AA/CC Event on May 14, 2010 = Success!
Photo by Ryan Dillon

AA/CC Event on May 14, 2010 = Success!

Photo by Ryan Dillon

[ 14.05.10 AA/CC EVENT ]

  • At the AA Lecture Hall on Friday, May 14th, there will be an event hosted by AA/CC. There will be two parts to the event - starting at 2pm with Peter Carl presenting "What is the Purpose of a City?", then David Cunningham with "Nine Theses on the Metropolis", Sam Jacoby and Chris Lee with "For the City. From the City", Douglas Spencer with "Instrumental Urbanism and Immaterial Labour" and Ross Adams with "Longing for a Greener Present". At 4pm, there will be a coffee break and then Salottobuono with Pier Paolo Tamburelli presenting "The City as a Catalogue- Towards a User's Manual" and discussion.

[ POSITIONS ON THE CITY ]

Here you can downloaded our selected “positions on the city” in .pdf form. Click the title to download.

Ross Adams, "Longing for a Greener Present" 
Pedro Ignacio Alonso, "The Ghost Project- towards an Operative Ethics" 
Aristide Antonas, "The Infrastructure Community" 
Anne Save de Beaurecueil and Franklin Lee, "Grassroots Urbanism"
Peter Carl,
"What is the Purpose of a City?" 
David Cunningham, "Nine Theses on the Metropolis" 
Murray Fraser, "The Globalised City" 
Jordan Geiger, "Retrofits" 
Nikos Kalogirou and Anastasia Tzaka, "A critique of the Modernist’s urban vision and the contemporary environmental approach to urban design" 
Mazin Abdul Karim, "7 Ideas on the ‘New’ City" 
Constantin Kastrissianakis, "Re- The Crisis of Public Space" 
Chris Lee and Sam Jacoby, "For the city. From the city" 
Nuria Álvarez-Lombardero and Francisco González de Canales of Canales & Lombardero, "Tactics in Borderlands Activation" 
Filippos Oreopoulos, "Rethink the City via the Neo-politics" 
Nick Ray, "Politics and Urban Form" 
Douglas Spencer, "Instrumental Urbanism and Immaterial Labour" 
Theo Spyropoulos, "Adaptive Ecologies- Notes on the Parametric" 
Teresa Stoppani, "The Island. Considerations for the City Without Boundaries" 
Ecosistema Urbano, "Ten Things we have learned from the City"

[ 2010 PARTICIPANTS BIOS ]

The following participants have been selected for inclusion in the AA/CC publication to be launched in June 2010-

Ross Adams …received his BS in Biomaterial Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2000. Deciding to pursue a career in Architecture, he apprenticed and worked in several offices in New York City and Rotterdam, later pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at MIT and the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, where he graduated in 2006. He completed his Master thesis under Pier Vittorio Aureli and Elia Zenghelis, which engaged–both through research and a design proposal–the formal and political transitions of Moscow under Stalin, up to today’s condition of ‘capitalist realism’. The final product of this work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale of 2006 and the CCA in Moscow. He has taught architecture at the Berlage Institute and worked as an architect and urban designer in London, New York City, Rotterdam and Mexico City. His work and writing has been published in several journals of architecture around the world. Currently his work towards a Ph.D. will examine the rise of Urbanism and its relationship to liberal politics.

Pedro Ignacio Alonso …studied architecture at the Catholic University in Chile and completed his Ph.D at the Architectural Association on the modernist conceptualization of architecture as a work of assemblage. He has taught at the AA since 2005, currently as visiting tutor at the AA H+T Masters Programme, and is professor at the Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago. Between 2006 and 2009 he worked for Arup’s Urban Design office on a number of large-scale projects in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaiján. Recent publications include A panel’s tale: KPD and the Politics of Assemblage (AA Files 59, London 2009); Acronym (AA Files 57, London 2008); and Post-Digital (MArq 04, Santiago 2008). He is also guest editor of a special issue of the Chinese Magazine New Architecture (N° 129) titled Critical Fabrications (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, April 2010). In 2008 he received a RIBA Research Trust Award, and more recently he has been awarded with a Research Grant from The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2010), and  with a Fellowship as Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal (2010- 2011).

Aristide Antonas … is a Greek architect and writer educated in Athens (NTUA), and Paris (Sorbonne Paris I - Nanterre Paris X). He is an associate professor at the University of  Thessaly, Greece, has written six works of fiction in Greek and two of his stage plays have been performed in French. His ‘amphitheater house’ was a candidate for the 2009 Mies Van der Rohe Prize; the Antonas office functions also as a research studio, dealing with non-commissioned architectural work. 

Anne Save de Beaurecueil and Franklin Lee

Peter Carl … has been trained at Princeton University and was the recipient of the Prix de Rome for 2 years.  He taught at the University of Kentucky and for thirty years he taught design and the graduate programme in history and philosophy of architecture at the University of Cambridge.  Currently, and since 2009, he has been running the PhD programme at London Metropolitan University.

David Cunningham … is Principal Lecturer at the University of Westminster and Deputy Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture. He is an editor of the journal Radical Philosophy, and has published widely on modernism, aesthetics, architecture and urban theory. He is currently writing a book on theories of the metropolis.

Murray Fraser … is professor of architecture at the University of Westminster in London, where he acts as Director for Postgraduate Studies and Research in Architecture. He is a qualified architect with many years in practice and a PhD in architectural history from UCL. His research and teaching work spans the areas of design, history & theory, cultural studies and advanced digital techniques. He has written widely on the subject of cross-cultural influences and post-colonial theory in architecture, and his recent book on Architecture and the Special Relationship (Routledge), which looks at the impact of America on post-war British architecture and urbanism, won the 2008 CICA Bruno Zevi Book Prize (awarded by the International Committee of Architectural Critics) for the best architectural book published in the previous year, and also the 2008 RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding University-Located Research. He is co-editor of The Journal of Architecture and a member of the RIBA Awards Group. His current research is into the subject of architecture and globalisation, which includes looking at the relationships to patterns of everyday life, technology and cultural identity.

Jordan Greiger … is an architect and educator. He is founding director of Ga-Ga and assistant professor at the Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies, Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo. Geiger’s research and design practice address time-based and temporary constructions, and collaborative, interdisciplinary methods of practice. Projects cross architecture and interaction design, considering implications of human computer interaction for social and environmental issues. These have largely emerged from Ga-Ga that has produced works ranging in scale and type from installation and gallery design to urban design and agricultural land use proposals. These works have been exhibited and published internationally, including the ZeroOne festival (2008), the American Institute of Architects (2005) and the Dieppe Biennial “Tide is High” (2005).

Nikos Kalogirou / Anastasia Tzaka

Constantin Kastrissianakis … Following studies in Social Anthropology and Economics at SOAS, London and a Masters in Political Science at Sciences-Po, Paris, Konstantin worked for international organisations in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. During his MA in Housing and Urbanism at the Architectural Association, London, his thesis investigated spaces of urban division, comparing the urban structures and political experiences of Beirut, Berlin and Paris. He then joined KCAP Architects and Planners to work on a strategic master plan for the city of Perm in Russia. He is now a PhD candidate in Architecture at the University of Cambridge and part of the Conflict in Cities Research Project. His research looks at the role of public space in Beirut.

Chris Lee / Sam Jacoby … Jacoby is a chartered architect in private practice. Trained as a cabinet-maker in Germany before studying at the AA. Has taught in the AA Intermediate School, was a Studio Leader in the Bachelor of Architecture course at the University of Nottingham, and a Unit Master in the AA Diploma School. Currently, he is Director of the AA Projective Cities Programme, Director of the AA Visiting School: Spring Semester Programme, as well as a consultant in the AA Diploma School: History & Theory Studies. Lee is the co-founder and principal of Serie Architects London, Mumbai, Beijing and Chengdu. He is the Director of the Architectural Association Projective Cities Programme, Unit Master of AA Diploma Unit 6 (2003-09) and Intermediate Unit 2 (2001-03).  He is also currently conducting his doctoral research on the same topic in the Berlage Institute Rotterdam.  In the Architectural Association School of Architecture, he explores the problem of type and the city, with particular focus on the renewed relevance of typological reasoning and experimentation to describe, conceptualise, theorise and ultimately project new typological ideas for and from the city.  Christopher Lee graduated with the AA Diploma [Honours] in 1998 from Architectural Association School of Architecture London and awarded the RIBA President’s Medal Commendation Award. He is a Chartered Architect, registered with the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Registration Board.  Serie was recently named as one of the 10 visionary architects for the new decade by the Leading European Architects Forum. Serie has also won numerous awards of excellence including BD Young Architect of the Year Award Runner-up 2008, and was selected by ICON Magazine as one of 20 Essential Young Architects in the world in 2008.

Nuria Alvarez Lombardero and Francisco Gonzalez de Canales … are practicing architects (www.canales-lombardero.com) and unit masters for the Inter Unit 8 at the AA. Nuria Alvarez Lombardero is part of the editorial board of Neutra Architectural Magazine. She is currently finalising her PhD on the dissolution of gender boundaries traced by modern urban planning. Francisco Gonzalez de Canales is doctor in architecture, and he is now teaching in the Histories and Theories MA and is AACP coordinator at the AA. 

Filippos Oreopoulos … is Director of the History, Theory and Conceptual Design Laboratory at the Architecture School of the University of Thessaly in Greece. He pursued research in Paris on Mathematical Logic, Philosophy of Knowledge, Hellenic Literature and History and published the volume “le discourse néohellénique sur la ville et l’architecture.” He participated at the International Biennale of Architecture in Venice (2004), the International Biennale of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona (2005), the Biennale of Architecture in San Paolo (2007) and the Biennale of Art in Thessaloniki (2009) where he exhibited 100 conceptual drawings about the Labyrinth. He is presently working on the upcoming publication The architecture as eidetic trace.

Nick Ray … is Reader Emeritus in Architecture at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Jesus College.  He has practised, as well as taught, for the last thirty five years, and is director of NRAP architects.  He is the author of numerous articles in professional journals, and four books, including Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas (Routledge 2005).

Douglas Spencer … has studied design and architectural history, cultural studies, and critical theory, and has taught history and theory at a number of architectural schools. His research and writing on urbanism, architecture, film and critical theory has been published in journals including The Journal of Architecture, Radical Philosophy, AA Files and Culture Machine. He has also contributed chapters to collections on urban design, utopian literature and contemporary architecture, and is currently researching a critical analysis of architecture’s engagement with immaterial labour and ‘control society’ for his Doctoral thesis at the University of Westminster.

Theo Spyropoulos … is Co-Director of the Architectural Association’s innovative team-based M.Arch program the Design Research Lab [DRL] (London). He is a visiting Research Fellow at M.I.T.’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and co-founded the New Media Research Initiative at the Architectural Association. He has taught in the graduate school of the University of Pennsylvania and the Royal College of Art, Innovation Design Engineering Department. Theo directs the experimental architecture and design studio Minimaforms in London and has previously worked as a project architect for the offices of Peter Eisenman and Zaha Hadid Architects. He studied at the AA, Bartlett School of Architecture and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Teresa Stoppani … (Architect, IUAV, Venice; DrRic Architectural & Urban Design, University of Florence) is Reader in Architecture at the University of Greenwich, London, where she directs the MSc in Architectural Studies programme and co-ordinates the postgraduate Architecture Histories and Theories courses. Her writings on architecture’s histories, theories and representations focus on the relationship between architecture and the city. Recent publications include: ‘Grid Effects’ (ARQ Architecture Research Quarterly, 12:3-4, 2009);  ‘Venetian Dusts’ (Log, 17, 2009);  ‘The Vague, the Viral, the Parasitic: Piranesi’s Metropolis’ (Footprint, 5, 2009);  ‘L’histoire assassinée. Manfredo Tafuri and the Present’ (in N. Temple et al. (eds.), Building Metaphors: The Humanities in Design Practice, Routledge 2010).  Forthcoming book, Paradigm Islands: Manhattan and Venice (Routledge, 2010)

Ecosistema Urbano

Mazin Abdul Karim… is an architect and educator. He received his Master degree in Architecture & Urban Design from DIA / Bauhaus , Germany in 2008 following a bachelor degree from Ain Shams university, Egypt in 2004. He is currently an adjunct lecturer at the AAST in Cairo where he has taught design studios and seminars since 2005, and has previously taught at the  Faculty of Urban Design & Town Planning, Cairo University. He has been a visiting critic and has lectured about his work at the AA in London, ETH and HTW/Chur in Switzerland, IUS in Sarajevo, and DIA in Germany. In 2006, he co-founded his design and research practice, CONTRAST Studioin Cairo. Besides producing contemporary architecture and urbanism, the studio also focuses on cultural analysis, critical investigations and the production of ideas.  Their work has been published and exhibited internationally, and most recently, at the Rotterdam Biennale of Architecture 2009, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2009, and at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2008.

[ AA/CC NEWS + EVENTS ]

  • Spring 2009 - Call for 'Contemporary Positions on the City'
  • Winter 2009/2010 - Selection of Positions for Publication
  • Spring 2010 - May 14 - Debate/Roundtable Event @ the AA in Bedford Square - AA/CC director Marina Lathouri will be joined by Douglas Spencer, Peter Carl, David Cunningham and Sam Jacoby in a series of presentations, debates and discussions on the contemporary city. Other participants are tbc.
  • Summer 2010 - June 25 - Publication Launch @ AA Projects Review exhibition opening

[ 2010 SELECTED TITLES ]

  • The following author's and titles have been selected for publication within the AA/CC, set to be launched in June 2010...
  • Ross Adams, "Longing for a Greener Present"
  • Pedro Ignacio Alonso, "The Ghost Project- towards an Operative Ethics"
  • Aristide Antonas, "The Infrastructure Community"
  • Anne Save de Beaurecueil and Franklin Lee, "Grassroots Urbanism"
  • Peter Carl, "What is the Purpose of a City?"
  • David Cunningham, "Nine Theses on the Metropolis"
  • Murray Fraser, "The Globalised City"
  • Jordan Geiger, "Retrofits"
  • Nikos Kalogirou and Anastasia Tzaka, "A critique of the Modernist’s urban vision and the contemporary environmental approach to urban design"
  • Mazin Abdul Karim, "7 Ideas on the ‘New’ City"
  • Constantin Kastrissianakis, "Re- The Crisis of Public Space"
  • Chris Lee and Sam Jacoby, "For the city. From the city"
  • Nuria Álvarez-Lombardero and Francisco González de Canales of Canales & Lombardero, "Tactics in borderlands activation"
  • Filippos Oreopoulos, "Rethink the City via the Neo-politics"
  • Nick Ray, "Politics and Urban Form"
  • Douglas Spencer, "Instrumental Urbanism and Immaterial Labour"
  • Theo Spyropoulos, "Adaptive Ecologies- Notes on the Parametric"
  • Teresa Stoppani, "The Island. Considerations for the city without boundaries"
  • Ecosistema Urbano, "Ten Things we have learned from the City".
  • Please see [ POSITIONS ON THE CITY ] for downloadable .pdfs.

[ 2009 CALL FOR POSITIONS ]

  • AA/CC put out a call for "contemporary positions on the city" in mid-2009, which aimed to assemble contemporary thoughts and types of architectural research. Through these "positions", AA/CC seeks to develop new conceptual frameworks to redefine what historically has been constructed and institutionalised as the ‘city’.
  • See call here : http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/downloads/AA_City_Cultures_Research_Cluster_Call_for_Positions.pdf

[ WHO IS AA/CC ]

AA City Cultures [AA/CC] is a research cluster hosted by the Architectural Association [click for more info] located in London, UK. It is lead by Marina Lathouri, director of the Histories and Theories M.A. programme at the AA. The AA/CC team also includes AA tutors Mollie Claypool (DRL/HTS), Ryan Dillon (DRL/HTS) and Marlie Mul (HTS).

contact [cluster] : marina.lathouri@aaschool.ac.uk

contact [website] : mollie.claypool@gmail.com

[ WHAT IS AA/CC ]

In recent years, architects are more than ever involved in the design and building of new cities. Although this continuing urban growth has prompted elaborate arguments on economic policies, new organisational models, environmental strategies and sustainable development patterns, there seems to be a lack of reflection on the fundamental question of the city as a composite environment and political space.

If the troubled progress of over-planned urbanisation has been repetitively argued, debate about the futures of cities have a tendency to mythologize a transformation (post-industrial, electronic, eco-city, sustainable, parametric, etc) that in relatively is far less complete or apparent than might be imaged. Seen in this way, the built city, as a set of infrastructures and services, not unlike the vision of the city as a set of objects in space, is only one aspect of the complex entity called the city. The terminology arises partly out of an attempt to name conditions that are novel, have assumed novel forms, or have become visible because of the unsettlement of older realities. But the processes which produce a city are very diverse and change in time. Furthermore, while several ‘new cities’ emerge around the world, old cities and spaces also remain. It may even be that a single category is no longer adequate to characterise and assimilate the diversity of settlements, conditions and design investigations.

Many of the emerging urban formations and forms of urbanity are partially or completely novel institutional orders or systems of relations. What is it, then, that we are trying to name with the term ‘city’? “The Greek polis (both a community and a sense of community),” Hannah Arendt wrote fifty years ago, “will continue to exist at the bottom of our political existence - that is at the bottom of the sea - as long as we use the word ‘politics’.” However, new processes of economic and cultural activity and new processes of identity formation may engender different notions of community and citizenship. Would that mean that the emerging spaces are also spaces for a new politics, one going beyond the politics of culture and identity, though at least partly likely to be embedded in it?

Constructing the object of study in this type of effort often means operating at the intersection of multiple disciplinary forms of knowledge and techniques for research. However, the question of the ways in which architectural design can formulate a judgement about these theoretical and methodological challenges is more relevant than ever. The object here is to approach the question of the city through a diversity of design practices and organisational forms seeking to interrogate typical representations of the ‘living in community’ and experiment with laws and procedures of urban formation which are distinct from the regulations of urbanism. Is it possible to proceed through a critical body of architectural references, existing or to be constituted, in order to rethink urban space against a background of a recent political philosophy that has questioned the communal? Though current design research often resembles an investigation into biological system analysis and genetic mechanisms, is it possible that the various regimes of the architectural project might still engage conceptions of space, conflicts of appropriation and norms of use nearing the juridical delimitation of public and private domains?

Every time brings specific conditions to the manner in which the claims on the city are made. City Cultures seeks to develop new conceptual frameworks to redefine what historically has been constructed and institutionalised as the ‘city’.

-Marina Lathouri, AA City Cultures Director © 2009

AA/CC Event on May 14, 2010 = Success!
Photo by Ryan Dillon

AA/CC Event on May 14, 2010 = Success!

Photo by Ryan Dillon

[ 14.05.10 AA/CC EVENT ]

  • At the AA Lecture Hall on Friday, May 14th, there will be an event hosted by AA/CC. There will be two parts to the event - starting at 2pm with Peter Carl presenting "What is the Purpose of a City?", then David Cunningham with "Nine Theses on the Metropolis", Sam Jacoby and Chris Lee with "For the City. From the City", Douglas Spencer with "Instrumental Urbanism and Immaterial Labour" and Ross Adams with "Longing for a Greener Present". At 4pm, there will be a coffee break and then Salottobuono with Pier Paolo Tamburelli presenting "The City as a Catalogue- Towards a User's Manual" and discussion.

[ POSITIONS ON THE CITY ]

Here you can downloaded our selected “positions on the city” in .pdf form. Click the title to download.

Ross Adams, "Longing for a Greener Present" 
Pedro Ignacio Alonso, "The Ghost Project- towards an Operative Ethics" 
Aristide Antonas, "The Infrastructure Community" 
Anne Save de Beaurecueil and Franklin Lee, "Grassroots Urbanism"
Peter Carl,
"What is the Purpose of a City?" 
David Cunningham, "Nine Theses on the Metropolis" 
Murray Fraser, "The Globalised City" 
Jordan Geiger, "Retrofits" 
Nikos Kalogirou and Anastasia Tzaka, "A critique of the Modernist’s urban vision and the contemporary environmental approach to urban design" 
Mazin Abdul Karim, "7 Ideas on the ‘New’ City" 
Constantin Kastrissianakis, "Re- The Crisis of Public Space" 
Chris Lee and Sam Jacoby, "For the city. From the city" 
Nuria Álvarez-Lombardero and Francisco González de Canales of Canales & Lombardero, "Tactics in Borderlands Activation" 
Filippos Oreopoulos, "Rethink the City via the Neo-politics" 
Nick Ray, "Politics and Urban Form" 
Douglas Spencer, "Instrumental Urbanism and Immaterial Labour" 
Theo Spyropoulos, "Adaptive Ecologies- Notes on the Parametric" 
Teresa Stoppani, "The Island. Considerations for the City Without Boundaries" 
Ecosistema Urbano, "Ten Things we have learned from the City"

[ 2010 PARTICIPANTS BIOS ]

The following participants have been selected for inclusion in the AA/CC publication to be launched in June 2010-

Ross Adams …received his BS in Biomaterial Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2000. Deciding to pursue a career in Architecture, he apprenticed and worked in several offices in New York City and Rotterdam, later pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at MIT and the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, where he graduated in 2006. He completed his Master thesis under Pier Vittorio Aureli and Elia Zenghelis, which engaged–both through research and a design proposal–the formal and political transitions of Moscow under Stalin, up to today’s condition of ‘capitalist realism’. The final product of this work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale of 2006 and the CCA in Moscow. He has taught architecture at the Berlage Institute and worked as an architect and urban designer in London, New York City, Rotterdam and Mexico City. His work and writing has been published in several journals of architecture around the world. Currently his work towards a Ph.D. will examine the rise of Urbanism and its relationship to liberal politics.

Pedro Ignacio Alonso …studied architecture at the Catholic University in Chile and completed his Ph.D at the Architectural Association on the modernist conceptualization of architecture as a work of assemblage. He has taught at the AA since 2005, currently as visiting tutor at the AA H+T Masters Programme, and is professor at the Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago. Between 2006 and 2009 he worked for Arup’s Urban Design office on a number of large-scale projects in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaiján. Recent publications include A panel’s tale: KPD and the Politics of Assemblage (AA Files 59, London 2009); Acronym (AA Files 57, London 2008); and Post-Digital (MArq 04, Santiago 2008). He is also guest editor of a special issue of the Chinese Magazine New Architecture (N° 129) titled Critical Fabrications (Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, April 2010). In 2008 he received a RIBA Research Trust Award, and more recently he has been awarded with a Research Grant from The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (2010), and  with a Fellowship as Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal (2010- 2011).

Aristide Antonas … is a Greek architect and writer educated in Athens (NTUA), and Paris (Sorbonne Paris I - Nanterre Paris X). He is an associate professor at the University of  Thessaly, Greece, has written six works of fiction in Greek and two of his stage plays have been performed in French. His ‘amphitheater house’ was a candidate for the 2009 Mies Van der Rohe Prize; the Antonas office functions also as a research studio, dealing with non-commissioned architectural work. 

Anne Save de Beaurecueil and Franklin Lee

Peter Carl … has been trained at Princeton University and was the recipient of the Prix de Rome for 2 years.  He taught at the University of Kentucky and for thirty years he taught design and the graduate programme in history and philosophy of architecture at the University of Cambridge.  Currently, and since 2009, he has been running the PhD programme at London Metropolitan University.

David Cunningham … is Principal Lecturer at the University of Westminster and Deputy Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture. He is an editor of the journal Radical Philosophy, and has published widely on modernism, aesthetics, architecture and urban theory. He is currently writing a book on theories of the metropolis.

Murray Fraser … is professor of architecture at the University of Westminster in London, where he acts as Director for Postgraduate Studies and Research in Architecture. He is a qualified architect with many years in practice and a PhD in architectural history from UCL. His research and teaching work spans the areas of design, history & theory, cultural studies and advanced digital techniques. He has written widely on the subject of cross-cultural influences and post-colonial theory in architecture, and his recent book on Architecture and the Special Relationship (Routledge), which looks at the impact of America on post-war British architecture and urbanism, won the 2008 CICA Bruno Zevi Book Prize (awarded by the International Committee of Architectural Critics) for the best architectural book published in the previous year, and also the 2008 RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding University-Located Research. He is co-editor of The Journal of Architecture and a member of the RIBA Awards Group. His current research is into the subject of architecture and globalisation, which includes looking at the relationships to patterns of everyday life, technology and cultural identity.

Jordan Greiger … is an architect and educator. He is founding director of Ga-Ga and assistant professor at the Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies, Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo. Geiger’s research and design practice address time-based and temporary constructions, and collaborative, interdisciplinary methods of practice. Projects cross architecture and interaction design, considering implications of human computer interaction for social and environmental issues. These have largely emerged from Ga-Ga that has produced works ranging in scale and type from installation and gallery design to urban design and agricultural land use proposals. These works have been exhibited and published internationally, including the ZeroOne festival (2008), the American Institute of Architects (2005) and the Dieppe Biennial “Tide is High” (2005).

Nikos Kalogirou / Anastasia Tzaka

Constantin Kastrissianakis … Following studies in Social Anthropology and Economics at SOAS, London and a Masters in Political Science at Sciences-Po, Paris, Konstantin worked for international organisations in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. During his MA in Housing and Urbanism at the Architectural Association, London, his thesis investigated spaces of urban division, comparing the urban structures and political experiences of Beirut, Berlin and Paris. He then joined KCAP Architects and Planners to work on a strategic master plan for the city of Perm in Russia. He is now a PhD candidate in Architecture at the University of Cambridge and part of the Conflict in Cities Research Project. His research looks at the role of public space in Beirut.

Chris Lee / Sam Jacoby … Jacoby is a chartered architect in private practice. Trained as a cabinet-maker in Germany before studying at the AA. Has taught in the AA Intermediate School, was a Studio Leader in the Bachelor of Architecture course at the University of Nottingham, and a Unit Master in the AA Diploma School. Currently, he is Director of the AA Projective Cities Programme, Director of the AA Visiting School: Spring Semester Programme, as well as a consultant in the AA Diploma School: History & Theory Studies. Lee is the co-founder and principal of Serie Architects London, Mumbai, Beijing and Chengdu. He is the Director of the Architectural Association Projective Cities Programme, Unit Master of AA Diploma Unit 6 (2003-09) and Intermediate Unit 2 (2001-03).  He is also currently conducting his doctoral research on the same topic in the Berlage Institute Rotterdam.  In the Architectural Association School of Architecture, he explores the problem of type and the city, with particular focus on the renewed relevance of typological reasoning and experimentation to describe, conceptualise, theorise and ultimately project new typological ideas for and from the city.  Christopher Lee graduated with the AA Diploma [Honours] in 1998 from Architectural Association School of Architecture London and awarded the RIBA President’s Medal Commendation Award. He is a Chartered Architect, registered with the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Registration Board.  Serie was recently named as one of the 10 visionary architects for the new decade by the Leading European Architects Forum. Serie has also won numerous awards of excellence including BD Young Architect of the Year Award Runner-up 2008, and was selected by ICON Magazine as one of 20 Essential Young Architects in the world in 2008.

Nuria Alvarez Lombardero and Francisco Gonzalez de Canales … are practicing architects (www.canales-lombardero.com) and unit masters for the Inter Unit 8 at the AA. Nuria Alvarez Lombardero is part of the editorial board of Neutra Architectural Magazine. She is currently finalising her PhD on the dissolution of gender boundaries traced by modern urban planning. Francisco Gonzalez de Canales is doctor in architecture, and he is now teaching in the Histories and Theories MA and is AACP coordinator at the AA. 

Filippos Oreopoulos … is Director of the History, Theory and Conceptual Design Laboratory at the Architecture School of the University of Thessaly in Greece. He pursued research in Paris on Mathematical Logic, Philosophy of Knowledge, Hellenic Literature and History and published the volume “le discourse néohellénique sur la ville et l’architecture.” He participated at the International Biennale of Architecture in Venice (2004), the International Biennale of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona (2005), the Biennale of Architecture in San Paolo (2007) and the Biennale of Art in Thessaloniki (2009) where he exhibited 100 conceptual drawings about the Labyrinth. He is presently working on the upcoming publication The architecture as eidetic trace.

Nick Ray … is Reader Emeritus in Architecture at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Jesus College.  He has practised, as well as taught, for the last thirty five years, and is director of NRAP architects.  He is the author of numerous articles in professional journals, and four books, including Architecture and its Ethical Dilemmas (Routledge 2005).

Douglas Spencer … has studied design and architectural history, cultural studies, and critical theory, and has taught history and theory at a number of architectural schools. His research and writing on urbanism, architecture, film and critical theory has been published in journals including The Journal of Architecture, Radical Philosophy, AA Files and Culture Machine. He has also contributed chapters to collections on urban design, utopian literature and contemporary architecture, and is currently researching a critical analysis of architecture’s engagement with immaterial labour and ‘control society’ for his Doctoral thesis at the University of Westminster.

Theo Spyropoulos … is Co-Director of the Architectural Association’s innovative team-based M.Arch program the Design Research Lab [DRL] (London). He is a visiting Research Fellow at M.I.T.’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies and co-founded the New Media Research Initiative at the Architectural Association. He has taught in the graduate school of the University of Pennsylvania and the Royal College of Art, Innovation Design Engineering Department. Theo directs the experimental architecture and design studio Minimaforms in London and has previously worked as a project architect for the offices of Peter Eisenman and Zaha Hadid Architects. He studied at the AA, Bartlett School of Architecture and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Teresa Stoppani … (Architect, IUAV, Venice; DrRic Architectural & Urban Design, University of Florence) is Reader in Architecture at the University of Greenwich, London, where she directs the MSc in Architectural Studies programme and co-ordinates the postgraduate Architecture Histories and Theories courses. Her writings on architecture’s histories, theories and representations focus on the relationship between architecture and the city. Recent publications include: ‘Grid Effects’ (ARQ Architecture Research Quarterly, 12:3-4, 2009);  ‘Venetian Dusts’ (Log, 17, 2009);  ‘The Vague, the Viral, the Parasitic: Piranesi’s Metropolis’ (Footprint, 5, 2009);  ‘L’histoire assassinée. Manfredo Tafuri and the Present’ (in N. Temple et al. (eds.), Building Metaphors: The Humanities in Design Practice, Routledge 2010).  Forthcoming book, Paradigm Islands: Manhattan and Venice (Routledge, 2010)

Ecosistema Urbano

Mazin Abdul Karim… is an architect and educator. He received his Master degree in Architecture & Urban Design from DIA / Bauhaus , Germany in 2008 following a bachelor degree from Ain Shams university, Egypt in 2004. He is currently an adjunct lecturer at the AAST in Cairo where he has taught design studios and seminars since 2005, and has previously taught at the  Faculty of Urban Design & Town Planning, Cairo University. He has been a visiting critic and has lectured about his work at the AA in London, ETH and HTW/Chur in Switzerland, IUS in Sarajevo, and DIA in Germany. In 2006, he co-founded his design and research practice, CONTRAST Studioin Cairo. Besides producing contemporary architecture and urbanism, the studio also focuses on cultural analysis, critical investigations and the production of ideas.  Their work has been published and exhibited internationally, and most recently, at the Rotterdam Biennale of Architecture 2009, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2009, and at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2008.

[ AA/CC NEWS + EVENTS ]

  • Spring 2009 - Call for 'Contemporary Positions on the City'
  • Winter 2009/2010 - Selection of Positions for Publication
  • Spring 2010 - May 14 - Debate/Roundtable Event @ the AA in Bedford Square - AA/CC director Marina Lathouri will be joined by Douglas Spencer, Peter Carl, David Cunningham and Sam Jacoby in a series of presentations, debates and discussions on the contemporary city. Other participants are tbc.
  • Summer 2010 - June 25 - Publication Launch @ AA Projects Review exhibition opening

[ 2010 SELECTED TITLES ]

  • The following author's and titles have been selected for publication within the AA/CC, set to be launched in June 2010...
  • Ross Adams, "Longing for a Greener Present"
  • Pedro Ignacio Alonso, "The Ghost Project- towards an Operative Ethics"
  • Aristide Antonas, "The Infrastructure Community"
  • Anne Save de Beaurecueil and Franklin Lee, "Grassroots Urbanism"
  • Peter Carl, "What is the Purpose of a City?"
  • David Cunningham, "Nine Theses on the Metropolis"
  • Murray Fraser, "The Globalised City"
  • Jordan Geiger, "Retrofits"
  • Nikos Kalogirou and Anastasia Tzaka, "A critique of the Modernist’s urban vision and the contemporary environmental approach to urban design"
  • Mazin Abdul Karim, "7 Ideas on the ‘New’ City"
  • Constantin Kastrissianakis, "Re- The Crisis of Public Space"
  • Chris Lee and Sam Jacoby, "For the city. From the city"
  • Nuria Álvarez-Lombardero and Francisco González de Canales of Canales & Lombardero, "Tactics in borderlands activation"
  • Filippos Oreopoulos, "Rethink the City via the Neo-politics"
  • Nick Ray, "Politics and Urban Form"
  • Douglas Spencer, "Instrumental Urbanism and Immaterial Labour"
  • Theo Spyropoulos, "Adaptive Ecologies- Notes on the Parametric"
  • Teresa Stoppani, "The Island. Considerations for the city without boundaries"
  • Ecosistema Urbano, "Ten Things we have learned from the City".
  • Please see [ POSITIONS ON THE CITY ] for downloadable .pdfs.

[ 2009 CALL FOR POSITIONS ]

  • AA/CC put out a call for "contemporary positions on the city" in mid-2009, which aimed to assemble contemporary thoughts and types of architectural research. Through these "positions", AA/CC seeks to develop new conceptual frameworks to redefine what historically has been constructed and institutionalised as the ‘city’.
  • See call here : http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/downloads/AA_City_Cultures_Research_Cluster_Call_for_Positions.pdf

[ WHO IS AA/CC ]

AA City Cultures [AA/CC] is a research cluster hosted by the Architectural Association [click for more info] located in London, UK. It is lead by Marina Lathouri, director of the Histories and Theories M.A. programme at the AA. The AA/CC team also includes AA tutors Mollie Claypool (DRL/HTS), Ryan Dillon (DRL/HTS) and Marlie Mul (HTS).

contact [cluster] : marina.lathouri@aaschool.ac.uk

contact [website] : mollie.claypool@gmail.com

[ WHAT IS AA/CC ]

In recent years, architects are more than ever involved in the design and building of new cities. Although this continuing urban growth has prompted elaborate arguments on economic policies, new organisational models, environmental strategies and sustainable development patterns, there seems to be a lack of reflection on the fundamental question of the city as a composite environment and political space.

If the troubled progress of over-planned urbanisation has been repetitively argued, debate about the futures of cities have a tendency to mythologize a transformation (post-industrial, electronic, eco-city, sustainable, parametric, etc) that in relatively is far less complete or apparent than might be imaged. Seen in this way, the built city, as a set of infrastructures and services, not unlike the vision of the city as a set of objects in space, is only one aspect of the complex entity called the city. The terminology arises partly out of an attempt to name conditions that are novel, have assumed novel forms, or have become visible because of the unsettlement of older realities. But the processes which produce a city are very diverse and change in time. Furthermore, while several ‘new cities’ emerge around the world, old cities and spaces also remain. It may even be that a single category is no longer adequate to characterise and assimilate the diversity of settlements, conditions and design investigations.

Many of the emerging urban formations and forms of urbanity are partially or completely novel institutional orders or systems of relations. What is it, then, that we are trying to name with the term ‘city’? “The Greek polis (both a community and a sense of community),” Hannah Arendt wrote fifty years ago, “will continue to exist at the bottom of our political existence - that is at the bottom of the sea - as long as we use the word ‘politics’.” However, new processes of economic and cultural activity and new processes of identity formation may engender different notions of community and citizenship. Would that mean that the emerging spaces are also spaces for a new politics, one going beyond the politics of culture and identity, though at least partly likely to be embedded in it?

Constructing the object of study in this type of effort often means operating at the intersection of multiple disciplinary forms of knowledge and techniques for research. However, the question of the ways in which architectural design can formulate a judgement about these theoretical and methodological challenges is more relevant than ever. The object here is to approach the question of the city through a diversity of design practices and organisational forms seeking to interrogate typical representations of the ‘living in community’ and experiment with laws and procedures of urban formation which are distinct from the regulations of urbanism. Is it possible to proceed through a critical body of architectural references, existing or to be constituted, in order to rethink urban space against a background of a recent political philosophy that has questioned the communal? Though current design research often resembles an investigation into biological system analysis and genetic mechanisms, is it possible that the various regimes of the architectural project might still engage conceptions of space, conflicts of appropriation and norms of use nearing the juridical delimitation of public and private domains?

Every time brings specific conditions to the manner in which the claims on the city are made. City Cultures seeks to develop new conceptual frameworks to redefine what historically has been constructed and institutionalised as the ‘city’.

-Marina Lathouri, AA City Cultures Director © 2009

[ 14.05.10 AA/CC EVENT ]
[ POSITIONS ON THE CITY ]
[ 2010 PARTICIPANTS BIOS ]
[ AA/CC NEWS + EVENTS ]
[ 2010 SELECTED TITLES ]
[ 2009 CALL FOR POSITIONS ]
[ WHO IS AA/CC ]
[ WHAT IS AA/CC ]

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AA City Cultures is a 2009/2010 research cluster at the Architectural Association.

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