NEW UNIT- DIPLOMA 8: Disciplinary Cities and Visionary InstitutesInterview

An interview with Maria Fedorchenko, tutor of the new Diploma Unit 8.
11 November 2015 Architectural Association, London   AA Conversations wanted to find out more about the new unit Diploma 8. Unit Master Maria Fedorchenko gives us insight in to the transition between Intermediate and Diploma, and how her unit aims to tackle the brief this year.     How will the unit approach alter in the Diploma setting as opposed to Intermediate?   Of course, there will be differences: the way we curate the individual briefs and sites across Europe; structure the research/design process and increase the resolution of the final tests; use connections to histories and contemporary technologies. Most importantly, we will rethink the way we see the 'project' - broad, multi-level, impactful beyond detrimental gaps between ideas and buildings.   [caption id="attachment_4710" align="alignnone" width="360"]Alessandro Magliani, The City of Morphologies (Inter 7, 2014-15) Alessandro Magliani, The City of Morphologies (Inter 7, 2014-15)[/caption]  
NEW UNIT- DIPLOMA 8: Disciplinary Cities and Visionary Institutes
What challenges does the unit expect to produce towards the issues explored within the brief?   It is a complex and loose brief so it expects the students to construct their specific and intellectual contexts, define the future visionary projects and the content for their programming stages, and challenge familiar typologies and spaces in novel cultural institutions. It is also a unit that asks you to both absorb and interrogate various influences with a strong personal voice, and be bold and visionary yet with a realistic grip on the current problems of European cities.   Which of these architectural terms would be most used within your unit: concept – context – space – scale   I would say it would be concept and context, as we emphasize learning, manipulation, and production of architectural concepts above all, and we deliberately design and construct contexts - urban, disciplinary, etc.  
Which film genre would best describe your unit?   This is a difficult analogy for us, but perhaps something between history and sci-fi when it comes to the work, with action and drama alternating defining our day-to-day inner workings including, collectives, drives, and personal struggles.   Your previous Intermediate 7 brief spoke of the idea of an exchange between production and reproduction. How do you feel this theme has continued into to the Diploma 8 brief?   There is still an aspect of an exchange in the new brief on the visionary institutes. But whereas last year we emphasized the internal exchange - between different moments in the life-cycle of architecture and the key platforms from production to destruction- this year the emphasis is on the external exchanges - between the institution and the city via visionary analyses and projections, and even more broadly, between architecture and the city.   For more information: Diploma 8 Unit Brief Intermediate 7 Projects Review 2015