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MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design Architectural Association Graduate School

3URJUDPPH 6WDij Sam Jacoby Maria Shéhérazade Giudici Platon Issaias Mark Campbell Spyros Efthymiou Students Claudio Nieto Dario Marcobelli Ilias O konomakis José Ignacio Vargas Seyithan Özer Suchendra Akula Venkatesh Talia Davidi Gaston Navarro Lucia Alonso Aranda Raül Avilla Royo Ricardo Palma Prieto Susana Rojas Savinon Vasav Vakilna


The MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) supports original enquiries into the contemporary city within diverse political, economic, social, historical and cultural contexts. The programme RijHUV VWXGHQWV D ULJRURXV IUDPHZRUN WR GHYHORS D VXEVWDQWLDO DQG independent piece of interdisciplinary research across the boundaries of architecture, urban design and planning. The research in Projective Cities is motivated by two central enquiries. )LUVW WR EHWWHU GHıQH WKH PHWKRGV REMHFWLYHV DQG PHDQV RI GHVLJQ research. This is both an intellectual problem, exploring how theory and practice relate to knowledge production and disciplinary knowledge, as ZHOO DV D SUDFWLFDO SUREOHP IRFXVHG RQ KRZ GHVLJQ UHVHDUFK DijHFWV practice. Hereby, design and writing are deployed as complementary IRUPV RI UHDVRQLQJ WKDW SURYLGH GLijHUHQW NQRZOHGJH DQG HYLGHQFH IRU design research. Second, to develop architectural urbanism as an alternative approach to conventional spatial design methods able to overcome conventional disciplinary separations. Rather than being a singular problem, the city and its design consist of interrelated sets of TXHVWLRQV ZLWK VSHF ıF DUWLFXODWLRQV DW G ijHUHQW VFDOHV Projective Cities is a critical forum to study ideas of governance as a design problem through the conception and formation of the city. Its objective is to respond to contemporary political, social and economic crises and challenges by rethinking what ‘political’ means in terms of spatial design. These collective enquiries are framed by a number of propositions: That architectural and urban plans are formal and theoretical products of disciplinary action as well as a collective outcome of socio-political and economic forces. That design and research are inseparable. That knowledge production and formal production are methodologically linked. That architecture and urbanism are symbiotic PRGHV RI HQTXLU\ GULYHQ E\ UHOHYDQFH DQG DJHQF\ ZLWKLQ D ıHOG 7KLV ıHOG LV GHıQHG LQ WHUPV RI GLVWLQFW GLDJUDPV WKDW DUH DOZD\V VRFLDO DQG spatial.












CANAAN 2048 Talia Davidi


ANOTHER VISTARA Suchendra A Venkatesh



The notion of urbanity is increasingly associated with airports, as they have become a key political, economic, and urban driver in a globalised world. Many of the recently designed airports take the form of aviationoriented urban development, an emerging paradigm proposing a FRQIJDWLRQ RI DLUSRUW DQG FLW\ 7KLV GLVVHUWDWLRQ H[DPLQHV WKH W\SRORJLHV RI XUEDQ FRQÄąJXUDWLRQV DQG DUFKLWHFWXUDO REMHFWV WKDW DULVH IURP WKH encounter between city and airport. Discussions of how airport and city relate have been on-going in the US and Europe since the 1970s. However, primarily based on an economic perspective. Terms such as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;airport cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Aerotropolisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; have been coined to describe ODUJHVFDOH FRPPHUFLDO GHYHORSPHQWV <HW D VLJQ ÄąFDQW SUREOHP DULVHV when these models are applied as tools for urbanisation, for example, in the Middle East and China. The case of Dubai South is exemplary for the urbanity or lack thereof that can emerge from this. Contrary to the economic approach that has created a problematic nonspatial urban discourse based on the economic function of building clusters that surround the airport, this dissertation argues that its urbanity must come from the airport itself, from the distinct functions of aviation and their spatial design. Infrastructure, in this case the airport, should be considered as an important design problem with great relevance to the city. The spatial typologies developed in the dissertation explore the potential that architecture has for dealing with these urban infrastructures. When they are confronted with architectureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inextricable spatiality and tensions, the design challenge is to create a coherent urban system for the contrasting characteristics of the city and infrastructure in relation to scale, politics, economics and society. The spatial negotiations that DUFKLWHFWXUH RÄłHUV FDQ KHUHE\ FUHDWH D VHQVH RI XUEDQLW\ GHVSLWH WKH presence of a large infrastructural element such as the airport.


7KH ıUVW WZR GHFDGHV RI WKH QHZ PLOOHQQLXP KDYH ZLWQHVVHG WKH HijHFWV of the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ageing population in a way never experienced before. The onset of an ageing population, todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s economic uncertainty and the precarity over the state of the NHS has resulted in increased attention on government policy that seeks to enable people to age in place. As a consequence, ambitious multidisciplinary research was undertaken by WKH 8. JRYHUQPHQW DQG WKH 1+6 WR ıQG HFRQRPLFDOO\ YLDEOH VROXWLRQV to the problem of housing an ageing population, which led to spatial standardisation. Such approaches have resulted in further segregation of the elderly as a socio-demographic group. In light of the recent demographic, economic, social and political changes, this research H[DPLQHV WKH DVVXPSWLRQ WKDW FDUH IRU WKH HOGHUO\ LV PRVW HijHFWLYH ZKHQ VWDQGDUGLVHG DQG UHIJHFWV RQ WKH VRFLDO UROH DQG UHVSRQVLELOLW\ WKH housing project and design has for an ageing population. Throughout the research enquiry, design problems are interrogated WR GHPRQVWUDWH KRZ D G ijHUHQW XQGHUVWDQGLQJ RI VWDQGDUGLVDWLRQ DQG the family dwelling, and its projection to the neighbourhood scale, can JHQHUDWH QHZ LQWHUJHQHUDWLRQDO UHODWLRQVKLSV EHWZHHQ G ijHUHQW VRFLDO groups. In an era of vast change and uncertainty, it is argued these various social groups may cohabit and cooperate in ways that create new forms and networks of care for the elderly within the home. The dissertation develops its thesis by examining three topics that are interrelated: indirect care, spatial standardisation and social networks of care. These theoretical considerations provide the basis for the holistic design of three typological variations of housing, which provide spatial proximity and social interactions as a form of indirect care for the upcoming ageing population. 10


The dissertation examines the relationships between spatial agencies and pedagogy in schools. Current policies and research reduce the GLVFXVVLRQ RI VFKRRO GHVLJQ WR HĴFLHQW SODQ OD\RXWV DQG ZHOOSHUIRUPLQJ buildings in terms of environmental comfort. School buildings, resultant of such discussions, become limited in the ways in which they operate VRFLDOO\ DQG SHGDJRJLFDOO\ 7KH GLVVHUWDWLRQ DLPV ıUVW WR DQDO\VH WKH spatial and pedagogical implications of these quantitative arguments, second, to rethink school typologies and their spatial elements with UHVSHFW WR SHGDJRJ\ DQG ıQDOO\ WR FKDOOHQJH FXUUHQW SROLFLHV School buildings materialise power relationships and pedagogies in their formal, organisational and material systems or patterns. They GHıQH HQFORVXUHV GLYLVLRQV FRQQHFWLRQV GHQVLWLHV DQG SUR[LPLWLHV in the form of the classroom, in the form of the schools and in the form of the city. Thus, they negotiate social relations and policies, HFRQRPHWULFV WHFKQRORJLHV DQG E\ GRLQJ VR WKH\ UHGHıQH VFKRROLQJ Their quantitative argument has led in the UK to equal-sized classrooms DQG GRXEOHORDGHG FRUULGRU FRQıJXUDWLRQV UHVWULFWLQJ HGXFDWLRQ WR WKH classroom without recognising other forms of learning and teaching. 7KH GLVVHUWDWLRQ DQDO\VLQJ WKH HOHPHQWV WKDW GHıQH VFKRRO W\SRORJLHV in relation to pedagogies, proposes the partitioning and creation of classroom clusters. Through this strategy, diverse teaching and learning methods within a cluster with a local sense of community becomes possible. Beyond the building scale, the dissertation argues that a quantitative GHVLJQ DSSURDFK FRQVWUDLQV WKH SRVLWLYH DijHFW RI VFKRROV RQ ORFDO communities especially at an urban scale. Thus, the strategy of partitioning is extended to urban scales, and the dissertation investigates the extent schools can organise their surroundings, and consequently KRZ SHGDJRJLHV DQG VFKRROV KDYH WR EH FRQVLGHUHG LQ G ijHUHQW contexts. This challenges current policies and regulations governing school designs at the scale of the classroom, the schools and the city in relation to pedagogical arguments. 12

DOMESTIC CONFLICTS by Ilias Oikonomakis

The research deals with the housing problem in London and its social, political and economic origins and consequences. One of the consequences is the common phenomenon of house sharing due to high rental prices. Although house sharing is the starting point for the search of new housing typologies, the purpose is not to increase its YLDELOLW\ EXW WR GHOLQHDWH D VK IW WR FROOHFWLYH OLYLQJ DV WKH PRVW HÄ´FLHQW DQG DÄłRUGDEOH ZD\ WR DFFRPPRGDWH D ODUJH QXPEHU RI SHRSOH 7KH sh ft from house sharing to collective living is not new. It appears, most importantly, with historical transformations of domestic space. The PRVW VLJQ ÄąFDQW FDVHV DUH WKH FRRSHUDWLYH KRXVHNHHSLQJ PRYHPHQW in England from the 1840s to the 1920s and the communal living projects in the Soviet Union from the 1910s to the 1930s. In both cases, overcrowded shared houses caused an informal collective OLYLQJ (ÄłRUWV WR IRUPDOLVH FROOHFWLYH OLYLQJ WKHQ OHG WR QHZ W\SRORJLHV of domestic space. Arguably, collective living emerges at historical moments of housing crisis and economic oppression from domestic coexistence found in house sharing. This historical tendency and its possibility in metropolitan London is the motivation of this dissertation to revisit collective living as a design problem. Collective living is not a stable but dynamic form of living; it is a procedure and a tendency. Its ambition is to create a common life between inhabitants through the collectivisation of domestic tasks and activities. Domestic labour becomes not an individual but a collective UHVSRQVLELOLW\ 7KLV UHVHDUFK H[SORUHV KRZ WKLV ZLOO DÄłHFW GRPHVWLF l fe. It searches for housing typologies capable of supporting this transformation, and questions the urban role of collective housing by asking how domestic collective space can extend into the urban. 7KLV UHTXLUHV ÄąUVW RI DOO D FODU ÄąFDWLRQ RI WKH PHDQLQJ DQG KLVWRU\ RI collective living. In this way, the research becomes a reinterpretation and re-conceptualisation of collective living in the present context. Its mutated common meaning is opposed by proposing a re-evaluation of its original economic, social and political ambitions. 14

CORPORATEVILLE by Dario Marcobelli This dissertation examines the relationship between corporate environments and leisure activities in the reorganisation of work in tech industries. Activities traditionally associated with leisure have become subservient to work and interiorised in the workspace. With this, a new work experience has emerged. The research investigates how WKH DUFKLWHFWXUDO UHFRQÄąJXUDWLRQ RI WKH FRUSRUDWH ZRUNVSDFH WKURXJK furniture layouts and spatial design makes evident a progressive regulation of social interaction. Informal interactions become a basis of work productivity by adapting private habits in the corporate environment. This interrelation of private and work life is particularly evident in the Silicon Valley. Project-based working and project management relies on HÄ´FLHQW LQWHUDFWLRQ ZLWKLQ WHDPV ZLWK OHLVXUH SURYLGLQJ SURWRFROV DQG D collective ethos that enhance trust and regulate social interaction. 7KH WKHVLV VWXGLHV WKH VLJQ ÄąFDQFH RI OHLVXUHĹ&#x2013;V LQVWLWXWLRQDOLVDWLRQ LQ France and Germany in the 1930s. Leisure was instrumental to foster national identity by collectivising originally private habits. With the advent of mass tourism, the tourist village created a new shared l festyle. It was an architectural paradigm of how private activities, such as eating, playing and sleeping, become collective. Later corporate management adopted this idea of the collective as productive. Productivity was seen as an outcome of a social system in which protocols of leisure played a cohesive role. Responding to these economic and spatial transformations, the dissertation rethinks the formation of protocols in relation to live-work cycles. By establishing a collective ethos through shared routines, the project mitigates hierarchies, embracing a new corporate management style. The design investigation hereby returns to elements of the village as spatial framework to transform the workspace. The urban condition of the village, not only in the sense of co-existence of l fe and work but also through its architectural elements, already exists in the tech industry headquarter. It is therefore exploited in a new model that contrast with the spatial and programmatic division of the American suburb as expressed by Silicon Valley. The proposed multi-scalar and VWUDWHJLF UHFRQÄąJXUDWLRQ UDLVHV QHZ TXHVWLRQV UHJDUGLQJ WKH UHJXODWLRQ of private protocols for production. 16

CANAAN 2048 by Talia Davidi

The thesis examines the unique relationship between the Israeli state, the local real estate market and its consumers. Through studies of policy, typological analysis and a social and cultural inquiry, it wishes to uncover the ways in which residential architecture and urban planning were used in the process of nation building. From the formation of the Zionist movement to the Israeli state today, land and development were consciously used to form a coherent Jewish society from culturally diverse groups. Therefore, the thesis deals with the local real estate market through three problems: the use of land under governmental control, housing developments as a political project in comparison to the consumers and their individual needs. As a result of a policy, the Israeli urban fabric is formed by disconnected neighbourhoods and homogenous building typologies. Its urban plan is largely based on the Modernist neighbourhood unit, resulting in homogeneous urban islands. Moreover, in recent years the vast majority of residential construction was composed of apartments with 4-6 KDELWDEOH URRPV RÄłHULQJ D W\SRORJ\ WKDW IDLOV WR DOLJQ ZLWK WKH GLYHUVH Israeli household compositions and necessities. The Israeli consumer on his part accepts this and is leaving the big cities in favour of smaller, socially predictable, urban settlements. The acceptance of this process is at the heart of the research enquiry, while its aspiration is to provide an architectural framework to a new kind of dystopian political form. Thus, the design proposals are a reaction to WKH JDS EHWZHHQ WKH VXSSO\ DQG GHPDQG RI WKH PDUNHW RÄłHULQJ QHZ W\SRORJLHV IRU G ÄłHUHQW VRFLDO JURXSV LQ ,VUDHOĹ&#x2013;V VRFLHW\ ,W LV DQ DWWHPSW to neutralise a political real estate market and bring to the surface social tensions in local societies. The suggested image of the state at its centenary becomes an opportunity to examine a social trajectory and its future architectural implications. 18

ANOTHER VISTARA by Suchendra A. Venkatesh

The Sanskrit word ‘vistara’ means expansion. It was used in the 1980’s in an international exhibition showcasing the evolution of Indian architecture – Vistara: The Architecture of India. The exhibition, curated by Charles Correa explains: ‘the transformation that occurs to a new architecture with every changing time through the external intervention and resurfacing of one’s own past, and the evolution of Indian architecture has been an progression of such Vistaras’. On this basis, the research project Another Vistara proposes, based on a typological analysis of legislative assembly buildings, a new civic and regional architecture in the State of Karnataka, India. In the context of the recently built legislative assembly building in Karnataka, the Suvarna Soudha, the dissertation argues that this building typology is no longer meaningful in the State’s representation and identity, but instead becomes a symptom of regional political events. In order to improve the relationship between state and population, the project proposes the legislative assembly building as a new infrastructure for the urgently needed education and training in emergent technologies. This develops the assembly as a new campus model. The analysis of legislative assembly buildings in India reveals two existing models, a complex and unitary model, which are both unsuitable to the regional climatic conditions and increasing security and safety concerns of the contemporary city. Their architecture has remained resistant to the regional context, being limited to the incorporation of symbolic elements and replication of buildings from the past. Through D UHDSSURSULDWLRQ DQG UHFRQıJXUDWLRQ RI WKH ŕYHUDQGDŖ DQG ŕDHGLFXOHŖ typologies as important elements of vernacular styles and regional architecture adapted to the context, a new vistara is proposed. 20

Projective Cities is a globally unique postgraduate programme at the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London (UK) leading to a Master of Philosophy degree in Architecture and Urban Design. Founded in 2010, the programme has been highly successful in preparing students for diverse careers in practice and academia. Projective Cities is dedicated to a systematic analysis of, design experimentation for, theoretical speculation on, and critical writing about contemporary cities. At the core of its research enquiries are multi-scalar and inter-disciplinary questions arising at the intersection of architecture, urban design, and planning, but also the possibilities between design research and traditional modes of research. The programmeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aim is to challenge existing disciplinary boundaries and contribute to new architectural practices. Projective Cities is a critical forum to study ideas of governance as a spatial design problem through the conception and formation of the city within diverse political, economic, social, and cultural contexts. Projective Cities invites graduates and practitioners with a desire to develop substantial and original pieces of individual research, and seeks exceptional thinkers, gifted designers, and critical writers with an interest in the future of our cities. Late application for entry in 2017 still available. For more information please visit:

http://projectivecities aaschool ac uk

Projective Cities 2017  

Dissertation Projects 2017