Architectural Association revives AA Files, prepares to hand out degrees

From A-to-X Files

Architectural Association revives AA Files, prepares to hand out degrees

An inset from issue 66 of the AA Files (Courtesy the Architectural Association)

A year after protests rocked the architecture world over the Architectural Association’s (AA) decision to render a portion of its staff “redundant” and possibly shutter its venerated AA Files, the London school is preparing to publish its next issue of the journal. For the first time in the school’s 150-year history, the institution is also gearing up to award its own degrees.

In early 2018, the private school, under the administration of interim director Samantha Hardingham, moved to mark 16 jobs as redundant, in part due to what it cited as a massive increase in rent and the cost of renovating the school’s headquarters in Bedford Square. With five of the eight AA Files staff members cut, editor Tom Weaver resigned in protest and put the journal’s future in doubt.

It appears that hiring former Storefront for Art and Architecture director Eva Franch i Gilabert to lead the school has turned around their formerly precipitous financial situation. As the Architect’s Journal reports, Franch has pegged the school’s finances as “back on track” following a loss of $1 million in 2017.

Franch also confirmed that the next issue of the AA Files would be published sometime later this year under the direction of the journal’s new editor and AA instructor, Maria Shéhérazade Giudici.

The institution has also filed an application with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, the U.K. agency responsible for maintaining the standards of higher education, for the right to award its own degrees. Pending an approval by the agency’s advisory committee on May 9, and then validation by the agency’s leading council, the AA would become a degree-granting institution for the first time in its history. While the school currently awards diplomas, they don’t carry the same legal certification as a recognized architectural degree.