“Rurality: Territorial Dissolution”

Guest Seminar, with Jingru (Cyan) Cheng and Wojciech Mazan. Wednesday, June 16, 10am to 1pm, BST.

‘Floating, Dissolving, Ripping: Scroll as a Method’,

Dr Jingru (Cyan) Cheng.

With the middle generation missing from more than 80% of contemporary rural families in China, Floating, Dissolving and Rippling are ways in which they inhabit a multiplicity of political, social and spatial thresholds and enact position-taking. Embedded in the mundane moments, the peculiar spaces, the partial perspectives and the vulnerable depth, it is essentially through an elastic form of association that networks of immediate care and spontaneous collectivity are being acted out.On the methodological end, I have been exploring a transdisciplinary approach that intersects design thinking, spatial practice, anthropological sensitivity and visual narrative. It leads to what I call Scroll as Method, and central to the approach is the idea of structured ambiguity. That is, a single drawing to blend and condense ethnographic documentation and speculation grounded in the specificities of lived experiences, through constructing layers and layers of juxtaposed conditions in continuity. Design scenarios are employed to formulate a crystallised and embodied abstraction of spatial and anthropological observation and analysis.


Dr. Jingru (Cyan) Cheng is a transdisciplinary design researcher, whose practice traverses architecture, anthropology and visual art, and currently ventures into experimental filmmaking. The wide-ranging themes include, non-canonical histories and socio-spatial models, diverse ways of cultural knowing and being, aesthetic agency, and modes of co-existence and affinity between human and non-human. Her work received commendations by the RIBA President’s Awards for Research from the Royal Institute of British Architects, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Cyan co-leads an architectural design studio (ADS7) at the Royal College of Art in London.


‘The Territory of Architecture: Case if the Polish Countryside and its Dissolution’,

Wojciech Mazan.

Rural areas account for 93 per cent of Poland’s land area, yet issues related to them remain on the periphery of architectural discourse. The move from urban to rural, attributed both to net migration and a natural increase, is recorded by Statistics Poland since the end of the 1990s and persists today. The transfer of population unveils a trend opposite to processes ongoing elsewhere, together with lack of planning, and questionable legislation allowing to spread investment far from any infrastructure it creates a problematic state in which planning chaos is overtaking the rural landscape. The presentation traces the provenance and impact of two dwelling types: single-family house and a residential block, elements characteristic of two distinct periods of the countryside’s history. These typologies have through time propelled dissolution of the linear settlement. The conception and transformation of each of these architectural objects unravel social, political, and economic forces that shaped the historical development of the linear settlement.


Wojciech Mazan is an architect, he graduated with an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London with a distinction, with an MSc from the Faculty of Architecture of the Wrocław University of Technology and studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. In 2017, Mazan co-founded architectural practice PROLOG, which curates the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021 presenting the project ‘Trouble in Paradise’ concerning the Polish countryside. Wojciech is a co-editor of a Polish quarterly magazine RZUT. He works as a research associate at the Royal College of Arts in London.


The seminar will be held online and it’s open to AA students, faculty, and alumni, as well as the general public. Please pm to get the zoom link.

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