Architectural Association announces shortlist for new director

By India Block

The search for a new leader of London’s Architectural Association has progressed, with the final three candidates in the running to replace interim director Samantha Hardingham announced.

Robert Mull, Eva Franch i Gilabert and Pippo Ciorra have been shortlisted for directorship of the Architectural Association (AA). The role has not been permanently filled since former director Brett Steele left in late 2016 to head up the arts school at the University of California.

Samantha Hardingham has held the post in an interim capacity since August 2017, overseeing a period of dramatic change for the institution including redundancies and resignations as the school prepares to apply for taught degree awarding powers ahead of Brexit.

Franch is an American architect, curator, educator and lecturer currently based in New York. She has been chief curator and executive director of Storefront for Art and Architecture, an independent art and architecture organisation in Manhattan, since 2010.

Franch is an American architect, curator, educator and lecturer currently based in New York. Photograph is by Stefan Ruiz

She is also an associate professor at The Cooper Union School of Architecture, and has taught at Columbia University GSAPP, the IUAV University of Venice, SUNY Buffalo, and Rice University School of Architecture.

Her project OfficeUS was selected as the United States pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014. In 2004 she founded solo practice OOAA (Office of Architectural Affairs).

AA Director Shortlist Announced
Mull is a British architect, educator, urbanist and activist, and the current Head of the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Brighton, England. Photograph is courtesy of Umea University

Mull is a British architect, educator, urbanist and activist, and the current head of the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Brighton, England.

In 2013 he co-founded a new school of architecture in Moscow. He is a visiting professor at Umeå University in Sweden and has previously held visiting professorships in Innsbruck and Vienna.

He was a founding member of architecture collective NATO, and is the director of innovation at Publica, a London-based design practice specialising in urban development strategies.

Mull was formally head of The Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, resigning in 2015 over controversial plans to relocate the school.

AA Director Shortlist Announced
Ciorra is an Italian architect, critic, professor, and author who has been the senior curator at the Maxxi Museum in Rome’s architecture department since 2009. Photograph is courtesy of Festarch

Ciorra is an Italian architect, critic, professor, and author who has been the senior curator at the Maxxi Museum in Rome’s architecture department since 2009.

He teaches design and theory at SAAD (University of Camerino) and is the director of the international PhD programme at Villard d’Honnecourt (IUAV).

A member of the International Committee of Architectural Critics, he has published books on Ludovico Quaroni, Peter Eisenman and contemporary Italian architecture, and is an advisor for the advisor for the award Gold Medal for Italian Architecture award.

Each candidate will make a presentation to the AA school community between 20-23 February 2018. Voting on the candidates will happen between 26 February and 2 March, with the winning candidate announced later that month.

The Bloomsbury-based London architecture school is renowned for it’s world-class teaching, and counts Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Ron Arad, Ben van Berkel and Peter Cook amongst its star alumni.

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