AA Projects Review

Fridays are normally joyous things: the celebratory wrapping up of a working week, the harbinger of a weekend. Last Friday we awoke, picked up our phones and found ourselves to be in a place that seemed suddenly bleak and diminished. Thank heavens then for the opening of Projects Review, the AA’s annual celebration of ideas, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge that bring us together around architecture. Projects Review sees the AA’s Georgian building crammed full of colourful speculations and propositions guarantied to momentarily lift your mood and with 85% of AA students arriving at Bedford Square from abroad the diversity is evident.

The AA’s gallery space and lecture hall house exhibitions from both ends of the educational journey with First Years, exuberant as ever, creating work that responded to a range of briefs at different scales, while next door the ‘grown-ups’ in DRL show the results of their exploration of Behavioural Complexity with a set of intricate and beautiful models. 

There are projects that address real issues with a local context. Diploma 10’s Direct Urbanism turns its attention to Tower Hamlets, one of London’s poorest boroughs to suggest new structures, situations and strategies while Diploma 13’s Sick City Rehab project looks at the role of architecture in our healthcare environments.  

There are some lovely drawings on show, with those produced by Diploma 5 deserving a close look. Diploma 5’s neighbours; Intermediate 11 match the verve with their project Total Immersion Tour Operator. Can it be a coincidence that both of these exuberant Units are led by Spanish tutors? A visit to their exhibitions on the First Floor are a good way to temporarily relieve Brexit blues. 

Projects Review marks the end of an academic year engaged in thinking about and responding to the world around us. It feels more like a beginning; an optimistic projection into a future undaunted by political differences and boundaries. 


Vanessa NorwoodComment