties, this problem, and related issues inherited from postmodern architectural theory, direct criticism beyond the postmodern, toward “the industrialization of desire.”1 Animation In honor of the integration of cinema into heavy industry (from war to business), I would like to concentrate on the paradigm of animation instead of “finished” architecture. For decades now, architects have built through animation CG programs as much as on blueprints. And in animation, whether on the computer or on a shopping street, movement is structure to a degree that is staggering.


Immersion When I interview specialists and audience alike, often I am told that malls feel like computer games. Why is that? Both spaces are designed around a narrative the viewer or the shopper is the central character, in an immersive environment built for navigation (walk-through that implies freedom of choice, but actually is severely monitored or limited). All traditional architectural features are subsumed beneath this walk-through narrative. That includes the gimmickry itself, so often rather cheesy, but intentionally so. The pseudo-marble is supposed to look false, as upside down as a balloon in a parade, or a movie set dropped from the top of a building. The gaucherie often is intentional, again what designers in the casino business call “junking it up”’ banal murals next to expensive wood trim. It is an aestheticized experience that tries to look like the imaginary brought in by its consumers. It should look homey, but always a bit artificial (safely rebuilt, not natural). It should look well appointed, like brilliant packaging, but not superior. After postmodernism: Since 1989, in stages, postmodernism has drifted away. We see now that the impulse turned out as conservative as it did progressive. Right-wing cable news exploited deconstruction to bury the liberals, a pox on all your houses. It is a standard trick. Only the scale of it is terrorizing. Even war now relies on the industrialization of desire, through media and consumer space, much the way locomotives industrialized time and travel a century ago; but even more the way Baroque princes worked with special effects. The Panic As a result of a widening of the classes during this electronic industrial age, these scripted spaces have mutated oddly after 1970, toward a culture of control. This was a standard element in modernist planning, evident in late modernist plazas (sheer walls, glass curtain or otherwise). In the nineties, this surveillance was given a happier face, with miniaturized cameras rather than gangways (layered, with isolated entry ways). We were already becoming a culture at home with surveillance. We already expected it, assumed that the classes must be pre-separated much more, like packets in a baking kit. However, behind this soothing isolation was a panic about scarcity and that the economy may turn these spaces into neo-Victorian nightmares.

However, in consumer-built cities, there may be a counter dialectic at work. The trend toward tourist pedestrian marketing in big cities, from Piccadilly Times Square to Citywalk, may produce precisely the kind of “democratic ways” that accompanied class warfare in the genteel cities of the nineteenth century (circa 1850); and made them nonexclusive for a time. The vast immigration worldwide since 1970 may surprise us, deliver something less hierarchical to scripted spaces. But they may reinforce precisely the class rigidity that is emerging. Nevertheless, scripted spaces are always a business powder keg. They may blow in some way over the next generation, as the classism and panic, along with the pressure to build bigger crowds of all classes, run head-on into each other. Not only are the casinos continually unfinished; the consumerbuilt cities may never be finished, once the social pressures boil over; and the fiscal shortages keep growing. We are witnessing the first act in a drama that has barely begun. No matter how conscientiously the planners try to hide docks, to stop class politics, they often fail to prevent the crisis from growing. In the postwar United States, those who bought and those who sold the suburbs assumed that shopping malls by a freeway exit would stop “history,” no more encroachment of Depressiontype poverty into the suburb. How did that work out? Frankly not well at all in many cases. The mix of slums and gridlock in postwar suburbs has reached epic proportions in the past decade. There is no way to stop aging in cities. Every forty years, the city matures whether there are clocks or not. Crime in Las Vegas is sharply on the rise, despite all the glamour of the megacasinos. The glitz and spectacle is merely the first stage in the building of any city. No wonder scripted spaces built centuries ago, like Venice, seem oddly prescient today. Prerevolutionary Paris, hidden behind the new Louvre and the new Marais, is warning us, and, at the same time, soothing us.

LABYRINTHS: PROGRAM DESIGN RECEPTION (1997) Let us clarify what this term labyrinth opens up for debate. It suggests that all virtual” systems are cybernetic — about power and relinquishing control, about feedback systems. What sites does this bring to mind? The Vatican? Casinos? Computer games? The Web? Shopping malls?


By Joel Newman

New Media Research Initiative etc.). This is rather charming, to sense the gimmick, while glamorizing the machinery that gave it to you. We are expected to worship the apparatus, while pretending to subvert the script. So the epistemology is tainted by the hidden ideology, and given momentum by the ontological journey itself. We learn a system (via movies or the Net) that seems innocent on one level, but is built into a corporate model that is very political indeed. Part of our revenge against that system is the knowledge that it is filled with gimmicks. However, many of these gimmicks are part of the script itself, and suit the program very well. So we imagine that our ontological awareness is a weapon against ideology, but in the end, we accept the epistemology as a truth (a democratizing force), even a game about the truth. So we can use the terms ideology, epistemology, and ontology, but only if we apply them very solidly to real events, real practices, and never privilege our reception to the point where we think we are psychic enough to ontologically know what goes on in a corporate boardroom, or how precisely a scripted space hides, manipulates. And above all — why such places look as they do. We can guess who benefits, and what is expected. But the ultimate function is what the collective and singular imaginary may actually be for the audience or the players. We cannot even presume that we know ourselves precisely all that we experience inside an “interactive” or scripted, space.

Her Noise installation Her Noise gathered international artists who use sound to investigate social relations, inspire action or uncover hidden soundscapes

Notes 1. By industrialization of desire, I am suggesting a return to a modernist approach, I suppose, like a return to Cubists or Dadaists inventing vocabulary. Industrialization of desire implies that designers of the nineties — for theme parks or consumer cities — used many of the same methods that industrialists did. They were not deconstructing the modern, but rather “building” sites that fit into electronic capitalism — a re-urbanization that rivals what took place in the nineteenth century (with as snuch misery waiting on the wrongside of the tracks worldwide). The postmodern era had ended. The other shoe had dropped. (While evolving the term scripted sfaces: discussions fai 1994-95 with Richard Hertz; work on Scripted Spaces conference with Peter Lunenfeld, 1998; discussions on spatial media with Lev Manovich, 1995-2002.)

† This essay is extracted from Klein, Norman M, (2004) The Vatican To Vegas: A History of Special Effects, New York: The New Press © 2004 Norman M. Klein Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES T 020 7887 4000 F 020 7414 0782 Produced by AA Print Studio. Design: Wayne Daly, Art Direction: Zak Kyes. Architectural Association (Inc.), Registered Charity No. 311083. Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 171402. Registered office as above. Extract from booklet

originally produced for Norman Klein seminar, 5 March 2007. Designed by AA Print Studio

Photo: Marcus Leith

Are there movies about this subject? Videodrome? The Net? Brazil? 2001? Independence Day? Twelve Monkeys? The Game? Blade Runner? Perhaps a few hundred more? What does this narrative say to us when we are active characters? What does it say to us when we are watching a flat screen? How does this influence the way all spaces must be designed in the future? A few philosophical issues to remember: We cannot ever rely simply on our personal relationship to a movie or a scripted space. That is only a third element within the whole: program; design; reception. We must take each step on its own, and see the problem as ideological (program); epistemological (script); and ontological (reception). In other words, at the level of the program, the political use of ideology is fundamental, and must be studied that way (how political interest is manifested within the codes generated to protect those at the top, or condemn their perceived enemies). At the level of the script, there is a code of how knowledge is supposed to be set up, how the branches and winding paths reveal a knowledge. And on the level of reception, the virtual is always relative; there is always a crisis about real/unreal, a suture between the two that makes the story exciting. The more “realistic” the illusion, the more the ontological game must deal with fakery (obvious example: the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park). At the heart of these philosophical issues is a sense of codes themselves, how they are hidden, how they are turned into real space, how they are hinted at cautiously, and whether there is ever a codified version that applies as the ideal form of reception (there isn’t). So this is a fiction that is navigated by the audience as a fact of sorts. It is I naturally (and therefore “realistic”) vivid somehow, tangible (haptic, an old term from the 1930s that is being revived: sensory). One begins to see how heritage of postmodern theory is of some use here, to clarify how many’ a code can be warped or broken, and yet be serviceable, The ontological gimmickry harkens back to the Baroque era surely, an easy place to settle (trompe 1’oeil; anamorphosis). But we must remember how subtle the levels of simulation must become, how the slippage of the code of the real is, in itself, the conflict of the story (where the power “trip” takes place). Consider the issue this way: philosophically speaking, an audience goes from confusion to the realization that there is a program greater than themselves. They see the hints of it physically, but only the reflection of the greater process — to experience a dual reality (Neoplatonism,

AArchitecture – Issue 4

New Media Research Initiative


AArchitecture – Issue 4

News from the Architectural Association


participants a chance to create new visual/sonic forms through that interaction. The work would suggest a move away from the passive way in which we encounter art-works normally. But as I’ve implied, that experience is very new to many. All of the projects we have shown have been well received within their respective communities and have significant media presence. Those audiences however are very often converts to technologydriven art practices and lifestyles. The art-world is slow to respond to changes in art practice and is tempered by commerce. Selling an interactive installation utilising open source software to a private collector is very different from selling a bronze figurine. None the less, I feel that we, the general public, are some way off understanding New Media fully, which is perhaps why it’s been so interesting and worthwhile having our visitors here, showing us their wares. Joel Newman is Audio-Visual Manager, a Media Studies tutor and Co-curator of the New Media Research Initiative

Photo: UVA

art has been around for roughly 40 years. Paik got a retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2000. If it’s taken a medium that is now simply universal in the mainstream western world 40 years to be accepted as a true artvehicle, then what are the chances for a new new media that is sitting within a powerful computer somewhere looking for a creative application? Actually, in some ways, its chances are a lot better now than they were in the past. Computer technology and the internet allow creatives and developers to sidestep some of the often marginalising effects of both the media and the traditional art-world taxonomy. Exposing an audience to work that is yet to be defined is common online. Response and criticism can be measured by site hits and e-mails. Discussions are carried out through fora, endless in number, none of which have to be hosted by or representative of any one particular power structure or faction. The band Arctic Monkeys (no, I haven’t heard their second album) is a case in point. OK, MySpace isn’t exactly cutting edge and the band’s music is, to my ears, a little derivative, but at least the website provided a template for their work to be showcased without interference. Their success, both critically and financially, came from opting out of the accepted route for young musicians. Their branding is strong because of the very intimate relationship they have with their (online and real-life) audience, and, as everyone knows, brand loyalty is a big bonus. By contrast, this spring the New Media Research Initiative, née Cluster, invited Ed Burton to talk about SodaPlay and SodaConstructor, the phenomenal web sensation that won a BAFTA and has about 200,000 registered users and over 200,000 online visits a month. SodaConstructor’s technology allows people to create new visual forms and to interact with them. The ability to play God with your creations is the inherent hook for users of the site, many of whom now compete with each other, showing off how fast or how complex their wireframe creations are. What struck me was not so much the forms generated by the Soda software, but the notion that so many people were interested in utilising the same piece of software. They didn’t have to – it wasn’t a spreadsheet programme at the office – but because they felt an affinity towards what was going on, they felt compelled to interact. The World Wide Web generates compulsions, behaviours, methods of speech and changes of syntax. But for so many people, to be won over and have their behaviour altered by something like SodaConstructor is a rare, and quite powerful, thing. There has been a common thread of interactivity or participation within the works shown as part of the New Media Initiative events series. The artists we have invited have all created vehicles and delivery systems which offer

Photo: New Media Research Initiative

From one perspective it is very difficult, imprudent even, to define what New Media is. New Media, for many, is simply the practice of using digital means to communicate ideas and facts – concepts and thoughts delivered without the need for traditional media such as books, television, newspapers, radio and so on. We also understand media in terms of creativity and production: the means to make thoughts and abstracts palpable in a visual, plastic or sonic form – though what constitutes their ‘newness’ is of some debate or preference. Some media are simply accepted as the means to express artistic endeavour and we do not question their legitimacy or their associated canons and styles. Painting is pretty much accepted by everyone as an art-vehicle in this sense. Even after all the discussions by artists and theorists about the death of painting and its relevance as a medium, it is none the less the one method of production the public has the least difficulty in ‘getting’. You could, if you wished, combine a timeline of artistic development with a measure of acceptance and understanding. Prehistoric cave painting would appear near the beginning, along with ‘Yes we get that one fully. Nice use of pigment and line, etc.’. At the other end of the timeline, in a very congested area after photography, you might find something like dynamic holography or simulated reality, alongside notes suggesting that ‘Although these technologies might produce effects not unlike art, we have difficulty in accepting them as a means of artistic production, as we have no historic precedent to hold them against. We do not understand it so we cannot relate to it’. At present, the speed of a new medium’s development outstrips the speed of the ability of any creative agency to use it to make art: in many cases, artists cannot keep up with the dizzying pace of technological development. Their desire to assimilate a new medium, or a range of new media technologies, into their own practice is always slower than the actual technological shift. As a consequence, our timeline would be littered with the new technologies that simply haven’t found a niche in the creative world – or at least haven’t yet. This redundancy is proportionate to the level of interactivity between technology developer and the creative (end) user. Let us consider a more modern or ‘newer’ medium: video art seems to be a bit of a hit with the museums at the moment, which means the public seem finally to be accepting it as art and paying for the privilege of seeing it. I cannot say whether Bruce Nauman is understood in the same way as Monet or Van Gogh by the gift-shopobsessed art-viewing public, but video is acknowledged, within the art world at least, as a ‘new’ medium, and it is only now being given the serious attention it deserves. Nam June Paik is said to have bought a Sony Portapak video camera in 1965, so let’s say that video as

Throughout the last 16 months the New Media Research Initiative has organised a series of events that included presentations by distinguished artists and student events. The aim of this series was to engage the School Community with work outside the domain of architecture, but sharing a similar toolbox and sensitivity to contemporary issues. The series of invited events started in January 2006 when we had the pleasure of hosting Stelarc on his first visit to the AA, while in May Dextro presented his pioneering work on algorithmic animations and abstract graphics. Both these events were followed by interviews of the artists by the New Media Research Initiative curators. 2007 started with Christopher Lindiger, Director of Research at Ars Electronica Future Lab, who presented current and past work of the laboratory, as well as a short history and philosophy of the Ars Electronica organisation. In January we had the opportunity to enjoy at firsthand the ‘Manual Input Session’ by Zachary Lieberman, who also presented past and current work, while in February Ed Burton presented the future of the notorious Sodaplay project and several other works of the Soda studio. The summer term included presentations by Matt Clark of United Visual Artists as well as lectures by Lina Dzuverovic of Electra Productions and artist Emma Hedditch, followed by a week-long installation of the Her Noise Archive project. Student-based projects included the Laptop Jam Sessions, where students from various parts of the School came together to show work related to screen graphics and media interaction. The cluster also sponsored the AAIR Capri workshop which was held in the summer of 2006. (Featured in AArchitecture, Issue 3). The future activity of the cluster has two main aims: the production of a book featuring work, interviews and papers by the guests and curators, and the hosting of an art residency at the School. Vasilis Stroumpakos is AA Digital Platforms Designer, an AA DRL tutor and Co-curator of the New Media Research Initiative

Top: UVA audio-responsive stage design for Massive Attack world tour 2003 Bottom: Ed Burton presentation at AA, 14 February 2007

AArchitecture – Issue 4

Events By Vasilis Stroumpakos

New Media Research Initiative


I joined Inter 9 with trepidation. On the one hand I saw myself entering a unit that seemed frivolous and indulgent, on the other I was lured by the prospect of reacting against something – after all the title of the unit is Ornament and Redemption. It seemed that Inter 9 was what the AA was all about. While modernism as an ideology has largely disappeared from mainstream design, it nevertheless has shaped our working processes. I suppose the underlying question of the unit is whether it is time to re-examine the way we develop, the way we define, and the way we judge architecture. While the unit itself might be about reaction, its subject is more about evolution – a reassessment of the words we use. In this article I have asked various people from around the School – who are not necessarily concerned with ornament directly – to share their perceptions of what ornament is today and what it could be tomorrow. Ornament never went away, it has just been given the silent treatment. With special thanks to Mark Cousins, Margaret Dewhurst, Alex Haw, Jesse Randzio, Saskia Lewis and Patrick Usborne.

Is ornament for the 21st century inevitable, necessary? Can it be meaningful? Patrick: Using the word ‘ornament’ gives an immediate sense of non-necessity. I feel ornament in architecture is typically seen as clouding the truth of the form itself, draping it in the fashion of the time. However, ornament is highly important for the 21st century. It is an expression, an identity for the time.... However, for it to survive (to move beyond a fashion) it must work in symbiosis with the building itself. It cannot afford to be a separate entity.

How do you envision ornament for the 21st century? Alex: It seems that we’ve gone through a period of decadence and then a period of protestant backlash, and now we’re allowing pleasure back in.... Even if you have a surface that is reflective, we’re allowing sensual intrusion to come back....There was always this idea that things should look economical – I don’t think we are so bothered now. Architecture has always been excessive, it has always been too much, it has always been additional. What architects do is ornament, what a building is – the chit-chat, the extra, the fat, the spice. We are reminded of the way Herzog & de Meuron exploit emergent properties of materials. It’s still mesh but crumpled, as it is at the Schaulager. It is no less ornamental than the Roman equivalent. Mark: Firstly, historically, it’s important to go back to Loos, to realise that Loos was very interested in ornament, it wasn’t just ‘this is something I hate and you should hate it too’. Recently people have uncovered his enormous interest in tattooing. So this statement ‘ornament is crime’ has to be modified in the light that we are not always against certain crimes. ...something called ornament is coming back, but quite what it is, is not necessarily [known] – there is a conceptual problem as to how to define

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Jesse: Ornament is not necessary in architecture except as applied by occupants to personalise their own spaces. But then, I don’t think architecture is necessary either, except as an academic pursuit to better understand how we live and how our buildings can keep us closer to our values. The buildings with the most ornament (churches, museums, post offices, banks, etc.) seem to be those that are least necessary in a world built around my own values.

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Mark: This depends on a number of external conditions, i.e. outside the question of ornament as such, but which relates first of all to the interest in colour [and] the use of decorated, graphically organised surfaces, and to some extent, the blending of the architectural with issues of interior design.... A further external condition is the interest in the natural and artificial forms of morphogenesis in design, where clearly some aspects of ‘blobby’ design tip into the ornamental. Overall, I don’t think there will be a return to the ornamental in the traditional sense, but there has always been a space for the ornamental which was taken up by other categories in modernism, but which now really require some kind of systematic treatment, that’s why I take your unit to be a kind of experimental investigation.

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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Ornament*

ornament. For example, the contemporary taste for decorated surfaces. Is that an ornament? Or is it something else? Should we say that Herzog & de Meuron are pioneering a new kind of ornament, or are they intervening in a new type of surface? We can only understand the traditional and therefore contemporary role of ornament, by giving a contemporary signification to the term ‘structure.’ Because, as it were, the terms for ornament and structure became redundant in the 20th century. Partly because of the status of the wall. When the wall is a curtain wall you can’t really make the distinction between structure and ornament. The curtain wall isn’t structure either.

*B u

Interviews by Aram Mooradian

bastion against the neo-conservatism of England, and of so many countries surrounding us – hopefully that conservative stance will increasingly erode. One of the prime arguments is that the use of digital technology is a fabrication, not just the imagery that we have so far. There is a big narrative that needs to be unravelled about complexity and ornamentation. Complexity is a reading of the world... but in essence it is an interest in ornament, perhaps. Saskia: I hope that there will be more content.... The computer is a phenomenal tool, but like any tool that’s incredibly capable, with no clear ambition it becomes just a complicating device. How do you think our unit’s topic of ornament fits into the current climate of the AA? What are your impressions of the unit so far? Margaret: It is refreshing to see a variety of approaches between units. However it seems from the outside that within the unit the approach is too similar – each student has followed the same steps, taking a source, understanding it, using some similar method and a conclusion based on a rationalisation which is essentially a cavity wall system filled with ‘insulation’. I find this quite disappointing.... there is a danger that the resulting design will simply be a tiling exercise...

Patrick: I see architectural ornament in the 21st century as an integral part of the building fabric itself, where subjectivity is replaced by a necessity – the patterning on a bee’s wing is highly ornamental, but at the same time has evolved as a ruthlessly efficient and complex structure to enable flight. 

Alex: In a funny way, within the ornamentalism of the AA, the techniques are fairly homogeneous. They are often about structural extravagance, and so continue that neo-rational, Anglican, Nordic, Germanic discourse on structure – fairly rationalised and yet still a bit irrational. ‘Surrationalist.’ What do you think attracted Inter 9 students to ornament and do you see this representing a larger trend? What kind of student do you think chooses Inter 9?

Alex: We are still in a minimal phase. We are still in this plain stripped-down boredom period. The AA is a

Alex: The unit is not necessarily that divergent... it seems interested in surface, but in an entirely opposite way

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AA Intermediate 9


to single-surface obsessions.... It seems that it might then offer a critique of that minimal, expansive, endless whiteness... the rhino grey that is so dominant and ubiquitous. The ambition is to rethink the integration of various things. Richard Rogers always talks about the identification of the component. That is the dominant discourse still at the AA, talking about the component. An ornament discourse, and in a sense a systems discourse, is also entirely separate from ideas of structure and infra-structure... the more pragmatic things. In a way it enters the realm of culture, which has been more or less latent. Though I don’t know what [the unit] is going to say about communication in an age of information. Jesse: What type of student likes ornament? 18th-century French aristocracy, obedient disciples of Robert Venturi. Patrick: I can imagine what attracted Inter 9 students was the mystery of the unit and the scathing presentation Oliver gave rebelling against the ‘usual’ work of the AA... Students need to push what they feel should be taught at the AA, and tutors should react to that. In hindsight I’m glad I haven’t joined the ornament unit as I’ve been able to think about the concept of ornament in a purely structural sense within my current project without having to indulge myself in it for a whole year.

What is your position on the use of the capriccio as a new graphic device? Is it useful as a tool or merely an image? Jesse: It’s the best idea, but if the original page were kept all year and just layered upon, it would be even better; it would be more useful if the process were the product. Also, there should be only one drawing that the whole unit keeps adding to.  And it should be physically constructed in Ching’s Yard, or at least be 3D, with glasses and popcorn. Alex: I guess the idea is to underline that ornament is systematic and pervasive, cohesive, not just fragmentary, that it’s not local, not just a ‘tile,’ that it’s a system that covers the whole building. Also of course the capriccio is very ambitious. Saskia: With an agenda like this you can find amazing routes to push the boundaries of what a drawing is. How many layers it might have. Patrick: The capriccio itself will become the lost ornamentation of the paper it’s printed on.  Aram Mooradian is a student in Intermediate Unit 9

Mark: Certainly at this point, when at the AA, as with schools in the USA, the high tide of the digital is manifestly receding, then it seems a moment for schools to re-examine not only in theoretical courses, but in studios or units, basic categories of traditional design. Architecture is not just an evolution of its forms; as a consequence architecture is permanently evolving its terms. I don’t take in any sense a unit such as Inter 9 as being a historical unit that wishes to go back to an older vocabulary, but rather one that in some sense recognises that the field, at least around the question of ornament and structure is a massively changing one. Architectural terms have to be regarded as a group, you change one and you change the others, there is never a settled or final version. It is important to recognise that – otherwise architecture has a pseudo-formality. The history of modernism has done without the category of ornamentation, this does not mean we have done without ornament. And so perhaps we should go back and ask what was the ornamentalism of modernism?

AArchitecture – Issue 4

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guest-edited by aa foundation unit staff and students


By Edward Bottoms

Street Farmer No.2, Spring 1972, price 50p Established 1971 Published by the Architectural Association School of Architecture Street Farmer is the collective name for Peter Crump’s and Bruce Haggart’s politically engaged architectural practice, which took the form of a magazine in their fifth year at the AA under the tutelage of Peter Cook. The short-lived Street Farmer magazine, lasting only two issues, served as a conduit for the pair’s ideas, offering polemical ripostes to the prevailing urbanism of the period. Described as ‘…an intermittant (sic) continuing manual of alternative urbanism’, Street Farmer took the form of a cheaply produced, but well crafted, A4 hippy/proto-punk zine. Issue 2 of the magazine was a more modest affair than the comparatively lavish first issue, with its red/blue/green spot colours; this time a single green ink was used throughout its 36 pages, with the cover printed on a light-green tinted stock. Produced out of sheer material imperative, rather than with aesthetic considerations in mind, the pages fizz with informal cut-and-paste collages, politically charged critiques, typewritten or hand-rendered notations and images appropriated from variety of sources, referencing the visual excesses of the underground comix movement while anticipating the pragmatic DIY aesthetic of punk zines. A surreal, wordless comic-strip features the Statue of Liberty diving into the Hudson River then swimming to shore to commandeer a tractor, causing a man’s car to disintegrate around him. The image of a tractor reappears throughout both issues of the magazine, becoming emblematic of their belief that redemption was only possible by ploughing up the territory claimed by capitalist architecture. In collaboration with friends, the duo carried out urban interventions clothed in a uniform of green boiler suits. A concise text on the inside back cover is a lesson in basic economics, transparently listing the printing cost and its influence on the cover price. A similar tactic appeared two years earlier, on the final spread of the counterculture handbook The Whole Earth Catalog, revealing the magazine’s operating costs for 1969–1970, and six years later, on the sleeve for the Television Personalities’ single ‘Where’s Bill Grundy Now’*. Indicative of the immediacy of the magazine’s publication, the urgency of production overtakes consumption. Street Farmer’s actual costs remain elusively unprinted:

Le Corbusier at the AA Descending the staircase at No. 36 Bedford Square with J. M. Richards and then AA President Howard Robertson, 1 April 1953

Corb at the AA

Zak Kyes, AA Art Director; Wayne Daly, AA Graphic Designer

Photo: AA Archive


AArchitecture – Issue 4

Corb at the AA


A number of photographs relating to Le Corbusier’s only known visits to the AA have recently surfaced in the school archive. The first such occasion was at the request of the 1947 Student Executive Committee, Le Corbusier agreeing to give the concluding lecture in the students’ AA Centenary celebrations of that year. The event took place at 34–36 Bedford Square on 19 December, under the guidance of Student Chairman, Bernard Feilden (subsequently co-founder of Feilden and Mawson) and with translation being provided by Clive Entwistle (translator of Corb’s 1947 Propos d’urbanisme) and AA student, Allen Robert Ballantyne. A transcript of the lecture (seemingly abridged) was subsequently published in the Architect’s Journal of 8 January 1948 under the title of ‘The Golden Section’. The transcript reveals Le Corbusier to have been on vintage form, expounding his theories of harmony, proportion and the ‘Modulor’, illustrating his talk with expressive diagrams in coloured chalk on sheets of white paper.

AArchitecture – Issue 4

Edward Bottoms is the AA Library Web Administrator

News from the Architectural Association

Photos: AA Archive

Le Corbusier drawings Diagrams published in the Architect’s Journal

Two of these lecture diagrams were reproduced in the Architect’s Journal but the subsequent history, and indeed the exact number of drawings produced has been something of a mystery. Four of the drawings, including representations of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation, Marseilles (1946–52) and the UN Headquarters, New York (1947–53), came to prominence in 1990 when a private donor presented them to the RIBA Drawings Collection. However, comparisons between the RIBA’s holdings and photographs within the AA srchive reveal that Le Corbusier made at least six drawings. It is presumed that as the lecture was organised by the Student Committee, the drawings were distributed amongst student members. In the light of this, any further information or recollections from members would be of great interest… In 1953, following his acceptance of the RIBA Gold Medal, Le Corbusier was once more in Bedford Square – the AA establishment holding a dinner in his honour on 1 April. Proceedings are documented in a number of previously unpublished photographs, which record Corb rather magisterially descending the main staircase of the AA and deep in conversation with, among others, the architectural critic J. M. Richards and AA President, Howard Robertson (complete with AA presidential chain). In his after-dinner speech Le Corbusier protested that ‘I do not want to talk to you about architecture. I detest talk about architecture… architecture is something to be done, not talked about.’ Nevertheless, he professed to feel content in the postwar climate of reconstruction in Britain, aware that he was in ‘a country where something is being done, which is alive, which is conscious of its existence in this modern world… I am always delighted to be in a place where I can feel that the spirit lives, the mind lives and the soul lives. I can feel that in England’ (AA Journal, vol. LXVIII, no. 772 (May 1953), pp. 195–7). If any further photographs of Le Corbusier’s visits survive, we would be very grateful to hear of them. Any correspondence can be sent to


Top left: attending a dinner in his honour, 1 April 1953 Top right and bottom: giving a lecture at the AA Centenary celebrations, 19 December 1947

AArchitecture – Issue 4

Corb at the AA


AA Lecture Series 2006–07 In conversation with Nicola Quinn

For his 2007 Friday evening lecture series, Mark Cousins spoke on ‘The Ugly’. The series further develops the argument of a lecture series first given in 1994/95. Since then the argument has developed to include a number of justifications for what people might regard as ugly. Mark sat down to talk to Nicola Quinn (Managing Editor, AArchitecture) about the lecture series. The article which follows is a product of that conversation.

Photo: Valerie Bennett

Mark Cousins: The Ugly

AArchitecture – Issue 4

News from the Architectural Association


This year the Friday lectures by Mark Cousins revisited the series he had given in 1994 on The Ugly. In the time that had elapsed he had changed his mind about a number of issues, which he presented in this year’s lectures. None the less the fundamental argument of the first series was maintained: that is to say that the ugly cannot be thought of as the opposite of the beautiful. Like many oppositions within philosophy, such as truth and error, the terms of the opposition turn out not to be oppositions, but realities of quite different orders. Whatever beauty might be, the argument of the first series had been that the ugly object was ‘that which is there but should not be’. Out of this formula an account of the ugly object had been given which attempted to portray the dynamic of the ugly object with the subject. A special case of this would be contained in the formula ‘the ugly object is what is perceived as that which should be there but is not’. In the new series, the lectures started by considering the paradox that the author of so many ideas of beauty, Socrates, was also acknowledged to be the ugliest of men. This fact led Zophyro, a famous physiognomist, to remark that Socrates contained within himself the most lascivious and perverse desires. Socrates’ friends objected that he was the most virtuous of men. But Socrates silenced them by asserting that the interpreter of his face was correct, and that what virtue he possessed came about from his control over his desires. This led to a famous essay by Montaigne, On Physiognomy, in which the question is posed as to whether the appearance of Socrates’ face was due to his desires or to the exertion of his control over them. In either case, it was necessary to ‘read’ Socrates’ face, which meant that the first question of the face was semiological. It is well known that a well known human face ceases to be ugly and becomes more a field of signs, a map of signification. Semiology, then, means that something is not found ugly, but in the simplest of terms is found interesting. This is true both of architecture and of the city. An initial experience of ugliness gives way to a semiological curiosity. But beyond a certain point the capacity of semiology is exhausted, or, to put it another way, the object exceeds any reading. Physiognomy collapses into an illegible space that we may call ‘the ugly’, or even horror. Up until that point

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Mark Cousins: The Ugly

semiology shows us that the ugly should be there or at least that there is a place for it. Beyond that, signification runs out, though the life of the object continues. One way of elaborating this is to contrast the ghost with the zombie. The ghost always has a terrible tale to tell, but lacks the force of life to tell it. Its space is described as being haunted, where the term haunted refers to that spatiality in which a narrative hangs but cannot enunciate itself for the lack of life, of breath or of warmth. This is why ghosts are described as being cold; they need something of our warmth, life or, in the case of Odysseus in Hades, some of our blood, in order to tell their sad tale. By contrast, zombies or the undead have more life than can be incorporated in meaning. They ravenously eat signs and gobble up meaning. They are forms of animate meat and leave us bereft of signification. Ugliness is then closely tied to the boundary of signification, to the thin line between sense and nonsense. This is central to the experience of urban existence. Unlike the historic experience of rural life, the city confronts not only its immigrants, but all of us, with a kind of personal ignorance. As a consequence, our knowledge and experience of the city comes largely either through the literal reading of signs, or through our capacity to recognise others in so far as they are signs. We do not know each other but we read each other as signs, we build up a code of recognition that enables us to identify people and objects through their attributes. Practices of spacing and placing, of dress codes, of bodily deportment, all these become a working basis for urban recognition. But the limits of our codes are the limits to our capacity to recognise something outside that stands out as excessive and as a source of urban anxiety. Urban phenomena are the ground for modern forms, both of recognition and of anxiety. The ugly is defined not so much as being an attribute of the object, but as falling outside signification. It is the disruption of the relation of figure and ground within the city. It means that either semiology must expand to include it or that unconditioned anxiety of ‘the ugly’ is produced. In that sense the semiological reading of the city is not only a form of knowledge, but its extension is a political imperative if we are not to be swamped by anxiety. Mark Cousins directs the AA’s Histories and Theories programmes


Interview, 21 February 2007 AA Exhibition, 5–23 March 2007

Photos left to right: Valerie Bennett; John MacLean

John Maclean, a London based architectural photographer, was interviewed by Simone Sagi and Rosa Ainley on the occasion of his exhibition in the AA Front Members’ Room titled Brasilia. Maclean’s photographs have been widely published in architectural books and periodicals. A monograph, 21 Recent Photographs (2005), shows his personal work. See

Photos: John MacLean


In my personal projects I don’t really set myself a deadline. I spend seven to ten days in a city looking and taking photographs – actually an extremely long time. At the moment the personal work is completely divorced from anything commercial: it’s not commissioned, I don’t make any money out of it and, in an idealist sort of way, I like that. I’ve recently started getting it published in small ways but I’ve never really thought of an audience for it before this show. I was attracted to Brasilia primarily by what I’d read about this city conceived and constructed within a handful of years. I had this aerial photo in my mind of the crossroads put through the forest, which eventually became the access to the city. Just this idea of starting from scratch, producing this utopian city. And was it an architecture imposed on people, did it work? I remember reading a description of the city, I think by Costa: ‘A city underneath this open sky floating in isolation and emotion’. How could I not be seduced by that? I first came into contact with architecture working at the Royal College of Art. Part of my job was to document students’ work for competitions and also graduate student work. So I found myself photographing everything from ceramics to fashion and architecture. That’s where I discovered my affinity for photographing architecture and I suppose it was something that ran in parallel to my photography anyway, which you might say comes from street photography, American photography of the 1960s and 1970s. It’s about working in the built environment, in a city, in natural light, and also about how we integrate with spaces – if we do – and how we cope with the overwhelming environment of the city. One thing I definitely find in cities that appeals to me, when I’m walking with a camera, is a street that looks chaotic. I’ve just discovered Google Earth as a tool. I know from that aerial view whether there are warrens of streets in the area I might be staying in, and that is going to be appealing. If it’s long wide avenues, then it’s probably not. I generally don’t wait for something to happen. I walk at a rapid pace, swinging my head from right to left, looking for anything … there is a certain adrenaline rush I get from being in a new place, walking out of the hotel with my camera ready. There’s nothing quite like that. And also in some cities that are perhaps

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John MacLean

more dangerous than London, there’s a heightened awareness of what’s happening around you anyway. An exhibition is the perfect opportunity to make work on a large scale. It interests me when I photograph big because it means you can enter into that photograph and explore it and it’s a very different feel to photographs in a book. A lot of my work is about human scale being overwhelmed by urban scale, and a lot of the human figures in my work are very diminutive within the frame. It’s really because I’m more interested in what people are doing than how they look. It’s not photographers or architects commissioning photographers saying ‘we don’t want people’, it’s usually because there’s a thin envelope of time when you can actually shoot a building. I think digital photography might change things in that respect. There’s certainly the opportunity to set up the camera and allow people to walk through the frame and take that frame over and over again, 20 or 30 times, and select one that really works and has come together in that moment. With film, the safer option is not to have any people in the frame at all. I think it’s really about time that architects allowed or encouraged people to be in their buildings when they’re being photographed. Some photographers are developing methods of imposing constraints on themselves using digital photography, slowing themselves down. You take one shot at a time, take the card out of the camera, walk into another room, put it in your laptop. It’s getting back to the slowness of Polaroids … whereas I’d love to start working more and more rapidly, taking more chances. I’ve worked in New York, Moscow, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo so far and there are a lot more cities that I’d really love to go and experience. I’d like to go to Mexico City, primarily for its chaotic nature, and I’d love to go to Berlin, especially the old East. Something will run out before the cities do. John MacLean was talking to Rosa Ainley (Events List Editor) and Simone Sagi (Exhibitions Co-ordinator and Press Officer); transcript by Kitty O’Grady



Photos left to right: Valerie Bennett; Margaret Dewhurst

Image: Margaret Dewhurst

Image: Margaret Dewhurst

The AA’s Summer Pavilion is a three-week temporary event space for Bedford Square. The winning design proposed by Second Year student Margaret Dewhurst is a hairy structure inspired by the sensation of drying wet hair over your face. The aim was to create a similar visual effect, and it has since morphed into a BadHair pavilion, made of glue-laminated strands that criss-cross over a sphere and sweep to the floor to enclose passer-bys in a shadowy tangle. Judging for Intermediate Unit 2’s 2007 Pavilion competition was held on 22 March 2007. The jury consisted of Brett Steele (AA Director), Charles Walker and Martin Self (Unit Masters, Intermediate 2), Shin Egashira (Unit Master, Diploma 11), Alex de Rijke (DrMM), Alison Brooks (Alison Brooks Architects), Amanda Baillieu (Editor, Building Design), Sarah Hare (Sarah Hare Architects), Larry Malcic (HOK Design Director) and Warren Dudding (Finnforest) The AA Summer Pavilion will once again form part of the Projects Review exhibition and will be installed in Bedford Square from 6–27 July 2007. The Pavilion competition was sponsored by Building Design, Arup, Finnforest and HOK.

AA Summer Pavilion 2007 Top right: sketch indicating position of joints Top left: computer-generated visual of the pavilion in situ and Bottom left: Pavilion jury Bottom right: wood being stressed in Hooke Park

AArchitecture – Issue 4

News from the Architectural Association


The AA publication Mutsuro Sasaki: Morphogenesis of Flux Structure accompanied an exhibition of the pioneering Japanese structural engineer in the AA Gallery. Sasaki’s influence on contemporary Japanese architecture can be seen in many award-winning projects, the most notable being Toyo Ito’s Sendai Mediatheque of 2000, for which Sasaki and Ito were jointly awarded the prize for built work from the Architectural Institute of Japan.

Morphogenesis of Flux Structure by Mutsuro Sasaki is available from AA Publications. Designed and edited by AA Print Studio. £15.00 ISBN 978 1 902902 57 9

Dale Benedict AA Secretary’s Office

SOM Award AA Members’ Letters

Tribute to Dale Benedict By Mark Prizeman Born in Nebraska in 1918, Dale had met Alvin Boyarsky at Eugene, Oregon in 1960 and it struck the future Chairman of the AA that he was a perfect First Year tutor. Dale pitched up at the AA in March 1974, initially to help his former student, Rick Mather, run First Year Unit Two with Sue Rogers; this followed a successful career running an architectural practice in the Far West, teaching at the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. He taught in the First Year until September 2000, when he left the Architectural Association and his modest garden flat in Ealing, and returned to spend his last years in his extremely beautiful timber house in the hills above Seattle. He passed away peacefully, at home, on Tuesday 20 February 2007. His teaching was precise and directed, both developing the modernism of Le Corbusier with a new fascination with Italy following his European ‘Grand Tour’ in the late 50s, along with championing the likes of the cybernetician Prof Gordon Pask. Dale, and the AA under Alvin Boyarsky’s chairmanship, were rediscovering the Renaissance and trying to rework architecture beyond the modernist doctrine. Dale much later made his ‘Journey to the East’. References to Alberti would often fuel his gentle but relentless interrogation of a student project, as much as his obsession with circular arrangements of buildings –

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in Syria. His unit trip would be to drive from London to Venice in a minibus (with his students doing the driving), visiting buildings and gardens on the way. His passion for architecture and the careful arrangement of space, rather than expressive form, was complete: only occasionally would he let slip references to designing stone fireplaces for Hollywood starlets or training rear gunners in the USAAF. He lived for the education of students and could often be seen in the bar talking through some gritty problem with students from all over the school. A glance at an old Projects Review reveals many a now eminent practitioner starting their architectural education with Dale, usually working in his favourite medium – crisp white cardboard. He was a very keen gardener and made gardens wherever he stayed. In Ealing he took on neighbours’ gardens and abandoned plots of land. His favourite place in England was Hidcote, a garden created by an Anglo-American, Major Johnston, in Gloucestershire in the 1930s. It is proposed that a memorial picnic, for those who remember Dale’s way of opening the doors of knowledge, will be held this summer in the Garden at Rousham, a place of subtle inspiration to the AA of the 70s and early 80s. Mark Prizeman is an alumnus of the AA and former AA Unit Master

News from the Architectural Association

Photos: Valerie Bennett

perhaps deriving from his own student thesis on the basilica of St Simeon Stylites

A Warm Thank-you to Edouard Le Maistre, former AA Secretary... Edouard Le Maistre’s 40-year contribution to the AA was celebrated on 12 March 2007 at an informal reception organised by the AA Council and held in the AA library. The evening was well attended by past presidents, current and former AA Council members and staff, and it was an opportunity for friends and colleagues to show their appreciation for Edouard and wish him well in his retirement. His wife Jenny and their children were also present. AA Director Brett Steele and President Eric Parry thanked Edouard for his long and valued service as AA Secretary, whilst a background projection of images from the AA’s archive served as a visual reminder of Edouard’s constant presence at AA events, and the important place he has earned in the history of the AA. Edouard was sad to leave, but looking forward to his continuing association as a Member and the opportunity to contribute to the AA in a different capacity. Edouard’s life-long service to the AA was also recognised officially at the 2005/06 Awards Ceremony in July 2006, with the award of an Honorary AA Diploma (as featured in AArchitecture Issue 2, page 25). ...And a Warm Welcome to Kathleen Formosa As Edouard Le Maistre makes the transition into retirement, the


Architectural Association welcomes Kathleen Formosa as the new AA Secretary. Kathleen joined the AA in June 2006, serving as Deputy Secretary to Edouard, during which time she had the opportunity to meet the AA’s external support and service providers, the AA’s students and membership, and to get to know her new colleagues. Kathleen came to the AA from The New School, a private university in New York City, where she served as Director for Undergraduate Liberal Studies. At The New School, Kathleen collaborated with senior faculty and the university’s leadership to create a shared liberal arts programme for the university’s diverse undergraduate constituencies, most of whom were students in the visual and performing arts. Kathleen holds a BA in English and French from Marietta College and a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University, both in the United States. Originally trained as a university lecturer, she brings to the AA an invaluable combination of academic and administrative experience. Council has charged Kathleen to work closely with the Director of School, Brett Steele, on policy and administrative issues for the AA, and to continue progress towards a new period of strategic growth and productive change for the organisation.

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New SOM Award and Internship   Thanks to the generosity of the renowned international architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the AA is able to announce a new student award starting in 2007/08. The award will comprise of one-term’s fees at the AA, as well as a paid internship at SOM, London over the summer holiday. The award is open to new and existing AA students entering the Diploma School (Fourth Year students) in 2007/08 – the first internship will be in summer 2008 and will last around 10 weeks. Interested candidates should apply through the Bursary Application Procedure – for more details please contact Sabrina Blakstad in the AA Registrar’s Office. The award will be administered by the Bursary Committee, which meets in mid-July, and the selection will be based on academic excellence and financial need. Proven CAD skills will be a prerequisite. MEMBER’s LETTER   Following a brief visit to the School in connection with a book I am writing, I have been receiving copies of the new magazine – and particularly interested in reading about some of my classmates. I spent the year 1951–52 at the AA on a Fulbright Grant, after graduating from Cornell University. Robert Furneaux Jordan assigned me to Henry Elder’s Fourth Year class, since there was no special slot for a graduate. When Henry quit, following the Patrick/Jordan row, I was happy to guide him to Cornell, where he taught for many years before becoming the Head at British Columbia. Shortly after my return to the States, I was most lucky to get a job with Marcel Breuer, with whom I worked for the following 22 years, 12 of them as one of his four partners. After his death I

SOM Awards / AA Members’ Letters

joined Richard Meier (a fellow Cornellian and Breuerite), also joining his four partners. Upon my retirement in 1995 I wrote Marcel Breuer, a Memoir, and am currently preparing a book inspired by Camillo Sitte, 25 Great Public Squares and 10 Others, which brought me back to Bedford Square. My memories of 1951–52 are many and varied: stunned by the erudite verbal presentations of work when British students were judged; reassured when I saw that the projects weren’t all that good; Peter Sainsbury trying to do an American accent; Furneaux Jordan’s lecture on the Parthenon; My AA passport that got me into the Palazzo Farnese and onto the roof of the Unité d’Habitation in Bordeaux. (Actually it took a letter from a college professor to his father, the President of Italy, and another from RFJ to Corb – but those stories are too long to tell); a summer with Geoff Jarvis, who had just graduated at the head of his class, travelling through Italy and Greece. (We’re still good friends.); the annual AA Ball – dancing with Charmian Lacey and being asked to lead some American reels (which I have never known); two weeks at the Hertfordshire County Council Architecture Dept to see their great new schools; the tail end of the Festival of Britain, ration books and the death of George VI. As always there are things about Britain that confuse this Yankee, like: why does your Art Director think that 6 pt pink lettering on pale blue paper is legible to anyone? (Or do you shrink the American edition to save air mail postage?) Thanks anyway and greetings to anyone from my class who may happen to read this. Robert F Gatje, FAIA


AA News Briefs

AA News Briefs

News Briefs

Paul Lathan (AA DipCons 2005) has won

Robert Anderson (AA H+T MA 2003) has recently been awarded a summer 2007 scholarship for the Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad programme, sponsored by the US Dept of Education and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Robert’s focus for the seminar will be on history, art and architectural education in Poland and Russia, and he will address issues pertaining to cultural perceptions and differences outside of the typical scope of education in art and architecture.

the RICS award for building conservation 2006, for the restoration of Bromley Hall for offices.

The work of Kas Oosterhuis (former AA academic staff) and his recent lecture at the AA were featured in the 1 February 2007 issue of Building Design.

Last year’s summer pavilion designed by Simon Whittle (Third Year student) will be featured in Need to Know: How to Read a Building, by Timothy Britain-Catlin (History + Theory Studies tutor), to be published on 2 July 2007 by HarperCollins. The book will be available in Tesco stores.

Yi Cheng Pan (AADipl (Hons) 2006) was interviewed for the 9 February issue of Building Design. Yi Cheng was a winner of a Class of the Year award in 2006, and he is featured together with winners from the last two years. In the piece Yi Cheng talks about his recent projects and plans for the future. The practice of Simon Allford (AA Council) and Paul Monaghan (GradDiplCons(AA)1989), Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, was featured in the 1 March 2007 issue of the Architect’s Journal. The article featured the Unity building in Liverpool’s Prince’s Dock, which was designed by the practice and is its largest building to date. Terra Architecture, the practice of Michael Wilbur (AADipl 1992), has won an invited competition for what will be Miami’s tallest building, rising to 1,050 ft. Construction on One Bayfront Plaza is expected to begin in 2009.

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The annual spaghetti competition, set by Technical Studies Course Masters Anderson Inge and Philip Cooper for First Year students, was won by Hye Ju Park and Joo Hyun Cho. This year the design and workmanship of the spaghetti engineering were so precise and exemplary that the winning structure was the lightest ever (60 grams) in the project’s history.

Michael Shevel (AADipl 2003) has collaborated on a film with French artist Xavier Veilhan. The film will be screened at the Pompidou Centre in Paris on 6–7 April on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the museum. The film will open a performance called ‘Aerolite’, conceived by Veilhan with the band AIR, in which Michael will take part. Michael is currently writing a PhD in philosophy (aesthetics) in Paris. Teresa Stoppani (PhD programme tutor) is the recipient of a HEFCE/University of Greenwich Research Fellowship and is currently Visiting Research Fellow at the AA and the Open University Art History Department, where she is working on a book, ‘Paradigm Islands. Contemporary discourses around Manhattan and Venice’. Teresa organised the AA/OU PhD Research Day on 16 March 2007, the first

News from the Architectural Association

in a series of events that bring together PhD students and critics from the two programmes to discuss work in progress and develop further collaborations. Eric Schuldenfrei & Marisa Yiu (Unit Masters, Intermediate 1 ) were part of a panel discussion moderated by Charlie Koolhaas entitled, ‘You Can’t Take it With You’. As part of  ‘A Conversation in Film’ – London International Documentary Film Festival organised by Patrick Hazard and Jessie Teggin and with the directors of Losers and Winners, Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken – they spoke on topics ranging from Chinese economic resurgence to post-Fordist industrial economies. The discussion followed the UK premiere of Losers and Winners, which won the Best Film Award at One World Festival 2007, Prague. Simos Yannas (AA SED Course Director) joined Rab Bennetts, Thymio Papayannis, Ivi Nanopoulou and Aristidis Romanos (former AA academic staff) as an invited speaker on the City Debates: Environmental Architecture event organised by the British Council in Athens as part of its Metropolis Season. Some 300 architects and planners attended the event in the new Benaki Museum in Central Athens. Tom Verebes (AA DRL Co-Director) and his recent graduates from the DRL studio presented three DRL Phase II projects to the master planning team for Stratford City in east London, including Fletcher Priest Architects and Arup Urban Design, at the office of Fletcher Priest. The studio


focused on alternative urban schemes for the live master planning project adjacent to the 2012 Olympic site. A ring-shaped urban space designed by Nikolaus Hirsch (former Unit Master), Markus Miessen (Unit Master, Intermediate 7), Philipp Misselwitz (AADipl 2001) and Matthias Görlich has been set up in downtown Cologne for the European Kunsthalle’s first exhibition, Models for Tomorrow: Cologne (curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen, Vanessa Joan Mueller and Julia Hoener). For Models for Tomorrow, the institution uses the urban space with its range of publicly accessible sites and invites the audience to walk along its path. Markus Miessen is also one of 50 international practitioners selected to design and curate a space at the 2007 Lyon Biennial. The concept of the biennial is that of a history book written by a number of people, entitled The History of a Decade that has yet to be named. biennale-de-lyon-org On 26 March, Markus presented a lecture at Columbia University New York, titled The Violence of Participation. The lecture was based on a text published in the Austrian art-theory-journal SPRINGERIN, on the occasion of one of Documenta 12’s leitmotiv: Different Modernities. Markus will be a panel-member at inSite’s two-day multidisciplinary conference, rethinking the challenges of artistic, curatorial, architectural and theoretical engagement in urban and other public spheres. The event is a partnership between inSite San Diego/Tijuana and Creative Time, New York, in collaboration with The Cooper Union School of Art. insite/index.html

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Shumon Basar (AACP Director), Antonia

Peter Blundell Jones (AADipl 1972), now

Carver and Markus Miessen are the editors of a new book WITH/WITHOUT. Co-published by the New York-based magazine Bidoun and the Dubai-based think tank Moutamarat, this publication appeared on the occasion of the first ever International Design Forum in Dubai (May 07). The book investigates the wider cultural reverberations caused by architecture, spatial production and at times, spatial destruction. It is presented as a series of inquiries into emerging and existing ‘cultures of space’.

Professor of Architecture at Sheffield, has just published with Architectural Press the second volume of Modern Architecture Through Case Studies, covering the years 1945–1990, co-written with Eamonn Canniffe. Case studies include the Eames House, the Economist Building, among others. Blundell Jones’s monograph on Peter Hübner will be available from July.

Wayne Daly (AA Graphic Designer) presented recent AA Print Studio work to second year graphic design students at the American University of Beirut on Friday 13 April. Wayne was also invited to take part in crits at the school. Peter Staub (AADipl 2003 and Unit Master, Diploma 14) has just returned from Shanghai where he spoke at the Holci Foundation Forum 2007 on Urban_Trans_Formation. He presented some professional work as well as work by AA Diploma 14 students. A paper on ‘Mediating Instruments’ will be published soon. On 3 May he spoke at the second Thames Gateway Futures Symposium at ExCel. This event was part of Think07. Peter has also been asked to submit work for this year’s Swiss Art Prize to be exhibited at Art Basel from 11–17 June 2007.

AA News Briefs

Mark Pimlott (AADipl 1985) has just completed a book, Without and within: essays on territory and the interior (episode, Rotterdam 2007), published in May this year. Essays in two further books, Boutiques and other retail spaces: the architecture of seduction (Routledge, London 2007) and Bars and cafés: living in public (Routledge, London 2007). A critical essay on the work of Hild und K architekten will be published in a 2G monograph on the architects in July (Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 2007). He has edited and written a critical essay on BIQ architecten in a monograph to be published in September this year (NAi publishers, Rotterdam 2007). David Hebblethwaite (AADipl 1998) & Yusnidar Yusof (AADipl 1999) have recently landed in Australia having sailed from Thailand. They bought an old yacht in Phuket, fixed it up like new and sailed it to Oz. They will now sell the boat and return to London to carry on with other projects. An article on South Coast House built by the practice of Julius Boker (AA Member) has recently been published in Australia’s AR magazine. The building is composed of six modules that are oriented to the north east and positioned to allow glimpses of the water in Batemans Bay.


AA News Briefs

AA News Briefs

Simos Yannas (AA SED Course Director) was an invited speaker at Harvard University’s Center for Government and International Studies to present work in progress by the AA Masters programme at a seminar on Re-Conceiving the Built Environment of the Gulf Region held on 28–29 April. Kalliope Kontozoglou (AADipl (Hons) 1981 and former academic staff) has won an international architectural competition in Greece to design the National Museum of Contemporary Art inside a legendary building of the Greek modern movement, the FIX brewery by Takis Zenetos. Vandana Baweja (AA H+T MA 1999). presented two conference papers in 2007: ‘The Beginning of a Green Architecture: Otto Koenigsberger at the Department of Tropical Architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture’ at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) 95th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and ‘Otto Koenigsberger’s Collaboration with the Smithsons: The Tropicalisation of British Architectural Culture’ at the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) 60th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is currently finishing her PhD in History and Theory of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Melike Altinisik, Samer Chamoun and Daniel Widrig (AA DRL 2006 Graduates), collectively known as team MRGD, won the 2006 FEIDAD Design Merit Award.   Dr Eugenia Fratzeskou (AA Member) recently gained her AHRC-funded PhD

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on new intersections of site-specific digital art, architecture and computer science (University of Surrey/Wimbledon School of Art). Recent activities have included being a Visiting Expert in the MA in Architecture & Digital Media, University of Westminster and editor of the AHRC Fine Art Doctoral Research Training Programme 2005–07, Wimbledon College of Art and Kingston University.

Franklin Lee and Anne Save de Beaurecueil (Unit Masters, Diploma 2) were invited to exhibit the work of their practice, SUBdV, as well as the research conducted with their AA Diploma 2 Students, at the Brasil Eco

Harriet Harriss (AA DipCons 2006) has been awarded the Landscape Architecture scholarship to the British School in Rome. She intends to cut and paste cinematic and drawn dérives around Rome’s modernist power stations which will culminate in an exhibition and a participatory public spectacle of live drawing and cinematic iteration.

Nuru Karim (AA DRL 2006) vOId Architects has been awarded ‘Young Architect of the Year, Western India’: ARCHIDESIGN Awards for Excellence’. Nuru has also been invited as a guest speaker for the unveiling of the ‘colour forecast cell’ Asian Paints in the city of Pune, India. The lecture presented shifts in paradigm across the globe celebrating augmented systems weaving colour and cutting edge technology driven by user interfaces and computational intelligence.

Work by AA graduates and winners of the AJ Corus ‘40 under 40 award’ Marianne Mueller (AADipl 1995) and Olaf Kneer AADipl 1993) (Mueller Kneer Associates / has been selected by the Bundesarchitektenkammer (BAK) to be included in the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) congress, ‘Transmitting Architecture’ in Turin 2008. A preview will take place from November 2007 to January 2008 in the ifa-Galleries in Stuttgart and Berlin. Claudia Pasquero (AA MA EE 2002) and Marco Poletto (AA MA EE 2002) have been tutors of this year’s AA exchange workshop held in Istanbul. They are also co-founder of ecoLogicStudio and have been invited to exhibit one of their ecomachines in Milan. The first built project of ecoLogicStudio is nearing completion in nearby Turin. Francesco Brenta (AADipl 2006) has been collaborating with them.

News from the Architectural Association

Member) joint co-ordinators of the Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust Schools Pilot Scheme have been setting up visits to primary and special schools in Buckinghamshire. There

Show International Festival of Ecological Architecture and Landscape, from 1–5 June 2007 at the Palácio das Indústrias in Americana, São Paulo, Brasil.

Kathrin Böhm and Andreas Lang (Unit Masters, Intermediate 10) and founders of the art/architecture collective public works ( have been commissioned to design a mobile folk archive for the town of Egremont/Cumbria. The ‘Folk Float’ will be housed on a former milk float and will go on site in August 2007 as part of the Creative Egremont Programme. For more information visit Their ‘Future Gallery’ project in collaboration with Siemens Corporate Communications UK and Siemens Arts Programme Worldwide has been nominated for two National Art and Business Award, the Employees Award and Arts&Business Creativity Award. Since last September Rosemary Jury (AA Member and former Conservation Co-ordinator) and Jeanne Bliss (AA


is plenty of design potential in assessing ‘Outdoor Classrooms’ with which AA staff and students may like to be involved. Contact for further information. Breeding Design: Singapore Visiting Workshop 2007 For the second year, the Architectural Association is migrating for 10 days to Southeast Asia to offer an intensive introduction to the School’s approach to architectural education and design. This year’s workshop will discuss issues of city growth around the topic of ‘vertical strategies for urban living’. This course is open to anyone interested in exploring the architectural field as a profession or as an alternative interest and willing to investigate different approaches to practice. For more information see the Visiting Programme section on the AA website and Edouard Cabay (AADipl 2005), Michel da Costa (MA Emtech 2006) Gonçalves & Nathalie Rozencwajg (first year master) are organising TILE07: Advanced Tiling Systems Workshop, 15–23 September 2007. Tile07 proposes a multidisciplinary encounter designed to developed advanced tiling principles based on ceramic material. Held in Marrakech, the collaborative workshop aims to learn from the local culture and particular climatic conditions to insert new performances into tile design. Tile07 will explore conception through the combination of advanced digital tools and updated ancestral materials & techniques.

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Stine C Atla (AA H+T MA student) has received an awarded in Denmark for young emerging artists and has a solo exhibition at the Danish Art Museum, Horsens Kunstmuseum. The art museum and a Danish Art Collector have bought some of her work. Her art practice is concerned with formal discussion of geometry and irregularity in the development of architectural objects and as well as the prospects of the role of the architect today towards the 21st century. Fabricformwork, a new book by Alan Chandler (AADipl 1996), will be published in September. It documents research into casting concrete with responsive formwork, undertaken in collaboration with Edinburgh University and the University of Manitoba, Canada. The practice he co-runs with Luisa Auletta (also AA Alumnus) has just completed a Nursery (RIBA Journal + AJ May 2007) and is about to complete a £2m hotel/bar-restaurant and deli in Camden Town. The dissertation project of Federico Montella (AA E+E MSc 2006) has been presented to the students of Architecture and Sustainability at the London Metropolitan University and has also been featured in two conferences about sustainable design internal to the company Aukett Fitzory Robinson. The Project ‘Slender Multistress Driven Structures’ by Mattia Gambardella (AA Emtech MA 2006) and Guillem Baraut (AA Emtech MA 2006) won a Design Merit Award in the 2006 FEIDAD Awards, whch are conceived to encourage the exploration and definition of architectural design in the digital electronic age.

AA News Briefs

Natalia Kokotos (AADipl 2004), Klairi Xenofontos, James Hall, Anastasios Anagnostopoulos and Dimitris Sofos, members of the BGS (British Graduate Society) under the guidance of architect and town planner Vassilis Zotos have been working on a project to clean up the Cephissus river. The river flows through Athens, as an integral part of the city’s fabric, but over the past few decades it has become a flowing garbage dump and repository for toxic industrial waste as well as illegal construction. The aim of the project is to raise public awareness towards the improvement of the river and the opportunities for sustainable development of the riverside. Christian Parreno (AA MA H+T 2006) has had one of his installations shortlisted for the ‘Mariano Aguilera’ Art Competition and exhibition by the end of May in Quito, Ecuador. This year the event features 20 projects out of 500 entries on the theme of ‘Des-figurations’. The installation is titled ‘aspettami ogni sera, after San Basilio’. The DRL team RED.pdf (drl v.9 2005–2007) were given a mention in the Evolo Scyscraper competition. RED.pdf proposes a housing project as an example of adaptive architectural environment. Based on ecology systems, the team investigates how an urban development can be explored as a simulation model of natural growth, negotiating and adapting to the existing urban fabric. Borrowing rules and functions of the natural world, such as growth and phyllotaxis, the project is investigated as a proposal of parametric phasing development according to different urban needs. William Hailiang Chen (AADipl 2006) has collaborated with sculptor Chong


AA News Briefs

installation which encourages the audience to create sculptural objects out of disposable chopsticks. Get It Louder 07 is a biennial exhibition on contemporary arts and design in China. It will travel to four major cities – Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu – from June to September. Shumon Basar (AACP Director) is one of the invited foreign curators. A preview of the Get It Louder exhibition will be published in the Chinese version of Domus magazine In June. Diploma Unit 14 had an exhibition entitled Guerilla Gateway at the Kemistry Gallery 25–30 May 2007. The unit continues to design and develop mediating instruments, applied prototypes that simultaneously instrumentalise and politicise consultation, communication and design strategies for developments in the Thames Gateway. This assembly of 12 interactive installations investigates cultural, social, political and economic networks of interrelationships of forces and agents designing London’s metropolitan expansion. (AA Dip 14 is kindly supported by Brompton Bicycle Ltd) Diploma 10 visited Khartoum for their unit trip, where they conducted a workshop at the University of Khartoum in conjunction with Sudan Airways, the Civil Aviation Authority, Dorsch Consult and Leit-werk. An exhibition documenting the trip opened on 1 June in the AA Bar.

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Nikolay Shahpazov (Diploma 3) won Design Challenge Number One for the bat house competition in London, run by Andrzej Blonski Architects. design-challenges/ Zak Kyes (AA Art Director) presented Catalogue 3: Bolid/Italic, Ghent, Belgium at Bold Italic III, a day of lectures related to graphic design by Daniel Eatock, James Goggin, Will Holder, David Reinfurt, Daniel van der Velden & Maureen Mooren. Kyes was the subject of a cover profile in Grafik magazine (June, 2007). Steven Bateman’s article includes a selection of recent projects. In February 2007 the new was launched. The new site is build on a comprehensive data management and user system, that gives the potential for ongoing expansion in terms of content and structure. The aim is the site to become a true extension of the school, constantly capturing and showing the school life, projects, events and the AA community activity.

News from the Architectural Association

© Rem Koolhaas/Rene Daalder

Boon Pok, a PhD student at the London Metropolitan University, on a project called ‘As Much As You Like’ for the Get It Louder exhibition 2007 in China. ‘As Much As You Like’ is a site-specific


HOLLYWOOD TOWER: ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY BY RENE DAALDER & REM KOOLHAAS, 1973 Cover of screenplay for an unmade film. Koolhaas has described the content of the film as consisting ‘of three levels. At the first level, wealthy Arabs buy up the Hollywood film archive and build a computer with which any star can be put back on the screen. The second level deals with the Nixon administration, which spends a fortune helping out-of-work actors – including Lassie – get jobs in the movies again. Finally, the third level is about Russ Meyer, who is shooting a porn film – the last form of humanism.’ Koolhaas’ lecture at the AA on 18 May was announced by a poster for the unrealised film (overleaf). Poster designed by AA Print Studio.


AArchitecture â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Issue 4

News from the Architectural Association



AArchitecture Issue 4 Summer 2007 1 News from the Architectural Association le corbusIer, aa after-dInner speech, 1 aprIl 1953

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