David Porter, president of the Architectural Association, responds to recent AJ news stories
The AJ has recently published several articles about the redundancy process currently taking place at the Architectural Association. The implication of the latest one [AJ Weekend Newsletter 18.11.2017] is that while there is no permanent director in place, Council (influenced by some newly-appointed lawyers and accountants) has taken the opportunity to engage in a bit of ’mindless cultural vandalism’, to close the AA Files and axe the publications and exhibitions departments. These remarks are not true, clearly unfounded, and are unworthy of the AJ.
The Council is accountable for ensuring the AA is run in the best interests of students, staff, members and stakeholders. Responsibility for financial sustainability, essential to support both the academic and cultural programmes, is a key part of this remit. As a result of an internal review that identified an urgent need to make savings, the AA is unfortunately in a restructuring process - which makes no assumption at all about outcome. We wish we were not in that process but we must improve the AA’s financial position. It’s a temporary, unwelcome, but hardly unusual occurrence in any world-leading organisation that is more than 170 years old.
We remain as committed as ever to our students and as capable as ever of providing them with the outstanding education they deserve. And as educators would ask that the architectural community support them by respecting their privacy and ability to now focus on their work. We remain committed to developing and disseminating new ideas about architecture, architectural culture and learning to the highest international standards. We remain committed to our staff and our members, and Samantha Hardingham our Interim Director, who has been charged by the Council, with its full support, with leading this process.
David Porter, AA president