Author Archives: AAPC

Future Homes for London: Alternate Models

Organised by the Royal College of Art, St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust, Haringey, The Architecture Foundation, Baylight Foundation and Projective Cities

Dates: Friday 13th and Saturday 14th April 2018
Venue: Lecture Theatre One, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU (entrance via Jay Mews)        

The objective of these series of events over two days is to pull apart and question alternate models of affordable and community-led housing projects for the UK. Using global exemplars – from Swiss projects based on nineteenth century co-operative legal structures such as Kraftwerk I and Mehr als Wohnen in Zurich, new Spanish co-operatives addressing community ageing (La Borda), to the Nightingale structure developed within the specific legal and financial constraints of Australian law – this event will ask what, within the context of the UK, is possible? What works and why, and how do we learn from other places, recognizing the specificity of our legal jurisdiction, financial structures, and cultural limitations?

Future Homes for London: Alternate Models will discuss: case studies and precedents; the consequences of different legal frameworks; co-operative models and land tenure systems in relationship to participation, ongoing management, and governance; the financing of housing projects – patient capital and the perception of risk; procurement structures; and the role of architecture, especially in negotiating difference productively through design.

Participants will hear from those developing, building, designing, leading and living in new projects globally and learn from their experience of delivering alternate housing.

Day 1: Global Precedents of Community-led and -owned Housing

Date: 13th April 2018

Often policy makers and developers see ‘community led’ as no more than glorified consultation, or as a way to navigate the planning process. Communities often talk of ‘community led’, but really mean full community control of housing and amenities. This can include the design process, full ownership of the property on completion, who lives in the development, rental and sales prices fixed in perpetuity by covenants in ownership contracts, and ongoing management. To make it more than just a place where people live, can community groups actively build communities as well as housing – where we might replace the term housing with the notion of civil society? This is not uncommon in other parts of the world. Why do we continue to wait for someone’s permission to do it here in the UK?

Common to many of the international projects that will be discussed is the role of the design process in the negotiation of difference amongst co-operative members and the coming into form of the project. Here, co-operative members navigating competing desires and ambitions for a project are innovating the shared spaces and amenities of multi-residential housing projects, moving away from the usual one two and three bedroom apartments sent to market by developers. These are projects either led by architects, or that involve co-op members who are architects.

The series of presentations are from architects and housing activists operating globally. They will deal with processes, give stories and accounts of specific projects, and speak about experiments in new, shared amenity at the scale of the building block and the dwelling unit.

9:30 Welcome by Adrian Lahoud (Dean, School of Architecture, RCA)
9:35 Introduction by Tony Wood (StART)
9:45 Introduction to Day 1 Tarsha Finney (RCA)
10:00-13.00: International Case Studies Part 1
    – Cristina Gamboa (Lacol), La Borda, Barcelona
    – Jeremy McLeod (Breathe Architecture), The Commons, Melbourne
    – Silvia Carpaneto (Carpaneto Schöningh Architekten), Coop Housing, Berlin (tbc)
    – Christoph Schmidt (ifau), R50, Berlin (tbc)
    – Christian Roth (Zanderroth Architekten), BIGyard, Berlin (tbc)
    – Claudia Thiesen (Mehr Als Wohnen), Kraftwerk I, Zurich
13:00-14:00 Lunch break
14.00-15.30:  International Case Studies Part 2
     – Jeremy McLeod: The Nightingale Principle, Melbourne.
    – Paul Karakusevic: Camden/New York
16.00-18.00: Panel Discussion 
    Discussion of participation, conflict, negotiation, and constituting community. 
    Clarifying relationships and terms between community and housing development and national contexts.
    – Tony Wood (StART)
    – Paul Karakusevic (Karakusevic Carson Architects)
    – Frances Northrop (Consultant, NEF/Co-ops UK Community Economic Development Programme)
    – Catherine Harrington (Director, National CLT Network)
    – Jeremy McLeod
    – Claudia Thiesen
    – Cristina Gamboa
    Chaired by Tarsha Finney (RCA)

Day 2: The UK Context: Community Control and Financing of Housing

Date: Saturday 14th April 2018

Until recently the general narrative has been ‘the market will provide’ when it comes to house building but this strategy is a failure for most people. Recently, the delivery of genuinely affordable and community-led housing has risen up the political agenda and raises a series of questions: What is genuinely affordable and who should housing be owned and managed by? What constitutes and legitimises a community to take control of housing projects? How are alternate models of housing to be scaled up to match the UK housing demand and what financing and procurement models are needed? Can public and private capital work with community organisations and philanthropy to achieve this?

The second day will be framed by StART, a group of local residents and workers who have initiated a community-led and transparent process for a 800-unit housing development in Haringey that puts local people in control, with the aim to provide genuinely affordable housing.

10:00: Welcome by Adrian Lahoud (Dean, School of Architecture, RCA)
10.05: Introduction by Tony Wood (StART)
10:15-12:45: Community Control: What Could It Look Like?
    – Vanessa Ricketts (StART)
    – Catherine Harrington (Director, National CLT Network) 
    – Aditya Chakrabortty (Senior Economics Commentator, The Guardian) tbc
    Chaired by Adrian Lahoud (RCA)
12:45-13:30: Lunch
13:30-16:00: How Do We Fund Affordable Housing?
    – Marlene Barrett (StART)                       
    – Stephen Hill  (Director, C20 futureplanners) tbc
    – Frances Northrop (Consultant, NEF/Co-ops UK Community Economic Development Programme)
    – Pete Gladwell (Head of Public Sector Partnerships, Legal & General Investment Management)  
    Chaired by Paul Karakusevic (Karakusevic Carson Architects)
16:30-18:30 The Future of Community-led Housing
    Hosted by The Architecture Foundation
    – Annabel Kennedy (StART)
    – Chris Brown (Executive Chair, igloo Regeneration)
    – Jeremy McLeod (Breathe Architecture)
    – Claudia Thiesen (Mehr Als Wohnen)
    – Cristina Gamboa (Lacol)
    Chaired by Phineas Harper (Architecture Foundation)

Register to participate in events now.

British Academy Research Funding

The project Collective Forms: Neighbourhood Transformations, Spatialised Governmentality and New Communities in China has been awarded funding by the British Academy through its Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling the UK’s International Challenges Programme. The project is led by the principal investigator Dr Sam Jacoby and the co-investigators Professor Gangyi Tan (Huazhong University of Science and Technology), Professor Xuefeng He (China Rural Governance Research Centre) and Professor Yan Tang (Tsinghua University). 

This research examines how social projects, spaces, and realities shape three contexts critical to understanding urban design and planning in China: modes of governmentality; the history of collective spatial development models in relation to current community development; and socio-spatial changes in urban and rural developments. A comparative analysis of community developments in China and a programme of knowledge exchange  in China and the UK will study how a national collectivisation in the 1950s created rural people’s commune and urban danwei systems that laid the foundations to today’s urban problems. Their socio-spatial design, despite extensive policy reforms since 1978, continue to control access to public infrastructures and services, but also created resilient governance and community-building models. The effects of spatial transformations of governmentality are little researched by urban designers and require a new interdisciplinary approach that offers alternatives to Western-centric theory and practice. This is of global relevance, including the UK and its new community-led developments. The project will start in January 2018 and run until January 2019.

AA Projective Cities Events in Shanghai

The AA Projective Cities programme in collaboration with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the Royal College of Art, ACROSS Architecture, Hongmei Home Commonwealth Service Centre and Chuang Xin Hui is organising a symposium, workshop, and discussion forum in Shanghai on 9-10 December 2017:


Date:     Saturday 9th December 2017
Time:    9:00-12:00 and 14:00-18:00
Venue:  Conference Room 315, Engineering Hall, Xuhui Campus, Jiao Tong University

The symposium will discuss how historical spatial development forms in China – such as the urban danwei and worker’s new village or rural people’s commune and Third Front – are an important contemporary heritage of urban form and Chinese modernity. Current problems of neighbourhood transformations and urbanisation in China can be understood in relationship to these historical developments. The symposium will consequently also debate the significance of this spatial heritage to urban design and planning theory, history and practice, and how spatial design has been instrumental to shape a sense of community and place. This discussion is framed through three contexts critical to understanding contemporary urban design in China: the history of communal spatial development models; socio-spatial changes in urban and rural developments; and changing models of urban-rural governance. Therefore, a key question arises: how are these socio-spatial developments critical to formulating a new interdisciplinary urban design practice and theory in China?

9:00–9:15         Introduction
9:15–9:45         Dr. Sam Jacoby (AA/RCA)
                           ‘Socio-spatial and Urban Design of Housing’
9:45–10:15       Prof. Li HOU (Tongji University)
                           ‘Building Beyond Oil: The Daqing Model’
10:15–10:45     Prof. Youwei XU (Shanghai University)
                           ‘The Housing Problem of Chinese Workers: Small Third Front 1960-90s’
10:45–11:15      Dr. Zhiyong LIANG (University of Hong Kong)
                           ‘From Village for Commoners to Workers’ New Village’
11:15–12:00      Morning Q&A Session

14:00–15:00    Keynote Lecture: Prof. Duanfang LU (University of Sydney)
                           ‘Urbanisation Through Collective Forms’
15:00–15:30    Jingru Cyan CHENG (AA)
                           ‘Radical Settlement: The Architecture of the People’s Commune’
15:30–16:00    Prof. Wansheng XIONG (East China University of Science and Technology)
                           ‘A Sociological Explanation of the Rural Settlement’
16:00 –16:30   Ning OU (Curator and Artist)
                           ‘The Collective Eye: Bishan and Other Places’
16:30 –17:00   Dr. Platon Issaias (AA/RCA)
                           ‘Collective Equipment as a Device for Urban Design’
17:00 –18:00   Concluding Round Table Discussion


Date:     Sunday 10th December 2017
Time:    9:00-12:00
Venue:  Conference Room 315, Engineering Hall, Xuhui Campus, Jiao Tong University

The workshop is for students, young scholars, and academics to discuss approaches to design research in architecture and urban design. The workshop is complementary to the symposium and the forum in the afternoon.

Dr. Sam Jacoby (Director, AA Projective Cities)
Dr. Tarsha Finney (Programme Lead, City Design, RCA)
Dr. Lu FENG (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
Dr. Yongkang CAO (Associate Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
Ruohong WU (China Academy of Art)
Zhenhang HU (China Academy of Art)
Gianna Bottema and Huajing WEN (MPhil Projective Cities candidate, AA)
Mingdi ZHOU, Siyu ZHENG, and Lu LI (5th Year, Architecture, SJTU)

Discussion Panel
Xin WANG (University of Nottingham Ningbo China)
Yuwei WANG (University of Nottingham Ningbo China)Huajing WEN (MPhil Projective Jingru Cyan CHENG (AA)
Zhiyong LIANG (University of Hong Kong)

Ning OU (Curator and Artist)


Date:     Sunday 10th December 2017
Time:    15:00-18:00
Venue:  Huaxin Conference Centre, No. 142 Tianlin Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai

The forum is a discussion between practitioners, stakeholders and academics about the contemporary challenges of urban design. Emerging in the 1960s in the USA and adopted in China since the mid-1990s, urban design is historically understood as an interdisciplinary practice of architecture, landscape architecture and city planning. The importance to understand cities and their design in multi–scalar and multi-disciplinary terms is today even more important, given the extent and complexity of global urbanisation. In China, as elsewhere, urban design is to provide design guidelines capable of integrating the diverse needs of local communities into sustainable large urban plans. But significant differences remain in how urban design in China deals with challenges of place-making, needs of local communities, and scale. Imported Western design models have not always translated well into a context with different urban, economic and social organisation and histories. Therefore, the forum will discuss how urban design has to develop a better understanding of local contexts and a broader multi-disciplinary approach that integrates urban sociology, social policy, public welfare and governance, as well new economies, lifestyles and real-estate development models in order to cross established disciplinary, methodological and cultural boundaries.

Yapeng PU (Committee Secretary of the CPC, Hongmei Sub-district Office, Xuhui District, Shanghai)
Dr. Xia MO (Director, Urban Renewal Research Centre, East China Architectural Design & Research Institute)
Dr. Lu FENG (Principal, Wuyang Architecture)
Dr. Sam Jacoby (Director, AA Projective Cities)
Dr. Tarsha Finney (Programme Lead, City Design, RCA)
Dr. Platon Issaias (Studio Master, AA Projective Cities)

Discussion Panel
Lei CAO (Director, Caohejing Sub-district Office, Xuhui District, Shanghai)
Zhongnan YE (Vice Director, Centre for Regional Development and Urban Design, East China Architectural Design & Research Institute)
Xin WANG (Bfun Design)
Yuwei WANG (Xframe Studio)
Zhiyong LIANG (University of Hong Kong)
Ning OU (Curator and Artist)
Yuhong ZHAO (Ambassador, TED China Region)

ChairJingru Cyan CHENG (AA)

Graduate School Prize for Research

Congratulations to Alvaro Arancibia, former Projective Cities student, for winning the inaugural AA Graduate School Prize for Research for his PhD Thesis ‘The Social Re-Signification of Housing: A Design Guide for Santiago de Chile (2017). The PhD developed from his MPhil studies in Projective Cities.  

AAPC Guest Seminar: Charles Rice

Date: 24/01/2017
Time: 14:00
Venue: 32FFB

Charles Rice joined Projective Cities for a seminar on his new book Interior Urbanism: Architecture, John Portman and Downtown America

Vast interior spaces have become ubiquitous in the contemporary city. The soaring atriums and concourses of mega-hotels, shopping malls and transport interchanges define an increasingly normal experience of being ‘inside’ in a city. Yet such spaces are also subject to intense criticism and claims that they can destroy the quality of a city’s authentic life ‘on the outside’.

Interior Urbanism explores the roots of this contemporary tension between inside and outside, identifying and analysing the concept of interior urbanism and tracing its history back to the works of John Portman and Associates in 1960s and 70s America. Portman – increasingly recognised as an influential yet understudied figure – was responsible for projects such as Peachtree Center in Atlanta and the Los Angeles Bonaventure Hotel, developments that employed vast internal atriums to define a world of possibilities not just for hotels and commercial spaces, but for the future of the American downtown amid the upheavals of the 1960s and 70s.

The book analyses Portman’s architecture in order to reconsider major contexts of debate in architecture and urbanism in this period, including the massive expansion of a commercial imperative in architecture, shifts in the governance and development of cities amid social and economic instability, the rise of postmodernism and critical urban studies, and the defence of the street and public space amid the continual upheavals of urban development.

In this way the book reconsiders the American city at a crucial time in its development, identifying lessons for how we consider the forces at work, and the spaces produced, in cities in the present.

John Portman and Associates, Peachtree Center, Atlanta, 1961–2009. Diagram showing major interior spaces, vertical cores and pedestrian connections. Darker shaded areas indicate skybridges above streets. Drawing by Alina McConnochie.

AAPC Guest Seminar: Tom Avermaete

Date: 27/4/2016
Time: 14:00
Venue: 37 FFF

The Infrastructure of Bare Life: Architectural Perspectives for and from the Global South


Michel Ecochard, The 8×8 Grid of Housing, Morocco, 1950s

“a continuous network of centers and lines of communication [in which] all parts of the settlement and all lines of communication will be interwoven into a meaningful organism.”[1]

This is how the Greek architect Constantinos Doxiadis described his city of the future. In 1972, Doxiadis published photographs of a spider’s web before and after the animal had been drugged with amphetamines. The distorted organization of the doped spider was equated with a map showing “the chaos of networks” in the urban Detroit area.[2] On the basis of this visual analogy Doxiadis argues that the role of the architect is no longer limited to a simple ‘form giver’ but also includes that of a coordinator of various infrastructural networks: “We must coordinate all of our Networks now. All networks, from roads to telephones.”[3] Doxiadis’ project for Detroit consequently is a negotiation between the existing chaotic arrangement and a well-structured regional geometry of underground infrastructural networks of transportation and utilities. His proposal for the Detroit area echoes earlier planning experiences in Africa and the Middle East, where Doxiadis established a profound expertise on the role of an architecture of infrastructure for future urban development.

This seminar is based on a double point of departure. First, it argues that much of the conceptions of infrastructure that we hold in architectural discourse remain largely based on Western experiences and categories. The majority of the reflections on the architecture-infrastructure nexus are firmly located in the urban experience of North America and Western Europe. They are part of a canonical tradition where new approaches are produced in the crucible of a few ‘great’ cities: historical cities such as Paris, Berlin and Vienna and modern metropoli such as New York and Chicago – cities inevitably located in Euro-America. However, this paper holds that it is time to rethink the list of ‘great’ cities. Urban development already lays elsewhere: in the megalopoli of the global South, in cities such as Karachi, Dakar and Casablanca. Can the experiences with infrastructure in these cities reconfigure the heartland of architectural and urban thinking?

Second, this seminar claims that the architectural thinking on infrastructure gained an unprecedented impetus in the decades after the Second World War. In the context of the international debates about development the notion of infrastructure became a label for the technical-political systems that were required for growth and modernization. This new understanding of infrastructure, during the so-called ‘development decade’, had also a profound impact on the discourse and practice of architects. I argue that the debates about development aid shifted attention from a technical concern with infrastructure towards one framed more in terms of the integrative capacities. Infrastructure came to be understood as the integrator of social, economical and cultural factors, but also of formal and constructive considerations. Moreover, housing and houses came to be looked upon as the most fundamental infrastructure off all; an “infrastructure of bare life”. The development decade saw the emergence of an understanding of the house as an infrastructural dispositive, with multiple social, cultural, economic and political meanings attached to it.

The seminar will look into the approaches to this ‘infrastructure of bare life’ in the work of three protagonists of this development decade. First, the German architect and planner Otto Koenigsberger, who wrote retrospectively for the Ford Foundation the book Infrastructure Problems of the Cities of Developing Countries.[4] Second, the French architect and urban planner Michel Ecochard, who developed with his approach of the ‘trame urbaine’ a way to minimally coordinate different infrastructural layers of the city in the figure of the house and applied this in various contexts in the Global South.[5] Third, the Greek architect and planner Constantinos Doxiadis, who conceived of infrastructure networks of housing as a ‘firm foundation’ for the multiple new towns he designed for the Middle East and Africa and who afterwards applied his approach in many places in the Global North –amongst others in a threefold study of Detroit that he developed for the Detroit Edison Company between 1964 and 1972.[6]

This seminar argues that the experiences of these three protagonists in the Global South offer a fertile basis to reconsider some of the prime characteristics and potentials of infrastructure in the domain of architecture. The discourse and practice of Koenigsberger, Ecochard and Doxiadis suggest an alternative threefold definition which conceives of infrastructure as:

  • a guide of urban growth, which is not a container but an active enabler of urban development;
  • a social armature, which regulates the balance between collective interest and self-reliance in the built environment;
  • a ‘commons’, understood as a resource to the city and its citizens that is co-produced and reproduced on an everyday basis.

In conclusion this seminar argues that these definitions have forged historically a particular conception of the relation between architecture and infrastructure, at the verge of questioning the limits between both. These conceptions for and from the Global South might offer today a fresh alley to rethink the possible characteristics and roles of the ‘infrastructure of bare life’.

[1] C. A. Doxiadis, Ecumenopolis: Towards a Universal Settlement, Document R-GA 305 (Athens: Athens Technological Institute, June 1963), 116.
[2] C. A. Doxiadis, “The Two-Headed Eagle: From the Past to the Future of Human Settlements,” Ekistics 33 (May 1972): 406–20.
[3] C. A. Doxiadis, “The Two-Headed Eagle,” 418.
[4] O. H. Koenigsberger, Infrastructure Problems of the Cities of Developing Countries (New York: International Urbanization Survey, Ford Foundation, 1971)
[5] M. Ecochard, Le Problème Des Plans Directeurs D’urbanisme Au Sénégal: Documents Présentés Au Conseil National De L’urbanisme, Dakar, Le 7 Octobre 1963 (Dakar: Secretariat d’Etat au plan et au développement, Aménagement du territoire, 1963
[6] C. A. Doxiadis. Emergence and Growth of an Urban Region: the Developing Urban Detroit Area; a Study. 1. Analysis (Detroit, Mich: Detroit Edison, 1966); C. A. Doxiadis. Emergence and Growth of an Urban Region: the Developing Urban Detroit Area; a Study. 2. Future Alternatives (Detroit, Mich: Detroit Edison, 1966) and C. A. Doxiadis. Emergence and Growth of an Urban Region: the Developing Urban Detroit Area; a Study. 3. A Concept for Future Development (Detroit, Mich: Detroit Edison, 1966).

Tom Avermaete is full professor of architecture at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. He has a special research interest in the public realm and the architecture of the city in Western and non-Western contexts. With the chair of Methods and Analysis he focuses on the changing roles, approaches and tools of architects. His research examines precedents -design attitudes, methods and instruments- with the explicit ambition to construct a critical base of design knowledge and to influence contemporary architectural thinking and practice.

Avermaete is the author of Another Modern: the Post-War Architecture and Urbanism of Candilis-Josic-Woods (2005), The Balcony (with Koolhaas, 2014) and Casablanca -Chandigarh: Reports on Modernity (with Casciato, 2014). He is a co-editor of Architectural Positions (with Havik and Teerds, 2009), Colonial Modern (with von Osten and Karakayali, 2010), Structuralism Reloaded (with Vrachliotis, 2011), Making a New World (with Heynickx, 2012), Architecture of the Welfare State (with Swenarton and Van den Heuvel, Routledge, 2014) and Casablanca-Chandigarh: Reports on Modernization (with Casciato, Park Books, 2015).

Contemporary Urban Design Education

Alvaro Arancibia Tagle, Cité Housing in Santiago de Chile (AA P

Alvaro Arancibia Tagle, Cité Housing in Santiago de Chile (Projective Cities, 2013)

Date: 10/2/2016
Time: 10:20 am to 6:30 pm
Venue: Lecture Hall

The symposium organised by the Projective Cities programme brings together urban educators to discuss how new practices and research have changed urban design conventions and disciplinary assumptions. This is a discussion not only important to urban researchers, but all architects involved in the different scales of designing the built environment.

While the term ‘urban design’ originates from a conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1956, this was not the first time that the urban was defined as a problem arising between planning and design. Ildefons Cerdà already recognised this a century earlier when coining the term ‘urbanisation’. Also, rather than considering urban design as an academic field with practical orientation that operates between architecture, landscape architecture and planning as an inter-, intra, multi- or cross-disciplinary practice, what if its value is not a management of differences, but the instrumentalisation of conflicts?

The resurgence of urban design education and research is only partially explained by global urbanisation, or the failure of other design disciplines to make meaningful claims to ‘urbanism’. Contemporary urban research challenges the commonly held belief that the urban requires a homogenising intervention and process. The approach of unifying the urban through ideas of place-making, nostalgia for past public spaces, or the codification of ‘good’ urban form is no longer tenable. Instead, richer multi-scalar design research enquiries are emerging, which, for example, make a simultaneous consideration of domesticity, typology, morphology, infrastructure and territory possible. A particular strength of urban design hereby is a framing of abstract contexts such as policy, legal frameworks and planning through considerations of specific constituencies, urban plans, design frameworks, design proposals and physical implementation.

The symposium seeks to clarify how teaching and research methodologies can have a relevance and impact on urban practices and design.

10:20 am     Welcome (Sam Jacoby, AA Projective Cities)
10:30 am     ‘Representative Cities’, Ingrid Schröder (Cambridge University)
11:10 am     ‘Urban Design in China: Practice and Challenges’, Dr Fei Chen (University of Liverpool)
11:50 am     ‘The New Urban Professional’, Prof Diego Ramírez-Lovering (Monash University)
12:30 pm     Round table discussion (chair Prof Peter Bishop, UCL)

Lunch Break

2:00 pm     ‘Private Investigations’, Prof Alexander Lehnerer (ETH)
2:40 pm     ‘Propositions for Urban Design Research’, Dr Sam Jacoby (AA)
3:20 pm     ‘Architecture of Territory’, Prof Milica Topalovic (ETH)
4:00 pm     ‘Scales as Pedagogy’, Dr Adrian Lahoud (RCA) 
4:40 pm     ‘Linking the Physical to the Social’, Prof Ricky Burdett (LSE)
5:30 pm     Round table discussion (chair Tarsha Finney, UTS)


Peter Bisphop is an urban planner and urban designer. He is a director at Allies and Morrison and Professor of Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. His interest lies in the strategies and approaches that can be employed to shape cities within the social, economic and political forces that operate. For over 20 years Peter was Planning director in four Central London Boroughs and worked on major projects including the Kings Cross railway land developments. In 2006, he was appointed as the first Director of Design for London, the Mayor’s architecture and design studio; and in 2008 as the Deputy Chief Executive at the London Development Agency.

Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. He is a member of the UK Government’s Independent Airports Commission and a member of Council of the Royal College of Art in London. Burdett was Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University in 2014 and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University from 2010 to 2014. He has been involved in regeneration projects across Europe and was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. Burdett was also a member of the Urban Task Force which produced a major report for the UK government on the future of English cities. He is editor of The Endless City (2007), Living in the Endless City (2011) and Innovation in Europe’s Cities (2015). Burdett acts as an adviser to national, regional and local governments on urban issues, and has worked with private companies and architectural practices on the development and framing of urban projects.

Fei Chen is a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool. She was trained as an architect and urban designer at the University of Bath and Southeast University, China. She received her PhD on Chinese urbanism from the University of Strathclyde. Chen was previously a researcher working on the AHRC funded project ‘Sensory Urbanism’ in Strathclyde and is the co-founder and convenor of the ‘Urban Morphology and Representation Research Network’ under IAPS.

Tarsha Finney is an architect and urbanist, holding the position of senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests cross several areas: domesticity and the problem of multi-residential housing with specific knowledge of the cities of New York, Beijing and Sydney; architectural typology and notions of disciplinary specificity and autonomy; and the architectural urbanism of innovation in cities.

Sam Jacoby is a chartered architect with an AA Diploma and a doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin. Jacoby has worked for architectural and planning offices in the UK, USA and Malaysia. He has taught at the AA since 2002 and is currently the director of the Projective Cities programme.

Adrian Lahoud is an architect, researcher and educator. Prior to being appointed Dean of the School of Architecture and Head of the Architecture programme at the Royal College of Art, Adrian Lahoud was Director of the Urban Design Masters at The Bartlett School of Architecture and served as Director of the MA programme at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths. He received his PhD from the University of Technology Sydney where he taught for a number of years while running an award winning architectural practice. His dissertation titled ‘The City, the Territory, the Planetary’ explores the way architecture structures problems through the concept of scale. He has written extensively on questions of climate change, spatial politics and urban conflict with a focus on the Arab world and Africa. 

Alex Lehnerer, an architect and urban designer, currently holds a position as assistant professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Prior to that he was based in Chicago, where he was a professor at the University of Illinois. He received his PhD from ETH Zurich, his MArch from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), is partner of the firm Kaisersrot in Zurich, and founded the Department of Urban Speculation (DeptUS) in Chicago. Together with Savvas Ciriacidis he is leading the architectural office Ciriacidis Lehnerer Architekten in Zurich.

Diego Ramírez-Lovering is Head of the Department of Architecture at Monash University. He has taught and practiced architecture in Australia, Italy and Mexico. His teaching and research examine the contributory role that architecture can play in addressing the significant challenges facing contemporary urban environments – climate change, resource limitations, rapid population growth and changing household demographics. His practice based PhD focused on these contemporary urban issues through the platform of affordable and sustainable housing. He is the co-founder of Monash Architecture Studio (MAS). This research unit undertakes design-based research from the scale of dwelling to the scale of the city/region around a range of contextual issues in collaboration with researchers from other universities, government and industry.

Ingrid Schröder is a practicing architect and the founding Director of the Cambridge Design Research Studio. She has taught at the University of Cambridge since 2001 as a Design Tutor and Lecturer on Urban Theory. She previously taught at the Architectural Association and ETH Zurich. She has been directing the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design/RIBA Part II programme since 2011. Her current projects in teaching, research and practice focus on the relationship between political thought, civic space and urbanism.

Milica Topalovic is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Territorial Planning at the ETH Department of Architecture. From 2011-15 she held research professorship at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, studying the relationship between a city and its hinterland. In 2006 she joined the ETH as head of research at Studio Basel Contemporary City Institute and the professorial chairs held by Diener and Meili, where she taught research studios on cities and on territories such as Hong Kong and the Nile Valley. Milica graduated with distinction from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and received a Master’s degree from the Berlage Institute for her thesis on Belgrade’s post-socialist urban transformation. Since 2000, she worked on projects in different spatial scales and visual media. With Studio Basel she authored and edited Belgrade. Formal / Informal: A Research on Urban Transformation, and The Inevitable Specificity of Cities.

2015 Final Presentations

Date: 29/5/2015
Time: 10am-6pm
Venue: Second Rear Presentation Space (36 Bedford Square)

Presentations of the final dissertations from the Projective Cities programme, featuring a lecture by Senan Abdelqader at 2pm.

SenanPhoto: Omar Abdelqader

Senan Abdelqader, architect and urban planner from Jerusalem talks about practicing in the occupied territories. He is principal of Senan Abdelqader Architects, established in 1995. Working on numerous private and public projects, he tries to influence and is influenced by social and political variables, and has created a public platform where the process of planning is considered to be a collective act and a space for civil practices. Senan started teaching at Tel-Aviv University in 1998 and founded the ‘in-formal’ unit at Bezalel Academy in 2006. In year 2011, he was a guest professor at the Dessau Institution of Architecture.

Reviewers: Pier Vittorio Aureli (AA), Peter Bishop (UCL), Oliver Domeisen (Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna), Peg Rawes (UCL), Francisco Sanin (Syracuse Architecture, London) and Peter Swinnen (51N4E)

AAPC Guest Seminar: Andrew Higgott

Andrew Higgott will talk about his book Camera Constructs: Photography, Architecture and the Modern City. The book on the one hand opposes the medium of photography and the materiality of construction, but on the other can be read as saying that the camera invariably constructs what it depicts. The photograph is not a simple representation of an external reality, but constructs its meaning and reconstructs its subject. The starting point of many of the authors in the book is to analyse this condition and illuminate its processes: the photographic practices of the artist, of the architect and of the documentarist are each seen to construct images highly specific in their context and meaning.


Date: 18/5/2015
Time: 14:00
Venue: 37 Bedford Square

Andrew Higgott has taught the history and theory of architecture for the past twenty five years, primarily at the Architectural Association and at the University of East London, where he co-ordinated architectural history and theory teaching and ran an MA course on architectural theory. Over the past year  he has lectured at Cornell University, the Bartlett School, Royal College of Art and elsewhere. 

He is the author of Mediating Modernism (2007) and co-edited Camera Constructs (2012). 

Programme Trip to Jordan and Israel

Staff and students from the programme participated in

Propositions 1: On Threat and Yaqeen
Conversations on Pedagogies and Research-Based Practices in Architecture

organised by Studio-X Amman (Columbia University), March 14-15, 2015

Speakers: Nora Akawi, Hani Asfour, Zenobia Azeem, Caitlin Blanchfield, René Boer, Xiaoxi Chen, Samir Harb, Sandi Hilal, Saba Innab, Sam Jacoby, Thomas Keenan, Noura Al Khasawneh, Laura Kurgan, Nina Kolowratnik, Adrian Lahoud, Carolina Llano, Madeeha Merchant, Mark Minkjan, Antonio Ottomanelli, Alessandro Petti, Felicity Scott, Rayyane Tabet, Toleen Touq, Jamon Van Den Hoek, Michiel Van Iersel, Mark Wasiuta and Eyal Weizman.

Following the symposium we visited the Red Sea, Wadi Rum, Petra, Dead Sea and Jerusalem.

Wadi Rum

AAPC Guest Lecture: Alex Lehnerer

Professor Alex Lehnerer (ETH) will be giving a guest lecture:

Architecture’s Present Perfect

The present perfect blurs the gap between past and present. Everything is up to now—nothing is left behind. The present perfect stands for an expression of unfinished time. Unfinished time started in the past and continues into the present. There is no quarantine period between historical facts and contemporary truth. Architecture is a form of presence, yet its history always plays a key role in both its production and interpretation. At best its history is told in the present perfect tense by means of projective speculation to establish a strong, yet individual, and ad hoc connection between then and now.

Alex is looking for such strong – sometimes constructed – genealogical, idea-based, and conceptual connections between the past and the present by talking about a couple of his projects addressing collective form through the attempt of an alternative historical approach. Among them the project of the German Pavilion at the 14. International Architecture Biennale in Venice, his recently published book “The Western Town – A Theory of Aggregation”, and his work on Urban Rules.

Date: 12/3/2015, Time: 18:00, Venue: Lecture Hall

bungalow germania

Bungalow Germania by Alex Lehnerer and Savvas Ciriacidis, 14th Architecture Exhibitionat the Venice Biennale 2014

Alex Lehnerer, an architect and urban designer, currently holds a position as assistant professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Prior to that he was based in Chicago, where he was a professor at the University of Illinois, School of Architecture. He received his PhD from ETH Zurich and his MArch from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). Together with his partner Savvas Ciriacidis he is leading the Zurich based architecture practice CIRIACIDISLEHNERER. In 2014, the two were the general commissioners of the German pavilion at the 14. International Architecture Biennale in Venice. 

AA Visiting School at UAA, August 2015

OMU’s Idea of the City

Wednesday 12 – Friday 21 August 2015
AA Visiting School at the Ungers Archiv für Architekturwissenschaft UAA in Cologne, Germany
Open to students, academic and researchers worldwide – apply by 30 July 2015

Oswald Mathias Ungers (1926–2007) was a visionary post-war architect and educator best known for introducing the idea of an urban archipelago in the study of The City in the City. His architectural and urban design studies are characterised by a fascination with dialectical contradictions, whether in the exploration of typology as morphology, the concept of the doll-in-the-doll or the text ‘Janus Face of Architecture’.

Sharing these interests, the workshop organised by the AA Visiting School is an opportunity to discuss Ungers’s writings in seminars and analyse his urban design projects. Taking place at the Ungers Archive for Architectural Research UAA, participants will gain unique access to Ungers’s project archive and one of the most extensive private collections of architectural books covering 500 years of architectural history. Targeting students and researchers interested in urban design, the workshop is a training in fundamental research practices: archival studies and the analysis of primary written sources and design projects.

Study Ruhwald: Assembly, Scheme, Systems and Variations, OM Ungers, 1967 (Source: UAA)
  • The workshop is a unique opportunity to access and study project by Ungers in the Ungers Archive UAA in Cologne.
  • Teaching staff includes the Ungers scholar Jasper Cepl and the director of the AA’s Projective Cities programme Sam Jacoby.
  • Daily seminars and lectures by speakers who have worked with or studied OM Ungers. Last year’s invited guests included Gerardo Brown-Manrique, Joachim Sieber, Andre Bideau and Pier Vittorio Aureli, all leading researchers on the work of Ungers.
  • Participants will get an in-depth knowledge of Ungers’s urban design theories and methodologies through studies of the archive material and daily theoretical seminars or lectures.
  • Research skill development, especially of archival studies and project analysis.

For more details visit AA@UAA

Hukou Reform as Urban Reform

Cyan-urban-atrium_manifestoCyan Jingru Cheng’s dissertation ‘Hukou Reform as Urban Reform’ is featured in ICON’s selection of the 2014 AA Projects Review exhibition amongst ‘some of the most interesting projects’.

Cyan also presented her dissertation at the symposium ‘Architecture and City’ at the China Design Centre on 28 June 2014 in London. Her work is currently exhibited as part of the UK Chinese Student Design Show 2014 from 14.07 to 30.08.2014 at The Building Design Centre26 Store Street, London, WC1E 7BT.

Programme Trip to Brasil

The programme went in spring 2014 to Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro to look at the unique modernist architecture of Brasil by Adolf Franz Heep, Oscar Niemeyer, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Lina Bo Bardi, Joao Batista Vilanova Artigas, Roberto Burle Marx and many more.


Sunset at Copa Cobana

For details of the trip, see schedule.

Type versus Typology

AA Projective Cities Symposium 2014
During the nineteenth century, a deliberate turn away from ideas of imitation and truth-to-nature towards concepts of abstraction or objectivity emerged and fundamentally altered the knowledge and practices of many disciplines. In architecture, this important shift resulted in theories of type and design methods based on typology, complementary concepts through which architecture as both a modern form of knowledge and knowledge of form was to be consolidated. In terms of architecture and its instrumentality, type and typology are unique as disciplinary frames through which broader socio-political, cultural and formal problems can be posed.

The one day symposium will bring together academics and practitioners to discuss the potential of type and typology and the problem of the historicity of disciplinary knowledge.

Date: Friday 7/2/2014
Time: 10am-9pm
Venue: Lecture Hall, Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES

Watch symposium online: Part 1 (Session 1+2) and Part 2 (Session 3)


Rafael Moneo. Photo: Alexander Furunes


10:00‐10:10     Welcome (Sam Jacoby)
10:10‐10:50     Sam Jacoby (AAPC): ‘Typal and Typological Reasoning’
10:50‐11:30     Lawrence Barth (AA)
11:30‐12:10     Hyungmin Pai (University of Seoul): ‘The Diagrammatic Construction of Type’
12:10‐12:40     Discussion: Chaired by Alvaro Arancibia (AA PhD) and Cyan Cheng (AAPC)
13:00‐14:00     Lunch Break

14:00‐14:40     Philip Steadman (UCL): ‘Building Types and How they Change over Time’
14:40‐15:20     Tarsha Finney (UTS): ‘The Typological Burden’
15:20‐16:00     Christopher Lee (Harvard GSD, Serie Architects): ‘The Fourth Typology’
16:00‐16:30     Discussion: Chaired by Naina Gupta (AAPC), Simon Goddard (AAPC), and Thiago Soveral (AA PhD)
17:00‐18:30     Coffee Break (Mark Cousins: Friday Lecture Series)

18:30‐19:10     Rafael Moneo (Harvard GSD): ‘Type, Iconography, Archaeology, and Practice’
19:10‐20:00     Concluding Round Table: All speakers; chaired by Adrian Lahoud (UCL)


Lawrence Barth lectures on urbanism in the AAs Graduate School and has written on the themes of politics and critical theory in relation to the urban. He practises as a consultant urbanist, most recently collaborating with Zaha Hadid Architects and s333 Architecture and Urbanism on large‐scale projects, and is engaged in research on urban intensification and innovation environments.

Tarsha Finney is an architect, urbanist and a senior lecturer in the School of Architecture at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). She completed an M.A at the AA (Distinction 2002‐2003) and was recipient of the Michael Ventris Memorial Award (2003). From 2004‐2008 as part of the doctoral program at the AA, she was a participant in research seminars led by Lawrence Barth: Rethinking Architectural Urbanism 2006‐2007; Transformation and Urban Change 2007‐2008. She is completing her Doctorate at UTS, Domains of Reasoning/Fields of Effect: The Housing Project and the City. New York, 1960‐1980.

Sam Jacoby is a chartered architect who graduated from the AA, and received a doctorate from the TU Berlin. He teaches at the AA since 2002 and has taught at the University of Nottingham and Bartlett School of Architecture. He has directed Projective Cities since 2009.

Christopher Lee is the co‐founder and principal of Serie Architects London, Mumbai and Beijing. He is Associate Professor in Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Prior to that he was the Director of Projective Cities (2010‐12) and AA Unit Master (2002‐09). Lee graduated with the AA Diploma (Honours) and his Doctor of Philosophy from the Berlage Institute and TU Delft. Lee is the author of Common Frameworks: Rethinking the Developmental City in China, Part 1, Xiamen: The Megaplot, and Working in Series. He co‐authored Typological Formations: Renewable Building Types and the City, and ‘Typological Urbanism: Projective Cities’.

Rafael Moneo received undergraduate (1961) and doctoral (1965) degrees from the Madrid School of Architecture, worked (1960‐61) with Danish architect Jørn Utzon, and studied (1963‐65) at the Spanish Academy in Rome before opening (1965) his own practice in Madrid. Moneo, who founded (1968) Arquitectura Bis magazine, is also a noted theorist, critic, and teacher. He has taught in Spain and at such American institutions as Princeton and Harvard, where he was (1985‐90) head of the graduate architecture department and remains a professor. Among his many awards is the 1996 Pritzker Prize.

Hyungmin Pai graduated from Seoul National University and received his PhD from MIT. Twice a Fulbright Scholar, he is professor at the University of Seoul. He was visiting scholar at MIT and London Metropolitan University and has lectured at Harvard, Cornell and Tongji University. His books include The Portfolio and the Diagram (2006), Sensuous Plan: The Architecture of Seung HSang (2007), and The Key Concepts of Korean Architecture (2012). For the Venice Biennale, he was curator for the Korean Pavilion (2008) and a participant in the Common Pavilion project (2012). He was curator for the Kim Swoo Geun exhibition at Aedes Gallery, Berlin (2011) and was Head Curator for the 4th Gwangju Design Biennale (2011).

Philip Steadman is Emeritus Professor of Urban and Built Form Studies in the Bartlett Faculty of Built Environment, University College London. He trained as an architect at Cambridge University, and has taught at Cambridge, the Open University and UCL. Much of his research has been on the forms of buildings, and he has published two previous books on the subject: The Geometry of Environment (1971) and Architectural Morphology (1983). His book on biological analogies in architecture, The Evolution of Designs, was published in 1979. His forthcoming book Building Types and Built Forms (2014) brings together several of these themes: architectural history, building geometry, and parallels with the analysis of form in biology.

Graduate Honours 2013 Exhibition

The thesis project by Alvaro Arancibia (PC 2011-2013) will be shown in the first annual exhibition representing the work of high-achieving graduates from the AA Graduate School.

Alvaro Arancibia Model Exhibition

Date: 18/1/2014 – 15/2/2014
Time: Monday to Friday 10:00–19:00, Saturday 10:00–15:00, unless otherwise stated.
Venue: Graduate Gallery (AA, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES)

Programme Trip to Hooke Park

Projective Cities went to the AA’s Hooke Park in Dorset (Dezember 2013) to work, eat, drink and think.

AA Hooke Park

Olympic Legacies Conference

AECOM Rio 2016 Olympic Park

Thiago Soveral (Projective Cities 2013) will be presenting a paper ‘Summer Olympics in Rio 2016: Legacy or Fallacy?’ based on his MPhil dissertation at the international conference Olympic Legacies: Impacts of Mega-Events on Cities. The conference will take place 4-6 September 2013 and is organised by the University of East London.

Projects Review 2013

Projective Cities is showing recently completed dissertation projects at the AA School Projects Review Exhibition 2013.

AA Projects Review 2013

Date22/6/2013 – 13/7/2013
Time: Monday to Friday 10am-7pm, Saturdays 10am-5pm
Venue: Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES

PC Book 2013.indd


Click book to read.

AAPC Guest Seminar: Chris Lee

Dr Christopher Lee (Harvard, GSD), former director of Projective Cities, will be giving a guest seminar:

The Dominant Types in the Developmental City (Singapore)

Soutram Park, Singapore  1960

Date1/5/2013, Time: 17:00, Venue: 33 Groundfloor Back

As an alternative to the construction of the idea of the city based on the polis, the seminar discusses the rise of the idea of the city as a ‘Developmental City State’. A state, according to Manuel Castells, can be defined as developmental when it ‘…establishes as its principle of legitimacy its ability to promote and sustain development.’ The city in this instance is used as a pure developmental apparatus to manifest the state’s political project.