Diploma Unit 9 thrives on the looping consequences of architecture’s own stories about itself. This year the ‘ruin’ was posed as a straightforward point of entry for a brief that would explore the ruin as an artefact and the embodiment of a cultural and architectural stagnation. Like last year’s exchange of the room and the city, this year’s work on the ruin led to the making of narratives within narratives, which demanded a comprehension of time and space as utterly elastic.
As Georges cut a series of holes through the physical spaces of the AA he confronted not only the physical exhaustion of a Georgian building, but also the discontinuities of the architectural conceit that makes up the corridor (which he demonstrated as an entity that does anything but connect).
Antoine battled an identity crisis on two fronts: the future of the European city and the future of the architect (and himself) in this unknown terrain. Both Antoine and Georges destroyed in order to build; yet neither conceded a return to the tabula rasa, which reveals itself today as its own kind of architectural ruin.
Ariadna’s project explores so many sub-narratives that we never know which story is the real one set in the place that still might be Manhattan. The project is at once a film as well as a set occupied by both buildings and their architect – a new, unexpected kind of built world. Meanwhile Eleanor battles with the axonometric, an architect’s text, and an architect who becomes, like Luke’s Darth Vader, a father she must destroy to find her place in an architectural world far, far away.
Our work on the ruin was a wipeout where cities that were once whole now stand as devastated landscapes. Through the settling dust we learned this: whatever the ruin may be, its inverse is unknowable – and within that ambiguity lies the potential for an architectural project and the possibility to locate the architect within this new context. It enables us to make work that is committed to what we do best – architecture about architecture.
Special thanks to our guests and critics and support
Charles Arsène-Henry for his seminars and inspiration
Dolores Ruiz Garrido
de Cortazar G
Mark E Breeze
Ricardo de Ostos
The project is a response to what I see as two crises of the European city:
One, the city’s form is deeply rooted in a past that freezes it in place.
Two, the ways in which we conceive that city prevent it from keeping up the pace of a constantly accelerating world.
To cure these weaknesses the project ruthlessly rejects old conventions and will therefore erase the Figures of Europe, both physically (as in buildings) and conceptually (as in culture).