The Architectural Association (AA) ‘builds audiences for experimentation
The Architectural Association (AA) ‘builds audiences for experimentation’, says its director, Brett Steele. Whether the audiences will understand what is on show is of little consequence to a school which works at the cutting-edge of advanced digital production. Many units are concerned with complex form-finding, and their agendas are bolstered by an incredibly high standard and volume of production across the board, in both intermediate and diploma schools.
Newly expanded into two adjacent buildings, this year’s AA show provided an even larger labyrinth of rooms filled with a riot of undulating models and often impenetrable drawings. Frustratingly, much of the work was left unlabelled – images lost their power without meaning, and captions were frequently in arcane archispeak.
Some of the newer intermediate units provided a healthy dose of critical cynicism. Sam Jacob’s Pop Vernacular Inter 12 explored the depths of ‘postfunctional techno primitivism’ in the form of a thatched McDonalds.
In Diploma 9 (below), Amandine Kastler’s poetic treatise on the city as an interior experience stood out conceptually. In a series of immaculate paper studies, she unfolded her world from the bedroom to the street to the city block in an endless baroque perspective.