Series: MA History and Critical Thinking Lecture Series
Venue: 32 First Floor Back
Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri
Although largely marginal within official accounts of modern architecture, during the second half of the twentieth century the development of large concrete panel systems was central to debates about architecture’s modernisation and industrialisation. Through this development, not only was construction transferred from the building site to the factory floor, and manual labour succeeded by automated mass production, but political, aesthetic and ideological debates began to inscribe themselves onto the panel itself, a symbol for a whole new set of architectural values. Distributed and adapted to many different cultural, geographical and political contexts, these systems went beyond national borders in producing more than 170 million apartments worldwide.
Pedro Alonso is an architect, holds an MSc in architecture from the Universidad Católica de Chile, and completed his PhD at the Architectural Association in London. He is currently Associate Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Together with Hugo Palmarola he received a Research Trust Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects and has been authors of Panel (Architectural Association, 2014) and Monolith Controversies (Hatje Cantz, 2014). They won a Silver Lion for their participation in the 14th Venice Architecture Biennial. Alonso is also author of Deserta: Ecology and Industry in the Atacama Desert (ARQ, 2012).
Since having completed the HCT programme at the AA, Sunaina Shah spent about a year traveling extensively in Italy, while she lived in the Ticino region of Switzerland, working at the office of the Swiss architect Mario Botta. Here she contributed to several different projects on various scales – from designing a newspaper cover to working on thermal baths that are to be constructed in a town close to Zurich. She recently moved to New York to continue her studies in architecture at Columbia University.
Shengze Chen (Yingkou, China 1987) studies History and Critical Thinking at the AA. He graduated from Tianjin University in Tianjin in 2010 and interned in Rotterdam briefly after graduation with BArch. He was then back in Beijing and worked with Kengo Kuma and Associates as architect/project architect until 2014. He is interested in the dynamic of urbanisation, critical architecture and its limit.
Savia Palate graduated top of her class from the University of Cyprus in 2011 (BSc Architecture / Diploma in Architecture and Architecture Engineering). Her diploma thesis The AsYouWish Game was selected and exhibited at the ACSA International Conference Open Cities: The New Post-Industrial World Order in Seoul, South Korea. She later pursued a post-professional degree (M.Arch II, 2012-2014) in Space, Society and Culture as a Fulbright Scholar at the Pennsylvania State University. Her MA thesis at the Architectural Association School of London came as a continuation of her research endeavors, spanning architectural design, cultural criticism, and urban territorial studies. Her MA thesis, Subjectivity DIY, was awarded with Distinction by the AA and the Open University. After graduating from the AA, Savia has experienced the world of publishing and editing architecture and design at Disegno magazine, while currently she works as a practicing architect at Squire and Partners, London.
Rajeel Arab graduated from Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai in 2010 after which she went on to learn more in Art criticism and Theory, Architectural research later pursuing a diploma in Indian Aesthetics. Before commencing her Masters at the AA in History and Critical thinking, Rajeel was also a practicing architect and an assistant professor at the school she graduated from.
Rachel Serfling is a native of the United States and hails from Chicago, Illinois. She is an architectural designer and writer. She previously studied architecture and cognitive psychology, receiving degrees in both areas from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in 2013. Before attending the Architectural Association, she acquired additional experience in museum exhibition design and green building practices. She is a general museum- going enthusiast, cares for succulents, and prefers when stuff is aligned. Her latest research concerns the role of language in the field of architecture, and the connection between intergroup processes and the human experience of the built environment.
Davi received her Master of Architecture from Columbia University in 2014, and her interest lies in further investigating the intersection of domestic architecture, global ecologies, and the implication of desire. Recent writings include “The Surreal in the Rational”, “Deflection and the Minimal M-House”, and “Critical Objects; an Exercise in Doha’s Soft Power”.
Daniela submitted her Master thesis at the AA on September 2014 after which she is working independently as a curator and architecture designer at the young and emerging office Dyvik Kahlen Architects. Daniela is organizing various series of lectures and events with the Barbican and in partnership with the Architecture Foundation. She helps generate a platform, in the center of the City of London, the Barbican, for the debate and discussion of architecture. There, she is also curating the third and fourth exhibitions of a series that explores the history of the controversial development and design of the Barbican Redevelopment. Daniela is also collaborating with AA publications in the complete works and writings of Cedric Price.
My name is Amina Al-Failakawi and I am from Kuwait. I am currently preparing for my MA in History and Critical Thinking. Working as a Creative Director for one of Kuwait’s most notable design companies and simultaneously studying at the AA is quite a challenge, however it is the marriage between these two disciplines that offers me the very diversity I am seeking as a designer. I received my BSc in Interior Design from the American University of Sharjah, and ever since then, I have practiced as a designer, instructor, design manager, and now Creative Director and MA student. I have been traveling my entire life due to my father’s profession as an ambassador, granting me the advantage of constantly being exposed to different cultures, nationalities and mentalities. I divide my life into “stations” where in each I evolve and hope to develop into a well-rounded person. London is my current station and the AA will well-prepare me for the next one, hopefully bringing me closer to the person I aspire to become.
Melissa Hollis graduated from the UTS in Sydney via a short stint in TU Delft in 2009. Having embarked on an interdisciplinary journey from the fringes of architectural practice through environmental law and urban policy and politics, she brings an ever broadening position to the Architecture Association, where she is currently questioning the ever fictionalised experience of modernity while exploring ways to write the city into being.
Series: MA History and Critical Thinking Debates: Dis-Locutions: Architecture and the Political Organised
Venue: New Soft Room
Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer
Modernity is a story about how forms of calculation grew across the world allowing more things to be measured, exchanged, and to circulate. It is a story about how certain value systems came to colonize and finally rule over others. It is also a story about changes in the kinds of things we can calculate – since they are not even ‘things’ anymore – calculation applies to attention, to knowledge, certainly to our very future – perhaps even to our souls.
Crucially, with every expansion in these systems of value and the circulations they allow, more aspects of human life become linked to seemingly distant and uncontrollable transformations, for example in our climate, our economies, and our cities. These systems are evidence of a new and special kind of power characterized by actions at a distance. We are summoned by events with no origin that are dispersed in time and in space – the so-called ‘complexity’ of modern life.
This presentation will argue that today this ‘complexity’ is the very medium for contemporary forms of power. In response we must rescue an important if under theorized architectural term and give it a new life. This term is scale, and it is the key that will allow us to recompose a new political relation to our present order of indirect violence.
Adrian Lahoud is an architect and researcher. Currently he leads the Urban Design Masters at The Bartlett School of Architecture and teaches in the Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at the Architectural Association.
Stefan studied in Bucharest, Paris and Barcelona before joining the Architectural Association. After graduating from the Vallès School of Architecture in Barcelona in 2009, he was awarded the Caja de los Arquitectos scholarship and started practicing architecture as a design team member of the Foster + Partner Madrid office. His interest in theory of architecture in relation to the practice of architecture led him to pursue the History and Critical Thinking MA degree at the Architectural Association in 2014. After graduating from the Programme, Stefan started taking part in various competition and academic juries in the U.S, U.K and Egypt. His current PhD research at the Architectural Association aims at highlighting a set of relevant questions on the notion of critical ecology resulted from the interactions of the multiple agencies involved in the organization of the Winter Olympic Games held in Lillehammer in 1994.
Elena graduated from the MA in 2015 and since she has been working in London at Squire and Partners as an Architectural Assistant.