This year's finalists for the vacant post of chair are Jeremy Till, the head of the Sheffield School of Architecture, surprise outsider Brett Steele and a joint bid from Kari Jormakka and Foreign Office Architects' Farshid Moussavi (AJ 28/04/05).
The head of the AA's search committee Roger Zogolovitch believes the contest will be a close run thing. 'The short-listed candidates are all young, energetic individuals with a strong desire, intelligence and capacity to guide the school in the writing of its next chapter,' he said.
The AA originally received 44 applications for the position and an initial list of candidates was made early in February this year.
Each application was carefully reviewed by the committee over an intensive two-day period and the first round of interviews was held in March.
In this preliminary round, 12 candidates each gave one 40-minute presentation followed by questions from the committee. A month later the committee re-interviewed seven of the candidates before drawing up this year's shortlist.
Zogolovitch added: 'While the search at times seemed a long and arduous process, we can confidently say that it has also been a highly stimulating, engaging and educational experience for us all.
'During our search we have had the opportunity to evaluate and discuss the AA with a rich variety of applicants while engaging in a dialogue with the School at all levels.
'We are at a critical crossroads as we respond to the ever-changing demands of architecture and education, and to the School's significant growth over the last years.'