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Unit 9 – Architectural Association

[Top 10 London Units: Part 2 level] Tutors: Natasha Sandmeier, Monia De Marchi

Architects have long used fiction as a tool; first to explore and design unchartered territories in the realm of the built and unbuilt world, and second as a presentation device. Architects use the medium, both written and visual, as a form of experimental practice for spatial and relational ideas through the relative unconfined territory of an imagined world. Diploma Unit 9 constructed fictions to theorise and visualise space and form as the unit set out to imagine our possible futures.

While economic and cultural ambitions drastically shrunk since we first introduced this agenda two years ago, the unit’s projects followed a decidedly contrary path - becoming increasingly bold and optimistic as the global markets crumbled.

The projects this year were suspended between fiction and reality, and were set in contexts hovering between real and imagined worlds. Some of our projects slipped forwards and back in time, sideways to alternate realities (sometimes catastrophic, sometimes giddy with possibility), while others sat in places that we know, but are built from materials we don’t yet have and inhabited in ways our lives don’t yet allow. Fiction became our design tool and oddly, the crazier the fiction became, the more believable the project.

Student Projects:

Amandine Kastler (winner of AA Diploma with Honours)
Amandine’s project is rooted in the world of the interior. Her fiction repositions our understanding of the space of the city as an interior experience extending from the room to the street to the city block. The elimination of the exterior provokes a rethinking of architecture that becomes much less an issue of objects to shape, and more about interiors, experiences and events to inhabit.

Flavie Audi

Flavie developed a split personality and portfolio between architect and archivist as she took on the legacy of the Guggenheim Museum. Developed both as a design proposal as well as a historical (and future) archival dossier, she presented the unit with new ways of designing and reading an architectural project - tightly woven with its faux contextual and institutional material.

Tijn Van De Wijdeven

Tijn was incarcerated in a prison of his own making as he struggled with the belief that architecture might heal social wounds. Throughout the course of the year, Tijn’s prison evolved from a self-governing quasi-utopic world to one focused as much on the spaces of rehabilitation as those of incarceration. The prison occupies one stage in a constant cycle of crime, punishment, detention and release, only for it to start all over again - behaviourally and architecturally - upon the prisoner’s release.

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