While October of this year marks a birthday for the AA, AArchitecture commemorates its own 20th edition with a diachronic account of the school’s alumni and layered history using Time as its theme. As Brett Steele noted at June’s graduation ceremony, the architect’s universe is defined by an assortment of temporal modes: real time, machine time and dead time all contribute to a resolution. In this sense, the newsletter can be read in two ways – either following exchanges between students and alumni or exploring the relationship between time and architecture as a profession. The interview serves as this issue’s leitmotif, bringing together distinct generations and world views in a genealogy that traces the student–tutor relationship. Mike Davies, of Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners, and first year student Assaf Kimmel converse about the architect’s fashion and the role of technology in the architectural project. Educator and writer Dalibor Vesely and his former student, Iolanda Costide (AADipl 1980) reflect on the AA’s ‘Golden Age’. And Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and the editors commemorate the band’s stage designer Mark Fisher (AADipl 1971) as well as the essential role architecture played for the band.
News from the Architectural Association
AArchitecture 20 / Term 1, 2013/14 www.aaschool.ac.uk ÂŠâ€‰2013 All rights reserved Published by the Architectural Association 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES
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Student Editorial Team: Eleanor Dodman Radu Remus Macovei Roland Shaw Editorial Board: Zak Kyes, AA Art Director Alex Lorente, Membership Brett Steele, AA School Director Graphic Design: Claire McManus 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
Cover: Exploded AA logo by Rosa Nussbaum
While October of this year marks a birthday for the AA, AArchitecture commemorates its own 20th edition with a diachronic account of the school’s alumni and layered history using Time as its theme. As Brett Steele noted at June’s graduation ceremony, the architect’s universe is defined by an assortment of temporal modes: real time, machine time and dead time all contribute to a resolution. In this sense, the newsletter can be read in two ways – either following exchanges between students and alumni or exploring the relationship between time and architecture as a profession. The interview serves as this issue’s leitmotif, bringing together distinct generations and world views in a genealogy that traces the student–tutor relationship. Mike Davies, of Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners, and first year student Assaf Kimmel converse about the architect’s fashion and the role of technology in the architectural project. Educator and writer Dalibor Vesely and his former student, Iolanda Costide (AADipl 1980) reflect on the AA’s ‘Golden Age’. And Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and the editors commemorate the band’s stage designer Mark Fisher (AADipl 1971) as well as the essential role architecture played for the band.
News from the Architectural Association
Head of Foundation, Saskia Lewis, writes about the qualitative advantage of not having enough time to produce architecture, whilst Arabella Maza (Diploma 8 student) reflects on one particular consequence of our lack of time – the all-nighter. Fourth Year student Marko Milovanovic recounts the number of times his models broke and were reshaped in the exhibited form. And AA photographer and tutor Sue Barr reflects on the varied First Year work produced in her course, The Violet Hour, proving that the adage – of being in the right place at the right time – still applies. Whether time is short, exhaustive or nostalgic, we seem always to exploit it as a productive, formative and projective tool.
Student Editors: Eleanor Dodman – Diploma 9 Radu Remus Macovei – Intermediate 1 Roland Shaw – Diploma 4
Contents 2 3 4 7 8 11 12 15 16 19 24 27 30
Form as a Predicate of Time The Time (Table) of Your Life The Tense of Modernity An Unrestrained Belief in the Golden Ratio The Question of Honours A Rather Bad Building and a Rather Good Armadillo Architecture hits The Wall The All-Nighter Adventures in Time The Violet Hour A Hole and Two Handrails In Praise of the 1970s Electric Purples and Magic Carpets
Smith Passage – Via Christina
33 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 55 56 57 58 60
A Fish out of Water Meandering Through Machine Time Territories A Deck of Cards Modelling Time Shadow Cities, Contextualisers and Transformers ‘Ching’ – A Short Etymological Exposé Time and the Student Project Look After Your Certificate In Sleep Letter from a Young Architect Probable Worlds AA Bookshop Recommends Happy Birthday, Dom-ino! AA Publications Bedford Press
Next Issue’s Theme School Announcement Student Annoucement
1842: 1 September, The Association of Architectural Draughtsmen (AAD) was founded
Form as a Predicate of Time
No clearer artefact of time exists than form. While spatial distance allows for simultaneity of form in presentia, time operates in absentia. This concept is seen most clearly through contemporary digital information management, or as analytics. With descriptive and prescriptive means of identifying data, analytics engines look for patterns in various sets of time in order to organise data structures. In turn, these structures use information to summarise tendencies, and more importantly, to project possibilities. Thus, what originates as an accumulation of unstructured information becomes endowed with meaning. Such a treatment recalls the midcentury structuralist position that context imbues form with meaning and motivation in an otherwise value-free constellation of things. As form is invested with meaning, the presentation of an organised structure of information can affect how we come to terms with, and influence, our collective
environments. This is precisely where Diploma 8 pursues its project of establishing a common form through the reconciliation of descriptive and prescriptive systems. Due to the provision of time within such systems, possibility becomes possible, and a discussion of simultaneity and polyvalence of form in architecture can be imagined. It is in this sense that the unit believes that an agenda fundamentally set on form exceeds a practice of mere technique. Because of the relationship between time and form such an agenda admits the signification of context, placing at its root the collective, the uncertain, and the indeterminate in architecture. The unit approaches form as a predicate of time itself – as a trace – of what we understand as time.
1846: September 16, Charles Gray’s letter to Builder
To see the work of Diploma 8 please visit http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/dip-8
Diploma 8 Projects Review installation at the AA Members’ evening, 2013. Photo Valerie Bennett
Eugene Han, Diploma 8 tutor, addresses the relationship between form and time.
The Time (Table) of Your Life
To see the work of Diploma 10 please visit http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/dip-10
Diploma 10 Projects Review installation at the AA Members’ evening, 2013. Photo Valerie Bennett
Carlos Villanueva Brandt, Diploma 10 tutor, reflects on time and everyday life.
In the upper deck of a double-decker bus, time moves slowly enough for the mind to stray, to eavesdrop, observe and imagine, to piece together the fragments that make up the space of life. In the front row a man talks loudly, no mobile in sight, to an imaginary audience. The eloquent sermon of this preacher or madman will put the world to right; politics, sex, football, crime, religion and gibberish all form part of his topical diatribe. Outside, our strictly predetermined, loosely timetabled route enters the Congestion Zone; no extra cost for the bus as it enters Zone 1. Exclusive or inclusive, it is hard to tell: is it a timely ASBO for the poor man’s car? Back inside, a father and son in Chelsea blue, discuss the chances of glory in the imminent London Derby: can the Gunners be brought to heel? A timeless territorial honour is at stake. Through the window, the ever-changing language of architecture
rolls past. Commanding two full rows, a large family, possibly visitors or immigrants, chats happily in another language. Behind them, a man’s newspaper headlines the death of 120 protesters in Cairo: a time for revolution; now is a time for change after the revolution. The bus transports a community timetabled for change. Talking of time beyond the bus, did you know that it takes only one minute for the Tube to travel from Portland Place to Euston? ‘Just a Minute’ without repetition, hesitation or deviation. And, according to the Standard, if you take the Tube into town, house prices rise by £150,000 a minute, with an increase of £770,000 between Vauxhall and Green Park. Does time relate to numbers or does it relate to life? In front of us a Zebra crossing controls the different flows of time.
1847: February 3, Robert Kerr invited to speak at the AAD and proposed founding of a school for architecture
The Tense of Modernity Costandis Kizis, a current PhD student questions modernity and its relationship to time.
When it comes to modernity, time is a paradox. Despite being coined to express a present condition, we usually examine modernity as a thing of the past. This inability to find the right tense for modernity is studied here through a brief review of texts by Baudelaire, Le Goff, Ricoeur and Touraine. Finally the article examines the possibility for a topological, rather than a chronological, understanding of modernity. i. Baudelaire: modernity as the fleeting moment and the possibility to ‘become antiquity’ In The Painter of Modern Life Baudelaire defines modernity as ‘the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable’. If we agree with Baudelaire, modernity and time are only concerned with the present moment, and therefore one can easily assume that modernity has no past. Yet, Baudelaire continues by saying that ‘for any “modernity” to be worthy of one day taking its place as “antiquity,” it is necessary for the mysterious beauty which human life accidentally puts into it to be distilled from it.’ With this statement Baudelaire announces the possibility for modernity to become antiquity; thus we may then think that in the first half of art, when Baudelaire finds the ‘fugitive’, he also examines the possibility to find values that belong to the ‘eternal’, or the other half of his proposed scheme. Is a modernity that is worthy of becoming antiquity losing its fugitive characteristics? How can we identify modernity in historical time after such a substantial loss?
ii. Le Goff: time-consciousness of modernity We already see that modernity is a tensesensitive notion – it is paradoxical to say that ‘modernity was’. By entering historical time, modernity not only loses its ephemeral value, but also one of its fundamental features, that is, the definite break with the past. For the French historian Jacques Le Goff it is precisely from this break where the consciousness of modernity stems. As a critique of potential anachronistic understandings of modernity, he wonders, ‘Is it legitimate for the historian to see modernity where the people of the past saw nothing of the sort?’ While Le Goff places the ambiguous relation of time and modernity into the core of the problems of historiography, he also implies that the consciousness of the difference of present time and the past, is a precondition for modernity. iii. Ricœur: ‘our’ modernity Modernity, at least in the discipline of architecture, is more easily understood by opposites. Although most of them refer to the distant past (the ancient, the antique, the classical), the rise of the postmodern opened another field of oppositions. In architectural postmodernism, the tension to criticise modern ideas was either aimed at redefining modernity, or in the case of new historicism, at rejecting modernity for the emergence of a new model capable of encompassing both modern and antique values. There is perhaps nobody who better describes this paradox than Paul Ricœur: ‘Modernity has gone a long way in defining itself in opposition to itself.’ Ricœur helps us to recognise and identify the difference
1847: March 3, meeting between AAD and prospective AA founders
Two Sisters, Max Ernst, 1906
1847: May 5, lecture by J K Colling (under heading ‘Architectural Association’) appears in the Builder
6 the ‘Two Sisters’ in Max Ernst’s painting that illustrates the cover of Touraine’s Critique of Modernity. Just as siblings who fail to live in harmony, ‘sister reason’ and ‘sister subject’, the two figures of modernity, will never find the balance that will make us ‘learn to live together’.
iv. Touraine – suspension of time and the spatiality of the in-between function of modernity From another point of view, the French sociologist Alain Touraine does not address the discussion on time and modernity. Neither does he tackle the issue of the end of modernity and the rise of the postmodern. For him modernity is definitively timeless, and its strength is only based on its critical function. If we perceive modernity as a timeless value, we may finally take a distance from the paradox of placing modernity in time. If a time for modernity can be avoided, we might then try to find a place for it instead. Touraine describes modernity as not only a promise, but also an attempt for society to balance between reason and subject. It is in this marginal position of balance where the discourse between reason and subject may dwell. This liminal in-between area can be defined or even described. Nevertheless, it is a place that is impossible to conquer. For good or bad Touraine’s intended equilibrium can never be achieved. Visually, this impossibility dwells in the space between
1847: October 8, first session of AA opens with Conversazione at Lyons Inn Hall
For more information on the PhD programme visit http://phd.aaschool.ac.uk
between our discourse on modernity – ‘our modernity’ – and the past uses of the term ‘modern’. According to him, modernity does not need its opposites to be defined: ‘...our discourse on modernity makes an abrupt change of register. Leaving aside the history of the past uses of the term ‘modern’, ... the discussion turns toward the meanings attaching to ‘our’ modernity, we who speak of it today. We are thus attempting to distinguish ‘our’ modernity from that of ‘others’, from those who, before us, declared themselves to be modern.’ ‘Our modernity’ proposes an alternative to the temporal paradox of modernity. Nonetheless, even as he underlines the necessity to distinguish modernities from ‘our modernity,’ Ricœur continues to associate modernity with historical time, and therefore offers a helpful clarification within the paradox.
An Unrestrained Belief in the Golden Ratio
To read the essays that were awarded the Writing Prize please visit: www.aaschool.ac.uk/awards
Sandra Karolina Kołacz, recipient of the First Year Writing Prize, reflects on the origins of her award-winning essay ‘Perpetual Proportion’.
Participating in the AA Writing Prize meant pushing personal boundaries and widening a restricted understanding of what architecture could be. Upon joining the AA I was inspired by Brett Steele’s opening speech: ‘In this school, tutors will not tell you what architecture is and what it is not.’ This encouraged the very beginnings of my otherwise dormant writing. To an extent I felt that we often exist as passive dwellers who circulate an architecture we think we understand. A friend pointed out that he could tell Londoners apart from the crowds because they never look up at the sky in wonder. This passive acceptance is exactly what I felt I should target, and I know my fellow prize nominees felt the same way. Seminars and discussions seemed to exahaust principles of ‘the form’, and before long I could not help but notice a pattern that had subconsciously emerged – a basic rhetoric of architecture existed in the unrestrained belief in the golden ratio and the narrow application to seemingly all architectural works. It was never a mystery why a person might want to decipher a common formula for beauty, but it began to feel as though it had been applied immediately as justification for wonders such as the Parthenon: this golden ratio, so obvious that one can universally agree where exactly it is supposed to have first occurred. Many of us explain architecture as a metaphor, by means of another device, and the golden ratio could attempt to stabilise all architecture, at risk of a dull and transient methodology:
‘[Proportion] exists as declared perfection in an imperfect form – established only in objects of unequal dimensions, as “a square building has no proportion between length, width and height”.1 This scientific term paints and at once conceals a building with notions of apparent grandeur, a critical untruth that it may perhaps be associated with the Greek and ancient wonders of the past, a false declaration of self-importance, a parody of its own existence. It steals, disfigures and violates the archaic beauty of temples, pyramids, mausoleums. It is ironic, if not entirely tragic, that these universal patterns on the principle of layouts might render all architecture, at once, entirely common. Architecture too, true to invention and theory, must be exposed to and susceptible to evolution. How strange is it for an architect, or indeed a citizen of modern society, obsessed with observing the future, to rely almost entirely on former glories and expired assumptions?’
1 A J Bryan, Architectural Proportion (1880), page 6
1855: AA petitions RIBA Council to establish an examination
The Question of Honours Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange, AA Academic Coordinator, discusses the environment where great work is fostered, and the role and meaning of Honours at the AA.
Firstly, how do you think the AA buildings influence the quality of work? To be taught in a Georgian house, a home, in rooms with fireplaces and moulded ceilings, in the centre of London, is exceptional. To know that great thinkers and makers have walked the same stairs before us and that others will follow, is to understand a continuity of which we are part. The high-ceilinged drawing rooms overlooking the Square ,connected to the idiosyncratic mews at the back via the network of un-designed bridge-pieces allow, through juxtapositions and awkwardnesses, glimpses and serendipitous meetings between students, staff and visitors that might otherwise not occur. In this way the building influences, and causes influences: it is the very nature and imperfection of the architecture that creates the AA community. Rubbing up against each other, against difference, against history, is essential to the formation of ideas: impossible people and situations are essential to creativity. I dread visiting most ‘purpose built’ schools as they presuppose education. I am interested in usurping presupposition. Can you explain your role as Academic Coordinator? I was thinking about this recently in relation to the new Smith Passage, ‘the longest Georgian corridor in the world’, which links all eight buildings, 32–39 Bedford Square. It creates the most extraordinary cross-section of levels and skylights under the eaves, joining the school together in an understated, peculiar and useful way. In some ways as Academic Coordinator I operate as a sort of cross-section of the AA myself, connecting different parts of the school together. I was a student at the AA, a member of the AA Council, an External Examiner, a Unit Master twice (Diplomas 1 and 14). Having studied, worked and taught in Europe and the States yet keeping a flat above Goodge Street station for more than thirty years, I have come to know many sides of the school. As an architect I query the profession; as a teacher I question the discipline. My personal preoccupation is with architectures that revolve around the nature of being, that think about ‘spatial prosodies’ and ‘non qualities’ of time. I generally take the back door, the back stairs, Frost’s ‘path less travelled’. I favour generosity, bravery and effort. I try always to listen and where possible, make things possible.
1861: AA Brown Book begins publication
Max Hacke at the Diploma Honours presentation, June 2013. Photo Valerie Bennett
How does the AA’s means of assessment influence the school? At the AA work is assessed collectively through dialogue. That it is argued about and passionately disputed seems to embody the essence of a civilised and democratic education. Debate between students, between student and tutor, and between tutors, establishes a common ground of difference across the discipline. Disagreement is essential – it lies at the heart of ideas: it is the very material we work with, that we must work with, at the AA. Conversations are the reason to be here: our work is the materialisation of conversation. At the AA we only offer Pass or Fail. This is a fundamental and crucial principle that dates back to the founding of the school in 1847 and distinguishes the AA from all other schools of architecture. It is for other schools to skirmish over percentage assessments – I simply don’t believe that subjective judgements can be categorised in this way. Work is either good enough or it’s not and this can be identified regardless of taste, style, subject, medium or mode. This ability to recognise quality is what we teach, across all units; how to ask the right questions, how to make judgements. As tutors and students, we are learning all the time: this is a dynamic condition that occurs between us and is, to a large extent, ineffable and unmeasurable in any conventional sense.
1862: AA Library forms
10 What criteria underpin an AA Honours project? ‘Honours’ is the democratic acknowledgement of merit. In my opinion the fundamental criteria for an AA Honours project have not changed over the years. The work must challenge preconceptions. It must exceed its unit, its tutors, its origins, its language and reach a brink of collapse. These projects are not seamless or slick, they have rough edges that reveal potential. The best projects are deeply personal and engage the unexpected. They cause us as tutors to recognise something never before seen. Intuition meets intellect, the verbal meets the nonverbal, the concrete coexists with the abstract, and the physical blurs with the metaphysical. This work gives more, dares more, risks more. It momentarily touches something sacred.
Is there such a thing as an Honours student? Honours at the AA represents a particular moment, a particular afternoon in June when a particular project, a particular delivery, a particular nuance captures something that is shared and agreed upon by the tutors. But we all know it’s a point in time. There are many fine projects, many fine minds in other stages of development that will become remarkable, special, important, unusual, discovered and recognised in time. There are many right answers and it must be remembered that the condition of making things – ideas, objects, buildings, relationships – is forever unfolding. I think the greatest honour is to teach and to teach at the AA: to engage the minds, the trust, the generosity and the tolerance of our students in the collaborative effort to reach for something we don’t quite yet know. Like T S Eliot, I can only say ‘there we have been: but I cannot say where.’
1863: The AA’s Voluntary Examination Class commences and the first RIBA voluntary exam takes place
To read articles written by this year’s Honours winners please visit http://conversations.aaschool.ac.uk
Can you comment on the design process leading to Honours? I do not believe that the greatest work is achieved without a struggle. Doubt, often extreme self-doubt, is part of the creative process, and it is important to realise that tutors doubt themselves and their work as much as students. Disappointment, mostly with oneself, is part of making things, making anything, and part of moving forward, though it often doesn’t feel like forward! I once heard a sermon preached on the subject of disaster. The etymology of the word ‘disaster’ comes from ‘dis-aster’, to be separated from the star that guides you. I sometimes think when all is seemingly lost, or disastrous, it is because we have lost our raison d’être, or we have lost sight of what really matters. Often this has to do with understanding different scales of time and how these interplay. Contrary to convention I think there is always enough time, it is just a matter of recalibrating values.
A Rather Bad Building and a Rather Good Armadillo Former AA student Michael Gold (AADipl 1964), revisits an essay he wrote in 1973 for the publication AA Projects 1946–71.
To look through student projects from the 1970s, visit AA Archives in the basement of 32 Bedford Square www.aaschool.ac.uk/archives
‘Long ago the Chinese town of TsuenChen-Fu, the outlines of which are like those of a carp, frequently fell prey to the depredations of the neighbouring city of Yung-Chun, which is shaped like a fishingnet, until the inhabitants of the former town conceived the plan of erecting two pagodas in their midst. These pagodas, which tower above the city of Tsuen-Cheu-Fu, have ever since exercised the happiest influence over its destiny by intercepting the imaginary net before it could descend and entangle in its meshes, the imaginary carp.’ – ‘Chinese Geomancy’ from The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer A type of iconographic imagery sculpted in concrete was a feature of Fourth Year student projects of the late fifties, as encouraged by John Killick’s tutorship at the time. Its best exponents were Khareghat and Reynolds. Abstract geometries as configurations by which space, enclosure, plans and circulation might be disciplined, were avoided in favour of explicit, literal, organic and sculptural forms that potentially reopened a door to a fresh, romantic, storytelling in architecture (one that is now avoided under the continuing influence of abstraction). Crystalline enclosures acquired faceted doors, windows, furniture, structure, floors.
In one example, by Kharegat, from the brief for an ocean terminus, the ‘parti’ is a building in the shape of a boat. The Romeo and Juliet apartments by Scharoun, and Saarinen’s TWA bird-terminal belong to this period, and the sort of concrete facets, then around the AA, infected the London South Bank complexes, the National Theatre, the Smithsons’ Robin Hood Lane, and buildings by Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis. Sadly, the movement never pushed towards inventing, much less articulating, communicative detail, embellishment, delicacy or any thematic device to match the somewhat crude ventures into imagery. It remained merely an interesting aberration within the limitations of the brutalism of the period. There were moments at the Killick juries that were long remembered: ‘You seem to have produced at the same time a rather bad building and a rather good armadillo,’ remarked the panel. Oddly, a residual hankering for ‘meaning’ beyond abstract geometry would seem to remain in a public consciousness, evidenced in names given by architects, or architect friends, but which have caught on, to some of the very largest and unavoidably prominent London buildings of today – a shard, a gherkin, a cheesegrater – thus echoing the AA fifties, and icons bereft of any iconography besides their overall scale.
1870: First AA Annual Excursion, Peterborough
Architecture Hits The Wall Mark Fisher (AADipl 1971 and Unit Master 1973–77), designed some of Pink Floyd’s most memorable sets. He recently passed away, and is remembered here in an interview with the band’s drummer, Nick Mason.
I remember playing at the AA in 1966 for the Christmas party, as it was one of the first semi-professional gigs that we did through an agent. I never actually went back to the AA after that. Roger, Richard and I were at the Regent Street Polytechnic, which is now Westminster University, and we had friends at the AA, but there wasn’t a huge amount of interaction between the schools. It happens that two of my part-time tutors at the Poly were Richard Rogers and Norman Foster! We were signed quite soon afterwards, doing 200 shows a year, so I inevitably drifted away from architecture schools. I like to say that Pink Floyd was a government-funded initiative, as Roger, Richard and I were all on grants and used the student common room to practise. One of the interesting things about all the people we worked with was how many links there were to architecture. It is a really good training for rock and roll because it mixes the practical with fine art, drawing, three-dimensional thinking and structural engineering. Arthur Max, for example, who took us from 35mm slide projectors to hydraulic ‘cherry picker’ lifts with racks of mounted lights, was an American student architect who helped introduce us to stage lighting. He is now an Oscar-nominated production designer for Ridley Scott. But the great thing about Mark Fisher was that he got along so easily with people, and everybody thought he was the nicest guy. He also did beautiful drawings. Of the sets he designed for us, his work for
The Wall stands out in particular, as it was so groundbreaking and defined a completely new set of parameters. He was the first to do what many had only thought of doing. We’d already done large projection screens for example, but he produced the design for The Wall that could be erected in an hour, double as a projection surface, and then collapse at the end of the show. We had faith in Mark’s proposals because he made them work practically. Gerald Scarfe and his team would have been involved in the actual content of the projections, whilst Mark dealt with the construction. In any given show there’d be around 20 ideas, of which two or three wouldn’t work. Sometimes the props were just too heavy to transport, and a large part of Mark’s task was making as many lightweight structures as possible. Like a theatre director, he’d come to oversee the first shows and then move on to his next project. We generally had a clear idea of what the show would be, so we’d hand Mark the set list of the show and he’d design the production accordingly. We tended to follow the same format, playing new material in the first half, and then the ‘Best Of’ in the second half. We were always trying to break the audience into new material first, which was the toughest thing. We also tried to modify the sets night by night, partly because there were people coming to see all the shows in a particular location, and also so that we ourselves didn’t get stuck in too much of a rut.
1880: First architectural students’ satirical journal, British Builder and Architecting News, published
Invitation and flyer for the AAâ€™s 1966 Carnival where Pink Floyd performed, just before being signed by EMI
1889â€“92: Leonard Stokes Presidency
The Wall was driven specifically by Roger feeling that there was an audience out there that felt alienated. A rock festival is as much about the audience being together as it is about what’s happening on stage. But if it’s just one band playing you feel there should be more engagement with the audience. When you’re playing to 80,000 people, you need big things to grab the attention of the people at the back playing Frisbee, and that’s why the towers that rise and fall, the giant inflatables and so many of Mark’s ideas made such an impact. Mark really helped establish the standard for today’s large-scale set design for rock shows. I went to see a Robbie Williams show with fantastic staging. The sets were as good as anything we ever did. At the time, we were quite peculiar in that we spent so much time on the staging while others concentrated on promoting themselves with just a stage, a few lights and large screens. As we worked with Mark,
ours became more like theatrical events – a bit like Michael Jackson’s later shows. The Stones also got into it with huge platforms and moving elements. One time they asked how high our proscenium arch would be so they could make theirs a bit bigger! Mark really was the instigator of these production values, and ended up as the master of the theatrical rock spectacular. He was a brilliant visionary, sorely missed!
1891: Two rooms at No 56 Great Marlborough Street rented
To listen to the whole interview please visit the AA Archives in the basement of 32 Bedford Square www.aaschool.ac.uk/archives
The All-Nighter Arabella Maza, Diploma 8 student, having undertaken many all-nighters describes her experience when there are just not enough hours in the day.
It is midnight, and the evening/morning is about to begin. You count down the hours until the deadline. Eleven hours left until the presentation. That should be enough. The shining light of the screen is almost threatening. How are you going to get it all finished? First line of business: be in the right state of mind, and have the right ammunition to keep you going (a reheated coffee from the morning will do).It’s crunch time now, no more doubts, no more breaks. Go for it, and get the work done. Whether you are alone or have company, nothing seems to matter anymore. The piercing music of the musician you hear in the corner of your ear no longer bothers you. Your friends attempt to keep up with the all-nighter but fail miserably and go to bed. It’s just you and your machine now, and the massive drawing that you need to finish in eight hours. The light pierces through your eyes like tiny needles, and your hands seem to have a life of their own. It is almost robotic. Your brain is barely functioning, but your body maintains its rhythm, almost as if you are on autopilot. Music is optional. Sometimes it helps to keep the pace, but when it gets intense nothing is better than the sound of the keyboard and the mouse clicking. When you know you’re getting the work done and are engrossed with what is happening in front of you. Where was this feeling all day long? If only every day could be this productive. You could channel this energy into a normal schedule. Imagine the greatness. Stop. Don’t get distracted. The sun is rising.
It is seven in the morning already. What were you doing? You only have four hours left, and count the time to get there. And make the print-outs too. Okay just finish what you have; the other drawings will have to be left behind. Can you do it all? Click, click, click, tap, tap, tap, tap, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. You need to go. Hurry.
1893: Ethel and Bessie Charles try to join AA; motion to allow female students defeated
Adventures in Time
Left: Max Gitlen, 2001 – bridge-hideout, Hooke Park Opposite: Carolin Esclapez, 2013 – existing within the image memories of Chicago and London
Approaching time as a tool to challenge limits, Saskia Lewis, Head of AA Foundation, describes how the course operates through a constant pressure of time.
1901: AA’s Day School opens with A T Bolton as Head
Time is a tool. During the Foundation year each student has the opportunity to use time as a vehicle for developing, testing and organising their work. This offers a rhythm of creative progression that attempts to shape the time students spend on their projects, rather than predetermining their creative outcomes. We identify key areas of engagement in order to allow students to build their work in depth, take risks and discover the value of previously unfamiliar positions while drawing on their own itineraries and aesthetic impulses. They can then export this rhythm to future creative endeavours. We purposefully do not upload the course online and prefer to remain a touch evasive by providing a general description of the year that keeps any details deliberately obscured. We want students to approach Foundation as if they are on a creative, intellectually challenging, survival course – a boot camp for thinking and designing. This is our way of deconstructing any preconceptions and tendencies toward working in a predictably rigid manner – this process with a more lateral, occasionally perilous, creative journey, rich with risks, mistakes and surprises. In part, we achieve this by allowing the students almost no time. If you don’t
know what you’ll be doing in four weeks you have to concentrate on the now. Stripping time bare creates a sense of immediacy, urgency and experimentation that allows for roughness, frank conversation, creative observation and new ways of working. We can all achieve an amazing amount in an hour, day, week or several weeks if we’re caught up in constructive momentum. I often think it is a debatable luxury to seek more time to do something well, when instead you can re-think, re-consider and re-adjust, fast. This agility and reliance on raw survival techniques is what we aim for in Foundation. Immaculate detail emerges later as the post-script. When I first took over the direction of Foundation, I sought to profit from our previous experiments in time by dividing the tempo of the course into one- and threeweek events. The reasons were twofold. Firstly, I not only needed to describe the year to a new cohort of students, but also to a totally new team of tutors who had not taught Foundation. Secondly, and more crucially, I wanted to explore how we could help students deliver engaging and welldeveloped work at a remarkable rate without becoming prescriptive. Over the years I have watched generations of students – myself included
1906: Students who complete the AA’s four-year course awarded exemption from sitting RIBA’s Intermediate Examination
– who have had the luxury of a six- or eight-week design project, while away their time with cigarettes and coffee, deferred decisions and elongated conversations, procrastinations and diversions – pleasures we have all known. But my somewhat querulous question was what could students produce if they only had three weeks? In order to help students respond to such a tight schedule, we play with time in Foundation by using a working glossary – Observation, Documentation and Analysis, Speculation, Experimentation and Translation – to guide us through the structure of the year. As Marcel Proust taught us, language has the capacity to renegotiate time, and time the ability to reinvent language (we also employ an Anti-Glossary, but that’s a different matter). While we retain enough structure to
ward off disaster, it is important to remain open so that we do not become creatively exhausted. This year we are further experimenting with the structure of Foundation, conflating projects, breaking established rhythms and refreshing attitudes by bringing in a new cohort of tutors – including recent graduates – to teach what they are passionate about. Our ambition, as always, is to make time a friend, to try to use it productively and wisely while also learning to stretch it to allow for a little procrastination and reign it in when necessary. After all what would architecture be without a little time wasted?
1911: Athletics ground at Elstree purchased
To explore student work in AA Foundation, see: http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/foundation
Lukas Akinkugbe, 2013 – A portrait of speed
The Violet Hour
Maria Olmos, 2009
Sue Barr, architectural photographer and First Year Media Studies tutor at the AA, presents a selection of students’ photographs made during the fleeting light of dusk.
A few years ago, I ran a course called The Violet Hour as part of the Media Studies programme. My intention was to set a project brief that made time a crucial factor in the making of the photographs. The students’ responses varied greatly – from urban landscapes to more allegorical photographs where the photographic frame was used as a space in which to construct ambiguous narratives. Throughout the history of art, the liminal state of twilight or the violet hour (as T S Eliot called it in The Waste Land), has inspired images that suggest an ambiguous
and fleeting beauty, and the point at which hard facts become elusive. Light is the essence of a photographer’s work, and one must be attuned to its subtleties. At the violet hour, colour and quality of light are in flux; photographing at this time is necessarily an outdoor activity where timing and observation are critical. The fleeting light presents the photographer with technical challenges, but also with the opportunity to explore the notions of transience and the mysterious psychological states that the violet hour suggests.
1912: Robert Atkinson appointed Design Master of Evening School
Top to bottom: Eleni Tzavelo, 2009; Alexey Marfin, 2010; Yu Zheng, 2010. Opposite top to bottom: Lucy Moroney, 2009; Andreas Stylianou, 2011 (middle and bottom)
1913: Maule resigns and Atkinson becomes Head of School
1914: Howard Robertson becomes Head of Evening School.
Photos: Patricia Mato-Mora, 2009
1917/18: Women first admitted as students to the AA School
9 October 2009 54 minutes on Eastbourne Pier By Patricia Mato-Mora
To see more work produced during the Violet Hour, please visit: http://projectsreview2011.aaschool.ac.uk/ students/the_violet_hour
18:05 – The sky has been leaden all day long, but the sun is now starting to reappear at the horizon. The white Victorian buildings are bathed in the same pink light that is reflected on the sea. I am reminded of wedding cakes and meringue pies. 18:09 – My attention is drawn to the stilts the pier is built on, a spatial grid framing the immensity of the sky that could well have been inspired by Italo Calvino’s city of Thekla. I have hardly had time to set up my tripod on the beach before the violet hour is all around me. 18:23 – The violet sky and the movement of the sea are captured in my long-exposure photograph. It is framed to portray the fake fantasy of the pier above, and the crude stench of the algae colonies piling up beneath it.
18:42 – Underneath the pier, I take a series of overly saturated yellow pictures. Almost convinced that the white balance setting in my camera is either senile or just kaput, I fold my tripod and run all the way up to the pier proper, discovering the culprit – sodium vapour light – on the way. 18:51 – A sliver of pink light right above the horizon is what is left of the violet hour; but I am confident that I can still see it from the pier. That is, if the rundown phantasmagoria of its props, carelessly piled up to one side, doesn’t distract me from my twilight chores. 18:59 – The imperturbable authority of one of the pier’s notices is the protagonist of my last photograph. Taken over what seems an endless twelve seconds, it still has managed to capture the violet highlights reflected on the sea.
18:30 – Plink! Thousands upon thousands of yellow light bulbs are the new constellations shining. Setting my shutter speed to ten seconds, I decide to shoot again. Click, I run into the frame, and, splish, splash, splosh; the tide has now risen. I only notice once my shoes and socks are soaked.
1917: The AA takes lease of 34 and 35 Bedford Square
A Hole and Two Handrails – Experience Against Effect Joshua Penk explains the trials and tribulations of building the ‘+1’ , this year’s agenda in the AA’s Intermediate 10, led by Valentin Bontjes van Beek.
Blood blisters, bloody knuckles and dead arms. Dusty throats, irritated eyes and strained backs. Headaches, hands peppered with steel splinters and wrists singed by sparks. Cracked skin, ruined cuticles and terrible, terrible hair. These are the common symptoms of a bad case of Intermediate 10. Still it’s a refreshing change from the bloodshot eyes and benign tremors of our sleep-deprived contemporaries. To complain about these symptoms is wrong because just as the sleep-deprived student can triumphantly present another ten drawings the following morning, the physically weary member of Unit 10 can rise to scale the graded rubble of 100 London bricks and slide headfirst through an irregular escape hole that emerges through half a metre of Victorian masonry. Slipping onto a roof littered with skeletons, footballs and banana skins, we are the very first +1s. There is a sense of excitement and panic when the first brick-sized hole is made on the outer surface of the wall. No shard of light floods the room. The brick just falls limply out to be the first chunk of many to spew onto the asphalt of the roof below. Truth be told the whole construction phase has been filled with mixed emotions. Although what we have done is enormously exciting and engaging, mixed with the straightforward manual work are layers of planning, bureaucracy and logistics
that need to be addressed and committed to. Decisions have to be made regarding delegation of tasks, money and design. The results are very real and must be lived with for more than just a few weeks at an exhibition. Our first foray into demolition and masonry construction wasn’t without trepidation when we knocked a hole in a listed Georgian building. From the start of the year this task was considered to be a minor work that would have enabled us to proceed with a larger scheme: the erection of a new structure on the rooftop of 10 Morwell Street. It was an exciting prospect to break a hole in the AA, but more exciting still was the prospect of creating a whole building. Over the year, however, the plan gradually diminished as the scope of work actually involved became apparent. Some hope remained through Term 2 as we worked on our individual +1 projects in London, and we still had not admitted defeat even at the start of the Easter break, when no building work had even started. It wasn’t until the beginning of Term 3 that the realisation of the enormity of work required for a project like this set in. To even create the opening, construct a door, and secure the site with handrails would have taken all the time that we had left. It took weeks of preparation before actual works could even begin. There were issues of health and safety that got in the way, and at times the absurdity of these
1917–20: Atkinson’s alterations to 34 and 35 Bedford Square are made, and the back studio block is built
The beginning of the hole to the new terrace. Photo Joshua Penk
1920: Women first admitted as AA Members
factors became a demoralising burden that caused temporary mutiny amongst the group. Design work still had to be done and the difficulty of balancing and assigning work caused problems. In retrospect we were all probably too polite; meetings and discussion would go nowhere for days on end. And this was only for a temporary handrail whose form had been heavily dictated by the engineer and the available materials. Itâ€™s small wonder that formulating a design between eleven students during Term 1 failed to reach any conclusions. But decisions had to be made and the key for the handrail seemed to be printing it at 1:1.Technically this allowed for easy fabrication (cut-outs became templates) and adjustments to fine-tune the design. Once this was decided, fabrication progressed without any real difficulties alongside the other works. In fact the handrail was fitted on-site in a single day, after being completed in the workshop, by some miracle, it actually fitted together. The door presented a different set of challenges. Determined not to compromise on their desires, the group manufacturing the door worked through all setbacks to finish just in time. Some last-minute â€˜performance piecesâ€™
popped up as guests walked onto the roof to be the first to join us on our new frontier, share a drink, some seafood and awkward moments of vanity with the mirror wall. And so it was that we reached a point we called finished. Despite being neglected temporarily while we hurriedly hashed together portfolios that attempted to tie the year together, the single topic of the +1 was imagined in every way and at every kind of scale, across three terms and many modes of working. Were all equally important? Stood on this new terrace, on the opening night of Projects Review, amongst crowds of people in a space that we had created, its felt that maybe the experience had been equally spread, but what of the effect? Well, there is no competing with the impact of a hole and two handrails. We were Unit 10, and now there is no going back
1920: Evening School closed, Day School becomes five-year course
For more information on Inter 10 please visit http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/inter-10
The new terrace designed by Intermediate Unit 10 taught by Valentin Bontjes van Beek. Photo Sue Barr
In Praise of the 1970s Practising architect and AA graduate, Iolanda Costide (AADipl 1980), interviews her former tutor and prolific architectural educator, Dalibor Vesely, in an attempt to capture AA life at the end of the 1970s.
Under great political pressure to conform to the ‘state curriculum’, the AA School had become, almost, a department of Imperial College. The AA Council decided to wind down the school in March 1971. The school community resisted and set about appointing a new head, to secure its financial and academic independence. Iolanda Costide: The AA in the 1970s… Dalibor Vesely: It all started in 1971 when Alvin (the ‘rainmaker’, as he described himself) was appointed Chairman. In 1973 he established the unit studio system. The school was, until then, based on a year structure, with Peter Cook in charge of the whole of the Diploma School. Alvin had this very interesting idea, right from the beginning, that he would like to have a school made up of studios representing different cultures, with different approaches to architecture. It was a complex vision. He brought people from Switzerland, Chile, America, central and eastern Europe and Britain, of course. The whole organisation of the units created an inspiring atmosphere. The proximity of the studios gave rise to impromptu meetings. There was a sense of competition, which induced a momentum of great enthusiasm. The studio system was very much stimulated by Alvin. He had an unbelievable gift to inspire people. He pushed you every minute, in a very diplomatic way. Then, there was the more brutal incentive of the one-year contracts. In the summer you never knew whether you would get a letter inviting you to continue your work at the AA or suggesting that you may prefer to have a sabbatical. Some people talk about the 1970s representing the golden age of the AA. Do you think they are right, or is it only nostalgia? Was it special, the AA, in the 1970s? Yes. Retrospectively, you can easily understand this. Imagine the top floor of Bedford Square, with unit next to unit, led by Elia Zenghelis, Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, myself, Daniel Libeskind, Leo Krier, Peter Cook, Peter Wilson, Rodrigo Pérez De Arce from Chile; Zaha Hadid, eventually. Then, too, were the very ‘sound’ voices of the external visitors: Cedric Price, Bob Maxwell, Alan Colquhoun, Colin Rowe. I remember Rykvert, Colquhoun and Rowe being present at a crit of the Urban Forum. We had to move to the Exhibition Hall to accommodate the crowd. Eric Parry was explaining his project, a ‘Political Building’, centred on the idea of the ‘balcony’, by Jean Genet. Rowe vented his
1920: Atkinson elevated to Director of Education and Howard Robertson becomes Principal of AA School
Dalibor Vesely at the Honorary Members’ event, May 2013. Photo Valerie Bennett
outrage: ‘If this is what people do after reading my “Collage City”, I want no part of it.’ He stormed out when I assured him that his concern was unfounded, since few people in the room would have read his book! Alvin’s second significant contribution was starting a programme of AA publications. He eventually planned a series of exhibitions and catalogues illustrating the concepts developed by each studio – ‘Themes’. The first to be published, in 1982, was ‘Architecture and Continuity’, with our unit’s work on the Urban Forum – Kentish Town (1978–81). The AA printed five or six catalogues, including Bernard Tschumi’s, Michael Gold’s and Peter Wilson’s units, from what I remember. When I joined the unit, in 1978, Mohsen Mostafavi, now Dean of Harvard School of Design, was your assistant; Peter Carl too. When Libeskind left, I asked Mohsen to work with me – a very interesting collaboration. Peter Carl, from Princeton, resigned after one term with the unit. We both started teaching in Cambridge full time, in charge of the 5th Year. Not an easy task. I was working seven days a week, and Peter always very serious, decided ‘one madness was enough’. From amongst your students in Unit 1, who stands out? We had a group of Greeks, very talented; then the ‘Persians’. Homa Farjadi joined the studio, from the postgraduate school, for a project. There was something in her drawings – wonderful, rendered just in biro – that sparked our imagination. I decided we would embark on creating spaces and visuals in a less orthodox manner. It was all about space defined by light and shadow, not design based on formal games or principles, moving away from traditional perspectivity, into a notional space.
1920: AA Incorporated set up as a Limited Charitable Company
Iolanda Costide in her office, NTA16 Architects, December 2010. Photo Raul Stef
You introduced to the AA the central European classical humanist tradition: the concept of historical continuity in architectural thinking. It is partly true. But more important to me was an aspect of the avantgarde tradition, an involvement with surrealism. The emphasis in our studio was on content, rather than form, but this was misunderstood. It was assumed to be too much based on aesthetics, on appearances, on beautiful drawings, rather than on important latent cultural themes, visual metaphors, shared by surrealist art and architecture.
If you would like to read about the AA as it stands, and the direction it is heading, please visit: www.aaschool.ac.uk/wherewearegoing
Do you think that choosing the ‘free world’ was important for us, as architects? In my case, it was a matter of existential necessity when I decided to defect in 1972. In the dark ages of the old communist regime, the modus vivendi, the way out for us, was through modernity, and through long-term architectural and cultural traditions, as points of reference. The need to access a wider cultural horizon, through travel and experience abroad, could not be satisfied while living in Prague. I benefited hugely, of course, from studying, first in Romania, later at the EPF-Lausanne, and then the AA. I remember, in the early 70s, the AA and the Cooper Union dominated as the two most progressive schools. The AA School, partly for very good reasons, partly for promotional ends, was presenting itself as being in the avant-garde, progressive and experimental. It imparted vast knowledge, was inventive and provocative. There’s no doubt about this. This was its visiting card. Dalibor Vesely, architect and educator, joined the AA in 1969, and led Unit 1 in the Diploma School from 1973–81. He also taught at the University of Essex, and since 1978, he has taught at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture as Diploma Studio Master, where he also started an M.Phil. programme in ‘History and Philosophy of Architecture’, with Peter Carl. He currently collaborates with Eric Parry Architects. Many of Dalibor Vesely’s students went on to establish successful practices: Daniel Libeskind, Eric Parry, Mohsen Mostafavi, Homa Farjadi, Alberto Perez-Gomez, David Leatherbarrow, Kalliope Kontozoglou and Athanasios Spanomarides.
1921: The AA aquires the lease on 36 Bedford Square
Electric Purples and Magic Carpets
Image: Mike Davies with his telescopes, 2009. ÂŠ Valerie Bennett / National Portrait Gallery, London
In a conversation on themes ranging from architectural education in the 1960s to choice of wardrobe, Assaf Kimmel (First Year) takes Mike Davies (AADipl 1969) back to his time as an AA Diploma student.
1921: AA Year Book replaces AA Brown Book
31 Wearing only red from head to toe for about 40 years, Mike Davies is a founding partner at Richard Rogers & Partners, where he has been involved in virtually every project of the practice, including Heathrow Terminal 5, the Millennium Dome, of which he was project director, and the current Grand Paris. Assaf Kimmel: What did you find most inspiring when you began your studies at the AA? Mike Davies: The thing that struck me most about the school was the incredible openness and the liberal thinking of the place, which was a real contrast to what one might loosely call a more orthodox education. Its greater strength was how wide-ranging, unconstrained and great its welcoming of creativity was. It is one of its powers of the past and its power now. Will your AA classmates from the 1960s remember you as always wearing red? In those days I used to wear purple, believe it or not. I probably wasn’t absolutely monochrome at the time. There was a huge explosion of colour in the 1960s. Everybody enjoyed colours for the first time after the severely dressed architects of the 1950s. [While studying at UCLA in California] I bought a fantastic electric purple suit on Hollywood Boulevard, and I used to later wear it to the office in Paris after Richard [Rogers] won the Pompidou Centre. One day, my client, the musician Pierre Boulez, told me ‘Mike, you are very courageous to wear this colour.’ I said ‘Well, it’s a lovely colour,’ and he replied ‘You are very courageous to wear your homosexuality in public.’ When Davies realised purple was the colour code for gays in 1970s Paris, he went to a local shop and bought three pairs of red golf trousers. Since 1973, he has worn red, every single day. In an interview just before the opening of the Millennium Dome in 1999, you mentioned going yellow in the future. I meant that the next colour I would go to would be yellow, but I might be dead before I get there. Wearing red is incredibly convenient, you don’t have to worry about wardrobe coordination, you can just grab something from the cupboard and you know it’ll be a match, even if you had too much to drink. Wherever you go it breaks the ice; one can easily start a conversation about colour, about people expressing themselves. It makes people talk to each other. Our buildings are also very brightly coloured. We enjoy colour. I would like you to imagine that you are back in architecture school in 2013 and that you need to decide what unit you want to pursue. I would probably still explore technology and urbanism. It is technology that changed the language of architecture over the past decades, and I think philosophical positions have been shaped by technological opportunities rather than the other way around. So I would be
1932: Robertson moves from Principal to Director of Education
32 interested in technology as a student, not necessarily in the details, but the perspective of what it can do, how it can change things. At the same point in time I would try to engage with urban issues and scales. When you are dealing with an individual house you have one sort of problem. When you are dealing with a Chinese city where 15-20 million people are living or with an airport with millions of passengers a year, you have completely different problems. So I would explore emerging technologies with an overview of the large scale.
That is why we have a bar at the AA. That’s right. The bar was the debating chamber at the AA. The biggest ideas of the day were developed there, whether they were technological details or debates about the Vietnam War. The school was obsessed with autonomy, with not doing monuments and buildings. It was all about adaptability, growth and change as major philosophical drivers. So there wasn’t a debate about whether something was Corbusian or Wrightian, or whether something was high tech. The debate was about lifestyle, about change, about young people living in squats or in the streets at the lower end, and at the other end living in container housing or in pop-up living spaces. It was all about non-architecture at the time. How did you see the architectural profession as a First Year student, and is it different from the way you see it now? I don’t think it has changed that much. The perception of how you go about it has changed, but the notion of building buildings in an urban or rural environment hasn’t fundamentally changed. When you are in your early years at the AA I don’t think you have a clear perception of what an architect is. You are into exploring things, exploring materials and trying to understand how to tackle a problem. We didn’t have a mature view of what an architect was. We were winging it, travelling on magic carpets. Among my tutors were Peter Cook, Ron Herron, David Greene and Cedric Price, and they encouraged this. In many ways they were not traditional architects either. I wasn’t interested in what an architect was like, but in what he could do. Whether you were an architect doing it or not an architect doing it was not really relevant.
1933: May Rowse appointed as AA Assistant Director
To read more about Mike Davies and his work, please visit www.richardrogers.co.uk/practice/team/mike_davies
How much does architectural education in 2013 differ to that of the 1960s? The base process is no different. It is a conceptual and creative one, and the ideas are coming from the brain. Then, you are offered a whole series of tools. In the 1960s it was a drawing board and a T-square, and now the tool is essentially the computer and advanced graphics. Today the computer can be your assistant, and you can work at a faster time-scale than you could before. You can run through iterations, you can sketch something and then change it at will. The base process, however, is not a computer problem, it is still a human creativity issue and this is why people still talk to each other at the AA rather than work on their computers all the time.
Caption text Boratem hiliquis volectur aturio. Nam quundam iundae ea volectem sita volut fuga. Et
Smith Passage – Via Christina
Smith Passage, or ‘Via Christina’, opened in June 2013. This third-floor corridor connects all AA Diploma units to the rest of the school and helps makes up part of the AA 2020 Plan – a ten-year programme of improvements to the 250-year-old buildings that house the AA School. For further information please contact the AA President Sadie Morgan or the AA School Director Brett Steele.
VIA CHRISTINA This 1984 print shows ‘Christina’s World’, looking southwest along a major thoroughfare at the intersection of Neal Street, Earlham Street and Shorts Gardens in London. The view captures the lively vitality of a historic neighbourhood, Covent Garden, which Christina Smith has played an essential role in protecting, improving and promoting for some fifty years. In the 1970s and 1980s Christina was central in saving Covent Garden from its planned destruction – the GLC wanted to knock down the fruit market to make way for commercial redevelopment. Thanks to Christina’s generosity and vision, for many years AA students enjoyed studio space in the Seven Dials Warehouse building, shown on the right-hand side of this picture. In 2013 Christina made another generous, historic donation to AA life: the Christina A Smith Bequest. This financial gift was made for the explicit purpose of improving our school, including our historic buildings here in Bedford Square. The first portion of this immensely generous donation has been used to complete new openings and a hallway connecting nos 36 & 37 Bedford Square. With this project now complete all unit spaces of the AA’s entire Diploma School, as well as its eight listed buildings facing Bedford Square, are joined together along a single, shared passage – commemorated here as ‘Smith’s Passage’. Already nicknamed ‘Via Christina’, this passageway brings together the Diploma School and enhances not only the educational but also the social life of the entire AA. We all thank Christina for this gift, in addition to her many years of support, guidance and inspiration. Thank you Christina for making the AA world so much better, and for making our world part of yours. Brett Steele, AA School Director, June 2013
For more information on the masterplan please visit www.aaschool.ac.uk/aalife/bedfordsquare
Photos Valerie Bennett and Ema Hana Kacar Drawing: Eleanor Dodman
A Fish out of Water
To see Vidya’s work please visit http://pr2012.aaschool.ac.uk/students/pushpanathan
AA year-out student Vidhya Pushpanathan exposes the difference between her school life and the year she spent working in practice.
After spending three years at the AA drawing plans and sections, writing essays and always trying to construct an argument for my projects, my first full-time job in an architecture practice was bound to be a challenge. I was definitely a fish out of water. In the first three months I participated in numerous competitions where diagrams were necessary, and none of these diagrams would be considered acceptable at an AA tutorial or during a pin-up. The director I worked with had to keep reminding me that the diagrams we produced were mostly for non-architects, and they had to be very clear. In other words, no Photoshop brushes or captions added for aesthetic purposes could be used. This is not to say that we didn’t produce some stellar images, but these were to show the visualisation of the project, never to explain the project to the client. Those were all done with the diagrams. In the months to follow, I considered myself lucky because I worked on a project that was in its construction phase. This meant site visits and design team meetings. Obviously, being the ‘rookie’, I was in charge of the filing system, which meant that whenever a drawing or sketch was produced, updated or issued I had to file it. This might sound mundane, but I felt it helped organise my thoughts and kept me up-to-date with the project’s status. Another habit that I picked up at the office was naming files and creating archive folders. I seem to have broken my habit of labelling a drawing or animation as ‘thisisdefinitelythefinalone.pdf’, which I am sure many people have done during their time at the AA.
Another major difference that I experienced during my time out from the AA was working in a team. At the AA most of my time was spent having conversations with my tutors and working at home with a couple of friends, at most. I really did not work in a team while studying. This is not the case in an office. I was very fortunate to work in teams where there was a clear hierarchy but my opinions were still always heard. Even though I was the newest member to the team, I was given the opportunity to ask questions, participate in the design process and communicate with clients, suppliers and subcontractors, and if I did make a mistake, the team leader would always have my back and together as a team we would try and resolve the problem. I personally think that taking a year out from the AA is critical in deciding if one would rather be in the world of academia or constructing buildings. This is something that one can only decide after working at an office because I realised that I knew very little of the other side of architecture, which involves tenders and contracts.
1935: August, Robertson resigns, E A W Rowse appointed Principal and Goodhart-Rendal appointed Director of Education
Meandering Through Tracing a walk through Projects Review 2013, James Mak, Intermediate 9 student, stumbles upon a place of arboresque reflections.
The first time you step into the AA is like entering a friend’s home. Your feet sink slightly into the fluffy carpet and the doors open invitingly off the corridors. As you proceed up the staircase, drawings from the AA Archives – from Peter Wilson to Peter Cook – hang in every corner, displaying the very best work produced within this Georgian home. Drawings of works-in-progress also hang on the walls, revealing imaginary portraits of current students hard at work in their studios. In Intermediate 9, archive and current drawings intermingle in space and time. Inspired by the Finnish forest, models hang from the ceiling, which are reflected by the Perspex mirror on the floor, allowing three-dimensional appreciation of the delicate laser-cut and ceramic pieces. Meandering through the hanging models, you find yourself at home and interacting with the creations, instead of viewing a display from a distance. In this ephemeral and forest-like maze, you can see the drawings, but only if you look through the experimental models that inspired their creation. The drawings by current students are displayed alongside framed drawings from AA Archives, including those by the renowned Ben Nicholson. This is the unit’s contribution to the AA’s legacy of drawing architecture, through making, modelling and experimenting.
1936: Rowse sets up the unit system
The myriad of line drawings overlap each other, neighbouring the framed archived drawings and flowing seamlessly into the same language of architecture. They seem to be holding a conversation between contemporaries and legacies of the AA, as if reconciling different eras. Projects Review is an occasion for students to contextualise the work in place: the worlds that have inspired their conception. Architecture is therefore displayed in time and space, becoming a culture of conversations whose indications, depictions, fictions and tensions project the old into the present and the present into the future.
To see Intermediate 9 student projects follow the link: http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/inter-09
‘Whatever space and time mean, place and occasion mean more. For space in our image is place, and time in our image is occasion.’ – Aldo van Eyck
Inter 9, Projects Review 2013. Photo Sue Barr
1938: Student vote / crisis of modernism
Machine Time Territories
Left: Optimum trading locations across the world Opposite: Trading hub chasing the optimum location
Tobias Jewson (AADipl 2013) describes a particular relationship between space and time found in the world of global finance.
With the advent of high-frequency trading, the speed of light has taken on a new spatial and material relevance. Throughout its history the stock market has been the centre of an informational arms race. From Paul Reuterâ€™s carrier pigeons, to the automatic stock ticker and the first transatlantic telegraph cable, the increased speed of communication has brought with it a dissolution of space. Brokers no longer need to be physically close to the stock markets. In 1971, around the time the NASDAQ opened as the worldâ€™s first fully automated stock exchange, the relationship to space began to reverse. Given that it takes less time than the blink of an eye for light to travel from London to Tokyo, it would seem that location would have been
made irrelevant. That was however only true when the time it took for information to travel was dwarfed by the time it took to decide on, and carry out, a trade by a human. People, however, are no longer making the decisions, and to a machine, the blink of an eye is an eternity. This has physical implications on a territorial and architectural scale. Brokers in Manhattan began migrating from Wall Street, clustering around carrier hotels on Hudson Street and 8th Avenue, in order to reduce the delay between their machines and the stock market matching engines (machines used to pair up buyers and sellers). As the space demands grew and the property prices skyrocketed, several of the stock exchanges moved to
1939: Geoffrey Jellicoe is appointed Principal and Director of Education
To see more work from Tobias Jewson please visit http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/dip-06/tobias-jewson
New Jersey, offering brokers space in the very same buildings as their matching engines. There, extra lengths of cable were added to make sure no one had an unfair advantage â€“ light does, after all, travel a foot each nanosecond. Between markets, network carriers compete to provide the shortest, fastest path of communication. This leads to more extreme measures. Having initially followed existing infrastructure and topography, carriers sought out straighter paths by buying up land and cutting through mountains. But even so, there is always a delay, and this becomes an issue when trying to exploit the minute differences between markets, or arbitrage. It becomes an issue of synchronisation. To correctly identify moments of arbitrage one must have an instantaneous and, at the same time, complete view of the state of the two markets of interest. Itâ€™s no longer enough to stay at one end: you need to be somewhere along the connection between
the two. Where exactly, depends on the state of the markets at any given time and this is always unpredictable and everchanging. What you end up with is a series of potentially profitable territories â€“ a theoretical optimum in constant motion. These territories were the subject of my investigation with Kate Davies and Liam Young, during my year in Diploma 6. What would it be like if these drifting territories were to be exploited? What would happen if the data centres of New Jersey were to chase the optimum trading location across the Mongolian desert, along the route connecting the major European and southeast Asian stock markets, all in an attempt to follow certain market logics to their very limits in order to shed light on and reveal what is already under way?
1945: 8 January, school reopens in Bedford Square
A Deck of Cards A quick shuffle through 150 years of AA membership cards, courtesy of the AA Archives.
1947: AA Centenary celebrations: students invite Le Corbusier to lecture
For further information on the history of the AA contact AA Archivist Edward Bottoms at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.aaschool.ac.uk/archives
The AA Archives are open to all members and students. They are an important resource for the study of architectural education over the last 160 years â€“ shedding light on the significant role of architecture schools in the formation, propagation and transmission of architectural culture, theory and practice.
1949â€“51: Robert Furneaux Jordan serves as Chairman
National Temperance Hospital, north wing, 1942, NHS Archive
Model of the south wing
Marko Milovanovic (Diploma 11) reconciles instantaneous disintegration and permanent production in a reflection on the notion of time.
1961: Negotiations with Imperial College commence; Bill Allen is Principal.
To find out more about the role of time in the projective processes of Diploma 11 please visit http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/dip-11
41 A drop of sweat appeared on my face right above my eyebrow. I could feel its flow towards my nose while holding the south wing of my model against the wall. We were trying to mark its footprint on the steel plate in the top right corner. While taking the large and heavy part down to install the steel holders, my building accidently crashed into a few others on its way. Four of Xia’s columns were knocked down. An elegant corner of Summer’s facade acquired minor cracks. Two of Max’s I-beams simply fell off without, luckily, affecting the structural stability of his building. My south wing also suffered some changes: the elevator shaft slid out and broke into pieces, and the long concrete floor slab of the community library fell off, revealing the storage areas below. ‘What do I do with this?’ asked Raha, pointing at the north wing on the floor. I looked at the part of the 1:50 model I made four months ago, 145 miles away, in the countryside of southwest England. One drop of sweat fell into the building I was holding. The north wing had drastically changed from when I had seen it twenty minutes earlier. I knew the entire public space on the fourth floor was missing; we had an accident carrying it down the spiral staircase between the second and the third floors of No 36. The latest change, however, appeared following the clumsy action of an anonymous student from Dip 1, with whom we shared the exhibition space. The heavy screwdriver, awkwardly placed on the delicate and weak plaster floor of the north wing caused a dramatic damage much greater than the one the building suffered during the 1941 Blitz. The machine broke through the nursery school on the second floor and through the nursing home’s dining room on the first floor, all the way to the ground-level community market. I took a deep breath and raised my eyebrow. ‘Very nice void,’ I thought to myself. ‘Just throw it away,’ I replied to Raha. She picked up the massive model, almost the size of herself. Raha then put it back on the floor, and stepped on it crashing the school library
and community centre – so that it would be easier to carry. On her way out she damaged a few other buildings that were lying on the floor. The never-ending transformation of the north wing continued in the skip in Morwell Street with hundreds of other abandoned models. We had been building the Diploma 11 installation for Projects Review for almost a week. Steel plates hanging from the wall and models hanging from the steel plates were quite an attraction. Many walked in just to have a quick look at the composition. They would applaud the installation and urge us not to add anything. We didn’t stop adding until people started walking in with glasses of champagne at the Friday opening. Compositions we made began to change before anyone would ever call them finished. The models never sat in glass boxes. In living cities, buildings are not insulated with glass domes. When we transported models from Dorset to London, they sat on top of each other in the shaky van where they began their first retrofits. When they arrived in London, they got fixed, modified or put on a shelf and forgotten. From jury to preview they were carried around, hitting walls and corners of the AA. They were never finished and never unfinished, never wrong and never right. They were models of time. Every model is like a desert stone in the Sahara, shaped by the wind over millions of years. It is like an abandoned Temperance Hospital in Hampstead Road with a 200-year-long history of adding and removing.
1966: John (Michael) Lloyd replaces Bill Allen.
Shadow Cities, Contextualisers and Transformers
Intermediate 7 focuses on diagrammatic frameworks for social machines in transitional urban contexts, directly engaging the issues of operation, process and performance. This year, we explored the ‘condenser club’ as a mixer and a catalyst within turbulent Moscow’s nightlife. We questioned how such a dynamic device could animate urban restructuring, operate over extended sequences and time cycles, and continuously transform spaces and events. First, alternating between nostalgic and futuristic approaches to dissident night-spots, we explored the juxtaposition of the city (as a flash-in-the-pan contemporary terrain of anxious overproduction, controlled emergence and systematic diversity) and the anti-city (as a live palimpsest and a ghost space, a-systematic archive and junkyard of utopias). Fortified paradises or buried ‘infernos’ offered an ecstatic escape or a deadly trap distinct from the city here and now. Negotiating the boundary between urban conditions, we first unfolded endless promenades in line with the Moscow transcripts of historical and fictional narratives, then interwove disjunctive urban fragments, stories and images and collapsed mega-structural frameworks to set up parallel worlds. These coincident scenarios for ‘shadow cities’ were set in-between projective excavations of Moscow’s layers and fantastic superimpositions of ‘paper architecture’.
1970: February breakdown of negotiations with Imperial College
Left: Heonwoo Park, Transformer, 2013 Opposite: Martin Brandsdal, Wall, 2013
Approaching architecture as a mechanism for change, Maria Fedorchenko, Intermediate 7 unit master, exposes the unit’s concern with the life and death of the city.
For more information on Intermediate Unit 7’s work, please see: http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/inter-07
Further, tackling life cycles of buildings and functions we hybridised infrastructures of flows and organisation (while challenging familiar conversions that overwrite formal ‘permanences’ with contemporary programmes). We interconnected elements and systems transplanted from dissimilar contexts to suggest new propelling typologies. Social ‘processors’ were based on production lines, material cycles, and flow patterns. Transported by the knotted conveyors of food-chains, fed through the curated lines of art platforms, or transferred between music attractors in the Metro-labyrinths, the user was to experience the programme as a functionalist-managed process similar to a factory (complete with detours and accidents). Displacements of users and objects contributed to the overall effect of a ‘contextualiser’: changes in positions and settings also led to revisions of values, associations, and reactions. Finally, we explored adaptable sets and atmospheres to support our focus on performance. We experimented with flexible scaffolds and transient elements
to produce surreal collisions and calculated assemblages – from flying-zoos and carousel-lounges to quick-fix spas and mood-tunnels. The literal translation of diagrams into ‘transformers’ was not simply a return to the fun and flexibility of megastructural precedents, but an attempt to set diagrammatic machines in motion. Escaping our control, they disrupted the consumption of spectacles with switchintermissions, stage-exchanges and back-ofhouse exposures. Mobile theatrical devices prompted new relations between sources and audiences. From before-and-after shadow cities as kaleidoscopic centrifuges of urban histories and visions, to infrastructural contextualisers as processors of live and dead forms and programmes, and finally to our social transformers that engendered new audiences and performances, the time factor remained key for achieving desired density and intensity. Dynamic thinking allowed us to test how condensers could affect urban development, reprogramming and transformation over longer time spans.
1971: Alvin Boyarsky elected as Chair
‘Ching’ – A Short Etymological Exposé
Left: Ching, published in Harlequinade, October 1923 Opposite: Ching’s Yard hosts the strawberry table for Projects Review c 1989. Photo Valerie Bennett
Christopher Pierce, Intermediate 9 unit master solving the riddle of that enduring enigma named ‘Ching’.
1976/77: The AA’s Professional Practice Course begins
For more information on Ching please visit the AA Archives in the basement of 32 Bedford Square www.aaschool.ac.uk/archives
A few years ago amidst the petty furor over the installation of industrial-grade carpet tiles and bright white electrical ‘trunking’ in our, dare I say, frequently over-fetishised Georgian rooms, also came the re-attribution of those hallowed chambers with an equally industrial-grade provenance. An endless string of ‘Open Rooms’ supplanted revered ‘Studios’ and ‘Jury Rooms’. (Although thinking about it, could ‘studio’ and ‘jury’ really be more coveted than ‘open’? I can think of a lot of cases when I’d plump for the latter.) It was at this time that I became fixated on the more quixotically coined void (Hail Miraj and Martin!) in the centre of our universe, universally known as Ching’s Yard. How many times has Shin sent you there for endless hours without you ever giving it
a second thought? One day while recently working in Ed’s archives I came across this photo of its namesake in Harlequinade. Owing much to my general cultural ignorance, it turned out that the highly coveted outdoor workshop space owed nothing to what I imagined was a highly touted recent Asian graduate or Taoist school tutor, but rather to a bald-headed, bow-tie wearing, tea-sipping Englishman of future radiator fame from the early twentieth century. Who would have known how apt the AA Principal’s words were when exactly ninety years ago, Howard Robertson praised Ching as ‘In modo suaviter’? Even today his presence is still ‘gentle in manner’, albeit in a disembodied, dirty mesh-netted kind of way.
1977/78: Graduate Design Course opens
Time and the Student Project
At the AA our projects are overwhelmingly structured around the academic calendar. Though we never know where the year will take us, the murkiness of the design process is moulded by a predetermined scale of three terms. It is the pressure of deadlines, centred around the school year, that forces decisions to be made and our ideas to develop. We begin the academic year in full knowledge of its length, yet it is never quite long enough. As students we become all too familiar with the mad rush before a deadline when suddenly we wish we had just one more day. So imagine that time is taken to an extreme, and the AA school year is condensed into three weeks. Ambitious? Ridiculous? Impossible? Well for those in the AA Summer School this is reality. Like the undergraduate school, the AA Summer School is organised around the unit system. Its five units offer a diverse interpretation of the Summer School’s over-riding theme – this year, ‘WaterWorld’ – as the basis for agendas that are as unique as the student body itself. The first day of Summer School is made up of unit presentations, workshop inductions, unit selections, and design studio tutorials. This day sets the precedent for the speed at which the three weeks will pass. Tutorials are daily rather than weekly and they are juggled with an evening lecture series, seminars, guest presentations, film nights, an interim and final jury, specialist workshops, and unit trips. This concentration of time succeeds because
it demands collaboration and group work, which in turn force students to work in the studio, thus creating a dialogue both within and between units, as students learn from tutors and peers alike. Compressing the AA year into three weeks does not dilute it, but instead emphasises the very diversity and collaboration of the school. The final day of Summer School continues to take time to an extreme by compacting a jury, exhibition and graduation ceremony into eight hours. The work on show is diverse in its process, presentation and ideas; yet the most engaging discussions focus not on individual projects, but on the unit as a whole. In three weeks, explorative collages released our inner narcissist; detailed designs were developed for a museum of rain; a futuristic flooded roofscape of London was suggested through film; cultures were collected and unfolded through a giant model Ark; and mapping techniques were combined with jewellery design to question a London in which water and land are inverted. It would be unnerving if a project did not provoke the continued exploration of concepts and theories after the course is completed. Reassuringly, whilst the amount of work produced by the Summer School was certainly impressive, no project was completely finished in three weeks. And no doubt that each individual, student and tutor, will for many years continue to engage with ideas that began to emerge over an intense three weeks.
1977/78: Graduate History Studies programme begins
For more information on Summer School please visit http://summerschool.aaschool.ac.uk
Madeleine Kessler (AA Dipl 2013), Summer School Unit 3 tutor, explains Summer School as a condensed version of an AA year.
Summer School final presentations, 2013. Photos Valerie Bennett
1984/85: AA Foundation Course commences
Look After Your Certificate
Graduation Ceremony 2013. Photo Valerie Bennett
A transcription of the inspiring speech that Sadie Morgan, the AAâ€™s President, delivered at the Graduation Ceremony this year.
It is a great honour to be standing here in front of you all â€“ students, tutors, staff, parents, guardians, family members, members of council, past presidents, and of course your director Brett. All of you have made today possible through your hard work, inspiration, support, money, humour, vision, advice and leadership. As such I congratulate and thank you all. For me this is a very poignant moment as I spent most of my childhood life passing by one of these (diploma certificate). My father graduated from the AA in 1959 and his AA diploma was one of only two items in our house that hung in a gold frame. The other item that merited such gilding was his wedding day photograph. I tried not to take it personally that
1985/86: Graduate Design course starts
pictures of my brother, sister and me had yet to graduate to the gold standard. I was confused as to why this piece of paper should have such significance for a quiet and unassuming man. It took me many years to fully understand the significance of the AA and its impact not only on my fatherâ€™s life but on the profession as a whole. Since then, it has been my privilege to have been a unit tutor, member of council, and now its president. As members of your council it is our duty to help shape the vision of the AA, uphold its values, help guide and support you all, students and members alike. Many on the council this year, I am delighted to say, are current and recent students. I hope that this will continue to help integrate council into the everyday life
To read more about council please visit www.aaschool.ac.uk/governance
49 of the school, making it even more open and accessible to you all. Our work at council is not always that easy, but it is shared among a group of committed individuals with the AA’s best interests at heart. As such we are extremely proud to be part of this day and share a significant milestone in your lives and careers. I for one, having sat through many end-of-year examinations here, know and understand the exceptionally high standard that is expected of all of you as architectural graduates, and AA graduates at that. I don’t underestimate the stress you have all been under in the past few weeks. However I hope the outstanding work on show makes it feel worthwhile. It certainly gives me hope for the future. Take a moment to look around at your friends and colleagues, hopefully most of whom you’ll be happy to see again! As a group of students and tutors, you represent more than 60 nationalities. The AA is lucky to have you, and the diversity and energy you bring from all corners of the world. Unlike some of those in government, we hope that those of you entering the workplace can stay in the UK and continue to enrich our culture with your ideas and creativity. For those of you returning home you will become part of an increasingly wide network of AA alumni who help shape an ever-growing cultural landscape. A handful of you sitting here today will become the leading lights within the industry over the next few decades, changing our ideas and preconceptions of our built environment, inspiring the next generation as did Price and as do Hadid, Koolhaas and Rogers to name but a few. Many will work in the wings, outside the limelight, but with the same ability to light up the world around us. Don’t forget that behind every great architect there is a team of brilliant people – many of whom will be AA graduates. Some will choose to use their skills to write critically and shape our world through dialogue or research as opposed to the built form. Some will pursue alternative careers
with the skills learnt. I for one know of pop stars, fashion designers, psychiatrists, filmmakers and beach bums – all of whom have benefited from the AA’s unique teaching programme. You are about to leave the AA enlightened, curious, audacious, resourceful, able to solve problems, use a glue gun, speak publically, think laterally and communicate with more than words. You have the three I’s: Imagination, Invention and Innovation. It is incumbent on you, as the next generation of architects and thinkers, to help us develop a landscape in which seven billion people can survive and flourish without consuming itself in the process – no pressure! Don’t just be concerned about the environment and the world we live in, but do something about protecting and sustaining it. Most importantly do it with imagination and in a way that enriches and delights. No need for metre-thick window mullions and straw bales. The best thing to do with advice, as Oscar Wilde said, is pass it on. With that in mind, I would encourage you all to show respect for others and learn to listen. Be generous to your peers; what goes around comes around, as my mother would say. You have been given gifts. Continue to develop and make use of them. Carry on creating, collecting and have as many varied experiences as you can. Travel, listen, look with a critical eye, and read. Know your history to make your own. Every once in a while put something positive back in to the world. Follow your heart with courage, honour, and ethics. Love what you do. And finally. Look after your certificate. You may not feel like framing it now, but one day you might. It represents a huge achievement of which you should be proud, and a place within a wonderful family that is the AA.
1990: Alvin Boyarsky dies and Alan Balfour is elected as Chair.
In Sleep Manolis Stavrakakis, AA PhD student, reviews Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep.
I have never been interested in political theory, have never been specifically occupied by the political convictions of our time, and have never read Karl Marx’s theory. Having now read Jonathan Crary’s newly published book, 24/7, I feel a burgeoning interest in all three for the first time. 24/7 is the condition we are all currently experiencing, probably without knowing it. What does that mean? It means that capitalism, especially the neoliberal condition of capitalism, has managed to make its way into our everyday lives without us even realising, offering us continuous and undisrupted access to anything that is out there. A 24/7 world is a consequence of the internet and the constant accessibility that it offers. As Crary puts it, ‘a 24/7 world produces an apparent equivalence between what is immediately available, accessible, or utilisable and what exists’. Crary’s argument rests on the basis that sleep is the most private, and the most vulnerable state common to all people. As such, it is the last of Marx’s ‘natural barriers’ that Neoliberal Capitalism is trying to attack. The reason for this attack is obvious. When we are asleep we are neither producing nor consuming, and the two examples that the author offers in the beginning of the book are enough to convince us of this fact. In the past five years the US Department of Defense conducted a research programme whose aim is to study the organic behaviour of the white-crowned sparrow, a bird that migrates from Alaska to northern Mexico. This bird has the capacity to travel without any rest or sleep for seven days. By studying this species of bird – and
1991: Landscape Urbanism launches
many other similar species – the department is aiming to produce the sleepless soldier who will be able to perform under high levels of mental and physical strain for days on end without sleeping. The second example comes from the late 1990s when a Russian/European space consortium stated its intention to install orbit satellites at an altitude of 1700 kilometres with the purpose of mirroring the sunlight back to Earth. The outcome of this project would be the illumination of specific locations on Earth during their hours of darkness. Originally, this idea was intended for remote geographical areas, such as Siberia, where long polar nights do not make working outdoors easy. It was not long before the idea was considered for metropolitan locations. The argument was that the illumination of a metropolis would benefit its energy costs in terms of electricity consumption. The general reception to this project was dubious, and for Crary it demonstrated ‘the institutional intolerance of whatever obscures or prevents an instrumentalised and unending condition of visibility’. Crary explains this idea of visibility and the function of the eye further on in the book when he refers to other utilitarian practices from the nineteenth century, one of which was the broad deployment of urban streetlights whose consequences did not become evident until the 1880s. These consequences are twofold. First, streetlights guarantee security throughout the dark hours of the day. Second, streetlights allow for the expansion of the time frame and consequently, the profitability of several economic activities.
To purchase Crarys 24/7 please visit the AA Bookshop at 32 Bedford Square or online at www.aabookshop.net
51 But it is not only visibility that Crary uses as an apparatus for his critique on the 24/7 model. Memory is one of the main territories that has been manipulated by neoliberal capitalism. According to the author, ‘24/7 is a zone of insensibility, of amnesia, of what defeats the possibility of experience’. The 24/7 world is characterised as amnesiac because it kills the seriality of our experience of the everyday. We are constantly destructed by the ‘digital world’ that surrounds us. As an outcome it is impossible to reconstruct our experiences as a sequence of events. Crary analyses several films from the 1960s, in order to show how, up to the early 1970s, memory was constructed by the experience of the everyday. Chris Marker’s film, La Jetée (1962) is indicative of how the eye and visibility operate as mnemonic devices for the identification of the ‘real’. Moreover, La Jetée gives Jetée the opportunity to introduce the dream and its relation to the experience of the real. ‘An image is “real” affectively, in how it feels, in how it verifies the intensity of a loved or remembered moment.’ In his analysis, he is mostly concerned with the relation – or distinction – between sleeping and dreaming. Setting off from Aristotle, going through the renaissance, the seventeenth centuries, Freud and ending in the 1960s, Crary, argues that the dream has been severely treated as the irrational area in both space and time, of human life. Since the 1980s with the introduction of sci-fi movies, and more intensively now, dreaming has been treated as a media software that can be accessed, manipulated and experienced through the digital and social platforms to which one is exposed to daily. In a sense, Crary believes that the way we treat the dream zone in our everyday life has been reversed since the 1980s. His belief is justified by the way we treat numerous digital platforms, such as Facebook and Google, which function in the same way as the dream has operated for centuries; they simulate a solitary, private, amnesiac, timeless experience.
Modernity, visibility, attention, and the spectacle have been constant parameters for Crary’s well-respected written work. 24/7 is characterised by the same DNA but serves a different means. Crary does not want to ‘educate’ us with this book. He wants to awake us so that we continue our sleeping. Although I am not sure whether I have been able to appreciate his argument fully, I feel more concerned about the hundreds of hours of sleep I have missed throughout my education as an architect. I am not certain whether this was the effect of what he is so meticulously describing as neoliberal capitalism or, as he puts it, the metabolising effect. I would prefer to refer to it as the metabolising effect of the education of the architect – an education that presents itself as an insomniac condition of 24/7 dreaming. This is probably the price we all have to pay in order to be imaginative and creative enough while fulfilling our wish to resist the system of neoliberal capitalism. Though Jonathan Crary believes, or at least presents in this book, the exact opposite: his analysis lacks this level of this type of sleeplessness.
1992/93: Mark Cousins appointed as Head of General Studies
Letter from a Young Architect Buster Rönngren replies to tutor Fabrizio Ballabio, on his reference ‘what is the contemporary’, in a discussion over the First Year brief ‘Architecture and Time’.
Stockholm 20 July 2013
Dear Mentor, Some time has passed since I received your last letter. Notwithstanding, time can be viewed a case in point (of a coordinate system, rather than as a dimension in itself). For example, I have not worn a watch since leaving school, and for this reason, I did not see the point, despite having the time to prove it to you. Post hoc, I have taken the assignment of writing an article for AArchitecture addressing the First Year brief that you co-wrote entitled ‘Ever, Never and Forever’. Located within the framework of the last term, I wish to seize this moment to recall our discussion over architecture and time, in order to advance the matter at hand, and to draw near the reference of contemporariness that you proposed. Acknowledging the speed of correspondence, this text will already be dated when passed on. Just as any building stands as an argument of the past, perhaps about the future, but recognised in the present, a reading of the untimely calls for a commonplace. Furthermore, I will make an attempt to part the established linearity of the above-mentioned title, to present three different axioms of space-time in this particular response. Along these lines, or against them, please advise me where to draw the line. For, I am working towards a deadline, and what is contemporary about that in any case?
1992/93: Graduate Design relaunches under Jeffrey Kipnis
Opposite: Canto X ; right: Dilation.
1995/96: Mohsen Mostafavi elected as Chair
54 Ever Time remembers one time once. Whenever an architectural type is found, it seems to be accepted as another truth. Because it was there all along? The portal to the future, named in the verse of Dante I sent before, can shift between open and closed. Inherent to the type is a moment. Making a distinction between two literal rooms, one of anticipation (not yet), and one of remembrance (no more), the portal is a figurative room – one of the present (a point). Still, a portal has definite dimension; it is briefer than the rooms apart. Near real-time, types take place: the portal is a room in itself, but through its intermediary function, the truth, a critical action seldom defaults an operative one. An architectural practice negotiates the threshold. What if it would be confined to the limits of such a room, to exercise an ideal? A disjunction and an anachronism tell why waiting by the gate of an airport seems ever so contemporary.
Never One could leave the future behind, not as a form of passivity, but to question whether time is really moving forward. If only we see, the things that are distant from us, then the contemporary is unattainable, or even irrelevant, embodied in a shadow. This is the point, Agamben argues, to perceive in the darkness of the present, this light that strives to us but cannot. Picture that standing outside the AA, an architect is burning the midnight oil. A light that, while directed towards us, indefinitely distances itself from us. A contemporary is well aware of the shadow cast on Bedford Square. For it belongs to and detaches from the moment. The fault line is a point. And even at night, the school acts as a sundial. Too soon to write farewell. Too late, Buster
1997: DRL launches as the first full-time graduate course
To see more First Year work please visit http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/first-year
Forever And all at the same time, the typology pointed out by the portal in ‘Dilation’ is an aircraft factory. A celestial map of the AA, this specific response to your brief depicts an entrance into the realm of architecture. The adjacent typologies: a cemetery, a library, a city, an amphitheatre, a bath and a garden, form a field of the archaic, what was and could still be, but moreover, a diagram of an avant-garde institution which has lost itself over time. However, underlining the text of Giorgio Agamben I received from you, the origin does not cease to operate while situated within the past. The transformative device of ‘Dilation’, the portal to the AA, leads to a rediscovery of itself. And to be contemporary means in this sense to return to a present where we have never been. As a novice at the school, one is distant from the cemetery path, but the theatre typology shows an approximate way under the subject. Being the constituent of the prism submerging the horizontal plane, it not only leads down to Dante’s inferno, but also against the direction of the portal: towards the dark behind man.
For more information on John Andrews’ work please visit the AA Library or go online at www.aaschool.ac.uk/library
Poster for BORDER Exhibition 1985 (Unit 11) from engraving, The Confusion of Tongues 1865 by Gustave Doré
Projects, events and initiatives from 1980–90, by John Andrews, First Year unit 1 unit master and Intermediate 11 unit master.
This submission for the aptly named theme ‘Time’ is a short summary of the chronicle of our unit activities over the best part of the 1980s. With the benefit of hindsight, I can now appreciate how much was achieved during this decade, and how much was taken for granted whilst immersed in the moment. BUREAU International (with Keith James) was the invention of a fictional global enterprise based on the poetics of ‘Organised Aesthetics’. Working subtitles included: Heroic Presentation, the Grid of Purpose, The Appropriate Gesture, Continuing Self Project and the search for a Perfect Suit.
EL DORADO, the study of Utopias beginning with the North (Valhalla), leading to Middle Earth (Albion) and ending in the South with the lost city of El Dorado, was the main project of the year and stemmed from a brief to design an interior walled city in the south that also played host to the embassies of Valhalla and Albion. MQL, Ministry for the Quality of Life, was dedicated to the Ministry for the Quality of Life in Lisbon.The design of the ministry was to reflect the title. The Isle of Grain on the mudflats of the Thames Estuary was the site and it consisted of marshland, a power station, oil refinery, container depot, a Martello tower, bird sanctuary and a pub called The Cat and Cracker. These places are situated in a landscape of mist, shifting shores, half light and a blurred horizon. The CARGO quartet. The BORDER, EXOTIC REALISM, GLOBAL HYBRID and CARGO Design by Desire, Harmony of Opposites and Knowledge through Travel (with Charles Mann) was planned as a three-year project to embrace world travel, experience, experiment and design. CARGO was treated as a mobile laboratory. In contemplating the potential of travel as a precursor to enchantment, the staff and students immersed themselves in live research that expressed itself in the design of objects, buildings, towns and landscapes. Four additional events were organised, and three initiatives were achieved. I also considered these to be part of and extensions to our pedagogical aims.
2001: Emergent Technologies and Design programme launches
24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding nonstop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life. Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and emerging strategies of control and surveillance.
2002: The AA acquires Hooke Park
Architecture Re-assembled: The Use (and Abuse) of History Trevor Garnham 240pp, 245 x 175 mm, illustrated, paperback Oxon, 2013 £29.99 Beginning from the rise of modern history in the eighteenth century, this book examines how changing ideas in the discipline of history itself have affected architecture, from the beginning of modernity to the present. This is not simply another history of architecture, nor a ‘history of histories’. It shows how Soane, Schinkel and Stirling, amongst others, made a meaningful use of history and contrasts this with how a misreading of Hegel has led to an abuse of history and an uncritical flight to the future. This is not an armchair history but a lively discussion of our place between past and future that promotes thinking for making.
Order these titles online at aabookshop.net where a selection of new books, special offers and some backlist titles are available
24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep Jonathan Crary 144pp, 195 x 130mm, hardback London, 2013 £9.99
Happy Birthday, Dom-ino! A centenary celebration of the Maison Dom-ino by Le Corbusier
2005/06: Brett Steele is elected as Director
Architecture Words 11 The House of Light and Entropy Alessandra Ponte c 200 pages, 180 x 110 mm, paperback December 2013 978-1-907896-17-0 £15 Formerly announced as Maps and Territories, this collection of essays written by landscape historian Alessandra Ponte, begins with an investigation of the American obsession with lawns and continues to collectively map the aesthetic, scientific and technological production of past and present North American landscapes. These include the American desert as a privileged site of scientific and artistic testing; the faraway projects of electrification of the Canadian North; the photographic medium and its encounters with Native Americans and an introductory essay, ‘The Map and the Territory’, written specifically for this volume.
2005/06: Research Clusters begins
AA Diploma Honours 2013 100 pages, 230 x 150 mm, softcover October 2013 978-1-907896-40-8 £18 Since the founding of the AA Diploma degree almost a century ago, the AA has awarded a special prize each year to the student or students whose graduating project offers work of an exceptionally high standard. The resulting Diploma Honours projects are then traditionally exhibited at the AA at the start of the following academic year. To commemorate this ritual, this new annual series will be published in tandem with the AA exhibition, and in addition to the design projects themselves (this year by four students: Friedrich Gräfling, Ja Kyung Kim, Mond Qu and Antoine Vaxelaire), the book contains a short commentary by each of the students’ AA tutors.
For further information on AA Publications or to order, visit www.aaschool.ac.uk/publications
Projects Review 2013 Available on the iBookstore September 2013 978-1-907896-42-2 £4.99 Initiating the first iPad version of the AA’s long-established end-of-year anthology, the digital AA Book: Projects Review will offer an overview of the AA’s 2012/13 academic year. Extending the physical book, this anthology features hundreds of drawings, models, installations, photographs and other materials documenting the world’s most international and experimental school of architecture.
AA Files Conversations Edited and with an introduction by Thomas Weaver c 416 pages, 176 x 108 mm, paperback November 2013 978-1-907896-41-5 c £15 Compiled by AA Files editor Thomas Weaver, this volume – the first in an anticipated series of similar anthologies – collates conversations from the past ten issues of AA Files, the AA’s longrunning and award-winning journal of record. The format of these conversations was established with the relaunch of the journal with issue 57, and includes extended interviews with architects including Léon Krier, John Winter and Mario Botta; artists Richard Wentworth and François Dallegret; the historian Robin Middleton; photographer Hilla Becher; filmmaker Sally Potter and numerous others.
2008: Visiting School launches
Civic City Cahier 6: Distributed Agency, Design’s Potentiality Jesko Fezer 56 pages, 190 x 115 mm, ills, softcover September 2013 978-1-907414-28-2 £8 Global cities (and their designs in particular) have rested on the paradigm of market driven development, and have been interpreted as strategic spaces of neoliberal restructuring. Whilst they are now hit by the crisis of this ideology, the situation also offers the opportunity and necessity to imagine another, more social city. It is time to redefine the role of design for a social city and take action. What is the role of design in the production of urban space? Is it merely an element in the commodified colonisation of social spaces? Or are design and the visual and physical representations of urban issues themselves the key means by which a Civic City may be created from the ideological ruins of existing urban spaces?
2009: AA Bookshop launched
In Any Part of Any Form Radim Peško 40 pages, 220 x 165 mm, color ills, softcover November 2013 978-1-907414-34-3 £ TBC Follow-up to London-based graphic designer Radim Peško’s Informal Meetings (2010), this publication features a new collection of photographs made during travels and wanderings to different cities. The photographs show glimpses of seemingly unremarkable encounters between space and architecture that suggest their own stories.
Bedford Press is an imprint of AA Publications. For further information visit www.bedfordpress.org
Bedford Press and AA Publications at POST, Tokyo Yoyogi Village, 1-28-9 Yoyogi Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053 Open daily 11am – 8pm, September 2013 www.post-books.jp POST is a bookshop which showcases only one publisher’s publications at a time. It focuses on each publisher’s uniqueness and provides an exclusive opportunity to get to know the activities of publishing houses from all over the world, which customers usually would not experience in conventional bookshops. Throughout September, POST is featuring the work of Bedford Press and AA Publications at their shop in the Yoyogi district of Tokyo, as well as a small selection at a curated bookshelf in Dover Street Market, Ginza.
New York Art Book Fair 2013 19–22 September 2013 MoMA PS1, 22–25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101 Thursday 19 September 6–9pm Friday 20 September, 12–7pm Saturday 21 September, 11am – 9pm Sunday 22 September, 11am – 7pm www.nyartbookfair.com Bedford Press will once again participate in the world’s premier event for artists’ books, catalogues, monographs, periodicals and zines. In 2012, the fair hosted 283 booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from twenty-six countries, and was attended by more than 25,000 visitors. Bedford Press will launch new titles including Contestations: Learning From Critical Experiments in Art Education edited by Tim Ivison and Tom Vandeputte; Ahali by artist Can Altay; Civic City Cahier 6 by Jesko Fezer; as well as the Civic City Cahier ebook series, alongside a selection of back catalogue titles.
2010: 32 and 33 Bedford Square acquired
AA News Published & Exhibited Brett Steele has published a preface to Building Inside: Studio Gang Architects (Chicago Art Institute/Yale University Press), and a foreword to Inside Smart Geometry: Expanding the Architectural Possibilities of Computational Design (Wiley). Recent interviews with Brett include ‘Conversation 6’ in Masterplanning the Adaptive City, and an extended interview and discussion on contemporary architectural education with Anthony Vidler, in COG, No 28 (Anyone Corp) Karl Wai (former AA DPL Technician), Wiktor Kidziak (AA Year Out student) and Omid Kamvari (AADipl 2006, AA EmTech MSc 2007 and Visiting School Tehran director), of 3D printing company 3DPEasy, recently collaborated with the British Council to print all of the models for the exhibition ‘Atlas of the Unbuilt World’ for the London Festival of Architecture (1–30 June 2013). http://backoftheenvelope.britishcouncil.org/ 2013/mar/19/atlas-unbuilt-world Nathalie Rozencwajg (AA Dipl 2001) and Michel da Costa Goncalves (AA EmTech MA 2005), both AA Intermediate 4 unit masters and AA Visiting School Singapore Co-Directors, have recently published Compagnon 1:1. The text investigates the use of the 1:1 scale in contemporary architectural practice and was a contribution to the International Prototyping Architecture Symposium held at the Building Centre, London, in 2013. Liam Young and Kate Davies (AA Dip 6 unit masters) were profiled in the current issue of Thinking in Practice. They discuss their design studio, Unknown Fields, and the role of the architect in the time of austerity. http://thinking-in-practice.com/ unknown-fields-division
Robert Taylor’s (AADipl 2013) final year drawing entitled ‘The Ragpickers’ Kite Festival’ was the front cover of the August issue of Blueprint magazine. Taken from his Diploma Unit 5 project ‘Ahmedabad’s Golden Temple of Trash’ the issue looked at a selection of 2013 graduate shows. http://pr2013.aaschool.ac.uk/dip-05/ robert-taylor Asif Khan (AADipl 2007) was featured as the cover story of Design Bureau Magazine’s July Issue. www.wearedesignbureau.com/projects/ asif-khan-on-the-rise Adam Nathaniel Furman (AADipl(Hons) 2008, AAIS GradDipl 2009 and co-director of the AA Research Cluster Saturated Space) has been selected as one of the Design Museum’s Designers In Residence for 2013. An exhibition running from 4 September 2013 to 12 January 2014 will showcase his work, along with three other residents at the Design Museum. Adam’s work will explore the concept of identity in our globalised mass culture. http://identity-parade.blogspot.co.uk Night School director (and former AA Inter 12 unit master) Sam Jacob joins a small team selected to curate the British Pavilion at 14th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. His practice FAT Architecture, will be joined by Crimson Architectural Historians and architecture critic and author Owen Hatherley. www.britishcouncil.org/backoftheenvelope Design & Make’s inhabitable and suspended Cocoon located at Hooke Park, designed by Hugo Garcia Urrutia, Abdullah Omar Ashgar Khan and Karjvit Rirermvanich (all AA D&M MArch 2013), has been profiled online at Dezeen. www.dezeen.com/2013/06/25/the-cocoonhooke-park-big-shed-by-aa-design-make Gunjan Rustagi (AA LU MA student) was selected to present her research on ‘opportunistic landscapes’ at the ‘Thinking the Contemporary Landscape’ conference in Hannover, Germany (20–22 June 2013); organised by ETH and Volkswagen Foundation. http://girot.arch.ethz.ch/welcome-posts/ thinking-the-contemporary-landscape
2010/11: Design & Make launches at Hooke Park.
‘Moscow Metro’, a project by Atira Ariffin (AA Inter 7 student) has been featured in Super Architects Issue 72. ‘A hybrid underground mix of music and entertainment spaces hijacks Moscow’s most prominent public transportation system and becomes the ultimate social condenser in the Russian capital city. Strategically located in the heart of Moscow within four Metro station interchanges, the Labyrinth will feed on travelling commuters while sucking in pedestrians from the city surface, deep into the whirling pool of endless euphoria that snakes hundreds of metres below ground level.’ http://super-architects.com/?p=2937
Careers & Prizes Awards for the Academic Year 2013 AA Honours graduates Friedrich Gräfling (AA Dip 4 student) Ja Kyung Kim (AA Dip 5 student) Mond Qu (AA Dip 6 student) Antoine Vaxelaire (AA Dip 9 student) Henry Florence Studentship Matthew Critchley (AA Dip 14 student) Alex Stanhope Forbes Prize Liam Denhamer (AA First Year student) AA Travel Studentship Albane Duvillier, Jonathan Cheng and Lorenzo Luzzi (all AA Inter 1 students) Howard Colls Studentship Sergej Maier (AA Dip 1 student) Alexander Memorial Travel Fund Helen Solvay (AA Inter 10 student) William Glover Bequest Lili Carr (AA Inter 2 student) Henry Saxon Snell Scholarship Eleonore Audi (AA Inter 3 student) Ralph Knott Memorial Fund Joy Matashi (AA Inter 8 student) Holloway Trust John Naylor (AA Dip 16 student) Julia Wood Foundation Prize Rosie Nicolson (AA Foundation student)
63 AA Prize Georges Massoud (AA Dip 9 student) Beverly Bernstein Prize Carlos Andres Nuñez Davila (AA H&U student) Foster + Partners Prize John Naylor (AA Dip 16 student) Nicholas Boas Travel Award Joshua Penk (AA Inter 10 student) Manolis Stavrakakis (AA PhD candidate) Nicolas Pozner Prize Frederik Bo Bojesen (AA Dip 10 student) Dennis Sharp Prize for Excellence in Writing Chris C Bisset (AA Dip 16 student) Honourable Mention Hessa Albader (AA Dip 14 student) History & Theory Studies Writing Awards 2013 Sandra Kolacz (AA First Year student) Radu R Macovei (AA Inter 1 student) Rory Sherlock (AA Inter 10 student) Honourable Mention Lili Carr (AA Inter 2 student) Technical Studies Awards 2012/13 Sho Ito (AA Inter 5 student) Mond Qu (AA Dip 5 student) A team of recent AA MSc and MArch graduates won the first real-time OpenSource International Design Competition over 72 hours on location in Milan, 8-10 May. The team consisted of Alexandra Andone, Filippo Weber, Valli Chidambaram, Pilar Perez del Real, Ignacio Medina (all AA SED MArch 2013), Isabel Silvestre Aimilios, Kourafas, Meital Ben Dayan, Katia Iliopoulou (all AA SED MSc 2012), with Rosa SchianoPhan (AA SED Course Master) and Federico Montella (AA TS Tutor). Christopher Bisset (AA Dip 14 student) has won this year’s Michael Ventris Award. He proposes to undertake a study of the Otsuka Museum of Art in Naruto, Tokushima Prefecture, the largest exhibition space in Japan which houses more than one thousand fullsize ceramic reproductions of major works of art. Christopher will explore the notion and implications of copying art in Japan, and by extension for us all. www.icls.sas.ac.uk/awards/awards-prizes
Luca Peralta (AA DRL 2000) has won the international design competition for the sustainable renewal of an 18-storey social residential housing complex in Brescia, Italy. The purpose of the proposal is to transform the social housing project of Tintoretto Tower, San Polo, Brescia, into a sociable, friendly and convivial architecture. The design, inspired by the futurist painting of Giacomo Balla, also introduces a new parking podium and generous balconies to shift the tone of the existing introverted architecture into an extroverted one. www.lucaperalta.com www.quibrescia.it/cms/2013/07/23/ tintoretto-vince-un-progetto-madein-roma Benjamin Reynolds (AADipl(Hons) 2012) has been awarded the Patricia Tindale Legacy Award by the Royal Society of the Arts. Reynolds designed a prototype for data centres as social spaces, involving the use of a data centre in Palm Springs as a testing ground for linking social functions and technological requirements. The Award is given out by the RSA in honour of Patricia Tindale 1926–2011 (AADipl 1948) who left the RSA a generous legacy in her will. www.thersa.org/sda/showcase/2013/ circular-city/benjamin-reynolds
Obituaries World-renowned stage designer and architect Mark Fisher obe mvo (AADipl 1971) died on 25 June. An AA Diploma graduate (1971) and AA unit master from 1973–77, his practice StuFish released this statement on 26 June 2013: ‘We are sad to announce that the stage designer and architect Mark Fisher obe mvo rdi died yesterday in London aged 66. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead with his wife Cristina at his side, after a long and difficult illness, which he suffered with stoicism and courage and his customary good humor. Mark’s work as a set designer and artistic director has transformed the landscape of rock concerts and large scale events over the last 25 years. Together with his practice Stufish, Mark created the groundbreaking designs for all the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and U2 tours for two decades as well as scores of other artists all over the world. As well as his work in live music performance he also created designs for theatre productions and musical theatre including We Will Rock You, and Ka and Viva Elvis for Cirque du Soleil. He was the senior designer for the Beijing Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies and was one of the three executive producers at the London 2012 Games ceremonies. His work influenced not only the colleagues and crews with whom he worked but also surprised and delighted the many millions of people who experienced his designs all over the world.’ stufish.com Early pioneer of computational design Paul Stephen Coates (AADipl 1969) died on Friday 14 June 2013. His major contribution was to the early development of computer systems for architects and his introduction of computing into architectural education first at Liverpool Polytechnic and later at the University of East London. He joined the AA in 1963 in a cohort that included Robin Evans, John Frazer, John Young, Marco Goldschmied, Michael Brown, Peter Colomb, Jane Lamb, Stuart Passey, Richard Bunt, Katherine Macdonald and Henry Hertzberg. Paul Coates immediately made an impact with his original ideas and unconventional approach. In his fourth year he discovered the
2011: The AA acquires 38 Bedford Square
64 architectural potential of the scientific discipline of cellular automata, a technique underlying much of generative design, which can be seen in many recent projects at the AA. As one of the founders of Autographics (with John and Julia Frazer), he created, wrote and marketed the world’s first micro-drafting system several years before AutoCad. A series of highly innovative, friendly yet technically brilliant products were developed over nearly 20 years. These won major awards and prizes for innovation and interface design including a British Design Award 1988 presented by hrh the Duke of Edinburgh. Paul went on to lead the Masters course at UEL in Architecture: Computing and Design and inspired generations of students, many of who now have formidable reputations of their own. He further developed generative design techniques during this period and wrote a book explaining his methods. He enjoyed a global reputation for his significant contribution to the development of microcomputer-based graphics and the use of computers in design education and for his major contribution to the whole field of generative systems. Architect Warren Chung, who studied at the AA between 1995 and 2000, died in June. Warren completed his architectural training at the Royal College of Art. After graduating he had a successful career working as a theme park designer, and later for Lego theme parks across the world. He had in recent years set up his own practice. Warren was always a playful designer, and he made a career out of his love of fun. He was a very social and active member of the school community during his time at the AA, and he will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Architect Christopher Shirley Knight (AADipl 1949) passed away earlier this year on January 29, aged 87. After graduating from the AA in 1949, Knight travelled to Chicago and worked for world-renowned practice Skidmore Owings & Merrill. He returned to the UK to work with former AA President Dame Jane Drew on the Festival of Britain. During the 1960s he formed the practice of Knight & Gardiner with fellow AA graduate Stephen Gardiner, their most prominent building being a private residence for Sir John Baring
2012: Night School launches
in Stratton Park, Hampshire. The modernist house forms a striking juxtaposition on the site, and it is situated adjacent to an eighteenthcentury Tuscan portico left over from the demolition of the original Parl house, designed by George Dance. Christopher contributed articles to many architectural magazines and held strong views on developments and issues in modern architecture. He has generously bequeathed many of his presentation drawings to the AA Archives. AA Member and Civil Engineer Robert James Mackay Sutherland died on 18 May. An outstanding civil engineer and prominent member of the Institution of Structural Engineers, James had been a partner with Alan Harris at Harris and Sutherland since 1964 and worked on projects such as the University of Bath and Essex, the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, Warrington New Town Plan and the refurbishment of the Sir John Soane Museum. A Member of the AA since 1958, he was granted life membership in 1999. A funeral service was held in Clevedon, Somerset on 4 June, and the annual Sutherland History Lecture, organised by the Institution of Structural Engineers, will continue as a tribute to his accomplishments and contributions to the field of engineering. We regret to announce the passing away of AA Life Member Clyde Charles Malby. A Chartered Quantity Surveyor who fostered links between the AA and the University of North Carolina, bringing in students from their nearby European campus at Winston House (3 Bedford Square). Malby also worked with the recently deceased Rick Mather on the refurbishment of the AA bar, restaurant and toilets in 1980. An AA Member since 1969, Malby was awarded Life Membership in 2008. AA Alumnus, Life Member, architect and outstanding member of his local Richmond community, Colin Anthony Kirby Pain sadly passed away on 24 January 2013, aged 84. A respected architect who graduated from the AA in 1952, Pain worked as Director of New Works for the Department of the Environment’s Property Services Agency. There he oversaw works on all of the palaces, museums and
government buildings of London, including the refurbishments of the Cabinet War Rooms, the Clore extension to the Tate Gallery and the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery. Pain will be remembered for his great contributions to Hampton Wick, Richmond, where he was a resident for almost 60 years. There he founded the Hampton Wick Association in 1962, recreated the Victorian Festival in 1977, and formed (with his wife Mu) the Thameswick Players Amateur Dramatic Group. A local historian and passionate volunteer following his retirement in 1988, Pain was awarded the 2007 Community Award by Richmond Council for Voluntary Service for his outstanding work in Richmond Borough.
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The AA Agendas series will soon begin accepting proposals from individual students, teams and recent graduates.
The Directorâ€™s Office is pleased to announce that in 2013 the AA Agendas series will begin accepting proposals from individual students, teams and recent graduates alongside the units and programmes of the school. Agendas seeks to expand as a platform for selected research and ideas from across the portfolios of the school, thus increasing the breadth and variety of publications featuring the work undertaken at the AA.
More details on how to apply will be available at www.aaschool.ac.uk in early Autumn. We seek proposals for a first selection of books to be released in 2014.
We Fight Our Battles with the Drawings on the Wall A pack of troublesome students founded the AA to challenge the status quo of architectural education and practice of the time and to strive new ways of thinking and learning.
Inspired by this act, the AA will celebrate the date of its founding with a 12-hour extravaganza directed by Theo Lorenz and Tanja Siems of AAIS. Continuing on the tradition of the AA’s renowned soirées events will include competitions organised by the AA Council, an afternoon salon with the poet Murray Lachlan Young, a contemporary dance performance with New Movement Collective and a party headed by DJ Andy Boilerhouse, the visual artist of Metamind and the singers David McAlmont and Sam Obernik.
October 8, 4pm – 4am 36 Bedford Square