Why Exactly is the AA Exceptional? – Paul Finch

Lunchtime Lectures – Conversations on Education

Organised by Mark Morris and Mark Cousins

9 October 2017

Why Exactly is the AA Exceptional? Paul Finch

Paul is Editorial Director of the Architectural Review and Architects’ Journal, and programme director of the World Architecture Festival. He has led the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, the Design Council, and London Olympics design review panel. Paul studied at Cambridge, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminster, honorary membership of the AA and an OBE for services to architecture.

“Two major systems have within the past fifty years enjoyed a conspicuous success – those of the École des Beaux-Arts and of the Bauhaus. This simple statement is by no means to commend the results of either but merely to observe that both have possessed to a high degree a generating power, and that both have to some extent been able to endow their techniques with universal significance. Neither in the light of the present day appears completely adequate for our requirements.” So wrote Colin Rowe of the dominant types architectural education about fifty years ago.

Could it be said that since that time a third system arose that has had a generating power and ability to endow its own techniques and methods of teaching across the globe? If that is so, how might the AA as a model of architectural education formulate its future in the midst of seeking taught degree-awarding powers and a new director? What potential trajectories should we consider? A series of lunchtime discussions will address the state of architectural education, the challenges and opportunities at hand, and the onus on the AA to lead the way in terms of innovation.

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