Architectural Association Visiting School

Architectural Association Visiting School

Academy of Art’s School of Architecture Collaborates with London’s Architectural Association to Create a Mediated Room in the Sky

This summer the Academy of Art’s School of Architecture hosted its first Architectural Association Visiting School in San Francisco. Titled “Post-Industrial Landscapes,” the 10 day workshop focused on merging design, cinema, and technology in order to mediate the contemporary understanding of space. Pulling ideas and techniques from various interrelated disciplines such as industrial design, architecture, game design and computer engineering, the capstone project was an inflatable polyethylene cloud outfitted with video recording equipment that transmitted aerial imagery down to Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. The result was a fully enveloping, synesthetic environment meant to create a virtual room in the sky – an architecture simultaneously physical and digital, real and virtual.

The departure point for the project was to study and develop augmented space – to look towards traditional areas of expanse and understand them a new as an enlarged field of potential. To help propel this process, immersive 3D projection software such as VVVV and Unity were employed to help participants think beyond what they typically perceive as space. Lightweight synthetic materials were also introduced in order to expand the material palette beyond what is commonly expected of an architectural installation. The merging of these various software and hardware solutions and the resulting project gave rise to a new territory at once both ephemeral and architectural – a new, mediated horizon.

Founded in 1847, the Architectural Association is the United Kingdom’s oldest school of architecture. During its 167 year span it has developed from its original function as a public forum to currently include the architecture school, a professional association and membership organization, a registered charity, a publisher of books and journals, a bookshop as well as a high-profile event venue and host. In 2008 it began reaching out to collaborate with other leading institutions of architecture around the world in order to develop experimental relationships in design – relationships aimed at “generating new and provocative forms of architecture.” The School of Architecture at the Academy of Art University was its most recent collaboration, adding San Francisco to its just over 50 locations worldwide. The workshop was led by Tobias Klein and Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu of the Architectural Association and Mark Mueckenheim and Benjamin Rice of the Academy of Art University.

The Architectural Association will be bringing its exceptional Visiting School program to the Academy of Art University this summer. Please see the attached poster for information about dates, instructors, and stipend applications.