Intermediate Unit 12 at the Architectural Association

Intermediate Unit 12 at the Architectural Association – 2014/15

Tyen Masten and Inigo Minns

Unit Brief

Inter 12 will be dealing with the role of events in the production of architecture, and looking at the more ephemeral manifestations of architecture and design that help define the experiences that are central to our cultural environments. The unit will be investigating happenings at various scales (from performance, to festivals/exhibitions, and expositions) and asking how audience and user can inform the production of spaces within cities.

The premise is that architectural practice, and education, too often concentrates on the architectural object with less concern for the crafting of the actions that the architecture is there to support. By taking this position we will be considering the contingent in architecture and testing the idea of agency being spread beyond the profession by asking how the audience and user can inform the production of spaces and cities. To do this we will consider events as being design elements that have a specific temporality that shift the emphasis away from the purely spatial onto the activities and users that will occupy the architecture.

Each student will develop their own happening based design within the larger collective project of the unit. To do so, the year will begin with research/design exercise that looks at different examples of event architecture structurally, socially and in terms of how they perform over time. In parallel we will be studying specific time‐based drawing techniques and documentation, with the intention of finding the best way to communicate an action as it unfolds.

Over the second part of the year the unit will further explore the impact of large urban events such as World Expos and Art Biennales. Based on this research, we will develop an overall theme for a new, culturally relevant and socially productive Expo. By embedding this inside the urban fabric, the unit will engage with its context in a more aggressive way and provide a permanent, experience based legacy transforming the city over time. Students will then individually develop a series of relevant programs and buildings which question the ever present corporate driven expositions of today.

The unit will be design and research driven, merging architectural representations from the traditional to the contemporary and borrowing techniques from other disciplines. The final outcome of the year will be the production of precious 2d and 3d documents to represent a constructed event.

Teaching Partner

Inigo Minns works with storytelling, performance and curation to create audience-centred designs in an architectural context. In addition to his work as a tutor at the AA, he has taught internationally and is an Associate Lecturer at Central St Martins.

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