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Architectural Association diploma 20

2019 - 2020

Diploma 20 looks into new models of practice while engaging with the Custom House Partnership. Ranked among the most deprived neighborhoods in England, Custom House is an area of Canning Town in the London Borough of Newham with a highly international resident population. With residents complaining of 'broken promises' and 'ever dwindling community spaces and facilities,' Custom House has been the subject of numerous regeneration projects over the last three decades. 

However, in spite of its economic status, in recent years there have been efforts among residents to self-organize around civic renewal projects and a communal vision of regeneration. Through collaboration with The Custom House Partnership- a group of 'unlikely allies,' from residents to entrepreneurs, police, shop-keepers, doctors and councillors- we will participate in the creation of public spaces and witness a neighborhood coming together. We will crowd-source, codify and open-source proven models of social enterprise with community members and cooperatives, allowing them to animate any space in their community affordably, quickly and effectively. 

Above all, the unit is committed to contributing to change in Custom House because change is better made together. This requires a shift in architecture's current mindset and approach: from treating people as beneficiaries to supporting them as active citizens; from working alone to working together with common purpose; from single issues to root causes; from under-utilised, individually owned assets to fully-utilized, collective assets; from reinventing the wheel to sharing everything that works. 

All of this is made even more relevant in situations like the Covid-19 pandemic. How can we, as architects, work with communities to create collective spaces that address their ever changing needs? 

Please see the Projects Review Website for more information and student presentations.

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Key Details






Main Topics: 

Architectural Association School of Architecture 

London, UK

Selva Gurdogan, Gregers Thomsen, Tatjana Crossley, Jonathan Robinson

Paige Perillat-Piratoine, Steve Hamm, George Guida

Community Architecture, Architectural Education