The AA Projects Review 2020 website is an opportunity to reflect on the wide scope of research and work that our association and school enables. It represents a compressed journey through the vast array of ideas and research that has been produced throughout the 2019–20 academic year, and invites us as readers to learn about past and future histories, modes of practice and, ultimately, action. Myriad topics and agendas, developed independently and in parallel with one another, afford students the technical, historical and disciplinary knowledge that they need to grow and flourish as architects. More importantly, the environment of the AA grants them a space in which to position themselves with respect to contemporary challenges from their own singular and collective experiences.

At the beginning of the year, all of the courses and programmes of study throughout the school accepted the challenge of addressing issues relating to climate and ethics. As a community, we are committed to practising radical empathy; to considering the planet and the future; to listening; to asking; to sharing, discussing and debating; and, ultimately, to caring about the world in all of its manifestations. In the last few months, the world as we knew it has radically changed. Multiple different and interlinked crises, as those that preceded them, have demanded that we reimagine the world and break with inherited histories, legacies and traditions. They have forced us to identify a new set of priorities, new forms of action and new expertise.

It is in moments of crisis that opportunities for redefinition emerge. Overnight, issues that have historically been important in the education of an architect became anachronistic, and lost some, if not all, of their intellectual and operational currency. Research and design areas that were once peripheral and disregarded have now become indispensable and urgent. New design problems, constraints, desires and solutions have emerged at a range of scales, from the nanometric to the planetary. In many ways, from the poetic to the political and from the profitable to the equitable, architecture is changing. The challenge of our time is to re-envision how we want to live together.

Throughout its history, the AA has produced relevant forms of inquiry, discourse and practice that have responded to the urgent questions of the time. The events currently unfolding around the world are undeniably momentous, and the challenges that we all face today as global citizens and as architects are numerous and monumental. Our institution is fortunate to have an extraordinary body of tutors, staff and students that are fully committed to articulating these issues and to redefining what our discipline can contribute to the world we live in while continuing to transform what the education of an architect both can and should be.

Eva Franch i Gilabert
School Director