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Self-Aware Nanobots Form Futurist Megastructures in this Thesis Project from the AA

Architecture is a swarm, and a self aware one at that. That's the vision presented by noMad: a built environment made of Buckminster Fuller-like geometric structures that compile themselves entirely autonomously, according to data gathered and processed by the units. Developed by Architectural Association students Dmytro Aranchii, Paul Bart, Yuqiu Jiang, and Flavia Santos, on a basic level noMad's concept is fairly simple - a small unit of motors that is attached to several magnetic faces, which can be reoriented into different shapes. Put multiple units together, however, and noMad's vision becomes an entirely new form of architecture: non-finite, mobile and infinitely adaptable.

Courtesy of Dmytro Aranchii Courtesy of Dmytro Aranchii Courtesy of Dmytro Aranchii Courtesy of Dmytro Aranchii

Applications Open For The 2015 AA Visiting School In Rotterdam

This year the Architectural Association (AA) Visiting School programme will extend its reach to the Dutch city of Rotterdam – a place which, "by some strange twist of geographical and historical fate, has the highest concentration of architects and architectural thinkers in the world." The workshop, which will run for two weeks in July, will explore issues of inhabitance, perception, and intensity through analysis and creative interpretation of Rotterdam’s 'core' "or, more likely, its multiple cores, invisible to the untrained eye." Based in the Shell Tower on Hofplein, students will be afforded the opportunity to observe and analyse the city from on-high.

FAT And Crimson's 'A Clockwork Jerusalem' To Be Exhibited In London

A Clockwork Jerusalem, the exhibition showcased in the British Pavilion at last year's Venice Biennale, will make it's UK debut at London's Architectural Association (AA) next month. Commissioned by the British Council and curated by Sam Jacob, co-founder of FAT, and , partner at Dutch practice Crimson Architectural Historians, the exhibition shines a light on the large scale projects of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s by exploring the "mature flowering of British Modernism at the moment it was at its most socially, politically and architecturally ambitious - but also the moment that witnessed its collapse."

The Life Of Dalibor Vesely: Teacher, Philosopher, Acclaimed Academic

Dalibor Vesely, a celebrated architectural historian, philosopher and teacher, died this week in London aged 79. Over the course of his teaching career, which spanned five decades, he tutored a number of the world’s leading architects and thinkers from Daniel Libeskind, Alberto Pérez-Gómez and Robin Evans, to Mohsen Mostafavi and David Leatherbarrow.

Vesely was born in Prague in 1934, five years before the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Following World War II, he studied engineering, architecture, art history and philosophy in Prague, Munich, Paris and Heidelberg. He was awarded his doctorate from Charles University (Prague) having been taught and supervised by Josef Havlicek, Karel Honzik, and Jaroslav Fragner. Although later he would be tutored by James Stirling, it was the philosopher of phenomenology Jan Patočka who, in his own words, “contributed more than anyone else to [his] overall intellectual orientation and to the articulation of some of the critical topics” explored in his seminal book, Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation, published in 2004.

London's Architectural Association Exhibits Futuristic Work of Jan Kaplický

Now on view at London’s Architectural Association, Jan Kaplický Drawings presents work by the Czech architect Jan Kaplický (1937-2009) – a visionary designer with a passion for drawing as a means of discovering, describing and constructing. Through drawing he presented beguiling architectural imagery of the highest order.

The earliest projects date from the early 1970s when, for Kaplický, drawing was essentially a speculative pursuit. Whilst his days were spent working for other architects, during evenings and weekends he designed and drew at home. His architecture at this time was the plan and the finely detailed cross-section. Never satisfied, he constantly developed and honed his graphic language, perfecting the technique of the cutaway isometric which became his trademark.

A preview of Kaplický’s drawings, after the break. 

© Jan Kaplický © Jan Kaplický © Jan Kaplický © Jan Kaplický

AA DLAB 2014: The Natural and Digital Worlds Combine With Root-Like "CALLIPOD" Pavilion

Created for AA DLAB 2014 - the annual summer workshop undertaken by the Architectural Association at their Hooke Park facility - the 4.4 metre wide "CALLIPOD" pavilion blends perfectly into the wooded surroundings, appearing as though the roots of nearby trees have sprung from the ground to create a dome in the depths of the Dorset woodland. However, despite its natural outward appearance, the process of creating CALLIPOD was highly technical, combining a detailed algorithmic exploration of form and structure with both digital and traditional methods of fabrication.

© Elif Erdine © Max Winter © Elif Erdine © Elif Erdine

Win a Scholarship for the AA Visiting School in Santiago

UPDATE: The Jury has selected Jeremy Jacinth and Luliana Teodora Amza as the winners of the £600 scholarship to participate in the GIPpy workshop at the AA Visiting School in Santiago, Chile. 

What does Soviet Union architecture have to do with Chilean astronomy? A lot more than many realize. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union manufactured three Grand Passage Instrument telescopes (GIPpy), and their accompanying domes in Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately, they fell into ruin after the Soviet astronomical mission’s departure from Chile following the 1973 military coup d-etat. Now, however, the Architectural Association Visiting School in Santiago, Chile, in partnership with the Pontifical Catholic University, will host a 10-day workshop in January on the GIPpy telescopes. The workshop is organized by the team that was recently awarded the Silver Lion at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale for their work on Soviet prefabricated housing in Chile, and we’ve teamed up with the Architectural Association Visiting School to give away two £600 scholarships to attend the workshop! 

For more information on the workshop and to find out how to enter to win a scholarship read on after the break…

AA Athens Visiting School 2014: Students Challenge the Static Built Environment with “Kinetic Haze”

Overview of the Interactive/Kinetic Archetype. Image © Alice Mangoyan
Overview of the Interactive/Kinetic Archetype. Image © Alice Mangoyan

The Architectural Association Visiting School in Athens, as part of the AI research agenda, has continued its investigations to challenge the static built environment with its 2014 installation entitled Kinetic Haze. The project investigates the possibilities of architectural modeling via scripting, digital fabrication, and large scale installations.

This year's investigation follows the theme of the previous year’s work entitled Cipher City: Recharged, in which the creation of complex form-making systems resulted in the discovery of interactive design patterns. Following their discoveries in 2013, students in this year’s program further investigated kinetic and interactive architecture in their new study entitled Revolutions. After a series of design ideas were developed by smaller groups of students, the teams collaborated to create the final prototype Kinetic Haze in less than five days. Read on after the break to learn more about the project. 

Drawings from Famous Architects' Formative Stages to be Exhibited in St. Louis

Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum
Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum

As a student of architecture, the formative years of study are a period of wild experimentation, bizarre use of materials, and most importantly, a time to make mistakes. Work from this period in the life of an architect rarely floats to the surface - unless you're Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry, that is. A treasure trove of early architectural drawings from the world's leading architects has recently been unearthed from the private collection of former Architectural Association Chairman Alvin Boyarsky. The collection is slated to be shown at the Kemper Art Museum, Washington University, St. Louis, as a part of the exhibition Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association from September 12th to January 4th, 2015. 

Take a look at the complete set of architects and drawings for the exhibition after the break.

Bernard Tschumi, #4 K Series, 1985. Study for La Case Vide: La Villette, Folio VIII, 1985. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Lebbeus Woods, Center for New Technology, Montage 1, 1985. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Alex Wall, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), The Pleasure of Architecture, 1983. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum Coop Himmelblau, Super Spaces, c. 1969. Image Courtesy of Kemper Art Museum

A Prize for Promise: GAGA’s Hunt for the New Hadid

A few years ago London’s Architectural Association held an exhibition called First Works: Emerging Architectural Experimentation in the 1960s & 1970s, which wonderfully gathered together early projects from a host of the most famous names in architecture. In both Zaha Hadid’s gorgeously animated plan/perspectives of the Taoiseach’s Residence and Daniel Libeskind’s intensely unstable drawings of Micromegas, you can already sense a lifetime of formal exploration ahead for the pair; and yet who would ever guess the unique tectonic language to come from the anonymously mundane drawings of the Sequoyah Educational Research Centre by Morphosis?

When I set up the Global Architecture Graduate Awards (GAGAs) at The Architectural Review in 2012, it was with the insight that, at its best, the work produced at the start of a career can be its most daring and projective. At that fertile threshold between the academy and practice, uncertain graduates can be years ahead of more assured and mature colleagues in the creative risks they are willing to take.

Post-Graduate Runner-up, GAGA 2013. Bogani Muchemwa - Builder's Yard Shortlisted, GAGA 2012. Almudena Cano Pineiro - Regeneration Indian Public Space Post-Graduate Runner-up, GAGA 2013. Adrienne Lau - (Dis)assembly of Suburbia Winner, GAGA 2012. Haiwei Xie - The BRIC House

AA Visiting School Los Angeles

The AA Visiting School is a satellite programme of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and will be taking place in Los Angeles for the first time, from June 16 to June 27. The programme is broken up into research clusters that will be led by individual tutors based on the theme of “Machining Adaptive Living.”

AA Visiting School: Tehran - The Third Place-Urban Machines

Tehran, Iran’s capital, ranks among the world’s fast-growing cities. In the early 1940s, Tehran’s population was about 700,000. By 1966, it had risen to 3 million and by 1986 to 6 million. Today, the metropolitan area has more than 10 million residents. This explosive growth has had environmental and public health consequences, including air, water pollution and the loss of arable land and public realm. The ever increasing land value makes developments and the replacement of urban open space and easy choice. With the disappearance of open public plaza, by traffic islands and motorways the predominant public space left in the city is its many traffic arteries.

With a young population and the Cars as the main mode of transport in the city, the many highways of Tehran come to a grinding halt during rush hour.

AA Exhibition: Third Natures

Third Natures presents 15 years of speculations, projects and built proposals by the Madrid- based duo of Cristina Díaz Moreno and Efrén García Grinda and their collaborators, ranging from the beginnings of the practice in 1997 to their latest works, completed in 2013. In total, 26 projects are shown through drawings, models, objects and photographs. All this material is organised according to laws of affinity and connection, in an attempt to convey the vast range of the projects and their main field of operation – the space of mediation between people, objects, natural species and built environments. 

AD Interviews: Ben van Berkel, UNStudio on London's Canaletto Tower

Ben van Berkel. Image © Inga Powilleit
Ben van Berkel. Image © Inga Powilleit

ArchDaily recently spoke to Ben van Berkel, co-founder and principal architect at UNStudio, an international network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure based in the Netherlands. The office, which was founded in 1988, has completed projects around the world ranging from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. With over 81 built projects, and 54 currently in progress (including Raffles City in Hangzhou and Scotts Tower in Singapore), London’s Canaletto Tower (which is due to be completed in 2015) marks the practice’s first major project in the UK.

Athens - CIPHER CITY / Revolutions

What would happen if a structure could transform in real‐time? AA Athens Visiting School embarks on its’ third cycle to address issues of change, adaptation and interaction in the design of an enclosed volume. In this time of social, economic, and environmental uncertainty, it's a quality for the built environment to regard transformation as a way of practice.

Revolutions have occurred through architectural history and vary widely in terms of design methods and fabrication techniques. Focusing on inspiring natural form‐finding techniques, AA Athens VS works towards producing a large‐scale interactive prototype that alters in real‐time the perception of interior space.

AA DLAB 2013: Light Forest

Light Forest is the final working prototype of the Architectural Association (AA) DLAB Visiting School, which took place in AA London and AA Hooke Park, a 350-acre working forest in Dorset, south west England, where the AA has a small educational facility centred on a woodworking workshop.

Re-inventing Shoes Workshop at AAtelier Paris

The AA (Architectural Association) is one of the world’s most renowned Schools of Architecture. It offers twice a year, since 2011, AAtelier: a 10-day highly international AA visiting school in Paris. What makes this course unique in the world today is its crossover approach between architecture and fashion.

AA Visiting School Tehran

Taking place August 31-September 14, the 3rd annual AA Visiting School Tehran will be examining the quality of our urban spaces, we will be looking at infill sites, leftover spaces which have been generated as a result inefficient use of public roads to examine the potential for the generation of usable public space, or in other words the third place (the first being the home, the second the workplace). Using the theme 'The Third Place-Urban Machines,' they will be using our experiences from past years in regards to prototyping and simplex manufacturing to inform proposals for urban machines and interventions. These Proposals will attempt to specifically address site concerns and conditions. Our ambition is to produce and implement these proposals on site across the city. Applications are due no later than August 17. For more information, please visit here.