“Civil world is the free play of forms-of-life; it is the principle of their coexistence” Tiqqun, Introduction to civil world

Intense migration flows witnessed recently in big cities has been challenging the traditional understanding of the political organization of human living in the urban realm. The unprecedented clash of different forms-of-life due to these changing conditions has established not only a new relationship between inhabitation and the city, but also a redefinition of the key agents in political terms. Latest social unrest in Islamic countries has shown us that contemporary society concerns are not discussed in the traditional parliaments or councils anymore, but in the public spaces of the city itself.

Following this principle, Inter Unit 8Politics of fabrication II understands that the coexistence of diverse and conflicting forms-of-life in the contemporary city needs to be readdressed and reframed in the urban ground itself. This implies a new spatial and physical layout of enabling the presence and frictional interaction/negotiation of these forms-of-life of those who share the city. The location chosen is the city of Miami, the major entry point for Latin American immigrants in the United States. In particular, the focus of students work has been the Little Havana neighborhood, for years the epicentre of the political expression of the dominant Cuban immigrants and the most multicultural neighborhoods in the city at the present. In this area a pervading logic of city space privatization has lead to an increasing tension between individuals and groups with different cultural, social, ethnic and economical backgrounds inhabiting the neighborhood. Exploring this particular matter, students have thought about the importance of public space as the necessary space of encounter, interaction and negotiation between these different ways of living now present in the city, and recovering its political value in a contemporary Latin-American metropolis.


Cultural Fridays

Carnival Miami

Little Havana's Free Monthly Arts & Culture Festival



"SMALL SCALE, BIG CHANGE: New Architectures of Social Engagement".
MoMA. NYC. 10 / 3, 2010– 1 / 3, 2011


Nostalgia - Escape from Havana Documentary

Escape from Havana, An American Story

Between 1960 and 1962, more than 14,000 Cuban children were secretly flown to the United States to escape Fidel Castro. Parents said goodbye to their children not knowing if they would ever see them again. The airlift over the Florida Straits became known as Operation Peter Pan. In Spanish, Operación Pedro Pan.


Cuban Migration to Miami



End of the First Term Pin-up

Next Friday 17th December in 32 Ground Floor Front Bookshop from 10am – 6pm there will be the last Pin-up of the first Term. Please start to Pin-up drawings at 9.30 to begin at 10am sharp.
Special thanks to Yota Adilenidou


Unit Trip Miami Diary

Saturday 4th Dec.

Art Basel Miami 1111 Lincoln Avenue_Herzog and De Meuron

Sunday 5th Dec.

Design Miami
Monday 6th Dec.

Sites_Versailles Restaurant Calle Ocho

Thursday 9th Dec.

Jury_Florida International University FIU Architecture_ Bernard Tschumi
Thanks to Claudia Busch, Nicolas Quintana, David Rifkin and Juan Antonio Bueno


1st Meeting TS tutors

On Thursday 16th of December at 2pm all 3rd years will present their proposals to TS tutors in Intermediate bookable space at 36 Bedford Square rear room.

End of the First Term Tutorials

Next Tuesday 13th of December tutorials in Inter Unit 8 space as follows,

10.30 Francesca
11.00 Eliska
11.30 Adora
12.00 Yiming

2.00 Elora
2.30 Joshua
3.00 Fatemeh
3.30 Anthony

4.30 Yonatan
5.00 Lara
5.30 Dimitri
6.00 Vidhya

Please be on time for each tutorial and bring your unit trip photos with you to create an archive.


Unit Trip Miami

From the 3rd - 11th December

Friday 3rd December
7.00 - 7.30 am Heathrow
9.45 Flight London-Miami American Airlines BA 1526

Hotel Astor
956 Washington Av
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Saturday 11th December
13.00 Miami Airport
Flight Miami-London American Airlines BA1529 17.50

References for the unit trip work
Andreas Gursky
Stephen Shore
Eugene Atget

Readings on Miami
Heike Alberts, “The Multiple Transformations of Miami,” in Smith, Heather and Owen Furuseth, eds. Latinos in the New South: Transformations of Place, Ashgate, 2006, 135-151.
Thomas D. Boswell and James R. Curtis, The Cuban-American Experience: Culture, Images, and Perspectives. Totawa, New Jersey: Rowman and Allanheld, 1983.
David Rieff, The Exile: Cuba in the Heart of Miami. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.
Alejandro Portes and Alex Stepick, City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Maria Cristina Garcia, Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida, 1959-1994. Berkeley: University of California Press.



Next Thursday 2th December schedule,
11.00 Tate Modern
1.00pm Unit trip talk - Unit Space
2.00pm Presentation about Material Organizations


W8_Material Organizations

This third stage will provide an initial level of knowledge about material
organizations to build the different political arguments for the end of the term. A
research catalogue for the unit members will be assembled by a collection of
drawings, pictures and models understanding Latin-American traditions on building
constructions and latest material experimentations.

Vaparaiso School, Ciudad Abierta, Chile
Ricardo Porro, Garati, Gottardi, National Schools of Arts, Havana, Cuba
José Cruz Ovalle
Eladio Dieste
Max Borges
Felix Candela
Miguel Fisac

Ricardo Porro, Garati, Gottardi, National Schools of Arts, Havana, Cuba


General Review

Next Friday 26th November we will have tutorials in the unit space with a small break at 12.00 for a talk about the next brief. Please be on time not to have delays in tutorials that will affect the meeting.
10.00 Anthony
10.30 Adora
11.00 Elora
11.30 Eliska
12.00 Talk Material Organizations
2.00 Dimitri
2.30 Yiming
3.00 Joshua
3.30 Francesca
4.00 Fatemeh
4.30 Vidhya
5.00 Yonatan
5.30 Lara


Versailles Restaurant

Please check some information about our site,



Monday 22nd December we will have tutorials on Inter Unit 8 space as follows,
10.30 Francesca
11.00 Eliska
11.30 Adora
12.00 Fatemeh
2.00 Yiming
2.30 Dimitri
3.00 Anthony
3.30 Lara
4.30 Yonatan
5.00 Elora
5.30 Joshua
6.00 Vidhya


Pin-up Spatial Systems

Next Friday 19th of November we will have our Pin-up in 33 Ground Floor Back. Please start pinning up your drawings and placing your models. The pin-up will start at 11.00am.


Tutorials Spatial Systems

Next Monday 15th November we will have tutorials in the following order,
10.00 Francesca
10.30 Vidhya
11.00 Yonatan
11.30 Fatemeh
12.00 Dimitri
12.30 Lara
2.00 Eliska
2.30 Adora
3.00 Yiming
3.30 Anthony
4.00 Elora
4.30 Joshua



W7_Spatial systems

A non contextual second stage will investigate different examples of associative spaces in cities, carefully differentiating terms such as community and association in relation to the construction of contemporary politics. Afterwards these examples will be analyzed in terms of Privacy/publicity, Permeability and Mobility.

Suggested References
Bernard Tschumi, Manhattan transcripts, London: Academy Editions, 1994.
Rem Koolhaas, S, M, L, XL, New York: Monacelli Press, 1995

Zygmunt Bauman Community: Seeking Safety in an Insecure World, Cambridge: Polity, 2001

Saishunkan Seiyaku Women's Dormitory - 1990 to 1991 - Kumamoto, Japan


Tutorials exploring the site

Next Friday 12th of November we will have tutorials in our unit space as follows,

11.00 Lara
11.30 Vidhya
12.00 Eliska
12.30 Yiming
2.00 Anthony
2.30 Elora
3.00 Joshua
3.30 Adora
4.00 Fatemeh
4.30 Dimitri
5.00 Yonatan
5.30 Francesca


TS3 1st Meeting

Next Thursday 11th November we will have our 1st TS3 meeting with Wolfgang Frese and the TS staff at 5pm in Intermediate bookable space in 36 BS rear. All 3rd year Students should come– attendance is compulsory. In this meeting we will start to discuss about the TS3 Design Projects in more detail, working towards the delivery of your project proposal and an opportunity to see examples of successful projects from previous years.

Please be there on time.


Next week tutorials will be as follows,

Monday 8th Nov
12.00 Eliska
12.30 Yonatan
1.00 Yiming

Wednesday 10th Nov
2.30 Anthony
3.00 Elora
3.30 Joshua
4.00 Adora

5.00 Vidhya
5.30 Fatemeh
6.00 Lara
6.30 Dimitri

Thursday 11th Nov
4.30 Francesca

W6_Exploring the Site

The week will start with a collection of information about: the specific site of Cafe Versailles (S), Calle Ocho (M), Little Havana (L),Miami (XL). After students should be able to critic the role of the building and its residual open space in relation to the whole Miami. First workshops will be useful to construct new ideas for this controversial “political” space.

Suggested Readings
Erik Swyngedouw, “The zero-ground of politics: musings on the post-political city”, in New Geographies no. 1, pp. 52-61
Bruno Latour, "Introduction", Reassembling the social, An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Hannah Arendt, “The Public and the Private Realm”, in The Human Condition, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1998, pp.22-78

Versailles Restaurant, August 2006

Lecture Daniel Ayat

On Monday 8th November Daniel Ayat will lecture in 36 Rear Ground Presentation room at 10.30.The lecture "Acting in Public" will deal with construction in the public space that will help you as reference for your designs. Please be on time there.



Pin-up Urban Cultures

Next Saturday 6th November we will have the Pin-up in 36 Rear Ground Presentation Room from 10.30am to 5pm. Please pin up your drawings fast to start sharply at 10.45am.


Tutorials Urban Cultures_2

Next Monday 1st of November we will have tutorials in our Unit space as follows,
10.00 Eliska
10.30 Vidhya
11.00 Adora
11.30 Lara
12.00 Joshua
12.30 Dimitri

3.00 Anthony
3.30 Fatemeh
4.00 Elora
5.00 Yiming
5.30 Yonatan
6.00 Francesca

Please be on time with your sketches, models and drawings printed.

Little Havana


Article about the Symposium Alternative Initiatives: Cuba


Reyner Banham LA

Please watch this video of Reyner Banham showing Los Angeles.


Urban Cultures Pin-Down

On Friday 29th of October we will have a Final Pin-down of your Urban Cultures studies in 33 Bedford Square Building First Floor Rear. Before , at 10.30 , we will have a lecture on Transculturation by Felipe Hernandez.

Wilfredo Lam


Urban Culture Presentations and Lecture

Next Monday 25th October we have a long day of Presentations and two lecture in 36 Bedford Square Building Ground Floor Open Room 2 NJR.
10.30am Lecture "On Miami" by Edgar Gonzalez (BrisacGonzalez Architects)
12.00am Your presentations on Miami


W5_Finding Out About Urban Cultures: Ways of Living

In this initial approach to our site, students will start exploring Miami urban culture. This first research will be divided in two. First, a detailed investigation about the different cultural customs and the spatial characteristics where they take place. Second, a reflection on how citizens´ everyday life activities construct politics in this multicultural city.

Suggested Readings
Mary McLeod, “Everyday and “other” spaces” in Architecture and Feminism, Princeton Architectural Press, 1996, pp.1-37.
Michael De Certeau: The practice of Everyday Life, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1984.
Henri Lefebvre: Critique of Everyday Life, London: Verso, 1991.
Mike Davis: Magical Urbanism, London: Verso, 2000.


Mid-Term Jury

Next Friday 22nd of October we will have the final Pin-up for the US embassy envelope design. We will start at 10 am in 32 Bedford Square 2nd Floor Rear Room. Please bring your door designs as well to be presented together.

Thanks to all guest critics: Daniel Ayat, Douglas Spencer and Ryan Dillon.


Tutorials 2nd Workshop_3

Next Monday we will start at 11am the tutorials for your envelope designs. Please be there on time as follows,
11 am Yiming/Vidhya
12 am Eliska/Adora
2 pm Yonatan/Eliska
3 pm Anthony/Fatima
4 pm Francesca/Dimitri
5 pm Elora/Lara


Lecture and Tutorials 2nd Workshop_2

Next Thursday at 5.30 you will have the lecture "Reassessing the Immediate: Windows” by Francisco Gonzalez de Canales in 36 Bedford Square Open Room 2 NJR. Later, on Friday , we will have tutorials starting at 10 am in Intermediate Unit 8 Space.

Civil Governement in Tarragona, Spain, by Alejandro de la Sota


W3- W4 Mediated Governance: Representation, transgression, and re-appropriation

This second workshop focuses on the skin of US embassy in London. This envelope can be considered as the most insurmountable barrier of the city, especially after the 9/11 terrorist attack. As the unit will proceed to this embassy to obtain visas for the trip it will be an opportunity to reconsider the borders between nations imbedded in international cities, such as London.

Seminars “Reassessing the Immediate

"Windows” by Francisco Gonzalez de Canales
“Embassies: A New Paradigm for Urban Paranoia” by Marco Ferrari (Salottobuono)

Suggested Readings

Bruno Reichlin, “The Pros and Cons of the Horizontal Window: The Perret-Le Corbusier Controversy”, Daidalos 13, 1984, pp. 65-78.
Hannah Arendt, “The Public and the Private Realm”, in The Human Condition, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1998, pp.22-78
Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2010

US Embassy in London


Pin-up 1st Workshop

Next Saturday we will see you at 10.30am in Inter Unit 8 space for the First Workshop Pin-up.Please be on time with your drawings and argument prepared.

Symposium Alternative Initiatives Cuba

14:00 Welcome & Introduction Melissa Woolford
14:05 Havana, In Process Dr Francisco Gómez Díaz
14:20 The Economic Context Emily Morris
14:35 Tradition in Architecture Key Note Address Ricardo Porro
15:00 Round Table Discussion Dr Francisco Gómez Díaz, Emily Morris, Ricardo Porro, Moderator: Felipe Hernandez
15:15 Tea Break
15:35 Moderating the Public - Inscribing Matter Nuria Lombardero & Francisco Gonzalez de Canales
15:50 Development of Heritage in Old Havana Key Note Address Dr Eusebio Leal Spengler
16:20 Round Table Discussion Nuria Lombardero, Francisco Gonzalez de Canales, Dr Eusebio Leal Spengler, Moderator: Felipe Hernandez
16:35 Joint Round Table Discussion All Speakers Moderator: Brett Steele
17:00 Closing Remarks Melissa Woolford


Tutorials 1st Workshop_2

Next Thursday 7th October we will have the last tutorials before the Pin-up in Intermediate Unit 8 space as follows,

5.00 pm Joshua
5.30 pm Dimitri
6.00 pm Yonatan
6.30 pm Anthony
7.00 pm Yiming/Elora/Adora
8.00 pm Fatemeh + Francesca / Vidhya+Lara / Eliska


1st Workshop tutorial

Next Monday 4th October we will have our first tutorial in Inter Unit 8 space, Morwell street building second floor.


W2 - Immediate Governance: Windows, doors, and transits

This first workshop questions the Architectural Association main entrance, an architectural element that separates the Association from the rest of the city. This everyday used door and its contiguous space has been assumed as a banal situation for all its users. However this strategically location, as transition between London context to the architectural environment, has been designed for multiple strategies to approach AA to visitors: posters, screens, seats, flyers, stages, etc.

Symposium “In Context: Alternative Initiatives” RIBA (8th October)

Seminar “Reassessing the immediate: Doors” by Francisco Gonzalez de Canales.

Suggested Readings

Robin Evans, “Figures, Doors and Passages” in Translations from drawings to building and other essays, London: AA Publications, 1997, pp. 55-91.
Hannah Arendt, “Introduction into politics”, in The Promise of Politics, Schoken Books: New York 2005, pp. 93-200.
Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life, Nueva York: Semiotext[e], 2005

Unit Brief

For the whole academic year structure please check our brief,



Profile tutors

Francisco González de Canales Ruiz
He studied architecture at ESTA Seville, ETSA Barcelona and Harvard University, and worked for Foster + Partners and Rafael Moneo. An active architectural critic, he has previously lectured in England, México, Spain, and the USA, collaborated and worked in different architectural publications, and current AACP coordinator. He has recently completed his PhD on the radical domestic self-experimentations of the 1940s and 1950s. He teaches at the Architectural Association (Inter Unit 8 + MA History and Theory) and the University of Seville.

Nuria Álvarez Lombardero
She studied architecture at ETSA Madrid, an Mphil in ETSA Sevilla and an MA in Housing and Urbanism at the Architectural Association. She has worked for Machado and Silvetti Associates in Boston, and is part of Neutra Magazine editorial board. She has lectured in the University of Seville, ETSA Alcalá de Henares , ETSA Barcelona (UPC), University of Leuven and Architectural Association, and researched at Harvard University,University of Cambridge and the Architectural Association. She is finalishing her PhD on the dissolution of gendered bounderies traced by modern urban planning while teaching at the Architectural Association (Inter Unit 8) and Cambridge University.

Both Nuria and Francisco are the directors of Politics of Fabrication Lab AA Summer School that this year will stop in the University of Valparaiso, Chile.

Politics of Fabrication II

Challenging political expression in Little Havana, Miami

Inter 8 continues exploring the politics of today from its most basic manifestations
in the city, experimenting with new scenarios of political expression
in intentionally polemical locations. In today’s cities, where tourists
and natives, immigrants and citizens, temporary and life-long residents live
side by side, the traditional meaning of politics has changed. Consequently,
political representation does not seem to depend as much on constituencies,
but on direct, voluntary and unbinding associations among people
who assert their presence in the public arena. The unit posits the possibility
of redefining the political expression of the multitude as the making
visible of the relationship between everyday activities in public and the
particular material constructions that ultimately gives them political value.

This year the unit will be working on the Versailles Restaurant in the
Calle Ocho (SW 8 St.) of Little Havana, Miami. This has been the epicentre
of the political expression of Cuban exiles in the United States since 1971,
and manifests within its walls the invisible barriers that lie between Cuba
and the US. Students will analyse this building and the small public space
that sits in front and comprises invisible socio-political barriers into the
city. In doing so the unit will also explore the socio-cultural milieu in which
these are inscribed in order to redefine them within a sophisticated understanding
of politics today.

The year will begin with two small workshops in which students are
introduced to the political implications of architectural elements that are
used or seen in everyday life, such as the AA door entrance or the US
embassy perimeter in London. These architectural elements articulate the
relationship among different groups, such as Londoners and international
students, or between Britons and Americans.

Following this initial conceptual development, students are expected to
present their own critical arguments on the material articulation of the
changing associations of individuals within the public realm. After our site
visit to Little Havana, each student will propose a more specific urban
strategy for architectural systems able to articulate Cuban exiles and
Latinos´ associations with the city. Students will test the formal, programmatic,
atmospheric and constructive organisation of their design proposals
in relation to their arguments. Projects will address construction methods
that are able to be fabricated by the collective, relating the political expression
of the multitude with the fabrication level.