AARCHITECTURE ISSUE 32
NEWS FROM THE ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION
â€˜If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?, In this instance, it is uncertain whether or not reality exists independently from perception and this moment of uncertainty might be termed as silence. The state of silence could be termed as a pure form and it is through silence, that we are able to move through sound. It is peculiar to consider therefore, that it is only through silence that we reach sound. Yet there is theoretically no possible transition between silence and sound because the former is immediately corrupted by the occurrence of the latter. One could question in much more detail the cause of silence or its opposing relative; however this issue of AArchitecture is primarily involved with the consequence of silence and also the notion of curation and position of silence in space and in writing. What follows silence? Perhaps desire?
In 1983, the philosopher, sociologist and literary theorist Jean-FranĂ§ois Lyotard wrote Le Differend, in which certain conflicts between systems of linguistic dispute are defined, not necessarily opposing, but different in nature. Throughout this study, Lyotard describes frictious relationships within language where no rule of judgement is applicable to both relating subjects. Silence takes on an essential role in understanding the term,
le differend. Phrases can be continuously held in suspense of each other, in a momentary space, where: ‘The differend is the unstable state and instance of language, where something that must be verbalised cannot be received in that moment. This state involves a negative phrase that we term silence, … , – Lyotard, Jean-François. The Differend: phrases in dispute In Lyotard’s philosophical system, the phrase should not be understood as a form of linguistics, but an entity which defines and is defined by an event. In other words, the phrase happens. ‘In the differend, something “asks” to be put into phrases, and suffers from the wrong of not being able to be put into phrases right away. This is when the human beings who thought they could use language as an instrument of communications learn […] that they are summoned by language., One is simultaneously given both the ability and the inability to speak and therefore, a moment of silence is reached. At all times, there is a phrase which follows the previous and precedes the following. There is no such phrase as non-phrase. The phrase must be understood as an event which happens: ‘s’arrive t-il?, and silence is presumed to be present, being independent from any other state that could possibly corrupt it because it is a presence and not an absence of another state.
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With this in mind, Issue 32 forms a compilation of analysis on the term silence through linguistic andâ€‰/â€‰or spatial composition. Some passages attempt to break down the meaning of silence, through various mediums such as place (Carolina Battarello, A Reflection on Silence as the Necessary Pause) to capture its nature. Others use the typology and arrangement of writing to conduct the ebbs and flows of silence through a written passage. This is attempted either through poetry (Ghyda Helou, The Silence of NonPlaces) or through spatial writing (Evgenia Emets, Echo of Now), so that the written word becomes aware of its effect with regards to the perceived sound it produces and the silence that follows due to its position. So that even the written word or passage can become an intonation of sound to nonsound or silence, of solace to disorder or relief to noise depending on the ordering of words to page. Other work involves the use of imagery, by capturing the stillness of an object in its surrounds, (Stan Turcon, A Saucerful of Secrets) or placing narratives onto such objects by recounting their histories of either style or ownership (Jacopo Colarossi & Francesca R. Forlini, Left Overs) suggesting that it might be the historical traces of something that creates its presence. These observations can be placed on a single object or furniture to an urban setting, where the city can become a mere plane of surfaces or volumes that compose confined and released space (Gerry Johansson, City Squares). And finally, the submission by Maria Theodorou and John Andrews considers
the role of silence in relation to the notion of ‘delivery’ and ‘curation’. They question: ‘What if silence is not just the opposite of sound (especially in the form of noise) but another name for stopping the recurrence of rituals of thinking / talking (architectural thinking / talking included) and its reassuring tropes and postures.’ – Maria Theodorou & John Andrews, The AA Shadow Series Reflected Consequently, if we understand the energy between silence and non-silence to explain the discourse between space versus enclosure or printed works versus blank space on paper, or even more simply an interlude versus chorus, we begin to realise this relationship as one of composition, oscillation or play. The intermittence between the two polarising states forms a sequence of decisions that ultimately form the whole, as though the presence of sound is formed through the presence of silence. We might even begin to consider the form and presence of silence as sound waiting to be interfered, terming silence as the relational posture to sound. Sensy Mania, Emily Priest AArchitecture Editors
AARCHITECTURE ISSUE 32
NEWS FROM THE ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION
New From AA Publications ...................................... 70 AA Bookshop’s Recommended Reading ................ 74 AA News ........................................................................ 79 AA Notices ................................................................... 88 Issue 33: DESIRE ........................................................ 89
Gerry Johansson, City Squares........................................................................8 Carolina Bettarello, A Reflection on Silence as the Necessary Pause.............. 16 Stan Turcon, A Saucerful of Secrets...................................................... 22 Simone Marchetti & Yulia Filatova, Kingdom of Silence........................................................... 28 Joshua Bristow, Redrawing St George in the East..................................... 36 Jacopo A Colarossi & Francesca R Forlini, Left Overs......................................................................... 40 Ghyda Helou, The Silence of Non-Places............................................... 46 Evgenia Emets, Echo of Now.......................................................................48 Kotaro Watanabe, On Silence – Tangent Sculpture, or the Art of Narrative without Saying..................................................52 Maria Theodorou & John Andrews, The AA Shadow Series Reflected......................................57 Gina Jiang, Pantomime........................................................................ 68
CITY SQUARES â€”â€‰Gerry Johansson
Gerry Johansson is a Swedish born and practicing photographer. The images shown here, and for the cover of this issue are part of a larger published work; titled Tokyo. To arrive in Tokyo, after living in a small European town, at first feels like being drowned in chaos. A chaos that somehow, soon turns into a recognisable order. The city is organised to handle mass movements and conflicts. The architecture is often modular and tries to create its own landscape with a minimalist sense of nature through the repeated square. Shiodome, Tokyo, 2004
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Makuhari, Tokyo, 2004
Shinjuku, Tokyo, 2004
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Minato, Tokyo, 2004 Makuhari, Tokyo, 2004
Otemachi, Tokyo, 2004
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Makuhari, Tokyo, 2004
Suidobashi, Tokyo, 2004
A REFLECTION ON SILENCE AS THE NECESSARY PAUSE — Carolina Bettarello
Carolina Bettarello is a Brazilian / Italian architect. She studied Architecture and Urbanism at Pontiff Catholic University of Campinas, in Sao Paulo and since then, has worked and studied in London at Central Saint Martins. Her research concerns the origins of the concept of architecture, connecting it with the paradox between the built environment and the way we use it.
How to understand silence? ‘When “noise” is assumed to be Y, silence is the absence of noise, stillness’. 1st attempt: Silence as an absence. As the absence of ‘something’, silence could be understood as a mechanism; one which subtracts agency from ‘something’. By stealing the possibility of action from ‘something’, would silence then carry the potential of becoming a presence? – rather than an absence?
2nd attempt: Silence as a presence. As something-less-something, silence could be understood as the presence of ‘something’ – a presence which carries in itself the absence of ‘something’. Could then silence be understood as being a ‘formless-something’?
‘When “noise” is assumed to be X, silence is the oblivion of noise’.
‘When “noise” is assumed to be Z, silence is the forbearance from noise’.
3rd attempt: Silence as a form. As ‘something’, if silence is to have ‘form’ – even as an ‘a-form’, in order for it to be grasped silence needs to be placed alongside ‘another-form-of-something’ in comparison / with ‘another-form-of-something’. ? Conclusive attempt: Silence as an in-between-existing-something. As a gap-form, a placed-in-comparison form, silence then would exist in-between two ends; between two moments of the same ‘something’, one which has a form-in-action. Silence would then present itself in the form of a multi-purpose tool which, by neutralising the action of ‘something-in-action’, allows this same ‘something’ to have a form-in-action: silence is, then – ambiguously, a presence of an absence. [ ]‘something’[ ]’something’[ ]‘something’[ ] ’something’[ ] ? How to perceive silence? ‘When(…)silence is the forbearance from noise’, “noise” is a form. ‘When(…)silence is the oblivion of noise’, “noise” is the presence of a form. ‘When (…)silence is the absence of noise,’ “noise” is the presence of a form in pause, in a ‘stillness’ mode of being active. 18
1st attempt: Silence as a pause. As an interval – in a text, silence could be the space between one word and another – and another: [ ]word[ ]word[ ]word[ ] As an interval – in a melody, silence could be the space between one note and another – and another: [ ]DO[ ]RE[ ]MI[ ] Allowing each word / note to exist – simultaneously, individually and collectively, silence becomes a space for meaning(s) to take place.
3rd attempt: Silence as place. As a space-for-meaning / function / usage-to-take-place, silence is a space for allowance; the space for distribution, transitoriness, movement; the space for meaning, significance, value; the space for inter-connections: the space-for-place.
2nd attempt: Silence as space. As an interval – in a project for a house, silence could be the space between one room and another – and another: [ ]toilet[ ]kitchen[ ]bedroom[ ] As an interval – in an urban project, silence could be the space between one ‘building’ and another – and another: [ ]metro station[ ]bank[ ]hospital[ ] Allowing each ‘built space’ to exist – simultaneously, individually and collectively, silence becomes a space for function / usage(s) to take place.
In a text, silence is the unwritten place. In a melody, silence is the place for intervals between notes. In a project for a house, silence is the corridor. In an urban project, silence is the street.
Conclusive attempt: Silence as an encounter. The pursuit of meaning(s) for silence could find a path towards experiencing silence. Experiencing silence is the action of perceiving the process of space becoming place. As the in-between space, the in-between place, silence then becomes the necessary pause: a spacefor-place that becomes place-for-space: silence = space[pause]place = the fatal interconnectedness-mode of space and place.
Image Scan from Jean-Luc Nancy Being Singular Plural
A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS — Stan Turcon
Stan Turcon is a fourth year student at the Architectural Association. His submission includes a collection of photograph stills of public lavatories.
KINGDOM OF SILENCE — Simone Marchetti & Yulia Filatova
Born in Artemovsky (Ural Mountains, Russia) and Rome (Lazio, Italy) respectively, Yulia Filatova and Simone Marchetti are young architects currently living and working in Milan, Italy. Filatova and Marchetti intend to broaden the anthropocentric vision of silence normally associated with human behaviour by shifting attention to the silences of matter, of which we are unable to perceive weight and meaning. They hypothesise the existence of Kingdom of Silences, in which ‘matter communication’ is of fundamental importance, from atom to universe. At the end of the day, isn’t a human being no more than pure matter? www.yuliafilatova.com
Underground silence, Yulia Filatova, 2017
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The words are rushing, Streaming of entire letters and sounds, broken by gentle, fragile pauses. Sometimes they run on complex paths, setting themselves on the white track. Sometimes they abandon, as lovers they lost in the tangle of streets, they find themselves. Like memories they create, destroy, reconnect, and move away. How many tacit words between those long silences, succulent signs of deaths. How many secrets do you have? You, Universe, with your fleeting cosmic words, Your thoughts are confused, talk to me. What do you want to tell me with your silences? You, State, what do you hide? You, Country? Your silence hurts. And yet you shut up, as if you were immune. You are violent. You, City, in your noisy beeps, whispers, in your swirling streets, swinging buildings, silent traffic lights. What are you hiding traffic light, in your breaks between green and red? A pause, a sigh. Talk, you have a great business to do, always changing in your boring daily routine. How many persons have asked you to be silent. Red. Pause. Silence. Reflect. Green.
What is silence? Itâ€™s a state. What are noises? They are words. What is full and what is empty? Words could be senseless. Could silence be senseless? It could create war or peace. Could objects communicate? They could be silent. Is there an absolute silence? A silence of universe planets nature state city square building humans plants animals insects atom.
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Already a craziness, Yulia Filatova, 2016
Scale of Silences Silence is a complex system of different scales silence is all around and nowhere but look around keeping silence and you will see all the things are silent even if you do not see, if it is not possible to see you do not see an atom, still an atom is mute, it canâ€™t speak, it doesnâ€™t have a possibility small small insects in the garden are building houses from the grass, they all keep silence even a mosquito while drinking your blood does not tell you anything sensible a golden fish in an aquarium becomes golden because of its muteness in 22 years your cat has never answered your questions stop speaking with tomatoes in your salad naturally all people are mute in silent clothes or without they sit on the silent chair made of wood without any word it is happening in an apartment without any noise all the buildings are keeping silence, hiding silent objects all inside all the streets are mute, mute buildings on the silent road, crowded by silent people they are creating silent districts of silent cities full of silent things all the countries are mute, regions do not talk the whole continent is mute and other continents too on the mute planet in a silent system in the silent universe.
REDRAWING ST GEORGE’S IN THE EAST — Joshua Bristow
Joshua Bristow is an MA scholarship student at the Royal Drawing School. His work comprises of a series of prints which draw from the unique church architecture that came out of the 18th Century ‘Commission for Building Fifty New Churches’. Hawksmoor’s St George’s in the East forms one of the twelve churches that were built because of the commission. The ruinous site just south of the Church, creates a moment of stillness within Shadwell, and obscures the busy traffic on The Highway beyond. www.joshuabristow.com St George in the East, Site Photograph, 2017
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St George in the East, Monoprint, 2017
LEFT OVERS — Jacopo A Colarossi & Francesca R Forlini
Motionless, functionless and mute, objects with a lost, aborted story lie chaotically inside an auction storage space. The piling up of heterogeneous items suggests nothing but silence, the one inherent to their mere objecthood. On the contrary, what activates those objects, giving them character and use, lies in their interaction with human beings. ‘Left Over’ is born from this stark contrast: on the one hand a speechless photograph / still life, on the other hand a poem, which narrates memories related to those same objects depicted, unfolding in a fragmentary narrative that suggests the objects’ autonomy, agency, life.
Amongst confusion silence wafts, prettily hung like a cloud of white fog, on the ceiling of the auction storage, rhythmically and linearly articulated as notes on a stave, by the laws of its disposition finalised for its purchase. Iâ€™m the beginning of a tale concluded, produced, finished. A finished product ready for use. Yet my original nature elevates me amongst the rest, as Iâ€™m also a work of art like posters and the toilet seat, invested to an equal value. A farce to illustrious works, we exhibit to the gaze of nobody. Inside the empty room to talk about the lamps that I hold brightening the street that extends by my feet once hanging at eye level whilst I used to touch the ground.
I was once full of precious items, from a porcelain service to crystal glasses. One busy day the first glass broke by accident and from that day on, one by one, all of the remaining objects gradually went missing, dissolving themselves together with the family unit. I clearly remember that day, the radio was playing a rhythmic melody. I was an icon of excellence in my field. So greatly admired for quality and beauty, as if an artist drew my features. My figure has been reproduced in many magazines in the glorious days when everybody desired me. And yet I now lie immobile on this wall, leftover, partially covering the light that enters through the opaque white panes.
A faint reproduction of a painting from Leonardoâ€™s school is nailed to a tight ladder, scrupulously observing the glossy Mercedes wheel rim that leans on the glass reminiscent of gothic rose windows.
The Beatles play. A suspended piano, whilst the float of their yellow submarine hangs on the edge of an imaginary vessel. At the cafeâ€™s exit, inside the main hall, an elegant library encloses a collection of science books. As carriages of a freight train crossing continents, a long line of libraries and vitrines carry ornaments and souvenirs from the Far East.
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A story The God Of the Art Purchased In the street Serially produced Once carefully disposed Is now Domesticated Over shelves Unowned Hallowing Its true nature lost while Bright Decorations and Low cost Colourful Porcelain Furnishings Dishes and pots Increase in value As they are fashionable items Putting aside Accumulated Beauty In time.
A forest of heterogeneous objects is the backdrop to two leopard thrones once basic furnishing elements of a large tropical theme kitsch salon with green curtains with printed wide leaves and numerous animal statues and glass tables and plant pots and bouquets of fresh flowers while on the ground there was a huge white synthetic fleece rug that was very different from the trivial carpet onto which the glorious armchairs stand now arranged on a dummy plane made of tables that makes up one of the three levels of the large room emphasising the topographic qualities of the forest-space over which fly common examples of wicker chairs along with a huge coffin-trunk that lays on a black column stem while a bush of fake plants and shelves is the backdrop to a bunch of pink and blue flower pots that are close to the glorious couple which with their strong aesthetic character push on the back chairs and books and televisions all different but basically the same creating a nearly homogeneous dark background that resembles a cliff with small wild plants against which stands the synthetic leopard print decoration of the kings of the auction storage.
THE SILENCE OF NON-PLACES — Ghyda Helou
Ghyda has a master’s degree in architecture and the work included in this issue was inspired by her final project; for which, ‘silence’ became a key element when exploring abandoned places.
I am the forgotten place the one you pass by unnoticed. I am the ‘unworthy’ to be called place. The one you walk through to get to your destination. The In-Between. I watch you grow, you’ve got a mustache, she now has two small boys. I am the one you go to in search of silence, hoping to get lost. I heard a woman once say: I was always under the spotlights, but somehow, I felt lonely. I watch the world grow, while I stay the same. No one asked me, not even once, how am I feeling. Forgotten and abandoned I am the Non-Place, or some call me Terrain Vague. I hold in me all your memories, all your moments, the good ones, the bad ones, but no one seems to notice me. I am the in-between, I keep silent while you talk to each other, while you talk to yourselves. I have nothing but silence to offer, and even though this makes you comfortable, well this, sometimes, makes me sad. Silence when it is not heard, can be painful. Silence has a voice, a tender one, a loud one, a sad one, a happy one. And somehow, all those who visit me don’t seem to be hearing any of my silent words.
ECHO OF NOW — Evgenia Emets
Evgenia was born in 1979 in Poltava (Ukraine, USSR). She graduated with an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art, London in 2008. She is currently based in London, where she has been involved with interactive performances as well as being the Artistic Director and founder of the Analema Group, which emerged in 2010 for art collaborations. www.evgeniaemets.vision
Echo of Now
You are the eye projecting
back to the
frozen instant of radiant structure
seen by innumerable eyes
You are the seed traveling
through the dark matter
in a never repeating itself pattern You are the womb of the wonderland, the abyss for those who dare to dive For only all can supply the whole vision at the birth of the light The space is an immaculate liquid ready to take any form It
Any form is conceived within it is
great unexplored that initiate
sound is the of
Laying the beat on the map of the mindscape, are bringing into existence energy piercing those transient forms This
ON SILENCE – TANGENT SCULPTURE, OR THE ART OF NARRATIVE WITHOUT SAYING — Kotaro Watanabe
This piece of text covers the theme of ‘silence within narrative’. In leaving something unsaid the beholder is given a chance to complete the idea and thus a great masterpiece irresistibly rivets your attention until you seem to become actually a part of it. A vacuum is there for you to enter and fill up the full measure of your aesthetic emotion. ‘The Book of Tea’ by Kakuzo Okakura
The below list of descriptions illustrates a single object that we interact with daily. Before reading on beyond it, I would like you, gentle reader, to take a moment and imagine what this object might be. Within our daily lives, this thing can be bifurcated into two main categories, ones that revolve and others that move in parallel. It stands symbolically for the beginning of something new. At times, it is capable of expressing ‘the dawn of the new world’ or ‘the loss of opportunity’ depending on the situation. This thing can connect a place to another place, and simultaneously separate them. It can be handled easily and should be able to provide immutable usability to anybody no matter what his or her cultural backgrounds may be. On the other hand, there exist few people who have Made it their job to work with it. This object exists in different incarnations when it belongs to humans and for cats. People are able to observe scenes on the other side by peering inside. Also, some messages may incidentally stream through at the bottom.
• • •
• • • •
A list, whose items all point to a single object. Stipulation of the ‘unspoken intellection’. A narrative without saying its name … The object is a ‘door’. A revolving and a sliding door. Open and closed. A doorman, a door for cats, a peephole.
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A useful sign could also mean invisible fetters of prejudice. One’s keen eyes can be blinded by choosing to call an object by its name uncritically. We tend to forget the presence of truly rich context around it and deeper consideration, and furthermore, its essential quality, hidden behind the name. On the contrary, through articulating different scenes or situations where the object is observed being used or interacted with, one could perhaps approach the concept in a more realistic, contextual and practical manner. Such an attempt may not appear simple, but at the very least it can depict various aspects of the object quite livelily. Tangent Sculpture is the name I gave to this approach, which is to be utilised within various points of a design process, to communicate and confirm the idea once a theme or a keyword starts to solidify for the first time. It is an attempt to deepen one’s fundamental understanding of the subject by going ahead and vocalising even minuscule things that can be thought of as a matter of course. Circumstances and knowledge that are thought to be ‘understood by all’, in fact are surprisingly not ‘common knowledge’. It is not too uncommon for these revelations to emerge after the midpoint of a design process when carried out by a team. In a group, one’s silence might often be taken to mean tacit agreement. In such a situation however, a lot of things are not necessarily shared among members. Vocalisation and redefinition of core meaning is what is indispensable.
We have the tendency to proceed with dialogues without fully confirming, and at times abbreviating detailed explanations, what we believe to be a matter of fact, a priori or common knowledge. As an organisation grows, and likewise as more people participate in a design process, it is not widely accepted to reiterate what can be construed to be ‘matter-of-fact statements’ and ‘commonsensical.’ However, this singular instance of deference can come back to haunt, since neglecting the fundamental construction of collective intelligence can potentially nullify everyone’s time and effort. It is advisable to assess the assumptions at every turning point, such as: at the very beginning of projects, when a keyword is selected, and when the conceptual prototype begins to emerge. Tangent Sculpture means ‘form-making by assemblage of tangent lines.’ It is possible to describe a curvilinear line mathematically as y=f(x). On the other hand, we can describe the same curvilinear line without using the expression of ‘y=f(x)’, but rather by densely populating on the curve as many tangent lines at innumerable points. This approach is akin to working in from the peripheries, as if to create a sculpture without ever touching the medium directly. Without reducing objects to simple names, this act intentionally verbalises overlooked details. The origin of this exercise emerged in the necessity to assess the essential strength of the conceptual aspect. I remember once reading somewhere that, in order to become a professional architect, one
should be able to articulate his work in 10 different ways depending on the type of audience, varying from client, constructor, site manager, peripheral people, structural engineer, journalist, historian, students, local government, family members etc. The vocabulary, tone of voice and topic should be designed so as to communicate with each party. There are always multiple contexts in one piece of work. To fully convey the concept, I’d like to end this text by presenting yet another example of it. This is used to momentarily stabilise complex thoughts, ambiguous words and abstract concepts, something that can immediately disappear as soon as it emerges in one’s consciousness. It can be placed on top of a table. It is also tangible, but can often slip out of people’s grasp. When its bearer is burdened by newfound perplexity, this thing at times can aid in reducing six choices to one. Though it provides a similar value system in different cultural milieus, to a small group of people its usage is connected to tasting the tip of it. It is a static continuous rod-like object that lacks any void in its interior. By maintaining its sharp tip, this object is able to describe various human actions and natural phenomena.
• • •
• • • 56
I will leave the answer up to your imagination.
THE AA SHADOW SERIES REFLECTED — Maria Theodorou & John Andrews
Maria Theodorou PhD (AA), Founding Member and Director, The School of Architecture for All John Andrews AADipl, AA Council Member 2007 – 2017
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On October 20, 2016, the AA Shadow Series had a noisy launch; a line up of six speakers and six respondents in an awkward frontal seating arrangement with a bar operating at the back of the room, put their experiences of architecture education into words and vocalised past and current intentions and attempts to create alternative schools of architecture. Odile Decq’s (Confluence Institute, France), Peter Zellner’s (Free School of Architecture US) and Francesco Catemario di Guardi’s (AA Agora) disembodied (on-line) presence on screens was adding to visual agitation. In the room, Iain Boal (Maydayrooms.org), freshly arrived from LA) was rightly against accelerationism but Paul Shepard (one of the initiators of the ‘original’ London School of Architecture in 1986) had an impatient walking stick in the front row. Speakers and respondents (Eleni Xilakis – Global Centre for Advanced Studies, NY, Albane Capone – AA graduate 2016, Nicholas Boyarsky – Boyarsky Murphy Architects, Rory Sherlock – AA student & AA Council member, Graeme Brooker – Head of Interior Design, RCA, Fred Scott – former Visiting Professor, Rhode Island School of Design) were rushing to contribute their thoughts, the attendees were frustrated there was no time for further discussion. The AA closure time was overrun after two hours of anarchy in the Rear Second Presentation Space and the audio recording bears witness to the noise produced. This seems to be the opposite of silence, doesn’t it? For the fans of Wittgenstein, the moment we
become aware that words fail to convey the world, we have no other option but to remain silent and attentive. Those assembled at the Shadow Series launch didn’t seem to subscribe to the Wittgensteinean silence, they were nevertheless acting out a sort of Wittgensteinean impasse in trying to think and discuss architecture education at a time when education itself has become problematic. Invited to present-without-nostalgia some experimental models of education developed in the past, while scrutinising-without-sentimentality the recent ones, speakers, respondents and attendees were to engage in robust guesswork regarding the current ‘cruel optimism’ of architecture education. That was a crucial time at the AA, itself a small school founded by a group of dissatisfied architectural draughtsmen in The Strand, London 1847; in 2016 it looked to us as if the school was about to drop its independent status, and that the AA community was already madly in love with the standardisation of the school’s structure and aspired to a twisted Deleuzean take on becoming-university. We’ll come back to architecture education, at least to its aftermath, but let’s entertain first the following idea: what if silence is not just the opposite of sound (especially in the form of noise) but another name for stopping the recurrence of rituals of thinking / talking (architectural thinking / talking included) and its reassuring tropes and postures? Let’s consider for instance the delivering of lectures or the ‘curating’ of debates: the topic(s), the speaker(s), chair of the discussion,
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ways of interacting, the layout of the room, variations of seating arrangement, proper lighting, projections, avoidance of the audience’s or other noise and movement are structural elements to guarantee the successful repetition of the lecture / debating ritual. This type of canonical arrangement provides self-assurance and validation to speakers, organisers and the audience, each one performing their roles as speaking / listening / debating entities. Could you ever entertain the extravagant idea, that this way of architecture lecturing and debating could actually be defined as noise? Despite design care for perfect acoustics, noise invades lecture halls through the act of lecturing itself. Noise upon noise, the ossified rituals of architecture talks, debates, including crits, accumulates. What if we could think of silence as a nonstandard way of interaction at the present moment? Silence could then be approached as the active assemblage that remains undetected, present but not visible, literally, but unwillingly, sheltered under shadows. If we consider silence as the nonverbalised contingency of the present that falls by the side of language, then this very paragraph you read now, is (almost) incomprehensible. But that was the challenge the AA Shadow Series set to experiment with. How in a series of architectural discussions, what is said during a verbal exchange, brings in the silenced non-verbal, contingent aspects of interaction? The problem of contingency is that it defies structuring and the Shadow Series
had to tread carefully along the beaten path of the canonical structure of discussion while pulling in the silenced aspects of interactions among a set of assembled entities. The series had to consider different shadowing conditions: the obvious and literal one was the silent, (usually) shadow-like status of ex-AAs. We worked closely with the membership office to attract to the school this extended and dynamic network, brought together in a mix of generations with various diverging views. Unlike the global school, in which the AA ventures across a variety of locations, the Shadow Series was a set of intimate events at the institution’s core that assembled 30 – 40 AA bodies and guests, humours and brains to discuss architecture at the present scale of an expanded AA. The second shadowing condition was the usually silenced contingency of architecture interactions. The aim was to focus on unpredictability rather than allowing for yet more flashy / defensive presentations followed by ritualistically regulated Q&A; the formation of a variety of assemblages, including the choice of themes, had to be considered carefully. The discussion themes were suggestive rather than prescriptive and sidestepped ‘trendy’ architecture topics, like the after-the-fact and much-delayed catching up with the political. Discussions on architecture education and its aftermath, professional norms, city infrastructure, high-rise and the long-decomposed activity of drawing were used as a pretence for experimenting
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with architectural contingencies of assembled entities. Discussion themes, AA ‘rooms’, equipment, seating arrangements, speakers, respondents, attendees, organisers, words, sounds, drinks, projections, tactile experiences, gender, age, predispositions, gestures, accidents, malfunctions, alliances and antipathies made up a different and unpredictable assemblage in each shadow gathering. How were the intentions of the organisers modified in the discussions that followed the first agitated interaction on education? On 17 November in the Rear Second Presentation Space, a calming sitting around a longitudinal arrangement of tables with soft blue light above, concentrated the attention of speakers, respondents and attendees on ‘Winged Creatures: Where Do Architects Go After They Graduate?’ This second session focused on the ‘aftermath’ of architecture education to discuss the process by which graduates collide with the reality (or the Real) of the profession which they might have sporadically encountered during their studies. Maciej Woroniecki – Design team leader at Stufish, Takako Hasegawa – interdisciplinary project studio, Martha Rawlinson – HI-VIS feminist design collective, Angel Borrego Cubero – O-S-S, Spain, Meneesha Kellay – RIBA Events and Education, Lilly Kudic – Head of Architecture USBL, Gregory Votolato – Design Historian, Carlos Peters – AA Student Forum & AA Council member, reflected on both the ‘after’ and the ‘beyond’ and on the ways
architecture education is usually celebrated and promoted as paving alternatives for its graduates, who can ‘design their own escape routes’ on a variety of professional paths, from stage design, to filmmaking, publishing, academic ‘preaching’, etc. The technology ran smoothly with the support of the AV team, and a devoted bartender. Angel Borrego, who changed travel plans from Spain to Brussels to join, commented that the Shadow Series interaction would need five hours to reach its full potential. The next two discussion themes looked at the architectural profession. Architecture is a highly regulated profession and application of rules produces specific effects that normalise built and unbuilt conditions. ‘The Architects Attachment to Norms: normal / abnormal / hyper-normal’ gathering on 16 February took over the Front Members Room and followed an arrangement of round tables in a circular sitting. Katie Lloyd Thomas – Professor of Architectural Theory and History and Co-Director of Architecture Research Collaborative (ARC), Newcastle University, Joseph Armakolas – AA Part 3 Candidate, Peter Wynne Rees – Professor of Places and City Planning at the Bartlett and Planning Officer at City Corporation (1985 – 2014), Jonathan Wimpenny – RIBA President Emeritus, and Paul Crosby – Head of AA Professional Practice, were invited to question architecture’s professional practice as a set of rules to be followed, and to consider instead the ways architecture regulations generate a set of conditions that
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produce and reproduce norms. They were asked to reflect on the categories of normal, abnormal, hyper-normal as manifested in the present, which could be used as a means to turn away from the grip of professional normativity. A gender and age divide rifted the gathering apart, the feminists in the room were frustrated and thought it pointless to even intervene and counter balance a maledominated interaction in which old rivalries surfaced, reinforced by an as ever talkative Patrik Schumacher. Only the transcription of the audio recording can alter the overall feeling of a gathering during which a lot of interesting ideas fell victim to personalities. 16 March, ‘Feeling The Vertigo: At What Plane Architecture Happens?’ At a quasi square sitting around emptiness, respondents, speakers, attendees and organisers, gathered in the Front Members’ Room, nesting their preconceptions about the theme and each other. The topic’s brief asked whether architectural design concerns today the vertical rather than the horizontal plane and whether the design of systems’ architecture is replacing what was considered the standard practice of masterplanning. It suggested a reframing of the categories of plan, planning and plane and asked whether the physicality of architecture is just a query for emerging infrastructural operations. Charlotte Grace – MA Delft, Architect educator, activist, took on the horizontal practice of logistics, borders, barricades and bodies. John Palmesino – AA Diploma 4 Co-Master & founding member
Territorial Agency, insisted on Intensifications on the territorial plane, Rowan Moore – architecture critic and author ‘Slow Burn City, London in the 21st Century’, chose the vertical as did Viviana Muscettola, Associate Director, Zaha Hadid Architects. But Carlos Villanueva Brandt – AA Diploma Unit 10 Unit Master since 1986, took on the organisers and disputed the association of vertigo and high rise. Preconceptions about things, people, words and concepts were challenged. As the series matured, each session evolved into its own ‘character’ revealing new question and answers beyond the boundaries of the extended titles. Because of the often changing venues in which the Shadow Series took place the ‘atmosphere’ of the assemblage was an influential aspect to the understanding of the evening. The final session ‘AA DD’ was unique due to some of the speakers and respondents bringing in physical work to pass around the room, and this encouraged a forensic focus beyond the limitations of a projection. In the AA DD: Asemic Architecture – Design Doodle (18 May, Front Members’ Room) the arrangement of round tables in a circular sitting was taken apart and reformed. The final discussion was dedicated to the asemic mark: a mark containing no conscious meaning or specific semantic content. The term is often applied to the calligraphic fusion of image and text. Susanne Isa, AADip, tutor & archivist, Mark Morris, AA’s Head of Teaching and Learning, Eleanor Audi, 2016 winner of the AA’s Nicholas Pozner Prize for Single Best Drawing, Eddie Farrel,
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artist, Ivana Wingham, Architect, academic, design researcher, Oliver Domeisen, AA Council member and teaching fellow at the Bartlett, examined the associated conceptual bridge between automatic drawing (the doodle) and architecture, being attentive to the primacy given to drawing in general. The doodle is usually read retrospectively as the start of the design process, but we were interested to focus on the asemic mark as the manifestation of a crisis in which rules, forms and structures crack and self-combust. The Shadow Series was conceived as an experimentation of the asemic process. In Shadow Series, aspects of shadowed interactions interfered with the ‘discussion’ at hand to produce a non-ritualised exchange. In such assemblages, the formality of lectures / debating protocols that endlessly produce and reproduce the noisy ‘economy of the gift’ within a closed architectural community seemed to be, at least provisionally, suspended. At each discussiongathering, shadowed or silenced aspects of assembled entities were given the chance to manifest; if this appeared as a non-structured noise, it was in fact the silence of a non-standard exchange on architecture that emerged from the Shadow Series. The organisers aim to transcribe the sound recordings from each of the series, and select material for a publication. In November 2017 the Shadow Series will regenerate, experiment with the format of an open call and emerge under a new title ‘Ricochet’.
Ricochet will take place at 6.30pm on 14 November 2017 in the Front Membersâ€™ Room. Open to all AA Members.
PANTOMIME â€”â€‰Gina Jiang
This interior model is the starting point of a library design project in Rome. It features a meditation space that calms people down from the rather aggressive framework of the city, leading them into a silent space for reading and thinking beyond the frame.
NEW FROM AA PUBLICATIONS
Originally founded as a means of examining influential contemporary projects and opening up ideas to debate, today AA Publications is one of the world’s leading architectural publishers. Our editorial programme includes titles by architects, artists, AA tutors and students. Each year, the AA’s own Print Studio – made up of a team of architectural editors and graphic designers – works to produce eight to ten titles, plus two issues of AA Files, the school’s journal of record. www.aaschool.ac.uk/publications
AA Book 2016–17 Projects Review offers an overview of the AA’s 2016 / 17 academic year. Accompanying the school’s end-of-year show, the book features hundreds of drawings, models, installations, photographs and other materials documenting the world’s most international and experimental school of architecture. £25 192pp, extensive col ills 32x24 cm, paperback with die-cut PVC jacket 978-1-907896-92-7
Scavengers & Other Creatures in Promised Lands Edited by Ricardo de Ostos and Nannette Jackowski
Is the environment in architecture only ever reducible to ‘environmental architecture’? For Ricardo de Ostos and Nannette Jackowski, unit masters of Intermediate 3, the answer is a resolute no. Instead they offer an alternative reading that juxtaposes the brutal and lyrical through visually compelling narratives of architecture. This book presents ten years of student
projects, all prompted by the unit’s visits to extreme geographical contexts – from the rain forests of Brazil to the quarries of northern India. Featuring conversations with Lebbeus Woods, Geoff Manaugh and Peter Cook, it explores the power of myth and fiction as radical narratives for imagining the future of cities and forests. October 2017 176 pp, extensive col & b / w ills Paperback 978-1-907896-47-7 c £30
AA Files 74 features essays by Peter Wilson, William Firebrace, Michael Hill, Dietrich Neumann, Dagmar Motycka Weston, Simona Ferrari & Wataru Sawada, Christophe Van Gerrewey, Charles Rice & Kenny Cupers, Tim Benton, Andrew Crompton, Davide Spina, Nicholas de Monchaux and Cynthia Davidson, a personal reminiscence by Joseph Rykwert, a recipe by Chris Behr, and two conversations, the first with Kate Macintosh, the second with Peter Eisenman.
204 pages, extensive col & b / w ills 297 x 245 mm, paperback, 2017 978-1-907896-83-5 £15
AA Files 74
AA BOOKSHOP’S RECOMMENDED READING FOR SILENCE
The AA Bookshop is one of London’s leading specialist architecture bookshops. Order the following titles online, where a selection of new books, special offers and some backlist titles are available. AA Members receive 20% discount on a monthly selection of featured books, plus all AA Publications. www.aabookshop.net
Mirrors was derived from Eric Oglander,s online project. It has been described as a document of Oglander,s continued search via craigslist for compelling photos of mirrors, his site is a display case for these culled objects; artifacts recovered from a well of online obscurity. Refocusing the essence of the project,s emergent themes (anonymity, fragmented realities, voyeurism, notions of truth, and crowd sourcing) the book distills Oglander,s project down from a diffuse cloud of images-of-objects-that-castimages, back again to object
itself. The images collected here pull the viewer,s gaze through the page to the cross-section of two narrow planes of someone,s reality.
TBW Books 96 pp, 230 x 180â€‰mm Hardback ÂŁ10
Silence and Light Edited and with an introduction and biographical notes by Alessandro Vassella. Prologue by Balkrishna V Doshi Entitled Silence and Light, the lecture explains Kahn’s spiritual understanding of architecture, which goes far deeper than simply constructing buildings.
Park Books 168 pp, 162 x 262 mm Paperback Included: 1 audio-CD (playing time approx. 60 mins) £32
By exploring Rossi,s entire career, Lopes traces out the oscillation between enthusiasm and disenchantment that marks Rossi,s oeuvre. Through a close exploration of one of his landmark works, the Cemetery of San Cataldo in Modena, Lopes shows how this brilliant, innovative architect reinterpreted a typology of the past to help us come to terms with representations of death and the melancholy that inevitably accompanies it. Beautifully illustrated and drawing on rich archival sources, Melancholy and
Architecture both illuminates the work of the 20th century,s most interesting architects and offers a new perspective on the long cultural history of melancholy.
Melancholy and Architecture
Park Books By Diogo Seixas Lopes 224 pp, 250 x 150â€‰mm Hardback ÂŁ30
The Feeling of Things The Feeling of Things brings together a number of Caruso,s writings (1997–2008) through which he reveals a new way to see and experience the radical approach to contemporary architecture of the Modern Movement. Ediciones Polígrafa By Adam Caruso 98 pp, 210 x 115 mm Hardback £16.99
The AA congratulates all those who graduated from the school in June 2017. The following students were awarded the AA Diploma with honours: Nathan Su (Diploma Unit 9), Ji Soo Hwang (Diploma Unit 10), Joshua Penk (Diploma Unit 11), Rory Sherlock (Diploma Unit 14), and Jonathan Cheng
Two AA projects have made the final list of designs in Archdaily’s ‘The Best Student Design-Build Projects Worldwide 2017’ competition. Designed by AA Museum Lab (Diploma Unit 15) students, the Nomadic Bookstore sought to highlight the relevance of books in the context of the expansion of the digital and was open to the audience attending the prestigious Salone del Mobile in April 2017. Also making the final list was the AA Design + Make Saw-Mill Shelter at Hooke Park, the school’s woodland campus in Dorset. archdaily.com/875689 Little Architect, the AA’s education and learning platform for primary schools directed by Dolores Victoria
We are delighted to announce that Samantha Hardingham (AADip 1993) has been appointed Interim Director of the Architectural Association. Samantha is an architectural writer, editor and curator. Her most recent and celebrated work is the award-winning, two-volume anthology Cedric Price Works 1952–2003: A Forward-minded Retrospective published by the AA / CCA in October 2016. Samantha has a wide-ranging knowledge and understanding of the AA having been a design studio tutor across all undergraduate years at the AA since 2008, as well as chair of the AA’s Undergraduate Management Committee since 2015 and member of the Senior Management Team. As Interim School Director she looks forward to leading the AA in this very special year as we celebrate a centenary of women at the AA, with the culmination of the AA XX 100 project.
(Diploma Unit 17). Read more about each of their projects at conversations.aaschool.ac.uk The AA opened its doors to the general public and neighbours as part of the inaugural Bedford Square Festival. A range of tours, walks, talks and screenings were on offer during the four-day event which was organised in collaboration with the Paul Mellon Centre, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Yale University Press and the New College of Humanities. bedfordsquarefestival.co.uk
Ruiz-Garrido, has been selected by the Greater London Authority to provide expertise in architectural education for children. The printed resources will be sent to more than 250 primary schools in London, familiarising and inspiring thousands of London’s children with the city’s contemporary architecture. london.gov.uk/what-we-do/ education-and-youth/londoncurriculum/rebuilding-london-ks2
Careers & Prizes
Former AA Tutor and Councillor Sir David Adjaye OBE was knighted for services to architecture at a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony. Sir David was a member of the AA Council from 2006-2008 and former joint Unit Master of Diploma 7. He founded Adjaye Associates in 2000 and received an OBE in 2007. Recent projects attracting global attention include the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, and the recently unveiled Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. architectsjournal.co.uk AA alumni Amanda Levete (AADipl 1982) and Asif Khan (AADipl 2007) have been recognised for their services to architecture in the Queen’s
birthday honours list. Levete becomes a CBE, whilst rising star Khan, a former Baylight scholar, earns himself an MBE. Both architects have recently unveiled high-profile schemes, with AL_A completing its V&A museum Exhibition Road extension, and Asif Khan’s design for the UK Pavilion revealed at Expo 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. architectsjournal.co.uk Recent graduates Jon Lopez (AADipl 2011) and Hikaru Nissanke (AADipl 2009), directors of OMMX Architects, were awarded a £500,000 grant from the mayor of London to help build 22 homes as part of an experimental, affordable housing project backed by not-for-profit developer Naked House. The no-frills flats and houses adopt an open plan design without partitions and containing a minimal number of appliances and fittings. theguardian.com/society/housing AA Alumnus Nicholas L C Ho (AADipl 2010) has been recognised as one of 50 ‘Generation T’ listers who have changed or shaped their industries in the last 18 months by Hong Kong Tatler. Since graduating from the AA, Nicholas has gone on to become deputy managing director of Ho & Partners Architects (hpa). He was
recently elected to the council of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects and advises the HK government’s Economic Development Commission. hk.asiatatler.com/generation-t
AA Alumni Amit Gupta (MArch 2006) and Britta Knobel Gupta (MArch 2006) were featured by CNN Style profiling the success of their practice Studio Symbiosis and the rise of India as a booming architectural hub. Studio Symbiosis, established in 2010, has already completed 40 projects, 38 of which were realised in India. In May, Amit and Britta also won a Golden A’ Design Award for their Punjab Kesari Headquarters scheme in New Delhi. edition.cnn.com/style/architecture
Fourth-year student Jocelyn Sivakorn Arnold is one of three winners of the 2017 KPF Travelling Fellowship. Jocelyn won with his project ‘Craft and Cultural Identification in Thailand’. Each year, Kohn Pedersen Fox presents three $10,000 awards to students who are in their penultimate year at one of the 26 design schools with whom KPF has chosen to partner. The award allows students to broaden their education through a summer of travel before their final year. foundation.kpf.com/kpf-travelingfellowship AA Alumnus William Hailiang Chen (AADipl 2006) took home a Golden A’ Design Award for his ResoNet Pavilion design in the Lighting Products & Lighting Projects Design
AA Alumnus Nuru Karim (MArch 2006) was a Golden A’ Design Award winner for his Mumbai-based scheme The Bad Café, designed to facilitate yoga, hospitality and cultural event spaces. Nuru founded NUDES in 2010 aiming to operate within the realm of cross-disciplinary cultures of art, architecture and computational design powered by digital ‘making’. He was recently featured as one of Architectural Digest India’s top 50 most influential designers. adesignaward.com/design. php?ID=53016
Recent graduate Gustav Düsing (AADipl 2011) has taken part in the first ever Antarctic Biennale, a ground-breaking expedition to the Antarctic Circle that fused artistic, scientific, and philosophical methodologies. Gustav’s installation, ‘Tent on Cuverville Island’, made use of the phase transition of water and a thin layer of cotton fabric to create a minimal, structurally performing surface opening up a tent-like architectural volume. gustav-duesing.com
Category. Creative Prototyping Unit, which he co-founded with Zhao Liqun (AADRL 2013) and Mark Tynan (AADipl 2005), have developed a series of ResoNet projects which create physical and ephemeral conditions. The pavilion – whose project team also included fellow AA graduate Arthur Mamou-Mani (AADipl 2008) – was also a finalist in the Architizer’s A+Design Awards’ Architecture & Colour category. reso-net.org
First-year student Caspar Schols has received an honourable mention for his design in the annual Radical Innovation contest, a hospitality concept competition run by The John Hardy Group. Caspar’s Garden House design combines a timber structure with a double-glass inner shell, topped by a steel roof. The outer shell is fully insulated and stove-heated, eliminating any requirement for artificial climate control. archdaily.com/797991/gardenhouse-caspar-schols Laurens Paulmann (AADipl 2017) has been highly commended for his SPA – SANA PER AQUAM design in the Open Award category of the Architects for Health Student Design Awards 2017, a competition which is now
in its tenth year. His project intends to establish a new kind of holistic healthcare, integrating body and mind, the human and the city machine. Architects for Health was co-founded by AA Alumna Susan Francis (AADipl 1976) who very sadly passed away earlier this year. pr2017.aaschool.ac.uk/LaurensPaulmann AA Alumni Alida Bata (AADipl 2012) & Sarah Ho (AADipl 2013) have received an honourable mention for their Stone Barn Meditation Camp competition entry. In partnership with SRED property developers, the competition sought out designs for multipurpose recreational space, offering holistic outlets such as meditation and yoga to guests. stonebarnmeditationcamp. beebreeders.com Exhibitions & Events Miraj Ahmed, Dip 1 Unit Master, took part in RIGHT THROUGH YOU, an exhibition exploring relationships in architecture, phenomenology and minimal art. Taking into consideration the constraints of the space, the exhibition created minimalistic sitespecific installations to challenge the viewer’s experience of the gallery environment, and draw
attention to characteristics usually left unnoticed. The exhibition ran from 28 April to 8 June 2017 at The Koppel Project Hive. thekoppelproject.com/rightthrough-you
Alexandros Kallegias, Programme Director of AA Visiting Schools in Greece and the Summer DLAB in London, gave a keynote talk at TEDxAlexandroupolis, entitled Creativity, Technology, Life, and the illusions in-between, providing an insight into what it means to live, play, work and learn in an interconnected world and making the case for following an approach to personal growth that nurtures creativity. tedxalexandroupolis.com/index. php/en/talks/talks2017 AA Greece Visiting School exhibited their work at the Adaptation Expo in Berlin.
Two AA students took part in a double exhibition at Brussels’ CIVA Foundation. Fourth-year student Love Di Marco presented ‘Freeport – The Archive as Urban Catalyst’, a project which put forward a new solution for the European archive, once an important, accessible cultural and political symbol, but now a private affair, hidden on the peripheries of our cities. Love’s project sat alongside ‘Savage Architecture’ curated by AA PhD student Davide Sacconi, a journey to the root of the relationship between architecture and man, focusing on the work of Gian Piero Frassinelli and architectural practice 2A+P/A. The exhibition ran from 24 May to 16 September 2017. civa.brussels/en
Patricia Mato-Mora, who taught in Intermediate Unit 2 alongside Ana Araujo this year, presented Posidònia, an immersive ceramic installation at the Pilar and Joan Miró Museum in Mallorca, Spain. Patricia is an artist, designer and educator currently exploring the spatial, architectural and narrative capabilities of clay. The exhibition ran from 16 March to 11 June 2017. pmatomora.net/posidonia
Adaptation was hosted as a satellite event with Tech Open Air, a yearly festival held in Berlin around technology, music, art and science. The exhibition took place at Agora Rollberg, an experimental centre for sustainable and artistic practices in the heart of Neukölln from 12 to 14 July 2017. agile-iot.eu/adaptation
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of AA graduate, former tutor and past president Leonard Manasseh (AADipl 1940), who passed away at the age of 100 on 5 March 2017. He is remembered here as an Architect, teacher, and friend by Peter Ahrends (AADipl 1956): In writing this personal appreciation of Leonard’s work at the AA, I go back in time to September 1951 when I first arrived in London to make a late-teens life for myself. Somewhat overwhelmed by the size and spread of the city I was lifted by the density and strength of the South Bank’s Festival of Britain: a campus of modern architecture marking and celebrating Labour’s visionary postwar achievements. London’s fabric still showed residual scars of war, food rationing was still in place and, by comparison with today’s level of general affluence, this now seems like another world, but one in which a strong sense of hope for a different social future prevailed. For me this intense set of initial impressions formed an optimistic prelude to our first year course at the AA directed by Leonard (who’d designed one of the Festival buildings) with his charge of eighteenyear-olds occupying a spacious
studio lying above the library, overlooking Bedford Square. But in all of this, what of Leonard? Two things come to mind. First was Leonard’s tangible but quiet passion about the art of architecture. Then, not unrelatedly, there was his relationship with others. For he was ‘there’ for one, and spoke in a way that suggested that we-are-all-equallyhumans. Thoughtful, straight, respectfully confident, and obviously English, the timbre of his voice also spoke about togetherness. Fittingly, these characteristics and his warm presence came through to us, persuasively and tenderly, as our youthful understandings grew. For the final project of the year we were let loose on the design of a single detached small family house. I had designed a glassy rectangular box whose single-storey length was intersected by a dividing wall; an extended vertical plane that rose above the flat roof. A statement, or what? In the crit that followed I was pleased to find that Leonard was positive about my scheme. But then, pausing awhile, he added: ‘But there’s an unresolved duality?’ Ever since, in my life’s work at ABK, the more theoretical aspect of that question has remained, unanswered … For the subject of Leonard’s
Christmas card last year he painted two red flowers, side by side, sending warmth and brightness in the winter’s solstice. I enjoyed this painterly move presenting us with a couplet, rhyming in its togetherness. Peter Ahrends was a student of Leonard’s at the AA, along with Richard Burton (AADipl(Hons) 1956) and Paul Koralek (AADipl 1956), who together founded Ahrends Burton and Koralek (now ABK) in 1961.
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Susan Francis (AADipl 1976). She is remembered here by Lynne Walker: Susan died peacefully on 29 April 2017 after a long illness. A product of the AA in the 70s and a strong-minded feminist architect, she was a stalwart of AA XX 100, the current project to commemorate the centenary of women’s admission to the School, and she attended meetings and made an enormous contribution even though she often had to take time out for surgery and recovery. She planned the first AA XX 100 Lecture Series, contributed to the AA XX 100 / Collections lectures and was on the programme for the conference as a keynote speaker. In her student years, the AA to her represented an
education outside the confines of traditional architectural training, and she flourished in the atmosphere at the School which encouraged a questioning, open attitude to architecture and the role of the architect. After the AA, she developed her interest in the wider context of architecture and the built environment, doing an MA in Cultural History at the Royal College of Art. Drawing together the strands of theory and practice, Susan Francis became a founding member of Matrix, the architectural co-operative which worked ‘to develop a feminist approach to design through practical projects and theoretical analysis’. With other women at Matrix, she worked on the Dalston Children’s Centre and played a key role in writing the Matrix ‘manifesto’, Making Space: Women and the Man-Made Environment (1984). Her radical critique of the home and the lay-out of domestic space – that ‘accommodates an introverted family lifestyle, in which household duties are confined to a small space set deep within the plan’ – was further challenged by her own family house in Islington, in which she countered the reductive treatment of house design, rethinking social and communal relationships and directing the experience of living together to
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the ‘world immediately outside’ the isolated nuclear family. After Matrix and a period as Course Leader of Women Into Architecture and Building at North London Polytechnic (now London Met), Susan Francis moved into healthcare with a strong commitment to high quality design, cutting edge research and good practice as Architectural Lead for the Future Health Network at the NHS Confederation (2001–06); Special Advisor for Health at CABE (2006–11) and founder member of Architects for Health, its Programme Director since 2011. Her mantra about work was that the social was equally important to the professional. For all who knew her and worked with her, she will be greatly missed both personally and professionally. She is survived by her three sons. The AA is saddened to learn of the death of Penelope Whiting (AADipl 1942, ARIBA) who passed away on 28 February 2017 at the age of 99, still splendidly decisive and characterful until the very last few days. She is remembered here by her niece Nicolette Baines RIBA. Penelope qualified during the war, while driving ambulances and volunteering for fire-watch duties in the evenings. She was one of a very
small number of women architects at a time when there could still be some active discouragement of women taking up professional work. Nevertheless, Penelope joined the innovative practice of Yorke, Rosenberg and Mardall (YRM), working with FRS ‘K’ Yorke initially on new housing. On behalf of the Ministry of Works she designed prefabricated housing to meet the immediate housing shortage; many of these homes lasted long after the end of their design life, and a few are still in use today. The practice was deeply involved in the postwar New Town developments; Penelope designed the Mark Hall and Ladyshott estates at Harlow. She would talk about the effects of uprooting people from their existing communities to the New Towns, and identified with young mothers not able to pop next door and ask their mother’s advice. But in those days there was a real and widespread belief that we could build good housing that would genuinely make people’s lives better; and, with her books and conversation, she was part of the culture which inspired a new generation to take up the challenge. There was fun as well as serious effort in the work; K Yorke had many contacts and
co-edited with Dex Harrison. She also wrote a technical book on floor finishes. After Yorke’s death in 1962 Penelope left YRM and set up her own practice in West London, working principally on developing Southlands Training College in Wimbledon. The complex has mainly been modified into flats, but at the time Penelope and her assistants Peter Leitner and Alan Gibbs created a fine library, blocks of teaching rooms of a very civilised and welcoming ambience, and a staff house complete with its own bridge which was a delight to see. She used to say that site visits were her favourite part of the job – and it was clear there was much mutual respect in the builder / architect relationship. During this time Penelope published two further influential books; New Houses in 1964 and New Single-Storey Houses in 1966. Unlike The New Small House, which had included international examples and two Thames barge conversions, these two focused entirely on a variety of modern English houses, which were generally quite economical examples, to which people could relate. Trevor died suddenly in 1983, at a young age, and Penelope retired from practice in that year, moving from London to the Forest of Dean, and finally to the lovely town of
friends among the artists of the time, and YRM were able to commission Henry Moore to create his ‘Family Group’ for Stevenage New Town. When it came to the very exciting project of a new airport at Gatwick, Penelope was the architect who designed the passenger bridge linking the existing station to the new terminal. In 1953 Penelope began a further initiative in writing books on architecture, at first with Yorke who had already published several books. Together these publications, form a key part of the architectural literature on houses of this important postwar period. They jointly published The New Small House – a ‘picture book to be browsed through’ in Yorke’s words – which as a result reached a wide public. However, as in the other books which followed, it was much more than that, with plans, costs, and heating solutions as well as discussions on materials shortages and space standards. There was further collaboration on the editorship of Specification, then a technical bible in architectural practice. Penelope wrote the section on floor finishes and her engineer husband, Trevor Hawkes, contributed a section on contractors’ equipment. Later editions of Specification were
Newnham-on-Severn, in which she found constant interest and enjoyment. Partly in this context, she continued to say that she never stopped being glad (‘every day’!) that she was an architect. Penelope married Trevor Hawkes in 1946 and leaves two children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The AA is also saddened to hear of the passing of former AA Principal Michael Lloyd (AADipl 1953), honorary AA Member and former tutor Professor Paul Oliver MBE, alumni Michael Ascott (AADipl(Hons) 1955), June Broome (AADipl 1948), Duncan Hiscock (AADipl 1951), Gilbert Marsh (AADipl 1952) Mark Robertson (AADipl 1953), Julian Sofaer (AADipl 1949), and Paul Tsakok (AADipl 1971), alumnus and former lecturer Donal McGarry (GradDiplCons (AA) 1987), and AA Members Michael Collings, Mohamed Makiya, John Partridge CBE. Further obituaries can be read online at aaschool.ac.uk/public/ newsnotices/obituaries.
Notices AA XX 100 The school is marking the centenary of women at the Architectural Association with the launch of a book, exhibition, and international conference convened by the AA and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art with a rich programme of presentations, panel discussions, distinguished keynotes and an open jury. The conference takes place from 2 – 4 November 2017 – book your place at xx.aaschool.ac.uk. Upcoming exhibitions AA XX 100: AA Women and Architecture in Context 1917–2017 7 October – 9 December 2017 Private View: Friday 6 October 2017 AA Gallery AA Honours 2017 7 October – 9 December 2017 Private View: Friday 6 October 2017 Graduate Gallery
ISSUE 33 DESIRE ‘Desire was never seen. Yet it remained constant. The same goes for architecture.’ – Bernard Tschumi (on The Streetcar Named Desire), The Pleasure of Architecture, 1977 ‘In the way it transforms ideas and beliefs, successful design is like alchemy: it fuses together disparate ideas from different origins, so that the form of the completed product seems to embody only a single idea, which comes across as so familiar that we find ourselves supposing it to be exactly what we ourselves had always thought.’ – Adrian Forty, Objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750, 1986
Please submit your interpretation, essay, drawing, image by Sunday 15 October 2017 to email@example.com
AArchitecture 32 / Term 1, 2017–18 www.aaschool.ac.uk © 2017 All rights reserved Published by the Architectural Association 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES Please send your news items for the next issue to firstname.lastname@example.org Student Editorial Team: Sensy Mania Emily Priest Newsbrief and Obituaries: Guy Norton Editorial Board: Alex Lorente, Membership Samantha Hardingham, Interim AA School Director
Design: Jan Blessing Cover image: Asakusa, Tokyo, Gerry Johansson, 2004 AA Photography: Valerie Bennett and Sue Barr Printed by Blackmore, England Architectural Association (Inc) Registered Charity No 311083 Company limited by guarantee Registered in England No 171402 Registered office as above
CONTRIBUTORS Gerry Johansson Carolina Bettarello Stan Turcon Simone Marchetti & Yulia Filatova Joshua Bristow Jacopo A Colarossi & Francesca R Forlini Ghyda Helou Evgenia Emets Kotaro Watanabe Maria Theodorou & John Andrews Gina Jiang
EDITORS Sensy Mania Emily Priest